Wednesday, April 08, 2020

notes on men during the apocalypse

Somehow, of course, I find myself drawn to apocalypse movies. This was probably always the case (I did write a whole book devoted to it) but also because, like horror, they make me feel a little bit more in control of things from a worst-case-scenario stance. Granted, it occasionally backfires. I should have not watched Contagion a week into lockdown (it would have been better to watch a few weeks in if at all).  Outbreak has long been a favorite, and I did enjoy the one season series Containment around this time. After plague movies made me a bit  uncomfortable, I moved onto other disaster movies, both good and bad, rewatching Deep Impact, 2012, and Cloverfeild (which is always a favorite).  Also some newer, but highly improbable flicks like The Core.   In most of these, the great terrifying thing is the government being shady as fuck. I've also watched some really good dystopian films, more indie oriented, Girl With All the Gifts and What Happened to Monday (where the government is also shady as fuck.)

So last night, I settled in with two films that looked promising in this vein.  The first was How it Ends, promising in that it looked like post-apocalyptic road trip film.  What it was, was absolutely dripping grossly with toxic masculinity. From the father way too critical of his son& law, that dude's posturing, through miles and miles of gun-toting rednecks one after another (mind you a mere 2 days into power grid shutdown), down to the end fight between the dude and the neighbor who rescued his fiance from the rubble of Seattle then got all weird when he showed up.  It was so fucking ridiculous, I was actually offended by it.  The second, Into the Forest, which I only made it half way into before falling asleep, was two sisters left to fend for themselves in a cabin after a shutdown and unspecified event (Hollywood loves an undetermined apocalypse apparently) but then was playing out the rape/pillaging angle too hard.  Because of course two attractive ladies in the woods would not be in danger of starving, being eaten by a bear,  or getting tetanus (or like their father, an unfortunate chainsaw incident) but of being RAPED because apparently the only thing keeping men in control and NOT raping is the internet and electricity. Since I knew exactly where that was heading, I don't really feel a desire to pick it back up.

I would hope that in the midst of pandemics and power outage, that civilization is not the only thing keeping men from attacking women, stealing shit, and running around with guns. A friend knows someone who works in a bar, and once they knew they were closing, some regular who never seemed the least bit creepy offered her money for sexual favors.  I'm not sure I can live in a world with the sort of men who immediately see any sort of breakdown in structures as opportunities to take more, to pillage and rape, to behave ridiculous about protecting "what they own."  I've often had discussions with friends about whether these people really exist, or is it some weird masturbatory Hollywood fantasy thing.  Because even the hero, if not a redneck gun-toting millitia is always trying to "protect" his woman, or his family.  He might be less of a troglodyte, but it's the same impulse. A friend of mine would argue that she knows men like this.  Is related to one.  One who seems to think that at some point he will be called on to protect what is his.. from other men, from the government, what have you.

(incidently, the evening after I first drafted this post, I re-watched I Am Legend, and despite it making me cry about the dog again, I was relieved there was no rape-as-plot-device. )

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