True confession: I haven’t seen “Gone Girl.” I haven’t read the book either.
None of it prevented me from appreciating Maureen Dowd’s column yesterday. In it she took out after the feminist thought police, the ideologically driven petty-despots who believe that they should be controlling the way women are represented in the arts and the way everyone thinks.
Their most recent target is “Gone Girl.” It didn’t have to be. The thought police spend their time scouring the cultural landscape to ferret out and denounce politically incorrect representations.
They believe that life imitates art. They especially want art to serve their ideology. They attack anyone who speaks ill of women, because women are a privileged—that is, oppressed--group.
They believe, as an article of faith that human reality is a social construct and thus if you want to change human nature you must change the culture.
One might extrapolate and say that, by their lights, if there is not enough diversity in American neighborhoods, the reason is that we have not seen enough sit-coms and docudramas with a diverse cast.
This particular form of madness originated with the great totalitarian dictatorships. Among them, the Soviet Union.
So said Maureen Dowd. She even compared today’s thought police with the Communist version:
After the 1917 revolution, the Bolsheviks pushed Socialist Realism, creating the Proletkult to ensure that art served ideology. Must we now have a Gynokult to ensure Feminist Unrealism?
If you didn’t get the point, she adds this:
So to the Church of Feminism and the Niceness Thought Police, I say: Let a thousand black orchids bloom.
If I or any other right thinking individual had written those phrases, we would be attacked for being sexist misogynists. I and others have been saying as much for years now. I and others have been excoriated for so doing.
It remains to be seen whether the feminist thought police will attack Maureen Dowd with similar venom.
As Dowd explains it, politically correct censors are sorely offended by the behavior of one of the female characters in “Gone Girl.” They believe that her behavior makes women look bad. They insist that has a moral obligation to present women in the most positive light, because otherwise, everyone will think less of women.
Dowd describes the problem in "Gone Girl:"
Critics complain that Gillian Flynn’s clever creation, Amy Dunne, who punishes the men in her life by conjuring two false charges of rape and one of murder, is as cartoonish as muscly men in tights. They keen that the sleek blonde portrayed by Rosamund Pike in the movie is the latest in a line of stereotypical she-monsters and vagina dentata dames, independent women who turn out to be scary sociopaths.
Dowd is in no way put off by portraits of bad, even really bad women. Such women do exist, after all. We are not going to suppress Medea, are we?
Of course, if it is left to the feminists, we would be suppressing Medea, or else we would teach it as a misogynist tract.
In taking a stand, Dowd rejects what she calls “feminist propaganda:”
Given my choice between allowing portrayals of women who are sexually manipulative, erotically aggressive, fearless in a deranged kind of way, completely true to their own temperament, desperately vital, or the alternative — wallowing in feminist propaganda and succumbing to the niceness plague — I’ll take the former.
If “Gone Girl” is sending the wrong message about women, then Emma Bovary should have gone to medical school instead of cheating on her husband, Anna Karenina should have been a train engineer rather than throwing herself onto the tracks, and Eve Harrington should have waited her turn.
Dowd is standing up for art, for the freedom of artistic expression. In so doing she is showing that feminist ideologues have no interest in freedom. They cannot tolerate any idea that seems to suggest that they might be wrong.
In Dowd’s words:
The idea that every portrait of a woman should be an ideal woman, meant to stand for all of womanhood, is an enemy of art — not to mention wickedly delicious Joan Crawford and Bette Davis movies. Art is meant to explore all the unattractive inner realities as well as to recommend glittering ideals. It is not meant to provide uplift or confirm people’s prior ideological assumptions. Art says “Think,” not “You’re right.”