Archive for December, 2010

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Entertaining Men, but Really, How Do You Know?

28 December 2010

The quirky romantic comedy of the Christmas season is How Do You Know, a tale of a post-prime Olympic softball player (Reese Witherspoon) bouncing between two suitors, the hyper-gregarious professional pitcher (Owen Wilson) and a hapless executive caught in legal trouble (Paul Rudd). Witherspoon herself coughs up an uninspired performance, though the film is made worthy by a refreshingly unpredictable script and the constant curveballs thrown by Wilson, Rudd and the churlish Jack Nicholson.

At the heart of the movie is one woman’s decision between two “new males.” For all the differences between the courters, the two share a sense of honesty and boyish irresponsibility. Each one is sensitive and tolerant, world-wise and willing to play the game of mutual narcissism.  To the point, each one exists as an entertainer.

That is what romance has come to in the post-practical age. No longer do men provide any tangible service. The real choice comes down to whether a man’s charisma keeps a woman in thrall. How do you know if you’ve found the one? You just know – i.e., you just measure your subjective level of humoredness in his presence.

Polls consistently report women saying that “sense of humor” ranks highest in the qualities they are looking for in men. That ambiguous response, tied up in women’s misguided quests for populistic notions of self-actualization, seems to have come of age in How Do You Know, a movie whose epistemological question craters into the ethical vacuum under its own feet.

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Are Women a Class?: Wal-Mart at the Supreme Court

6 December 2010

While this blog is devoted to men’s issues, this bit of news about women is too important to pass up.

Today the United States Supreme Court agreed to take on a court case in which female employees of Wal-Mart have filed a class action law suit, claiming payscale discrimination.  The nature of court case, however, is not whether Wal-Mart has paid many of their women less than men (this fact is largely obvious).  The Supreme Court is to decide whether women in the organization can sue as a class action suit.  In other words: Does “woman” classify as a category of discrimination on this enormous scale?  Sure, a hundred female employees working in a single factory might sue for the sexual bias – but what about hundreds of thousands of women, working in thousands of different locations under different conditions and management?

While the monetary consequence of this suit might amount to billions of dollars going to Wal-Mart’s female employees, the greater significance is what this case means as a litmus test for the nation.  Is America sympathetic to the feminist concern that women are chronically underpaid?  And the significance for governmental oversight: Will sex-based discrimination be regulated much more on a federal level?