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Friday, June 06, 2008

The male rejection of adulthood is now the dominant attitude in Hollywood comedy, even (or perhaps especially) in movies whose sexual frankness makes them officially unsuitable for children....

It would be hypocritical of me to dismiss the appeal of this fantasy and silly to deny that a lot of these movies manage to be both very funny and disarmingly insightful about the male psyche. But I suspect I’m not alone in growing weary of the relentless contemplation of that psyche in its infantile state, and of the endless celebration of arrested development as a social entitlement.

The attachment to the emotional world of childhood and adolescence — along with the fetishistic, fake-ironic clinging to tokens of that world — is so widespread that it almost escapes notice. Impulsive, self-centered, loyal to our pals, anxious about women, physically restless, slow-witted and geeky: that’s just what we’re like, isn’t it? John Updike once remarked that in America “a man is a failed boy,” but it increasingly seems that a man is, at last, a triumphant boy, with access to money, sex and freedom but without the sad grown-up ballast of duty and compromise.

Via MeFi.