Indeed, as important as it is to understand Rodger’s actions within the context of the mental illness he clearly suffered, it’s just as clear that his delusions were inflated, if not created, by the entertainment industry he grew up in. With his florid rhetoric of self-pity, aggression and awkwardly forced “evil laugh,” Rodger resembled a noxious cross between Christian Bale’s slick sociopath in “American Psycho,” the thwarted womanizer in James Toback’s “The Pick-Up Artist” and every Bond villain in the canon.
How many students watch outsized frat-boy fantasies like “Neighbors” and feel, as Rodger did, unjustly shut out of college life that should be full of “sex and fun and pleasure”? How many men, raised on a steady diet of Judd Apatow comedies in which the shlubby arrested adolescent always gets the girl, find that those happy endings constantly elude them and conclude, “It’s not fair”?
Every year, San Diego State University researcher Martha Lauzen releases a “Celluloid Ceiling” report in which she delivers distressing statistics regarding the state of women in Hollywood. This year, she found that women made up just 16 percent of directors, writers, producers, cinematographers and editors working on the top 250 movies of 2013; similarly, women accounted for just 15 percent of protagonists in those films.
Even if 51 percent of our movies were made by women, Elliot Rodger still would have been seriously ill. But it’s worth examining who gets to be represented on screen, and how. It makes sense to ask, as cartoonist Alison Bechdel does in her eponymous Bechdel Test, whether a movie features (1) at least two named female characters who (2) talk to each other about (3) something besides a man. And it bears taking a hard look at whether we’re doing more subtle damage to our psyches and society by so drastically limiting our collective imagination.
predictably, seth rogen and judd apatow threw a little tantrum over the whole thing, which incidentally is being given a lot more media attention than the initial article itself (isn’t that always the way?)
i see what this critic is saying, and i think she makes some valid points here. no one is saying that judd apatow and seth rogen are to blame for people being murdered. what she is saying, however, is that our culture feeds men certain ideas through pop culture, which, when combined with other aspects of rape culture, does little to dissuade men from feeling entitled to whatever they want. and the reaction that rogen and apatow have to her article just reinforces the idea that men, no matter how much they may contribute to sexism, can’t possibly be blamed. instead, let’s call it a mental illness issue. because that’s easier for people to people to understand.
hell, i bet if dudes could find a way to blame the female menstrual cycle for elliot rodger’s actions, they would. anything to absolve men (and their precious feelings) of any wrongdoing.
judd apatow, you’re not the whole problem, but as piebald once said, “hey! you’re part of it!”