I have a plea for all of the English teachers out there. I know you have your hands full, but if you find a moment, can you please try to make people understand the difference between a spoof, a satire, and ordinary humor? Because I don't know if it's the pervasiveness of snark and cynicism that passes for wit lately or just a lack of fundamentals, but I notice that hardly anyone seems to be able to identify the difference between these any more.
The above annoyance was brought on by the fact that we went to see Hancock this weekend. Without getting turning this space into an impromptu movie review, I'll say that was fun, esepecially in the way that it attempted to create a superhero that lives in the real world However, I've been incredibly annoyed by a few commentators who seem to feel that the fact that it poked a little fun at the conventions of the superhero genre made it into a spoof or satire. No such thing. (Oh, and I would like those same commentators to note that the Fill-In-the-Blank Movie series--Scary Movie, Epic Movie, etc.--are properly referred to as, "incredibly lame spoof attempts that make you long for a lobotomy.")
Sorry to get so sidetracked. The real reason I brought up Hancock is that before the movie, I noticed a preview for one of those heartwarming stories about a girl who makes her high school football team. And because I'm mean and grouchy, I became annoyed rather than inspired. The movie itself seems pretty formula, and I'm sure that everyone involved is perfectly nice and charming. That's not my problem. I just get frustrated that we continue to be beset by this sports double standard. Because, let's face it, we're not going to see a heartwarming story starring a former rap star about a boy who, against all odds, goes out for (I dunno) the rythmic gymnastics team. (Though if they did, and it starred 50 Cent, I would definitely go see it.) So when girls go out for boys' teams, they are feminist heroes. When boys go out for girls' teams, it's food for mockery. Moreover, feminists who would defend the female quarterback would also point out that girls deserve to have the benefits of single-sex teams and competition if they wish. Boys, of course, don't seem to get the same courtesy.
I know, I know. It's just a movie. But it is foolish to think that movies can't reflect cultural attitudes. And I worry that this is just one more area where we could see boys slowly marginalized before anyone notices what's happening.