TYPECAST August: Osage County and Juno, and Two Men and A BoY and....
Friday, June 27, 2008 at 9:24 pm — M.A. Liginter
Last week August: Osage County won five Tony awards, including Best Play. It also won the 2008 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. I saw the play in May and it truly drew me into its odyssey of familial dysfunction. Then, somewhere at the three-quarters point a terrible sadness hit. This wasn’t a play about “an Oklahoma clan in near-apocalyptic meltdown,” as the New York Times review has said. It was just another cultural assault on women.
The men in the play were all nice, harmless have-a-beer-withya kinda guys and… emasculated by the women in their lives. A grown son afraid of his mother, a husband belittled by his wife, another husband unable to fulfill his wife’s demands and expectations, another husband slightly killed by his wife for greed and perhaps hate. Of course, faced with such nasty women the men cheat. Good guys but perhaps too weak to stand up to the brutes they mate with.
But the crime of the women in this play is that they exist at all. Cruel to their children and partners on a scale that is universal rather than the bad apple. And when they cheat it’s the cheat that counts--the one that breeds a child and nasty genetic deception. Women beat their children, put feces on their Christmas presents, whore for what would seem like the fun of it all.
This is what my culture says about me and the Prize it gives for saying it.
Perhaps I’m a little on edge after watching Juno on Pay-per-View. I finally broke down so I might better understand the Oscar nod it got—an Academy Award for best original screenplay. I found it little more than propaganda and more type-casting. Woman are “sacred vessels” when pregnant with a fetus they don’t want. Step-moms ridicule their female children, calling them “dumb ass” and “knowing” the female led the male astray (redux, Adam and EVE). And when the voice of reason against teenage parenting shows up in the form of an ultrasound technician, the daughter-ridiculing step mummie tears HER a new asshole for speaking out of turn to her daughter and tells her to get a real job and real education. (Score one for tearing down a female dominated profession as worthless.)
Once again men are weak and women trot all over them, in this case by forcing them to have children they don’t want whether by birth or adoption. Juno the sassy stupid teenager the Award folks loved, is not a good student and she and her female friends rely on Boy Wonder, Teen Dad to help them with their science homework.
Diablo Cody, who wrote this nonsense, and who must see her former stripper self as Juno, is so clearly in turmoil over her sad role in society. Not educated to do meaningful work, she wrote a play that would be SURE to sell to the men who love to SELL OUT women.
Try Try Ms. Cody to write a brilliant script about how wonderful (yes wonderful, when done right and with expert care) abortion in the life of a woman can be and the Terror that comes when it is illegal and botched and the women who seek one are exploited. OH YES, that’s right, the Oscars snubbed that film this year—the brilliant Romanian film that critics and this author feel should have walked away with Best Oscar for Foreign Film. Instead it got bupkiss—not even a nomination. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days, was the film to see if you want to understand women and the place they are relegated to in many societies.
Also, on my hit list: 2 Men and a Boy—a prime-time TV top hit. Men are again the weak members of society trampled by conniving mothers and ex wives, surrounded by sexy stupid women or stalked by crazy ones. The message never goes away. Women, you see, have to be kept in check least they run rampant with their evil ways and exert power in unchecked fashion. Thank goodness men have what power they do or women would ruin the male species.
Women are untrustworthy. Barack Obama said this of Hillary front and center in the summer of 07—not trustworthy. But unlike race where code words are parsed, sexist stereotypes go unchallenged.
Of course, women tend to buy into this crap because it is shoved down their throats 24/7.
A sentence—ONE BRAVE SENTENCE would have done the trick. Something along the lines of:
When the Boys who determine which women (YA—the women who set other women back with their misogyny and obvious self-loathing and self-doubt and love off all things XY) get a voice, Miss Stanley, with her love of Miss Dowd and all Misters, gets a chance to be the TV critic for the times. Hmm, surprise, suuuuprize!