Monday, July 19, 2004

Deconstructing Skippy: Inaugural Launch

I'm going to try this one out as a way to finally talk about current events at this blog. As it is right now, every time I log on, my mind immediately thinks, "Hey! I haven't reviewed that movie yet".  I'll feature a quote from that day's news whereupon the person quoted will be the Skippy Of The Day and I'll attempt to make some sense of what he or she said. Are you ready class? Then let's begin.  

Arnold "Skippy" Schwarzenegger says: "If they don't have the guts to come up here in front of you and say, 'I don't want to represent you, I want to represent those special interests, the unions, the trial lawyers ... if they don't have the guts, I call them girlie men."


First off, what does this phrase mean? Does it mean homosexual? Out-of-shape? Cowards? If Arnold really meant the last of these, then it would have made more of an impact if he had simply said "Cowards". The political arena is made up of a monotonous language that puts more people to sleep than invigorating them. Sad to say, John Kerry is often guilty of this. Dubya and his staff, on the other hand, have loved putting new buzzwords out there, giving them their own meaning, and getting the public to believe them (the ridiculous "activist judges" comes to mind). 
"Cowards" has more force and immediate meaning. If Arnold had a real purpose of calling out certain Democrats, it would have been more effective. As it is, he falls back upon that tired tactic he hammered into the ground during his campaign of using a catch-phrase (one that's not even his, really) from his Hollywood days in order to jog people's pop-culture memories to recall their image of Arnold as the Action Hero. So for the cost of using this minor cultural artifact, he now gets accusations of sexism and homophobia in return. Nice trade off, there.
The end result is a perpetuation of this male macho posturing that currently extends from the Fraternity House to the White House. Amongst these people, the worst you can call a man is a fag, a c**ksucker or anything approaching the female. This isn't politics. This is juvenile locker room name calling. Adolescent-minded Republicans eat this sort of thing up, which is why Dubya is making such a big damn deal about gay marriage. He knows what buttons to push when it comes to his base.

George Carlin once said about this behavior: "It's all in the language they use; language always gives them away". Does Arnold know this too? I honestly don't know. His history of respecting women is shabby, and I wouldn't be surprised if he used the term "girlie men" for two reasons instead of one. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt and say he's just resurrecting catchphrases again, but he better wise up and realize that statements like these will change his image from Big Hollywood Star to Male Chauvinist Pig before he knows it.

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