Monday, February 09, 2009

David Savran's Taking It Like A Man

David Savran's Taking It Like A Man: White Masculinity, Masochism and Contemporary American Culture argues that reflexive masochism -- in which you essentially torture yourself -- is the essence of how white masculinity is defined in contemporary culture. He argues that in film "heroes remonstrate against a culture made uneasy by traditional machismo by proclaiming themselves victims, by turning violence upon themselves and so demonstrating their implacable toughness, their ability to savor their self inflicted wounds." I was not sure what I thought about that, and then I saw this:



David Savran sort of wins.

11 comments:

scott91777 said...

I saw this trailer before The Wrestler over the weekend (in a funny way, both movies examine exactly what you're talking about) ... however, as for this movie? Well, there's 'suspension of disbelief' and then there's 'oh you've gotta be fucking kidding me'

finsof72 said...

Did they film this with a camcorder?

finsof72 said...

As a follow up to my previous comment, it turns out I was right about the camcorders...this movie, along with its predecessor, were filmed with Canon XH-A1 cameras, which I actually think, though not as professional or cool looking, works better for a movie with a style like this. Long, drawn-out shots NEED film with its shallow depth of field but something that's constantly in motion like this movie probably looks better with a camcorder.

Just thought I'd add that, and also note that if this movie makes more than its $12 million bugdget I'm investing in Crank 3.

Christian said...

I loved Crank (1). It was stupid, it was loud and it was intentional.

There were nummerous arcade game references and it was basically an old video game as a movie.

Christian said...

I'd like to formulate that thought a bit better:

It's like what every parental group ever feared GTA and Duke Nukem was.

pla said...

Crank was fantastic, but the "masculine hero = masochist" tradition is pretty long-running in American culture, particularly in 30's and 40's detective films and novels. Generally, the style of investigations (and I'm thinking of Raymond Chandler sorts of stories here) involve the detective asking questions until someone beats him up. He has no particular detective skills other than a willingness to keep asking questions that will cause him harm.

One could argue, though, that this is a pretty long-standing tradition of promoting masochism as manliness. I know I was raised being told the story about the Spartan boy who let the fox eat his entrails rather than cry out in pain, so I'm not sure I entirely buy that this is a new development.

Geoff Klock said...

Pla -- that is a fair point. I may not have done justice to Savran either: his point is that white men figure themselves as victims of "reverse racism" and whatnot.

Also -- where on earth were you raised? That is frightening.

pla said...

I was raised outside of Detroit, but apparently that story was a fixture of child-rearing for many years, particularly in England (where you may get called "Mommy's brave little Spartan" if you don't cry during shots). However, I have yet to meet anyone else that was told the story of the Spartan and the fox as a child...

James said...

"Generally, the style of investigations (and I'm thinking of Raymond Chandler sorts of stories here) involve the detective asking questions until someone beats him up."

The Coens do a great line in these sorts of heroes, where the portrayal highlights their ineptitude rather than their resilience.

neilshyminsky said...

pla: But I'd suggest that the example of the Spartan boy, and many others, is more of a stoicism than masochism. The pleasure that more classical heroes derive from their pain is indirect - it's a pleasure in overcoming it and triumphing. For the kinds of heroes that Savran describes, though, the pain is itself the pleasure. And the pain is also the means by which one triumphs, rather than an impediment or obstacle that stands in the way of victory. It's a subtle distinction, but...

ba said...

In the last few years, crank was one of the best ridiculous action movies I have seen...second only to Shoot 'Em Up.