Monday, July 03, 2006

A Rough Weekend For The Girls of The LC

KB, my fellow clerk and I both had a, shall we say, interesting weekend.

KB agreed to go watch a movie with this boy who was a sort of friend of friend. This is all normal enough, except that he took her to see Drawing Restraint 9. A Matthew Barney film.

(close friends can skip over this part because you've heard a variation of this rant before, skip to the end, I'll put in a marker to tell you where)

If you are not familiar with Matthew Barney, it should be enough to know that he is married to Bjork. I in fact like to call him Mr. Bjork. Even if you are a fan of her music (I enjoy some of her work), you have to recognize that she is a bit odd, and by the transitive property of people, so is Matthew Barney. I had to work with him once, and I found him a strange and remarkably unbathed man, yet he seems to have the power to make women swoon. I do not count myself among these women.

Drawing Restraint 9 is his latest um, opus. Some people seem to love it. Others seem to hate it. Or at least feel rather indifferent towards it. I have yet to see the film, and don't plan to as I was forced to suffer through his other 5 films, but I feel sure I'll fall into the latter camp if I am forced to watch it. Reading the website's drivel was more than enough for me.

Barney's previous work is a series of films known as The Cremaster Cycle. While 5 films about, as the title "Cremaster" would suggest, the muscle that make a man's balls rise and fall, might seem shocking to some, to me it merely seems self-indulgent. The poor cremaster muscle serves only an elaborate surrogate for "penis" in these films. Apparently Barney decided not to name it "The Penis Cycle" for greater cache, and the sense of anonymity that "Cremaster" could provide, and by that I mean that he was attempting to prevent boys age 7-40 from snickering because he is a "serious" artist.

Yes, yes, I know "Cremaster" is supposed to play heavily on the "master" part of the word and imply that his work is rife with master/servant symbolism, predominantly masonic in nature. However, I think he tends to use symbolism as clumsily* as George "Do Fries Go With That Shake" Clinton, but that's just me. And I happen to like George Clinton.

*e.g. view MB's be-ribboned penis v. the be-ribboned top of the Chrystler building

And though five minutes of this mish mash might be beautiful and intriquing, 2 plus hours of it transends any sort of expression of artistic intelligence into the realm of the supremely narcissistic. Not since Richard Serra threw hot metal on the wall in a display of male excess, have we seen such unapologetic alpha male grunting. Why must I spend $9 and two odd hours of my life indulging Mr. Barney's mastubatory fantasy, starring himself and his penis in larger than life roles? Because that's all these films are: epics of self and masculine worship. Barney is Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay without words, with the same unrestrained ability to throw money at any effect, to make any explosion bigger regardless of meaning. And at least Bay/Bruckheimer have the self-control not to star in their own films.

All this to say, his latest film staring himself and his lady love Bjork as bizarro-world "occidental tourists" who end up slicing another into human sushi promises to be equally terrible.

So, the $64,000 question: would any person in their right mind invite another person whom they did not know on a date to this 2 and 1/2 hour miasma of horror?

No, I thought not.

KB was ecstatic to find that I could appreciate the horror as she told me the story. Her date had not warned her about the film in the slightest, and though she generally enjoys art house films, she was entirely unprepared for her cinematic experience.

(good friends can rejoin me here)

My experience is far more mundane, and yet equally frustrating. Saturday I went out with KN, her fiance J., and fellow friend A. We started at a place called Beauty Bar which I really liked, but was quite dead. KN suggested we go to 6th street for a bit and then come back when the bar was more lively.

I am now reaquainted with my dislike of 6th street. We went into some bar with a terrible tropical theme because they were giving away free well drinks to ladies. This seemed like a good idea [read: cheap] so we went inside. We turned out to be the only girls there other than some wildly gyrating middle aged housewives on the dancefloor which gave me awful Bourbon Street flashbacks.

At this point J. ran into a guy he knew who had some friends with him. One chatty friend spoke to A. and I until learning A. had a boyfriend, so he began chatting with me. Once discovering I am in law school, chatty friend decided to share with me:
a) how evil lawyers are
b) how evil lawyers are because they will have to represent something they don't fully believe in
c) how there are so many frivolous law suits in America
d) how every other "civilized" country has penalties for losing a suit and so should America

It's thrilling to meet someone who knows about the legal profession based solely on cheap TV ads and what he's heard from Bill O'Reilly.

Now KN had been urging me to conduct a social experiment on our evening out. In high school, La Blogda and I perfected the a dumb-SMU-girl voice based on this supremely annoying girl we had in our study hall. The truly sad thing is that this voice produces a pavlovian response in boys.

After demonstrating the voice for KN and J. at dinner a few nights ago, J. admitted its attractive qualities and suggested that KN should "take notes." KN was incensed, but also intriqued by the effect produced and wanted me to use the voice while we were out, that is to use my power for evil instead of good and get us free beverages. She is even calling this voice-using-alter-ego "Brooke." But this young man irritated me too much to play the stupid girl.

I considered explaining to him the very high evidentiary standards for say, discrimination suits that would surely never go to court if the loser had to pay court fees. Or how I support the basic legal principle that everyone is entitled to representation. Or a half-dozen other principled arguments.

But screaming such salient points over throbbing bar music seemed not worth the effort, so instead I inquired after this young man's profession that afforded him such moral superiority. Turns out he is a mechanical engineer and he helps makes bombs.

All I can say is, whatever my moral failings, at least I don't make bombs. Or 5 films in monument to myself (and my great rack).

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