Sunday, 19 April 2009

Wallace, Gromit and popular misogyny

So. I'm dragging myself out of bed after a night on the razzle, work to do, a headache to get rid of, hoping like hell I didn't say anything stupid to the gorgeous American ladies in the smoking area, one of whom has my number, oh god. I put the kettle on and look for something soothing to watch to clear my head and distract me from the massive pile of grown up stuff I have to get through today. Ooh look, new Wallace and Gromit!

I bloody love Wallace and Gromit. They were some of my favourite films as a young child, and the care that goes into making all those silly little plasticine dollies move and mutter innuendos and operate implausible machinery is still enchanting to watch. They're perfect, twee little fripperies. The heroes are a bumbling, weird-looking eccentric Yorkshireman of indeterminate age and his long-suffering sentient canine companion. They are inventors. They fight crime. They are obsessed with cheese, and drink tea all the time whilst making charming visual puns. It's delightful.

So imagine my surprise when I got halfway through the dynamic duo's new adventure, A Matter of Loaf and Death, and found that on top of all of the above it was forty-five minutes of worn misogynist fairytale about female toxicity and fat-hatred.

The premise, right, is that Wallace gets a new girlfriend. The girlfriend, Piella Bakewell (pictured, being squeezed by the giant modelling claws of the patriarchy), used to be a famous pin-up on adverts for bakery produce. But the famous model got fat, as a consequence of which, right, she could never ever get another job. She becomes so embittered that she goes completely barmy and turns into a homicidal maniac nursing a terminal grudge against all bakers. She seduces Wallace in order to mince him up horribly, before which she fills his house with flowers, pink things and other patently ridiculous symbols of what quite a lot of older men (Nick Parks, perhaps, amongst them) and young children think of as femininity. Overcome by a fit of manic rage, Piella tries to push Wallace into his baking machine, beginning a long sequence of comic tomfoolery involving Piella being really, like, fat, at the end of which she is eaten by crocodiles.

No, really.

A Matter of Loaf and Death
is targeted at children. So what will half of the film's intended audience, the hundreds of thousands of little girls all over the world who have seen the thing by now, be thinking? What message does this send to young girls?

Well, firstly, don't ever ever ever get fat, because you'll lose your job and then your mind. Your future success depends entirely on your ability to look great and hook a man. Avoid bipedal dogs who drive delivery vans. And don't worry, it's all a joke, really.

The thing is that it is all a joke. It's a joke that works, partly because it plays into very familiar received stereotypes. And I laughed too. But because I'm a dour, humourless feminist who will eventually be eaten alive by her own cats, after I had my little giggle I realised that I still wasn't okay with this. Yes, I do get the joke. But getting the joke doesn't mean not thinking about the wider implications of the media we squeeze into our children. A lot of popular misogyny comes in under the radar, which is why we dour, humourless feminists need to carry on doing the work of attention, the work of analysis. And stay away from the crocodile pits.


ETA: Parks' studios have just released the title of the next film, A Strip Off The Old Block, in which we get to watch Wallace inventing a machine for beheading whores. Gromit has to turn the winches. He can't scream, you see, because he hasn't got a mouth.

58 comments:

  1. I'm glad someone else noticed this. While watching I kept trying to quash my misgivings about Bakewell's character, in particular how her villainy is signposted, a la Roald Dahl,largely *by* her over the top, parodic femininity (incidentally, have you read Dahl's 'The Witches'?A similar, and very intriguing depiction of feminine wickedness.)It really is no fun being blindsided by stuff like this in unexpected, apparently apolitical places (yes, I know there's no such thing, but it would be nice to take off one's dour feminist hat once in a while.) I can also imagine how hurtful it might be for bigger children watching things like this - or, for that matter, reading things like Harry Potter, where Harry's cousin Dudley's greed and selfishness are (clunkily) made manifest through frequent allusions to his corpulence, or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where Augustus Gloop's size essentially demotes him to being the enormous butt of a joke. I love your writing, by the way.

    Kat

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  2. Kat, I wish you hadn't said that, because I loved The Witches. Happy to see Harry Potter denounced though.

    On a pure story level, I didn't think this episode was as good as the previous Wallace & Gromit films. Part of the problem was the film wasn't about the relationship between Wallace & Gromit, so much as being about Wallace and happening to have Gromit in it.

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  3. How about going at it from the other direction.

    Paella lost her mind because she lost her job and couldn't get another. She couldn't get another because she put on a few pounds. She couldn't get a job with her extra pounds because of the society that we live in.

    The story isn't saying don't put on those pounds or you'll be rubbish and worthless. It is saying look, this is happening. Not quite in the same comedic manner, but it is happening.

    It is highlighting to the other half of the audience, the boys, that there is something wrong with how women are perceived and treated that do not conform to visual norms.

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  4. I actually thought it was quite a good episode, mostly because it contained a lot of that slapstick, goofball humour i really like from W&G and didn't overdo the cheap puns, that some comedies do.

    Wallace attempting to bomb Yorkshire? classic.

    And while i can understand your analysis, if people start looking too much in depth at stuff that probably never had the depth to begin with, they risk very easily ridcule which makes them much easier to ignore. Though the lighthearted style you use works very well.

    Then again for a cartoon that included a very understated Aliens reference maybe i'm doing Nick Parks a diservice by hinting at a lack of depth...

    mike

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  5. I would argue that the whole thing is complicated by Wallace and Gromit deliberately being set in a world which, even to child viewers, has obviously passed.

    Far more worrying, so I've heard, is Crank 2, where a stripper is shot dead in a shout-out in a strip club. As the bullet tears through her breasts, a mixture of sillicon and blood pours out. I know this because of reviewer Andrew Collins reported on radio 5 that he, commendably, walked out at that point as he believed the shooting was intended to be comic. While the horror of that sinks in, thoughts may creep in that this Jason Statham film is aimed at the Zoo/Nuts demographic, so expecting better is a bit like thinking Reni Lefinstahl would do a sympathetic handling of Schindler's List. So what about the attempted rape in widely-thought-of-as-fluffy richard curtis film the boat that rocked, where a woman goes to bed with one man, who then attempts to change places with another man without the woman knowing. actually, what about the entire depiction of women's sexuality in the film.

    in other words, I think W and G are a bit down the list on this sort of thing.

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  6. Oh, Penny. I really don't know whether to take you seriously any more. I also suspect that you yourself are responsible for many of the weirder comments on your blog.

    You a beginning to sound as silly as a latter day Mary Whitehouse and seem intent on challenging the aforementioned old biddy's absurdity and ridiculousness. As you are very young and may not know appreciate just who Mary Whitehouse was in life I'll take the liberty of putting her in an historical context for you.

    Mary Whitehouse was a sometime teacher and Christianistic "morality" campaigner who made herself a laughing stock by objecting to such things as Enid Blyton stories about Noddy and Big Ears because they co-habited in Toytown and Mary thought that this implied to children that homosexual relationships were acceptable (in real life as well as between fictional characters). Whitehouse also tried to get Chuck Berry's version of the humorous song "My Ding-A-Ling",

    Chuck Berry sings My Ding-A-Lingbanned because she thought it encouraged and extolled the virtues of male masturbation and even took a pop at the puppet show Pinky and Perky, objecting to the "callous" attitude the two porcine puppets displayed toward their human co-hosts on the show! Although many of Whitehouse's points in respect to pornography were actually valid no one noticed because her faux outrage against innocent and harmless things transformed her into a figure of fun more to be mocked than listened to.

    Chill out Chiquita! The man eating plant in The Little Shop of Horrors won't turn children into greedy cannibals who shout "FEED ME NOW!" whenever they get hungry, nor will Bill and Ben the Flowerpot Men bequeath irremediable speech impediments on the boys and girls who watch them on television.

    You do make me chuckle and laugh, Ms. Red, even though I realise I'm not supposed to. I would urge you to desist from commenting on your own posts however. Doing this isn't journalistically objective and is probably very very naughty, somewhere, somewhen.

    If God doesn't know about your sins I am sure that Grommit would be able to sniff them out even though he's made from plasticine!

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  7. Laurie,
    (from a Tory, but seriously enjoys your posts)

    I saw this at Christmas with my family and we were all ROFLMAO!

    Firstly, is there anything wrong about saying it's bad to get fat (girls or boys). You in the UK obviously don't have the same cartoon comedies we have over here in the US. In addition to The Simpsons, there are many cartoon comedies based on sad fat men screwing up in life.

    Lastly, that platiscine model does look a lot like Jacqui Smith! :)

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  8. I actually found this to be a really harrowing examination of abusive relationships.

    As for the misogyny, I'm with Sim-O. It's not applauding it, it's highlighting it. And that's a GOOD thing.

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  9. My take on the story, which is no less troublesome:

    A beautiful young thin woman is handed the world on a plate for no reason other than she is a beautiful young thin woman. Her job is to advertise a diet product (Bake-o-lite) which she then becomes addicted to. This causes her weight gain, loss of fame, job and respect, and eventually to her maniacal revenge upon the industry that lifted her so high, dropped her so low and then turned its back on her entirely.

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  10. Snark - toys such as Gollywogs were once regarded as 'innocent and harmless.'

    I'm just sayin'.

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  11. As the comments here suggest, there are a whole host of different ways to interpret this episode. I'd like to suggest one more - maybe kids will watch it, see the plasticine figures wandering around doing insane things, and maybe think that it isn't real. Even as a young kid, I can remember seeing a distinction between real life and animation on the tele.

    And as one of the anonymous comments points out, there are far worse examples of misogyny out there.

    TNL

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  12. Well, Anonymous, when I was a very young boy I owned a beautiful collection of Robinson's Gollywog badges and plaster figures playing musical instruments and riding unicycles etc. As well as the obligatory teddy bear I also had a Sooty, Sweep and horror of horrors a Gollywog in my toy chest! There were no racial overtones associated with toys like this in those days. Since I am of mixed race myself - my mother was Kenyan (Black) and my father Welsh (White) - surely I have more of a right to be offended by such things than any white commentator on this blog? But I'm not. Not even one little bit. Slavery and prejudice have existed from mankind's earliest tribal days onward long before the Gollywog was invented, and continues to this day long past the Gollywog's fashionability or sell by date. Are you seriously saying that Gollywogs were instrumental in fomenting racial conflict, stereotypes and inequality as a result? If you are, get a grip! Jesus! If such a causal link exists it does so very tenuously indeed. The next thing you'll be saying is that the Tiny Tears doll encourage little girls to embrace urolagnia in their sex lives once they reach adulthood or that Action Man figures inspire violence and militarism in misled boys who own them and like dressing them up in fancy costumes and equipment! (I always liked the frogman outfit best myself.) In my opinion this is political correctness gone mad!

    One of my ex-girlfriend's used to pull me up in cafes whenever I asked for a "black coffee". "You mustn't do that" she said. "That has an unsavoury racial smack about it. Don't say 'black' or 'white', ask for a 'coffee without' or a 'coffee with' to indicate your preference." Needless to say we weren't together long!

    What serious, glum and sober little folk you people all seem to be. I think if any of you ever had a truly happy day you would die of spontaneous combustion!

    Buck up!

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  13. I recall a similar fuss when the BBC used to show 'Tom and Jerry' cartoons and some people complained about the level of 'violence'.
    It was risible then and I'm afraid this post is risible now.
    Any influence on children by this animation is so miniscule as to be almost non-existent compared to the influences already affecting a child's development as regards his view of gender stereotyping and role - family, the media at large and his or her peer group.
    It's like blaming acts of violence on violent computer games.
    Please tell me that this post was written with tongue firmly placed in cheek...

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  14. @Dual Citizen
    'You in the UK obviously don't have the same cartoon comedies we have over here in the US. In addition to The Simpsons, there are many cartoon comedies based on sad fat men screwing up in life.'

    Oh, we don't just have the Simpsons - we have Family Guy and lots of other US cartoons on terrestrial and satellite TV.

    In fact, isn't all comedy about screwing up in one way or another?

    And aren't those screw ups somehow related to the attributes of the characters or the situation in which they find themselves and their response to it?

    Name me one comedy where the characters and the situations are intrinsically philosophically and politically sorted in every respect.

    All comedy is rooted in conflict - from the Chuckle Brothers to George Carlin.

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  15. @SteveShark, though not in any way a response to Penny's post:

    "The essence of modern comedy is to create a hero the audience love to hate, get him stuck up a tree, and then throw rocks at him for half an hour."

    John Cleese when asked about the process he went through while writing Fawlty Towers.

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  16. My answer is don't ever watch or ever let your future children watch anything by Nick Park ever again.

    Despite the fact that you're forced to fund the BBC which helps fund Nick Park you do have a pretty good opt-out. Turn off the TV.

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  17. Penny, could you not read it the other way about? Wallace falls for Piella and it doesn't matter to him that she's put on a few pounds. Piella is a victim of an unfair system that puts undue emphasis on feminine appearance and the film lays the blame firmly at the door of the industry that wants to sell you stuff that's unhealthy whilst portraying itself as attractive. Piella is therefore the manifestation of the sickness inherent in the system she was once the embodiment of.

    What do you think?

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  18. I'm afraid Laurie that this post does somewhat head towards self-parody. I lost all interest in what you were saying after "being squeezed by the giant modelling claws of patriachy" or possibly "in a promotional photo for the film which shows a new character and reminds audience of the unique way in which it was made".

    Haven't seen the film so I can't comment on the sub-text but in general Aardman stuff has eyebrow firmly arched and tongue deep in cheek to an extent that kids won't take it as real world morality. If you want to have a go at the values being presented in animation I suggest taking another look at the racism and 'he's better because he has royal blood'-ness of Lion King. Much much more sinister.

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  19. Christie - the trouble is you can't get around the fact that Paella is the baddie, and wants to kill Wallace through no fault of his own. What's worse, the industry remains faceless throughout the entire film - the exploitation is invisible. Surely if the creator had wanted you to read it the way you identify, that exploitation would have been laid bare?

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  20. I think that some things aren't meant to be analysed too deeply.
    How about the story of Cinderella?
    The Ugly Sisters were ugly, but they were bitches too.
    What does that say to young children about prejudices? What does it say to them about ugly people? That they're mean and nasty too? And in way more basic and immediate terms than this W&G animation when told by mummy or daddy at bedtime.
    It's my guess that whilst the kids could laugh at the slapstick stuff and all the peculiar machinery, it was the animator's intention that adults could enjoy it on a slightly different and more mature level.

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  21. wallace and gromit are selling out all over the shop - i can't think of any character worse-suited to star in austin powersesque "hide the penis" choreography than wallace, and yet there he is doing just that for npower. it's as creepy as you can get with plasticine.

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  22. ... hoping like hell I didn't say anything stupid to the gorgeous American ladies in the smoking area, one of whom has my number, oh god.
    Hmm. I wonder if you would have given your telephone number to a real life and overweight American version of Paella Bakewell or mentioned bumping into such a siren on your blog.

    I know about American girls... a little differently than you, no doubt, but I do know about them... and you really are going to have to pull your socks up and do better than this if you hope to score and explore the curves and concavities of some "gorgeous" American pussy.

    If you refrain from being sexually attracted to ugly fat women why shouldn't men do likewise?

    You little tribadistic hypocrite you!

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  23. Actually, it is bad to get fat. It increases your carbon footprint by a tonne per year, and it increases your likelihood of CHD, stroke, type II diabetes, death, etc etc. Fat should be viewed as ugly, because it is dangerous, as well as being a sign of emotional maladjustment and/or poor lifestyle.

    Also, while it's fair enough to ask what message that film is giving to girls, isn't it only fair to also consider what message it is giving to boys about females too? Talkabout stiffed. It is no good me seeing myself in positive ways if the other half of the population don't do so also. Let's have some joined-up thinking, PennyRed.

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  24. I should have guessed that carbon would enter the equation given time.

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  25. Hello everybody! I agree with Penny, this is awful. Also why is she wearing pink, gender normative colour coding strikes again! AND she's named after an authentic Spanish recipe, which only adds to the paranoia.

    I just wanted to remind you all that it's Wollstonecraft's birthday coming up this weekend - I'm going to be at the celebrations in Kings cross this Sunday and would love to meet you all, if anyone's around?

    Toodles x

    Heres the link:
    http://www.newunity.org/#/marywollstonecraft/4533317582

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  26. Reactionary Rupert21 April 2009 at 08:09

    Aardman Studios have always been bastards. How can any of us forget that the villain in "The Wrong Trousers" was a Penguin!!! My God! This was clearly and subliminally an attack on the Green lobby. Most Penguins live and breed in Antarctica which, like the arctic, is melting due to global warming resulting from fossil fuel burning and carbon dioxide/monoxide release. By casting a Penguin as a criminal mastermind Aardman was clearly and unequivocally suggesting that Penguins were evil geniuses which must be stopped from exploiting and harming innocent citizens at all costs and by any means possible. Thus, in one fell swoop, Aardman Studios flagged up the positive effects of global warming, i.e., destroying the home and breeding grounds of Penguins which would cull and limit their numbers and frustrate their efforts to take over the world. Aardman was allying itself with the forces of "goodness" personified by Wallace and Gromit, i.e., the coal, gas, oil, lumber, car and power generation companies, against inherent and irredeemable badness personified by Penguins. When you analyse and break it down like this the subtext is obvious isn't it?

    Can't you see it?!

    That bastard Nick Park is waging a war of black propaganda and extinction against the world's innocent penguin populations!

    My God!

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  27. RR - I'm disappointed you couldn't see past the symbolism, and ended up making such a crass generalisation. This was Park in his "progressive" period. "Penguin" was a coded reference to "Suits": the episode serves as a prescient statement on the chaos bankers could create, destroying families in their pursuit of personal wealth.

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  28. Reactionary Rupert21 April 2009 at 10:53

    @ tim_f

    Kudos to you, sir. Like Saul on the road to Damascus, your words first blinded me and then enlightened me. My God! Not only is Park a penguin hating consummate animator, he's an evil prophet too! And I bet he behaves hatefully to tuxedoed men at formal events like weddings... and to waiters in plush restaurants!

    The horror... the horror...

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  29. @ tim_f and Reactionary Rupert

    Both of you cocks are wrong! The Wrong Trousers is a broadside against Roman Catholicism! The penguin is supposed to be a nun you dicks!

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  30. @ tim_f, Reactionary Rupert and Illuminatus

    The penguin in Park's "The Wrong Trousers" had nothing to do with frigging wildlife, ecology, bankers or Roman Catholics! The penguin character was just a knowing nod, a homage if you will, toward Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot, i.e., the arch-villain "The Penguin", who made many appearances in the Batman universe. Struth! You guys are dense!

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  31. @ Provisional BBC
    Well, it's been around 4 months since I saw it and although I harbour a lot of affection for Wallace & Grommit I don't remember every detail of Loaf and Death* but I'm fairly sure there's a scene where Piella's motivation is explained, she may even have said it herself.

    As for killing Wallace through no fault of his own, partly that is going to be due to the conventions of slapstick comedy, that the hero be a bumbling innocent; and partly that shows his detachment from the system that Piella was sucked in by: his innocent love for Ms Bakewell transcends the corrupt bakery-diet-complex.

    So there.

    Oh, and @ Posie Rider, she's called Piella - it's a pune, or play on words. Albeit not a very nice one.

    *Now, what Laurie's opinion on A Matter of Life & Death is would be interesting - being terminally sentimental I love it, but how does its depiction of gender roles square with a feminist take on women's representation in WWII propaganda films?

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  32. You people a fucking nuts worrying about the inner meaning and subtext of a bastarding plastimation from Aardvark! You sit on your arses all concerned and white knuckled about meaningless shit like this while people in the real world are suffering and dying. All this philosophising and pretentious fay intellectuality doesn't put a bandage around a wounded arm or a biscuit in a hungry mouth. What a bunch of cardboard cut outs and dross you sorry fuckers are. Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU ALL!

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  33. *Ahem* - You people a (sic) fucking nuts worrying about wot people write in the comments of blogs! You sit on your arses all outraged and apoplectic about meaningless shit like this while people in the real world are suffering and dying. All this ranting and impotent rage doesn't put a bandage around a wounded arm or a biscuit in a hungry mouth. What a waste of oxygen you are. Shame on you! SHAME ON YOU!

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  34. @ Christie Malry

    That's 'puerile' Christie...

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  35. Some say that "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." If that be the case I would say that your own existance profoundly flatters the human, Sim-O.

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  36. Go on then, Dreadlock - what would you rather I write about?

    The penguin represents the id, IMHO. Or possibly the evils of global warming. I couldn't care less, quite frankly - I'd kick a hundred seals in the face to save one junkie.

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  37. I thought Paella went mad because she lived in a horrible society where you could get fired for putting on a few pounds, and that's why she went around wreaking her terrible revenge.
    And Wallace and the other 13(?not sure how many it was) bakers she killed still thought she was attractive anyway.
    Sorry if people have already said this, I haven't read all the comments properly.
    It could be read both ways I guess. But it is just a cartoon really. I watched Disney films when I was younger and as far as I can tell they haven't messed me up any because even as a kid I saw them in context and knew they weren't like real life.

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  38. Hmm that comment made me sound like I didn't think it was important to analyse cultural things from different perspectives, and I generally think it is. I just think that if you managed to find misogyny in Wallace and Gromit you must have read very far into it, and there are many other films/books/adverts/tv programmes where it is more obvious, and therefore more dangerous (I think).

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  39. Surely it's more dangerous/insidious where it's less obvious?

    Having these discussions is good because even if Laurie is wrong in her interpretation, the act of deconstructing it renders any sexist messages it sends out (inadvertently or otherwise) less effective.

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  40. @ Penny Red

    Write about the world's pain and try to help cure it, Ms. Penny. Be an artist rather than another hack journalist. I see the spark of light burning in you. Don't waste your talent on battles already won; there are men, young people, children and animals as innocent and put upon as any woman born of woman all over the earth. Don't forget them. It's better to light a candle than add to the sprawling darkness.

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  41. @ Penny Red

    "The penguin represents the id..."Isn't the "monsters from the id" idea a direct "scissors and paste" lift from the 1956 science fiction film "Forbidden Planet"?

    Naughty, naughty...

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  42. Not my place I know, but since Forbidden Planet was itself a straight rip from The Tempest, is that really such a crime? And if it was, wouldn't Feathers McGraw actually approve?

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  43. Dr Dreadlock's a bit of an oddball, innee? And laughably hypocritical to boot.

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  44. @ Christie Maltry

    Actually, yes! Forbidden Planet was based on Shakespeare's Tempest, with the monster from the Id supposedly based on Caliban. However, since the Tempest predates Freud by about three hundred years, I doubt that the Freud's Id could have been mentioned in any of its acts by Prospero, Miranda, Caliban or any other of its other characters. Your point, Christie, is hence nonsensical and spurious.

    I award you one point for trying to defend Penny Red, albeit underhandedly, but deduct one point as a penalty for resorting to sophistry!

    @ Anonymous

    Dr Dreadlock is having a laugh, surely. He just can't be serious. The guy - or girl! - seems to be trying to get a rise out of Penny Red's audience for some reason or other. He's probably just a bored university student taking the piss. Or a precocious teenager! Whatever, Dreadlock does come across as a bit of a ranter come poetaster.

    Why the fuck are we talking about him anyway?

    Isn't that what he wants?

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  45. How do we know that Dr. Dreadlock and Penny Red aren't one and the same person, like Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde? Have they ever been seen in the same room at the same time? Spooky!

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  46. Are you people spaced or what? All that psychological cobblers about what the penguin symbolises in The Wrong Trousers and shit! Get a life!

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  47. @ Chav Princess
    Can I have an extra point if I go through Blackfriars whilst in Nib?

    But to rebut your rebuttal slightly, my point is only spurious if you regard Shakespeare's plays as having no psychological components to it, if indeed Caliban, representing a perversion of Montaigne's myth of the noble savage, is not in fact intended to embody all that is primal and instinctual about human nature in order to contrast with the highly cultured Prospero. Surely Forbidden Planet was able to graft Freud's concepts on so well for a reason? Don't mistake chronological order with relevance!

    Also, it's nice to think I was defending Penny Red in some way, but (a) I have no doubts about her ability to defend herself and (b) I was actually just callously hijacking the argument for my own amusement/point-scoring/intellectual masturbation *delete as appropriate*.

    In short, ner. :P

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  48. @Ribbed Condom
    You might be the closest thing you can get to a prick and just be pretending to be dense, but I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just say that the penguin stuff was all very much tongue in cheek.

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  49. I wish I had the time to continue fencing with you, Christie, but sadly/gladly I have a date this evening. Far be it for me to select an option from the two you offer but... well... let's say in my opinion there's nothing wrong with keeping in touch!

    You're far too funny for your own good!

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  50. @ steveshark

    Most homosexual men that practice anal sex like me quite well, Steveshark. As you yourself are obviously an arsehole (and a tight one at that) I might have expected a better reception from you than the one I actually received! Swallow more alkyl nitrite and apply more Astroglide to yourself before we meet again and also go to the toilet. You're way too full of shit old orifice!

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  51. @Donnalida

    Fat does not 'increase likelihood of death'. I'm sorry to break it to you but every one, fat or thin, is going to die@PennyRed

    I agree with you. You put into words the exact problem I had with this bloody film.

    He's a Lancastrian, though ;)

    Rebecca

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  52. Rebecca, are you sure? Surely he's a Yorkshireman - his favourite cheese is Wensleydale, after all. This is important.

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  53. http://irresponsibility.wordpress.com/2008/12/28/wallace-gromit-sex-and-death-at-christmas/

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  54. Penny, seriously, do you not read what you have written before you post?

    Your first paragraph..

    "..hoping like hell I didn't say anything stupid to the gorgeous American ladies.."

    ..demonstrates that you judge womens on their looks, yourself.

    You've advertised (http://pennyred.blogspot.com/2009/03/oh-and-in-case-you-were-wondering.html)your own (http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2009/mar/11/anorexia-mental-health) mental illness triggered by worry about body shape.

    And then you berate Nick for making a film about someone angry about it.

    To say you are guilty of hypocrisy doesn't begin to cover your nerve in writing this post.

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  55. Well, firstly, my anorexia was not triggered by worries about body shape, and it says so right through that article.

    And secondly: I don't judge women according to their looks, or at least I try to check myself in that respect. But when I fancy someone some of that will be based on looks - on my own personal conception of what 'gorgeous' means, inside and out. I don't make a secret of the fact that I fancy good-looking women, although my definitions of good-looking are somewhat idiosuncratic. And I don't think I should, either!

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  56. I stand corrected about your personal circumstances - Sorry. The article does, however, repeatedly hark on about body shape "My generation has grown up schooled like no other in the fine art of dissatisfaction - with our lives, our possessions and our bodies"

    The principle of you judging people on their looks still applies. We all do, even when we shouldn't. It's hardwired into us* to do the chest-gazing that we* are often rightly berated for.

    ( *we = "men, mostly", for the purposes of this sentence )

    I don't think that Nick has misread the effects of evolution on social acceptance. Partners are rejected if they are not, hypothetically, good breeding material for our selfish genes.

    Piella *was* good breeding material. Then she reached (coincidentally) menopause age and shape, and suddenly, magically, she no longer was.

    There's a whole industry of mistaken feminist anger and angst yet to be written all because of that bastard, unyielding, natural fact. Oh, wait..

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