Saturday, March 19, 2005

She Hate Me

Naturally I expected to hate She Hate Me because I like Spike Lee joints and I respect Roger Ebert, who introduced the film thusly:

Spike Lee's "She Hate Me" will get some terrible reviews. Scorched earth reviews. Its logic, style, presumption and sexual politics will be ridiculed. The Tomatometer will be down around 20. Many of the things you read in those reviews may be true from a conventional point of view. Most of the critics will be on safe ground. I will seem to be wrong. Seeming to be wrong about this movie is one of the most interesting things I've done recently. I've learned from it.

I love learning as much as the next Yak, but that's a pretty shaky ground on which to premise one's enjoyment of a film. The She Hate Me paradox is this: In order to properly appreciate being among the contrarians, one must have some empathy for feelings of hate--exactly some empathy, because to fully empathize with those who would turn off their brains or forget how to enjoy a movie would hardly be edifying--and so one engages with the film completely by never completely identifying with any single reaction, character, mood, or perspective. It's like you have to bamboozle yourself to avoid being bamboozled.

In other words She Hate Me is a typical Spike Lee joint. Behind the offkilter facades and psychocultural routines one senses a yearning for the real, a humanistic impulse which is a little different without being entirely strange (for humans as well as bovines, I presume). And being a Spike Lee joint, it suffers the invidiousness of being held up to such masterpieces as He Got Game. So naturally I expected to hate it, and of course I did not.

She Hate Me, phony as a three dollar bill, ranks among the heavyweights in the Spike Lee canon. I'll support that contention with specific obsevations should anybody care to debate it. For now though, I'll just throw out this one question: How would you characterize the relationship between personhood and moral conduct? Before you answer, be sure to check out She Hate Me.

posted by Fido the Yak at 2:41 AM.


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