Why strip? Because it’s good for your blog!

OK, I will probably go see Juno and I’ll probably like it. The title character is apparently one of the smartest, funniest, pluckiest female protagonists in a while: a 16-year-old who’s dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, initially goes to have an abortion, then ends up deciding to carry the pregnancy to term, with a nice couple she finds as adoptive parents. (More about that aspect of it later.) It’s been described as a whip-smart, witty indie comedy, like Little Miss Sunshine but less disturbing, like Knocked Up could have been if it weren’t so intensely dude-focused without much insight into the female characters.

The fact that Juno has a strong, nuanced female lead shouldn’t be entirely surprising, because the film was written by a womna: Diablo Cody, an up-and-coming screenwriter who’s been getting a fair amount of attention in the reviews. I feel like I ought to be excited by this. There aren’t enough women writing screenplays that get made into films, and writers don’t get enough attention as it is. Is it awful that I find Diablo Cody deeply, deeply irritating? At least in this interview?

It’s not every day that you sit down with a fiery femme filmmaker who’s got a tattoo of a pinup girl on her right shoulder, but that’s just what young Juno bad girl screenwriter brought to the interview table today.

With a crown of choppy black goth hair as the ultimate anti-‘do, and a surgical glove on her right hand that she wore for no particular reason except to snap it on her wrist every now and then for emphasis of some wacky idea or another, Diablo talked about, among other eye openers, Catholic guilt, not giving a lap dance to Steven Spielberg, her former strangely liberating gig as the worst stripper and phone sex worker, and how cyberspace made her do it, don’t ask.

Why did you get into stripping?

DIABLO CODY: Blogging led me to stripping. I was at a point where I didn’t have much to say on my blog. So I stripped for one night, and it was supposed to be a fun thing to do. But I wrote about it, and people responded right away. It got me to thinking, this could be good for the blog.


Clearly, some of my ire should be vented at whatever idiot interviewed her. Apparently it was someone who not only can’t write sentences, but who eats this kind of thing up like candy — blunt razor-cut bangs, hair dyed black, a shocking shoulder tattoo of a pinup girl (I declare, I think I shall faint!) and random surgical gloves. Eats it up like candy that will somehow make them cool. I have to hand it to Cody, she knows how to work the media. I kept stumbling over more asides about how deliriously HIP she is. (Man, why didn’t I change my name to something cool like Diablo Cody when I had the chance? I could have named myself Angstlitude O’Malley, but no. I had to pick a normal boring name. I guess I’m writing all of this out of jealousy.)

Most of the reviews of Juno are positive, and everyone loves the lead actress. But the main point of divergence between reviewers, regardless of whether they found the film good or bad overall, seems to be about the “thirty witty references a minute” script. I try not to let myself be influenced too much by film reviews, much as I love reading Variety rip apart a schlocky piece of feel-good trash. But at this point, when I go to Juno I will be struggling not to cringe during the first third of the film while waiting for lines like “honest to blog!” and “That’s one doodle that can’t be un-did, homeskillet.” Like this reviewer, the quotes from Cody’s script remind me of Joss Whedon at his most painfully awkward, trying to manufacture clever new turns of phrase to approximate a weird, imaginary teenage-slang that doesn’t quite exist. (He did much better using this technique to paste Mandarin and cowboy-talk together into sci-fi lingo, if you ask me.)

The most amazing thing is still the aforementioned interviewer, who actually says:

I feel Diablo, that for probably the first time in movies, you’re speaking like real teenagers speak. It’s so refreshing. This is really the way they talk.

I hate to take you to a harsh realm, homeskillet, but that quote puts you right in the tom-tom club with all the rest of the lamestains. (50 points for naming the seminal hipster event being referenced and the author.)

I really ought to shut up about Juno at this point until I’ve seen the movie. But let’s move on. I’m not even sure what to say about the fact that she started stripping because she figured it could be good for her blog. I mean, I have nothing against strippers blogging at all. Her original blog, the Pussy Ranch, is no longer online so I’m not even sure if it was any good or not. (Anyone read it?) And I guess I can’t even be surprised that it’s the white prep school girl from the suburbs who decides to audition at the “sleaziest” club she can find, for a lark and a blog, who ends up getting a book deal. She’s the “unlikely stripper” apparently… as opposed to the “likely strippers” who are, you know, working their asses off to make ends meet, not just to be able to buy a new car, and who mostly (even according to Cody) lack the fun, devil-may-care attitude about sex work that enables her to laugh pleasantly when Letterman acts like the total creep he is and inquires, “uh… uh… heheh… so… do the girls get any, ah, enjoyment, ah, out of it too?” I’m just kind of at a loss. I have friends who have stripped or are stripping in order to pay off debt, in order to make up for crappy part-time wages, in order to feed their kids. But still… aaahghgh…. the whole things is somehow so obnoxious and entitled, it makes my head hurt.

Which brings me finally to the topic of abortion. Stephanie Zacharek of Salon already pre-emptively declared that Juno is going to be analyzed as a film with a position on abortion, and that she doesn’t think it should be:

I’m dreading the inevitable: that “Juno” will be seized upon by groups and individuals with all sorts of pregnancy-related agendas. But this is a story about people, not about political or even moral convictions.

Yeah, I mean… it’s not like a story about PEOPLE could have any political angles in it, intentional or not, right? In this film, Juno apparently goes to a clinic, then freaks out in a totally understandable way and ends up reconsidering. But several reviewers have noted that the whole topic of abortion is weirdly glossed over, like the guy I linked before:

Consider Juno’s original decision to get an abortion. Here we have a chance to watch a character struggle to make an impossible decision. There could even be room for comedy, as smart humorists are able to find laughter in even the bleakest of life’s moments. Cody, however, rushes through the entire plot point, offering up pointless caricatures before moving on. It’s as if Cody knows we won’t have a movie without Juno’s decision to deliver the baby, so we might as well plow through any obstacles to get there.

What, really? Do you think that’s what she was thinking?

I had one image in my mind when I wrote this. That was of Juno sitting across from Mark and Vanessa Loring being polar opposites to her, and then having to audition to adopt her baby. To me, that was the movie right there. It was a weird image, and I couldn’t have gotten that if she had an abortion. She had to have the baby in order for me to execute the story.

Ding ding ding! Having the baby is a foregone conclusion in this movie–just as it is in other recent movies with abortion “sideplots,” like Knocked Up and Waitress. This isn’t just coincidence. A film where someone actually has an abortion is a completely different kind of movie. And usually not such a feel-good movie–at least not in the existing molds that Hollywood (and Sundance) provide. Plus, if the movie is actually about abortion, then you’d have to take some kind of stance on it, and everyone knows a political stance (especially on abortion) can just end up like doo-doo all over your box office unless you’re Michael Moore or someone.

It’s hard, Jason and I wanted to make the movie as personal as we could rather than political. Juno never moralizes about the choice she makes. We never get a speech like, “I can’t kill my baby.” I’m pro-choice, so for me it was very important that the movie not seem to have any kind of anti-choice agenda.

Fair enough. I’m sure that in some ways, the story had to be told the way it did; I do enough plot writing that I know we don’t always have full control over the shape and vision of these things. But but but at the same time, Diablo Cody wants us to know that she’s pro-choice, and tried to avoid pro-life messages in the film… she’s just, you know… the kind of pro-choice where if you have an opportunity to really say something significantly pro-choice to a whole lot of people, you keep quiet about it. Because it probably won’t go over well, and then a bunch of pro-lifers can comfortably interpret your movie in a way that’s cozy with their values.TM You know… in a better world, this kind of story really would be pro-choice: a girl faces a difficult decision, reacts with emotion and logic and pressure and everything else bundled up, and has to make a choice for herself. But that’s not the world we live in, eh? The world we live in is one where choice is eroded all the time by rhetoric about how fetal cell division is more important than decisions about your own body. And this latest batch of indie films may be well-crafted… but they’re not much help on that front. But then, very little in the studiously apolitical world of anything called “indie” ever is.

Any of you who’ve seen Juno ought to post your own impressions. And I promise, swear to the Great Flying Spaghetti Monster, that I will write a real review of this film after I see it, since all of this reviewing-of-reviews-and-interviews strikes me as a bit snarky and unfair. But come on… that’s what you get for wearing one surgical glove to an interview!


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About Holly

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112 Responses to Why strip? Because it’s good for your blog!

  1. mythago says:

    And I guess I can’t even be surprised that it’s the white prep school girl from the suburbs who decides to audition at the “sleaziest” club she can find, for a lark and a blog, who ends up getting a book deal.

    Indeed. Slumming is so much more fun when you don’t actually have to live there, and can pack up your toys and go home when the excitement wears off.

  2. Natalia says:

    I liked Pussy Ranch. It was what it was, you know?

    Furthermore, I think it’s good that some movies stay apolitical (just like it’s good that others do not). As an aspiring fiction writer, sometimes I have to lay politics aside – or else confront my own specific political beliefs from a different angle. Not everyone does this, but it’s something I do, so I *think* I understand where Cody’s coming from.

    Like you, I haven’t seen the film – but I don’t even have high hopes that it will get a theatrical release where I’m at (outside the U.S., to be more specific). Guess I’ll have to wait for the DVD. *sigh*

    Let us know what you think of it.

  3. Tobes says:

    One interesting thing I noticed when I looked up the JUNO preview on you tube… a lot of the commenters thought this was Judd Apatow film! Interesting…

  4. Lirpa says:

    I can’t wait to see this movie. I have adored Cody since I randomly bought her book this past summer after seeing it a few times on shelves, and am incredibly proud that she is from Minneapolis, because living in the Midwest, you don’t get to hear about too many influential people that hail from the same place you do.

    I watched the Letterman clip you linked to, and didn’t see how she laughed pleasantly at the part where Letterman asked her about whether or not she got pleasure from her work as a stripper. She was definitely good-natured about it, but that was sort of her point. She was in a position to go into the “industry” as someone who actually chose to do it, not someone who felt it was their only option. Based on that alone, she probably doesn’t have a negative attitude about the experience in general. If your read her book, you’ll see the many negative aspects of the industry that she exposes, but her intention and overall experience was different than what may perhaps be the majority of women going into the industry, so it should be treated as such.

    As far as her saying that she did it simply for something to blog about, well, I don’t understand why anyone should be upset with that reason. Would we rather people go into stripping and other areas of the sex industry because they’re poor and feel they “have to”? Is there really anything wrong with Cody doing it simply to further her career as a writer? She made the choice to go into this industry, and in the process, she wrote about not only her experiences, but other women’s experiences that she came in contact with that were not so pleasant or privileged.

    I have always enjoyed your posts, Holly, but I think you should really at least read the book before you get so up in arms about how she’s gotten so much publicity for being a stripper who is not in the majority, meaning strippers who are doing it because they don’t feel they have any other choice.

    I think that, after having actually read her book and then following the links to the various articles and interviews and videos that you posted, you’re jumping into a territory that you hate by default but have yet to actually investigate. Many things you didn’t like that you quoted Cody on are taken out of context, and that’s something I say based purely on following your links.

    I think you should read her book and see her movie before you decide to be annoyed by her for either of those things.

  5. Lorelei says:

    are we sure she wasn’t being ironic? i know everyone hates it when that line is pulled out, but i dunno, it seemed like a bob dylan sort of answer because he would get all sorts of stupid or silly questions.

    but it’s also 2:30AM so don’t mind me hahaha.

  6. NBarnes says:

    Yeah. I hate to rain all over Diablo Cody’s hipness, but it’s pretty much privilege city for her to indulge a taste for a little sexualized slumming and then just walk away.

  7. Casey says:

    Well, I think this interview was pretty dumb, but mostly because it feels like it was written for a very normal audience, not someone familiar with women at all. Also, fat grammatical error on the article’s part – “I’m a writer, so it’s totally effected my life.” But moving on. I had actually jsut read some teeny tiny 4-question interview with her that Glamour did, and looking at the wikipedia page on her, and even just googling her gets a far more articulate view of what she’s done. I personally think she sounds pretty cool, that she’s yes, been lucky enough to start stripping and be able to not only walk away from it but get something out of it as a writer, but she’s also made what looks to be a great movie about a young woman having a kid she didn’t plan on that doesn’t make me want to lop off every penis I encounter, like Knocked Up did. I am really excited to see this movie, I think it’ll be really good, and start some good discussion among less ardently feminist folk.

  8. Should I be ashamed to admit that I have a friend who actually uses the term “homeskillet” –or at least did back in high school, possibly for indie purposes? : /

  9. Ari_El says:

    Ok, just to jump on the films-that-gloss-over abortion bandwagon…I had a random thought when reading this review and thinking about Juno and Knocked Up ….

    I feel like the last time I saw an abortion handled in a realistic manner was during Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Could that movie even be made now? I just feel like Hollywood has lost the ability to tell some kinds of stories (cough, pregnancies, cough) objectively.

  10. Sarah J says:

    Well, wow. I actually saw Juno and have been reading her blog and I like Diablo Cody. I also like Lily Burana, who also was a middle-class white girl who wrote about stripping.

    Sometimes I think feminism can lead us into turning on anyone who’s unfortunately born with some level of privilege because they OBVIOUSLY can’t be as oppressed as we are and therefore aren’t allowed to have experiences and god forbid, write about them.

    I’m a middle-class white graduate student who likes men. I’m also a feminist who does most of her academic work on portrayals of women in film, literature, and the media. And I write fiction. And sometimes I feel that I’m a failed feminist if my fiction work doesn’t have a Meaning to it, or a feminist message. Can I write a story about my relationship with a man without it being anti-feminist? Shit.

    Like someone else said, go see the movie and read her book (which I plan to do when I’ve got spare time) before ripping her a new one. If you don’t like the movie or the humor, that’s cool. But in a world full of Judd Apatow movies and Die Hard and Rambo sequels, we should be celebrating a movie written by a young, smart woman that stars a young, smart woman, not ripping it down because it doesn’t meet each of our lofty ideals.

    Plus, I think the treatment of abortion in the film, though it wasn’t the story she chose to tell, was kind of interesting. (slight spoiler ahead) Of course there’s the immediate assumption that she’ll abort it, because that’s what you DO when you’re 16 and pregnant, right? and then she’s weirded out by of all things, hearing that the fetus already has fingernails. Which may not be how we all feel about abortions or fetuses, but hey, it’s her story.

    Must we always write about abortion rather than giving birth to be pro-choice?

    Must we always be broke and forced into stripping to be able to think about it? Isn’t that also just privileging one viewpoint?

  11. Daomadan says:

    and am incredibly proud that she is from Minneapolis, because living in the Midwest, you don’t get to hear about too many influential people that hail from the same place you do.

    Exactly. It’s nice to have some representation from Minneapolis isn’t it? I also agree with everything else you commented on as well.

  12. Holly says:

    Look, you guys are totally right that I’m being unfair to Cody without seeing her film or reading her book. I said as much in the post, and it’s quite possible they’re both good, and I intend to check both out. The post, I have to admit, is just as Lirpa noted — a reaction to the cloud of positive media that’s formed around Diablo Cody, without seeing through it to the chunks of her actual work that create that cloud. I know that probably doesn’t make much sense as a form of critical writing when we’re used to seeing direct critique of creative works, and I don’t offer it as an excuse, but the swirl of media reaction is quite often the first (or only) impression we get of creators.

    A couple points still stand, however.

    The movie, clearly from her own statement and what plenty of other people have said, attempts to be steadfastly apolitical about abortion. I think I was clear enough, and I linked to Zacharek for another take on this, that I don’t think every film that includes abortion needs to be devoutly pro-choice. But I also think that every author, myself included, has to take responsibility for choosing to dodge or avoid or squeak past political issues that they could have engaged with. I’ve done this plenty of times in my own work, and I regard it as running away from an issue and not wanting to deal with it. So Cody may be able to go into an interview and talk about how she’s pro-choice as a person, but I don’t think she can describe herself as a pro-choice author (which she hasn’t per se). She wrote a film about unplanned pregnancy and then deliberately sidestepped the subject of reproductive rights as gingerly as possible, and she’s fine about admitting it. That’s cool, and I’m sure it’s what was best for the work. It’s just not a positive contribution to repro rights, and not everything can be.

    Sarah, you ask:

    And sometimes I feel that I’m a failed feminist if my fiction work doesn’t have a Meaning to it, or a feminist message. Can I write a story about my relationship with a man without it being anti-feminist? Shit.

    First, I don’t think any particular work you write has an indelible impact on what the gestalt of your politics are. I don’t think any one behavior (see the discussion in this thread) makes you suddenly “fail” as a feminist. And come on, you know there are plenty of stories about relationships with men that have a strong feminist bent, so don’t act like a victim because you’re straight, OK? I don’t think it’s too hard to do the math: if you write a story that has no feminist message, if you write a story that has no political message, that is not “anti-feminist” or “anti-whatever.” It’s simply not feminist. It is a “zero” not a negative. Plenty of material I’ve written falls into that category, and I’m neither proud nor chagrined about it on that front. It is a non-entity as far as politics goes, even if it has creative merit — as far as changing the world, it’s just more material in an ever-growing cloud of media, part of the status quo. That doesn’t mean it’s “anti-feminist” any more than walking down the street and opening an umbrella is. It’s a zero, and you have to figure out for yourself whether you’re cool with that. I am, at least for some of my work, stuff I write to get paid for it, etc.

    Second, I kind of don’t care how good her book about stripping is. I’ll read it anyway, and maybe it’s great–maybe she even gives a lot of voice to other less “unlikely” women that she works with, and I understand that’s a big chunk of her work. But what still remains is that there is a reason Diablo Cody is the one being published and there is no getting away from the fact that that’s fucked up. This is completely and totally related to brownfemipower’s whole discussion about which feminist voices are published and taught and which end up barely noticed.

    Sometimes I think feminism can lead us into turning on anyone who’s unfortunately born with some level of privilege because they OBVIOUSLY can’t be as oppressed as we are and therefore aren’t allowed to have experiences and god forbid, write about them.

    This is basically the same defensive refrain that comes up from white people any time someone says “you know what sucks? that there are a lot of less privileged voices that don’t get heard.” Set aside for a second the snarky slamming on Cody, and just take that one part away. It’s not about trying to silence white, privileged women. White, privileged women have plenty of ability to say whatever you all want to say, to get published even. To speak about experiences “slumming” as a stripper or a New York City cab driver and getting a book deal off a blog. It’s a trend now, not an isolated event, and it happens for women who are “unlikely” or “atypical” because seriously — the mainstream book publishing industry does not want to hear from MOST people who do these jobs. That’s fucked up. It may not be any one author’s “fault,” but that doesn’t matter. We ought to be talking about endemic problems in who gets heard and published, not just wringing our hands over making sure we celebrate every woman author who gets a book deal.

    That said, I think it’s good that Diablo Cody is making a mark in the world of screenwriting — which is much more male-dominated than book publishing — so regardless of whether I end up liking her work, I wish her well in that.

    Must we always be broke and forced into stripping to be able to think about it? Isn’t that also just privileging one viewpoint?

    No no no. The question is, can someone who isn’t privileged EVER be allowed to think or talk about it? Will those viewpoints EVER be privileged by the mainstream publishing world and the media? Where are you getting this “always” from, eh? There are voices totally unheard. I WISH to god they got some privileging. There’s nothing wrong with some voices being privileged and heard loudly for a while — what’s wrong is the incredibly unjust, unequal way that privilege is spread around. You simply must consider that if you are going to talk at all about viewpoints being privileged, OK?

  13. norbizness says:

    Cinematic show-trials aside, those made-up words were from some Sub Pop employee in the early 90s who was fucking with some national reporter. I think the term “swingin’ on the flippity-flop” and “cob nobblers” were also used. I am not Googling for confirmation, I feel this answer is right in my soul.

  14. Holly says:

    I feel like the last time I saw an abortion handled in a realistic manner was during Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Could that movie even be made now? I just feel like Hollywood has lost the ability to tell some kinds of stories (cough, pregnancies, cough) objectively.

    Absolutely. This is what I meant by “the existing molds that Hollywood (and Sundance) provide” and thanks for elucidating, I couldn’t quite figure out how to say it. You’re right, that movie couldn’t be made today, not the way that abortion politics are characterized now. Which is why it is a much easier, safer choice — and let me be honest, a totally understandable one — to try to dance around these issues, if you’re going to tell a story about pregnancy.

    Is it responsible to do so? I don’t really have a full answer to that. I said above that I agreed that not all stories about unplanned pregnancy have to tackle abortion in an overtly pro-choice way. But I have to add something else: it’s clear that at least in major film, there is an environment where stories are not allowed to tackle abortion in an overtly pro-choice way. (or pro-life either? hmm, not sure). So that needs to be taken into consideration as well — the implicit, before-the-fact censorship that occurs, and whether an author can resist it (not viable) or chooses to abide by it.

    Cinematic show-trials aside, those made-up words were from some Sub Pop employee in the early 90s who was fucking with some national reporter.

    Ding ding ding, Megan Jasper vs. the New York Times.

  15. Ari_El says:

    Just after I posted I found Rupert Everett’s comments on Hollywood via Huffington Post:

    On abortion, (the studios) are for it in private because they don’t want actresses to clog up their schedules (by taking time off to have babies). But in films, if you get pregnant you have to keep the baby and end up with the man.

    Which sort of sums up my problem. Because I feel like 20 years ago you could discuss these issues more openly in mainstream film.

    Holly, I totally agree that there is no problem with showing movies where the women chooses to keep the baby. The key here is CHOICE… making both choices seem like valid starting points, then accurately assesing the pros and cons of each choice for the individual woman.

  16. Betty Boondoggle says:

    Sometimes I think feminism can lead us into turning on anyone who’s unfortunately born with some level of privilege because they OBVIOUSLY can’t be as oppressed as we are and therefore aren’t allowed to have experiences and god forbid, write about them.

    Must we always be broke and forced into stripping to be able to think about it? Isn’t that also just privileging one viewpoint?

    And the privilege train(tm) pulls into the station.

    Yes dear, the real tragedy is that yet another hooooorrrrraaaayyyy for empowerfulment* story isn’t being immediately celebrated! it’s totally not that the far greater majority is given no same opportunity to counter the hooooorrrrraaaaayyyyy for empowerfulment obligatory storyline. No, we must only talk about how Grrrrreat! sex work is for privileged white college girls. Otherwise, we’re “privileging” the countless women who don’t agree.

    *- also known as “I don’t give a fuck what happens to everyone else, *I* like it! *I’m* special!”

  17. Natalia says:

    Holly, I think you’re 100% right to question why some bloggers jump-start successful writing careers, and others do not. It seems fairly obvious to me that race, and other factors, are behind this.

    However, here is where I disagree with you:

    She wrote a film about unplanned pregnancy and then deliberately sidestepped the subject of reproductive rights as gingerly as possible, and she’s fine about admitting it.

    Do you really think she sidesteps it as gingerly as possible? Or does she simply make a narrative choice? She said she had a vision of Juno auditioning possible parents for the baby, and that vision made the film, no?

    Why “Fast Times at Ridgemont High” seems such a throwback nowadays is also a valid question, and I’m sure it’s one that Cody would be interested in helping answer as well, having been a fan of her blog and all. Maybe you should approach her agent about interviewing her (?).

    We should certainly be able to un-package her narrative, but I fear that sometimes, un-packaging can also be reductive. It’s like looking at a fairy tale (I harp on about fairy tales a lot, so forgive me for taking this down a familiar road) and saying, “ok so the pricking of the spindle is phallic symbolism and losing virginity… next!” and not seeing what else is there. So we have to be careful. Not because we don’t want to hurt the author’s feelings – or because we wish to sidestep important issues for the sake of safety – but because fiction is a lot of things, and some of those things are apolitical and amoral and strange…

    One of my favourite books is Lolita, for example, and Nabokov’s approach in explaining it always seemed in tune with the nature of fiction in general: how bizarre art is.

    Hokay – so am not really comparing the script for “Juno” with Nabokov, but hopefully you can see where I’m coming from on this.

  18. zombie z says:

    I’ve never heard of this person or this movie before….but someone who changes their name to “Diablo Cody”? A little too hipster for my tastes. Shudder.

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  20. Holly says:

    Do you really think she sidesteps it as gingerly as possible? Or does she simply make a narrative choice? She said she had a vision of Juno auditioning possible parents for the baby, and that vision made the film, no?

    You’re completely right about this, and I was wrong to suggest that she deliberately sidestepped abortion to get out of a thorny political pickle. It’s fairly clear — even from the quote I posted — that her course was set from the outset, in the initial vision of the film, on a path that steered past but around abortion.

    But let’s take a step back for a moment. I was mistaken to focus on authorial intent, not just because I was probably factually wrong right there, but because I think in general there’s too much quibbling about authorial intent. The bigger question, like Ari_El points out, is “why are some stories allowed to be told and some aren’t?” Why did Cody’s story about Juno make it to the big screen? Part of that answer certainly has to do with the talent and decisions of the author, but the invisible mass of the iceberg has to do with the fact that it is a Hollywood-acceptable story. Which is great for that story, that author. It doesn’t mean the story or the author are bad bad horrid horrid. But it does mean that other stories have become essentially untellable, over the last decades of ideological warfare over fetuses.

    These political questions are at right angles to questions of artistry and intent, and I think the politics are the purview of this blog, we don’t aim to be literary criticism and I for one would do a crappy job at it. Ironically, the story of Juno actually IS about a girl making a choice. But in the larger framework, only certain kinds of choices and outcomes are presented as valid narratives, right? And Juno happens to fit in with the prescribed. Many, many other movies couldn’t get made. You can’t make a movie (unless maybe it’s a documentary, which have a fraction of the distribution) where a woman has an unplanned pregnancy, struggles with the decision, has an abortion, goes through anguish because of it, and then it actually turned out to be the best decision overall. It would be denounced as propaganda, even though just looking at the stories in a flat, true-to-life way, it’s just as likely and tellable a story as Juno is.

  21. Alara Rogers says:

    How *would* you make a funny movie about abortion, though?

    (I may have mentioned, the last time I rhetorically asked this question, that now I have a vision in my head of a very dark comedy that’s like “Harold and Kumar go to White Castle” except it’s a pregnant college student and her female buddy driving all over the place trying to get her an abortion, and wacky hijinks ensue as they meet obstacles at every turn. And if you did that, you would have to be *damn* careful, because on one side there’s totally trivializing the issue and on the other side there’s not being funny anymore, and you would have to be like a goddess of filmmaking to pull it off.)

    I mean, seriously. Aside from the very, very difficult to pull off example I mentioned, how do you make a comedy about abortion? Because people keep bitching about comedies (or dramedies, which it sounds like this is) about women keeping their pregnancies, and I’d like to know what the alternative is.

  22. VicSin says:

    Yes, as a former Minnesotan and now Wisonsinite, I have the Midwest love for Diablo…And I fully believe the reason that she was published is that she is a good writer! What you may not realize from that one interview is that she had something of a quarter life crisis and took a chance on the stripping to see where it took her life. And yes, she blogged about it, so what? That blog happened to be picked up by our little Twin Cities artsy free press, which lead to more actual journalism pieces for her, which of course lead to some hip hollywood guy reading her blog and getting her a book deal. She worked hard to become a screenwriter and get where she is…so what if she doesn’t choose to make a political statement with her flick – part of getting a movie made is making sure that the widest amount of people will see it, thus bringing in the most money. Therefore, taking a political stance can harm a film. And don’t forget that she’s lucky she had a director that allowed her to have as much say on her film as she did…unusual in the film world. Should we take away her feminist card for that? I don’t think so…I’m just happy to see a female filmaker retain some aspect of her female characters without them becoming dumb bunnies. One interview with a douchebag shouldn’t be that basis for how we view someone, but obviously that is the way the media works…ok, rant done!

  23. RenegadeEvolution says:

    Glad to know you have no problems with strippers who blog :)

    And if you want to see unhappy sex workers, please feel free to tune into Maury, Montel Williams, Dateline, or any other host of shows which frequently air stories about them…or take a look around at blogs that wrote about Ending Violence against Sex Workers yesterday.

    -Sincerely, a not from middle class all that white girl who could afford college only because she danced naked for money and all.

  24. Fellow-ette says:

    Holly, I am TOTALLY with you, and I couldn’t disagree more with the commenters who are like “yay! a woman wrote a script! we can’t criticize her now. just let her be.”
    If there had been one single oncscreen abortion in a comedy since Fast Times at Ridgemont High, maybe this wouldn’t be an issue. But remember in the 80s when movies like that and dirty dancing had abortions in them and weren’t like, totally tragic?
    It’s because the right wing and its erstwhile mouthpiece, the corporate media, has created this false climate of moral outrage.

  25. Fellow-ette says:

    Also, since when was having an abortion a political statement, but choosing NOT to have an abortion NOT a political statement? HUH?

  26. Holly says:

    Ren, is it OK if what I’d really like to see is more sex workers — and more kinds of sex workers than the ones who seem to have an easier time getting book deals — writing about their own experience, instead of other people talking about how unhappy they are? :)

    and,

    part of getting a movie made is making sure that the widest amount of people will see it, thus bringing in the most money. Therefore, taking a political stance can harm a film.

    Yep, this is part of what I mentioned — I think my exact words were “a political stance (especially on abortion) can just end up like doo-doo all over your box office” and part of the problem that needs to be talked about. We really shouldn’t just shrug things aside as “that’s the way business is done” just because we’re glad a midwest girl with a knack for writing made it. I’m sure she’s a perfectly good writer. So? Being a good writer is not anywhere near the whole story why some people make it and some people don’t. It’s really not. The idea that we live in a democratic, free-market meritocracy is an idle fantasy, right? I hope nobody really believes that.

    And Alara, I would totally watch Harriet and Kamala Go to White Hills Reproductive Health Services Clinic. It might not get picked up by Sundance or even Slamdance, but that doesn’t mean it’s not worth making. Or that some talented team of people couldn’t put together a film like that about abortion that was both funny, dark, and serious where it counts. If you think about how many really serious, grave issues have been coped with through laughter as well as tears — or laughing while you’re crying — in both real life and fiction, I don’t think it’s an insurmountable challenge. And honestly, I think your little plot synopsis is a pretty good model to work with.

    Like you say, it would be hard, and a tightrope-walk. The most obvious way to fail there is to have it be funny and then just tip over TOO far into maudlin when it starts to seem like time to be serious — it’s happened before. But it could be done. In fact, I hear Juno works kind of like this — starts off funny, gets somber and serious towards the end, but effectively. So it could be done even if the girl decides to get the abortion, but it hasn’t been, and there are blocks in place to keep it from happening in a big way. But I really hope someone does do it. Heck, I would help write it.

  27. FeministGal says:

    Sarah J, i completely agree with you, well said.

    Sometimes I think feminism can lead us into turning on anyone who’s unfortunately born with some level of privilege because they OBVIOUSLY can’t be as oppressed as we are and therefore aren’t allowed to have experiences and god forbid, write about them.

    I think it’s incredibly ignorant to say that one can’t work for justice if they haven’t been as oppressed as (fill in the blank.) I’m white. I’m also an avid advocate against racism. It’s true that i haven’t felt direct oppression and discrimination due to my skin color but to say that my lack of experience makes me ineligible to work against racism is really excluding a vast group of people who are pro-equality and work for a cause. I think the most important thing is that we recognize our privilege and use it “for good.” My example may be an outdated one but what do you all have to say for Peggy McIntosh’s work?

    Betty Boondoggle, your critisicm on Sarah was well, just sarcastic and rude, that really isn’t an effective way to have this incredibly important conversation.

  28. Holly says:

    Okay, one general question for anyone who’s reading all of this:

    This blog post is obviously about half a dozen different things — my irritation about mainstream media gawking at the “edgy” hipster girl and her “edgy” slang dialogue; the fact that some sex workers get book deals and others get to be talked about like objects; the fact that you can’t tell certain stories about abortion in Hollywood; and Diablo Cody herself as the thread tying all this together. Plus, the rather reprehensible, laughable meta-fact that I’m dissecting the media around her work without having consumed any of it myself.

    I feel like I have a tendency to write these rambly, multi-directional portmanteau posts, about a bunch of different angles. Does this make for good reading, or is it just annoying? I’m relatively new to this style of blogging still, so feedback is more than welcome.

  29. Holly says:

    I think it’s incredibly ignorant to say that one can’t work for justice if they haven’t been as oppressed as (fill in the blank.)

    Wait… someone said that?

  30. Ari_El says:

    @Alera Rogers: I’m not suggesting the movie would be a comedy. By their very definition, comedies should end happily (and traditionally, I beleive with a wedding – any theater historians out there?). However, it is worth noting that pregnancy is just as “serious” a choice as abortion — I have not been pregnant, but I beleive there are just as many phsyical and emotional trials in carrying a pregnancy to term as there are in choosing to terminate. Why does one get to be funny? (Sort of rhetorical question – I am really thinking about this one and would like to know what you think).

    I think having a trend of pregnancy-related comedic movies is not a great thing in general. I am NOT knocking Juno which I haven’t yet seen. I think we need more women in Hollywood, and kudos to Cody for getting her vision through. But every time a comedy explains the option for abortion through the use of broad caricatures, there is the possibility that people who beleive in that there is a large amount of truth behind these caricatures will see their beleifs reinforced. Where are the serious pictures that deal with a similar topic, without stereotypes and caricatures? The imbalance is the problem, not the artistic choices of one artist.

  31. kactus says:

    I think it’s incredibly ignorant to say that one can’t work for justice if they haven’t been as oppressed as (fill in the blank.)

    Forgive me if I’ve missed this, but who exactly said one can’t work for justice if they haven’t been oppressed?

  32. kactus says:

    Oh, Holly, you beat me to it :)

  33. OK, I have two things to say:

    1. Who the fuck cares why she was stripping?

    The fact that blogging isn’t a legitimate reason to you shows you have some huge bias against stripping, like you can only do it if you’re poor or desperate or something. Which is just totally fucking wrong.

    2. People give all kinds of one-liner answers to questions just because they sound good. For example, most strippers I know say they’re doing it to work their way through college. It’s not completely true (since many drop out of school or take 10 years to get an AA) but it sounds like a good reason and it’s a quick one-liner to shut up the questions about it and move on.

    When people ask me why I moved to New York, I pull out a reason out of my ass because if I have to really explain it, it’s going to take all night long. So, yeah, a quick, cute one-liner works.

  34. Holly says:

    Can’t wait to see what your thoughts will be on 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 days.
    http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/396871/4-Months-3-Weeks-and-2-Days/overview

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4_Months,_3_Weeks_and_2_Days

    I missed this at the NY Film Festival but I’m looking forward to it. From what I gather, it’s a really depressing tragic story set in a situation (Romania under Ceauşescu) where women can only procure underground abortions, and what that ends up meaning. It sounds like an incredibly chilling cautionary tale, and it’s interesting for this discussion because a) a foreign film — could it have been made in Hollywood or Sundance? and b) it does manage to fit into another mold, the tragic abortion story with chilling consequences.

  35. Mnemosyne says:

    Having the baby is a foregone conclusion in this movie–just as it is in other recent movies with abortion “sideplots,” like Knocked Up and Waitress.

    To be fair to Waitress, half the point of the movie is that the pregnancy prods her into making major changes to her life that she just wasn’t motivated to make before. Plus she ends up with Nathan Fillion because of the pregnancy, which is always a major bonus, IMO. ;-)

    Also, people seem to be misremembering the abortion in Fast Times. It’s not a funny funny experience for her — it’s an abrupt change in tone showing that her actions had consequences that she now has to deal with, and it makes her reconsider what she does in the future (which is why they specify at the end that she’s waiting to have sex with her new boyfriend). It’s nice that it’s not shown as The Worst Experience Ever That Will Ruin Your Life, but it’s not exactly fun and games, either. It’s real life that intrudes on the comedy.

  36. bluish says:

    Sarah J and FeministGal, I don’t think that anyone is saying white middle class women can’t work on justice issues or strip or whatever. The point is that the Media and Entertainment Industry privilege some stories, namely, “the suburban white girl gone bad” trope. The prevalence of these stories shuts out the voices of other people who are not suburban, white, or otherwise “unlikely” bad girls. It’s not the suburban white girl’s fault of course – this is where I channel Twisty and Blame the Patriarchy. We all do the dance that what we gotta do – but the media executives only want to watch *some* of us shake it.

    The others, well, no one wants a lap dance from someone with two crying babies at home and a meth habit. They all want lap dances from rebellious coeds majoring in psych. And since 94% of mainstream entertainment is really just the fantasy life of rich white dudes in LA and NYC, that’s what we see: Shitty, boring fantasies about white suburban girls. Oh yeah, and blowing shit up.

  37. norbizness says:

    Well, I for one thought Vera Drake was hilarious. That’s why they call Mike Leigh the British Judd Apatow!

  38. Mnemosyne says:

    I feel like I have a tendency to write these rambly, multi-directional portmanteau posts, about a bunch of different angles. Does this make for good reading, or is it just annoying? I’m relatively new to this style of blogging still, so feedback is more than welcome.

    It’s not annoying, but you sometimes seem surprised at what people choose to pick up on when you were more interested in another part of the post, so we end up with lots of digressions in the comments. Just my two cents.

    And I have to say, it did come across as a criticism of Diablo Cody herself and not of the press coverage she’s getting, which are two different things.

  39. JFM says:

    Holly, I think you bring up a good point. If one screenwriter just happened to write a story about a woman who chooses not to have an abortion, we could reasonably say it was just necessary for the story. Two or three–maybe we have a trend. If EVERY story being filmed about unplanned pregnancy involves the woman not having an abortion, and even further not even seriously contemplating the idea, there’s something else going on. Yes, it is doubtful that each individual writer made a conscious decision to just go with the prevailing atmosphere of feel-good pro-life-iness. It sounds very much like Cody believes her story has nothing to do with politics. But come on. Do any of us seriously think it’s just a coincidence that abortion is either vilified or ignored on the screen these days?

    Now I think we could have a good discussion about why that’s the case. It seems unlikely that’s it’s all due to some massive right-wing conspiracy :P (if they have -that- much power we’re in trouble!) But is it only the producers in Hollywood who are reluctant to engage this issue, afraid that audiences won’t pay to see a pro-choice movie? Are writers just worried about selling scripts? Or maybe are people so used to thinking of abortion as a ‘political’ issue that it rarely occurs to them that it might also be part of real life, worth considering as a plot element? I’m sure there are many other possibilities as well.

  40. FeministGal says:

    Sorry Holly and kactus, you’re both right that no one outwardly said that, i may have jumped in response too quickly. My comment was more directed at Betty Boondoggle’s because she seemed to indirectly imply it:

    And the privilege train(tm) pulls into the station.

    Yes dear, the real tragedy is that yet another hooooorrrrraaaayyyy for empowerfulment* story isn’t being immediately celebrated! it’s totally not that the far greater majority is given no same opportunity to counter the hooooorrrrraaaaayyyyy for empowerfulment obligatory storyline. No, we must only talk about how Grrrrreat! sex work is for privileged white college girls. Otherwise, we’re “privileging” the countless women who don’t agree.

    *- also known as “I don’t give a fuck what happens to everyone else, *I* like it! *I’m* special!”

  41. Holly says:

    The fact that blogging isn’t a legitimate reason to you shows you have some huge bias against stripping, like you can only do it if you’re poor or desperate or something. Which is just totally fucking wrong.

    I can see where you’d read that in, but I don’t in fact think that blogging is an “illegitimate reason” to strip. I know any number of people who strip or have done other forms of sex work for any number of reasons and I don’t consider any of them “illegitimate.” It’s my fault for feeling incoherently flabbergasted and unable to articulate what I was feeling about this when I wrote the post (i.e. “I’m not even sure what to say” and “I’m just kind of at a loss.” and “aaahghgh…” — that’s really, literally what I meant. I wasn’t sure what I was reacting to or what to say on the topic. But I hope the rest of the post and discussion illustrates that it’s more about who has the voice and privilege to discuss their sex work, who gets to be a media darling, how this fits in with stereotypes, etc. See above comments for more.

  42. Mnemosyne says:

    But is it only the producers in Hollywood who are reluctant to engage this issue, afraid that audiences won’t pay to see a pro-choice movie? Are writers just worried about selling scripts? Or maybe are people so used to thinking of abortion as a ‘political’ issue that it rarely occurs to them that it might also be part of real life, worth considering as a plot element? I’m sure there are many other possibilities as well.

    Just to be Captain Obvious for a moment: a pregnancy gives you nine months in which to play out a plot. An abortion gives you a maximum of three.

    Like it or not, an abortion is an ending, so having a character choose an abortion closes down a storyline. A Juno where she chooses to have an abortion would be a short film, not a feature. That’s why abortion is usually a plot point (as in, say, Grace of My Heart) rather than something the whole movie revolves around.

  43. But I hope the rest of the post and discussion illustrates that it’s more about who has the voice and privilege to discuss their sex work, who gets to be a media darling, how this fits in with stereotypes, etc.

    OK, well that makes more sense, but that’s not how it came across. I mean, look at the title of your post for crying out loud.

  44. To be fair to Waitress, half the point of the movie is that the pregnancy prods her into making major changes to her life that she just wasn’t motivated to make before. Plus she ends up with Nathan Fillion because of the pregnancy, which is always a major bonus, IMO. ;-)

    Actually…

    **SPOILER**

    She doesn’t end up with him. She just gets with him. He goes back to his wife. She goes off alone with her daughter.

  45. kactus says:

    Sorry Holly and kactus, you’re both right that no one outwardly said that, i may have jumped in response too quickly. My comment was more directed at Betty Boondoggle’s because she seemed to indirectly imply it:

    Got it, FeministGal, and thanks for the explanation.

  46. EG says:

    Just to be Captain Obvious for a moment: a pregnancy gives you nine months in which to play out a plot. An abortion gives you a maximum of three.

    Like it or not, an abortion is an ending, so having a character choose an abortion closes down a storyline.

    I’ve seen plenty of movies that seem to take place over a matter of days, so three months–or longer, given a second-trimester abortion–seems like plenty of time to me. An abortion is only an ending if the entire plot revolves around a pregnancy. If the abortion is part of a larger plot, not as a footnote but as a major component, it can be a turning point without shutting down the storyline–it could be a story about a woman in an abusive relationship, and getting the abortion could symbolize her refusal to accept a permanent tie to the abuser. Or it could be a movie about a relationship in which the woman comes to realize that she doesn’t want children. Or you could have a movie in which a woman has an abortion and feels she must hide it from her parents/in-laws (wacky hi-jinks can ensue) only to find out at the end that her mother(-in-law) had her own abortion back in the day and really couldn’t care less. All kind of lame movies, but any lamer than what’s being made today?

  47. belledame222 says:

    all I will say is that just the preview for this one made my teeth curl.

    as for how to make a funny movie about abortion (assuming this is something that y’know really -needs- to be done): “Citizen Ruth” works fine for me, thanks.

  48. Roy says:

    I mean, seriously. Aside from the very, very difficult to pull off example I mentioned, how do you make a comedy about abortion? Because people keep bitching about comedies (or dramedies, which it sounds like this is) about women keeping their pregnancies, and I’d like to know what the alternative is.

    I don’t write fiction, so I’m not sure I can give you an answer, but I don’t think that it’s by any stretch impossible.

    I can’t help but think of all of the other really difficult, ugly situations that have had dramadies written about them: War? Check: M*A*S*H. Nuclear war? Check: Dr. Strangelove. Murder? Check: Heathers. The zombie apocalypse? Check: Shaun of the Dead. Multiple murder? Check: Clue – The Movie. Cannibalism? Check: Cannibal- The Musical. Murder for hire? Check: Grosse Pointe Blank.

    If people can write comedies about all of those things, I should think that someone could write a comedy that involves abortion.

  49. EG says:

    Well, and also, if people can make comedies about pregnancy, which in real life involves physical suffering, anxiety, financial stress, culminating in an incredibly painful event, surely abortion shouldn’t be some big roadblock.

  50. Sheelzebub says:

    Cue the rhetoric about circular firing squads 3. .2. .1. .

    I know women who strip–from what they tell me, it sounds like a sales job except you’re naked and in really uncomfortable shoes. I couldn’t do it–I’m too surly, and frankly, too resentful (Cue the “ZOMG you sexhating purtian” whining 3. .2. .1. .) that it’s us doing the stripping all of the goddamn time. I’d rather have hot guys stripping for me for a change, thankyouverymuch.

  51. Sally says:

    The movie, clearly from her own statement and what plenty of other people have said, attempts to be steadfastly apolitical about abortion.

    I actually didn’t think the movie was that apolitical about abortion. It presents abortion as a valid choice. Juno seriously considers getting an abortion, and her best friend and the baby’s father support this decision. When she decides not to have the abortion and therefore has to tell her father and step-mother that she’s pregnant, her decent, loving step-mother suggests that Juno consider having an abortion and then immediately backs off when Juno says that she’s made up her mind to have the baby. Juno is surrounded by good people who love her and who are genuinely pro-choice: they would support her decision to have an abortion, just as they support her decision to have the baby and give it up for adoption. The pro-life character is ridiculous, and the people who judge Juno for being a pregnant teenager are jerks. I think the movie is pretty clearly pro-choice, in the broadest sense of the term. It doesn’t hit you over the head with it, but I think it’s still true.

    I found a lot of the dialog in the first ten minutes pretty painful. I’m not sure why they decided to do that: it definitely seems to have been a conscious choice to use all sorts of stupid faux-hip slang right at the beginning. But by minute 15, the writing gets a lot less annoying.

    I don’t know. I liked it. I was primed to be really annoyed by it, but I thought it was pretty good. I especially liked that the movie had a fair amount of sympathy for the female characters who weren’t awesomely cool teenagers. It’s basically pretty generous to its characters, which I appreciated.

  52. Mnemosyne says:

    Actually…

    **SPOILER**

    D’oh! That’s what I get for falling asleep on the couch before the ending. Or maybe I just rewrote it in my mind so I could have Nathan Fillion vicariously. ;-)

  53. Mnemosyne says:

    belledame:

    as for how to make a funny movie about abortion (assuming this is something that y’know really -needs- to be done): “Citizen Ruth” works fine for me, thanks.

    Not sure how that one hadn’t shown up yet, but you’re absolutely right.

    Roy, not to nitpick, but let’s look at your list:
    War? Check: M*A*S*H.
    War is not a one-time event.
    Nuclear war? Check: Dr. Strangelove.
    Cold war: not a one-time event.
    Murder? Check: Heathers.
    Not a one-time event.
    The zombie apocalypse? Check: Shaun of the Dead.
    Ongoing.
    Multiple murder? Check: Clue – The Movie.
    Ongoing.
    Cannibalism? Check: Cannibal- The Musical.
    Ongoing.
    Murder for hire? Check: Grosse Pointe Blank.
    Ongoing.

    I mean, you probably could do a comedy about a woman who gets abortion after abortion after abortion, but I don’t think it would come across as particularly pro-choice.

  54. Holly says:

    OK, well that makes more sense, but that’s not how it came across. I mean, look at the title of your post for crying out loud.

    Good point. That was definitely a sensationalistic choice for a headline, and I should have picked something less “omg what!? eye-pop.” I’ll work on improving this, I think I kind of did the same thing a couple weeks ago with the “the entirety of a woman is vagina” mistranslation-from-Hebrew post.

  55. EG says:

    I mean, you probably could do a comedy about a woman who gets abortion after abortion after abortion, but I don’t think it would come across as particularly pro-choice.

    So, make it a comedy about a woman abortion provider. She does plenty of abortions, and then she herself has to get one, and the roles are reversed. Hilarity ensues. But I’m not sure your point is valid. Most comedies about pregnancy don’t feature a woman popping out kid after kid after kid.

    And all-out nuclear war of the sort portrayed in Dr. Strangelove is…kind of is a one-time only event. Because afterwards, we’re almost all dead.

  56. Ipomoea says:

    Just to add my two cents:

    I just read Cody’s book yesterday. She’s a talented writer, and has an ear for wacky turn-of-phrase. But I can see how someone could have issues with what she wrote about. I personally just ended up having more problems with the way clubs are run. When she wrote about her experiences with stripping, she really elaborated on the “house charges” that most clubs charge. Some places adjusted their charges depending on how much you made, some would charge a flat fee (I think the one that was mentioned was $108), plus you would be expected to tip the DJ $20 at the end of the night so he wouldn’t fuck you over with music the next time you worked, so concievably you could make $200, but by the time you left the club, you’d be down to $78. Plus expecting women to hard-sell drinks and merchandise, and charging them based on what they DIDN’T sell.

    And what was mentioned, but not really explored, was the insane lady-hate and racism coming from the managers of clubs at the end of the night. Like, you explain this hideous rant that comes out of someone’s mouth, but you don’t explain how a manager calling dancers the N-word makes said dancer feel, and if it’s apparently so easy to get jobs as a stripper in Minneapolis, why didn’t they go to another club where maybe the racism isn’t flowing like cheap champagne?

    I read the book because I saw Juno about a month ago. I really liked it. I know that the “homeskillet” commet is pretty cheesy, but that’s not the average dialogue in it– that sort of verbal shenanigan is pretty limited to the first five minutes and that conversation. Not that there’s not witty dialogue in the rest of the film, but there’s much more feeling behind it, too. I thought that the relationships in the film were well-drawn– boundaries weren’t always clear, and they all obviously evolved, and did it well. I will admit to wanting to see the film purely because my beloved Bluth men were in it, but Ellen Page really carried it.

    Side note that I didn’t see mentioned here: Cody has repeatedly said that she doesn’t like the way women are portrayed in Hollywood, and wants to write more films with real female characters, as opposed to caricatures.

  57. Sally says:

    I was actually way more annoyed by Waitress than by Juno. I felt like Waitress made a really good case for why women don’t leave abusive husbands. You could really see how Jenna was chained to this guy who she knew was an asshole, and how having a baby was just going to make it even harder for her to leave him. But Adrienne Shelley wanted to make a movie about the Power of Motherhood (TM), so she magically fixed Jenna’s dilemma by having Andy Griffith give her huge heaping piles of cash. Then she acted like Jenna was able to leave her husband because of the Power of Motherhood (TM), but really she could leave her husband because of the power of money. It felt cheap and sentimental to me.

  58. annalouise says:

    Whenever some new writer on the scene gets packaged and promoted based on some wacky basckstory, my response is, “eh, you gotta have a gimmick”. So, I’ve probably been waiting most of my life to use that line in response to a stripper turned writer.

    Anyway, I think this framing of Diablo Cody says a lot more about the mainstream media and the entertainment industry than it says about Diablo Cody and her life choices. Yup, nothing gets a book deal faster than a white middle class college student playing dress-up in a lifestyle that is routine devalued when someone other than a white middle class hipster lives it. See also: Morgan Spurlock, Barbara Ehrenreich and the food stamp challenge meme.
    But this sounds like way to package Diablo Cody’s background into a soundbyte and she’s going along with it because she’s a woman film maker and we all know that if anybody gotta have a gimmick it’s women in Hollywood.
    I get what people are saying but I feel like too much of this hate is being put on Diablo Cody and not enough on how the media has presented her.

    ps. What does it say about me that my brother and I have used Megan Jasper’s fake grunge slang in everyday conversation for years? cobnobbler and big bag of bloatation are my favorites.

  59. Mnemosyne says:

    So, make it a comedy about a woman abortion provider. She does plenty of abortions, and then she herself has to get one, and the roles are reversed. Hilarity ensues. But I’m not sure your point is valid. Most comedies about pregnancy don’t feature a woman popping out kid after kid after kid.

    Now, it’s entirely probable that I’m speaking out of ignorance, because I’ve never had an abortion, but I was always under the impression that it’s a bit of a time-limited event. You go in, you have it done, you’re out. Frankly, I’m not sure you can write an entire comedy around a medical procedure. I mean, there were some laughs around my knee surgery, especially when it turned out that Vicodin makes me vomit uncontrollably, but I don’t think I could get 90 minutes out of it.

    Again, it shouldn’t be avoided entirely the way it is now, but it would be pretty hard to have a wacky Knocked Up style feature-length comedy set around a woman getting an abortion.

    And all-out nuclear war of the sort portrayed in Dr. Strangelove is…kind of is a one-time only event. Because afterwards, we’re almost all dead.

    Which is why the movie ends with the explosion and doesn’t put it at the end of Act 1 the way that Juno puts her decision to have the baby at the end of Act 1.

    I’m not saying that no one, anywhere, could possibly write a goofy abortion comedy, but it’s not going to be nearly as easy to do as some people seem to think. Knocked Up was considered to be very risky before it came out and and lot of people thought it would bomb. It only got made because Judd Apatow had a huge hit with The 40 Year Old Virgin (which was also a very risky film to make). And if there’s one thing that studios hate, it’s taking risks.

  60. Rei says:

    For what it’s worth-

    I myself am a white, middle-class, Midwesterner who used to strip (while I was getting college-educated, no less.) I’ve read “Candy Girl.” And I still find Diablo Cody incredibly annoying.

    Not nearly as annoying as the mainstream cultural fascination with what I like to call sex work tourists. Cody, in the course of “Candy Girl,” came to some of the same realizations (at 25!) that I came to at 20, but she often had a kind of scary callousness and blindness towards the women she worked with. (Still, she can be funny, and I’m hella glad to see a female screenwriter get all this attention.)

    Strip clubs. They’re sad. They’re boring. Get over it. Can I really be the only feminist-blog inhabiting ex-stripper who feels this way?

  61. Rei says:

    Ok, annalouise is right. The whole thing is irritating, and I should avoid hating too much on Cody for bumping it with her trumpet.

    Still, she’s just a teensy bit irritating herself, on the face. She’s way too old to pull that surgical glove thing. And by too old, I mean over 14.

  62. EG says:

    Which is why the movie ends with the explosion and doesn’t put it at the end of Act 1 the way that Juno puts her decision to have the baby at the end of Act 1.

    Well, yeah, but it’s not like the rest of Dr. Strangelove takes place over a nine-month period, though.

    I just think you’re giving the movies too much credit in giving them artistic reasons rather than the more realistic ones you cite when you say that they hate taking risks. Even if that’s true of studio-sponsored movies, though, it doesn’t explain the lack of indie flicks.

  63. RenegadeEvolution says:

    “Ren, is it OK if what I’d really like to see is more sex workers — and more kinds of sex workers than the ones who seem to have an easier time getting book deals — writing about their own experience, instead of other people talking about how unhappy they are? “

    Holly, absolutely. I know a few sex workers who blog, and gasp, don’t have book deals! Amazing that, ain’t it? In fact, I don’t know too many who do have book deals!

  64. Frankly, I’m not sure you can write an entire comedy around a medical procedure.

    More and more this discussion is making me think an entire movie about one abortion makes a whole hell of a lot of sense. And I don’t mean Citizen Ruth. I did not enjoy that film. I mean something interesting, something new, something different.

    Like… make it a comedic action movie. Like a more humorous Run Lola Run. Take something like two weeks – the time between finding out she’s preggers to getting the abortion – and fill it with obstacles like multiple annoying, ex-boyfriends proposing marriage, bitchy yet forgetful boss won’t let her get time off work, and her puking pet and the very very odd veterinarian. The last scene is some long part car, part foot race to the clinic trying to avoid bill collectors (from unpaid medical expenses or insert some other irony here) and leaping over anti-choice demonstrators.

    Haha! It’s a winner. Whoever writes it will you thank me in the credits?

  65. annalouise says:

    I know a few sex workers who blog, and gasp, don’t have book deals! Amazing that, ain’t it?

    Which, I think, was Holly’s (maybe too convoluted) point. A hipster girl’s temporary walk on the wild side is always more marketable than lives of people who live on the wild side full time.

    It’s like Teach for America, but naked.

  66. VicSin says:

    I still don’t get the hate for her having a book deal and being an ex-stripper. Why must they coincide? (or am I misinterpreting?) She’s no longer a sex worker and she wrote one book on the subject. And foremost, she is a talented writer, who had been writing for years as a hobby.

  67. Holly says:

    You’re misinterpreting, but it’s understandable because I was overly snarky in the original post. I don’t think there’s really any hate for her being expressed in this discussion — at the most, it’s irritation (the word I originally used) and the blame for a lot of it can be laid elsewhere than at Cody’s feet even if she benefits of it — media drooling over unremarkable hipster chic, a book publishing industry that loves sordid tales of nice girls dabbling but won’t publish less priivleged voices, a movie system that is currently only allowing certain kinds of stories about unplanned pregnancy. Whatever irritation actually remains for Cody herself is of a rather petty variety that’s more or less what Rei posted in #61-#62. That’s my feeling on it, at any rate.

  68. annalouise says:

    Yeah, but lots of sex workers are talented writers. Lots of women are talented writers.
    But there’s a reason that ex-sexworkers/talented writers who can give people a taste of the exotic world of stripping while coming from the same class, race and subcultural background as the people in power in the world of entertainment get book deals.

    I’ve got no hate for Diablo Cody. I’ve never read her stuff and I’m not going to fault a girl for grasping at whatever good gimmick comes her way to make it as a woman in a sexist industry.

    ps. The Baffler , in the same issue that outed Megan Jasper’s prank on NYT, had an article about the packaging of Donna Tart which seems really relevent to this discussion.

  69. RenegadeEvolution says:

    AL: I caught that, just joining in on the snark-wagon. Books about (and sometimes even by) sex workers seem to come with exactly two stories: High Hipster Coolness or Horrible, Life-Crushing Tragedy. There is no in between….apparently. Average doesn’t sell.

  70. VicSin says:

    Holly – thanks for clearing that up for me! I do agree with, and after I posted I started thinking about the fact that the media is so eager to portray her in this certain light. Almost every article about her touts the “stripper turned writer” within the first sentence…

    And it’s tough trying to read and post at work, so I most likely miss some things on a quick read through…(but I blame you ;) You pick up intriquing topics and I keep checking in to see what’s going on…You’re doing an awesome job!)

  71. Sally says:

    It’s like Teach for America, but naked.

    Heh.

    You know what’s funny, though? The director of Juno got his start in Hollywood through sheer, unadulterated nepotism. His father produced Animal House and Ghostbusters, along with about a zillion other major Hollywood movies. And yet nobody is savaging Jason Reitman, the way people gleefully savage Sofia Copolla. And when it comes to Juno, Jason Reitman gets treated as a serious director type, and Diablo Cody gets treated as a cute novelty act. I’m not sure there are any paths to success in Hollywood for women that don’t come with a good dose of ridicule.

    I read recently that 20% of members of the WGA, the Hollywood writers’ union, are women. That’s less than a quarter. I just don’t think it’s very likely that Juno would ever have been made if the screenwriter had been identified as Brook Busey-Hunt, an aspiring writer from the Chicago suburbs.

  72. norbizness says:

    I think people have only gleefully savaged Sofia for her attempt at acting. And maybe for casting Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette.

  73. Sally says:

    I think people have only gleefully savaged Sofia for her attempt at acting. And maybe for casting Kirsten Dunst as Marie Antoinette.

    Are you fucking kidding me?

  74. Rei says:

    Sally is quite right. Women bear an unfair load of criticism for using the advantages/packaging that probably made it possible for them to succeed in gender-biased industries in the first place.

    In that spirit, let’s take a moment to get a petty hate on for all of those white middle-class males who slummed it and then got book deals for their highly fabricated vice memoirs, including James Frey, that guy who became temporarily poor and worked at Starbucks, and my ex-boyfriend. I think we can all agree that they should die.

  75. Holly says:

    Absolutely, death to all those fellows, and only some minor eye-rolling for Cody. And Coppola, because I’m Japanese and Lost In Translation is pretty much the worst move about Japan ever. OK, second worst. Rising Sun is the worst. Death for Michael Crichton and Philip Kaufman too!

  76. Amber says:

    No hate for her? Holly, you called her an “unremarkable hipster chick.”

    It just drives me up the friggin’ wall to see complaints against a *system* get played out as personal attacks on an *individual*. It’s unproductive and nasty.

  77. Holly says:

    No I didn’t, seriously, and I wouldn’t. I said “drooling over unremarkable hipster chic” not “drooling over an unremarkable hipster chick.” Big, big difference.

    The hipster chic in question is, indeed, hipster chic. And it is unremarkable, and elicited drool. You said so yourself (about the drool).

    I actually agree with you completely that attacks on a system shouldn’t get combined with attacks on an individual, and I’ve said so in the past. I think one of the mistakes I made with this post was that it’s all too mixed together. I do think there are “problems in this picture,” and I also find the whole thing kind of irritating, like I said a couple posts ago, including the hipster stuff. But I really ought to have kept the pieces separate, for the reasons you’ve said — it’s quite hypocritical of me considering the number of times I’ve complained about individuals getting swept up as targets.

  78. Amber says:

    Well, Holly, what’s awesome is the way you are interacting with everybody and responding to people’s comments. It’s not something that seems to happen a whole lot these days in the blogosphere! Honestly you seem to have more patience than I would… I’m certainly not going to hold it against you for the rest of your life that you wrote a post that wasn’t 100% totally clear. Everybody does stuff like that… for me, writing is often a way of working stuff out… I use the process itself to sort out what I am trying to convey, with the result being that third parties who come along and read it might get the wrong idea about what I think.

  79. Rei says:

    Indeed. Spelling is important! Holly hasn’t attacked or endorsed the attack of any individuals with the exception of Philip Kaufman, Michael Chrichton, Sofia Coppola, that Starbucks guy, James Frey, and my ex-boyfriend. And look, it’s not her fault if they all deserve to die.

  80. Holly says:

    The real truth is, I’m slacking off because it’s my last day of work before winter vacation, so I’m responding a lot. (And well, I think my original post was kind of gobbledygook.) Just wait until I write a hasty, ill-conceived, circular-firing-squad, release-the-hounds post on a day when I’m really busy! Then I’ll look like an uncaring asshole!

  81. Rei says:

    And in the spirit of clarity, I would like to be totally clear that I’m way jazzed for Diablo Cody’s Juno-related success. I just love seeing women get famous for screenwriting, and I don’t think I’ve ever gotten to see it before. (Coppola was a writer/director.)

    I know a guy who wrote a feature article on Juno for one of the time outs. And yes, it mentioned the stripper thing in paragraph one. Next time I see him, I’ll give him a personal bop on the nose for that one.

  82. not really about diablo cody, but about the film, i saw this link http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2007-12-04-juno-premiere_N.htm in a myspace bulletin from planned parenthood today, praising jennifer gardner and ellen page for pro-choice and pro planned parenthood statements in the interview.

  83. Lirpa says:

    I know a few sex workers who blog, and gasp, don’t have book deals! Amazing that, ain’t it?

    Who are they? I want to read some of these blogs. Anyone have links?

  84. Mnemosyne says:

    And Coppola, because I’m Japanese and Lost In Translation is pretty much the worst movie about Japan ever.

    The movie isn’t about Japan. If you went in expecting to see a movie about Japan and saw Lost in Translation, I can see being disappointed, but it’s kinda like going to see Waiting for Godot and complaining that the guy never shows up.

  85. Holly says:

    I’m aware that it wasn’t supposed to be really-about Japan. It used Japan as a fancy exotic set piece to represent some sort of alienation and otherness. That’s what made me nauseous.

  86. Mnemosyne says:

    It used Japan as a fancy exotic set piece to represent some sort of alienation and otherness. That’s what made me nauseous.

    It seemed more to me that it showed the main characters’ insularity and self-centeredness, but, hey, YMMV.

  87. Holly says:

    Kind of the inverse of the same thing. Entire country, culture, etc. as reflection of psychological landscape. I can only hope that most viewers have the same confidence as you do that it’s totally not really about Japan, but sadly, I lack much hope.

  88. Mnemosyne says:

    Kind of the inverse of the same thing. Entire country, culture, etc. as reflection of psychological landscape.

    The key scene is when Charlotte goes to Kyoto hoping to have some wonderful, magical breakthrough that will let her Understand All About Japan and instead she sees people living their lives without really giving a shit about her. So she calls her friend in the States to sob about how sad it is that she’s not the center of the universe, and what does her friend do? She cuts the conversation short and hangs up.

    Scarlett Johanssen is cute and charming enough that it takes almost the entire movie before you realize what a shallow, spoiled brat Charlotte really is, but Coppola knows it the whole time. It’s a very unflattering self-portrait.

    I can only hope that most viewers have the same confidence as you do that it’s totally not really about Japan, but sadly, I lack much hope.

    Considering how often the other characters point out how self-centered both Charlotte and Bob are, I have some hope. Bob himself says it at one point when he sarcastically “apologizes” to Charlotte for not catering to her every whim at a moment’s notice. But, yeah, people miss the point in movies all the time. Like the person in a different conversation who didn’t get that the point of a very key scene in The Quiet Man is that they didn’t have sex and s/he instead thought it was a rape scene, which changes the entire movie.

  89. Amber says:

    Lirpa,

    There are *a lot*. I would suggest using boundnotgagged.com and/or swopusa.org as a starting point.

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  91. Lotte says:

    Does this make for good reading, or is it just annoying?

    Annoying. Pick a topic, form an opinion, present said opinion. Rambling half-assed ill-thought-out nonsense like this just causes drama.

  92. alicepaul says:

    I wonder why nobody brought up Michelle Tea’s sex work memoirs. Michelle is white, from a working class background, and queer. Her books (Rent Girl, Valencia, Chelsea Whistle, etc) show a pretty nuanced picture of the industry and her experiences as a prostitute, and she’s also a great writer. Where would she fit it? Privileged or not? I don’t think it is always so obvious. Michelle’s stuff IS less mainstream than Cody’s, published by small indie presses and most popular in the SF lesbian scene, but she did get one book deal after another, and attention in literary press.

  93. Lirpa says:

    Thanks, Amber!

    I did a Google search for “stripper blogs” and found a few good ones. I’ll check out the sites you recommended.

  94. Amber says:

    I feel like I have a tendency to write these rambly, multi-directional portmanteau posts, about a bunch of different angles. Does this make for good reading, or is it just annoying? I’m relatively new to this style of blogging still, so feedback is more than welcome.

    Missed this question the first time around and just saw Lotte’s response.

    My answer is going to be one of those annoying non-answers… I think it’s different for everybody. I really do. It depends on what you are trying to do with your blog, what you see its purpose as. If its purpose is for you to have a place to write what you want and express yourself, then ramble away! If its purpose is to inform readers about an issue, then yeah, a more structured approach is good.

    Of course, I think most blogs fall somewhere in the middle of those two things. That’s how I see my blog, although ultimately if pressed, I will always assert that my blog is *for me* first and foremost, and that anyone who has a problem with it can blow it out their ass. I think Feministe, especially as a group blog, is different from that, though.

  95. EG says:

    it takes almost the entire movie before you realize what a shallow, spoiled brat Charlotte really is

    Not me. I hated that goddamn movie, perhaps because I thought that both characters were self-centered narcissistic assholes from the first fifteen minutes, and I resented every single minute spent in their company. I also thought that it was racist–that all the so-called “humor” in it boiled down to “Hey, those Japanese people are short! And they confuse “r”s with “l”s!”

    I do think you’re being optimistic about how the movie came across. Every single person I know who saw and admired it talked about how moving it was as a portrait of alienation and anomie. No-one presented your interpretation. The only person I know who hated it as much as I did was a friend of Chinese descent who also found it racist.

  96. Former Stripper says:

    Rei- I hear you. I stripped for about 3 years in New York, Vegas, and Los Angeles. I (and my college degree from NYU courtesy of Scores) own a business and work from home so much do I loathe going into the patriarchy matrix that is our world. I have sex only about about four times a year due to the extent of how much stripping messed with my head. I used to really love sex, too. I think it’s unfortunate that my husband might never see that side of me, unless I spend loads and loads of time (and money) in therapy to fix the damage done by three silly little years of stripping. I can’t pinpoint exactly what it is that was the worst part of it- I think that in general, it’s a distilled version of how men feel about women. And no woman should ever have to live with that knowledge.

  97. Natalia says:

    Every single person I know who saw and admired it talked about how moving it was as a portrait of alienation and anomie.

    But the question we have to ask ourselves is why these people feel alienated? Is it because the Japanese are just a bunch of short loons (obviously, I don’t think so – but am using the previous descriptions of the film on this thread)… Or because there is something the protagonists are missing about the world around them?

    I just remember Johansson’s train trip… What she was looking for there… And how she stared at the faces of the couple, these faces that weren’t focused on her and had nothing to do with her… And how I think she understood, or maybe almost understood something there – that these people are living their lives all around her, while she’s stuck, because… Well, because she needs to grow up, no? I thought it was a really solemn moment, and it definitely didn’t play into the unintentional hilarity of the culture clash… And for me it made the entire movie. I think the film could have done more when it came to exploring Johansson’s relationship with her Japanese friends. I thought that would have made it better, more rounded, a clearer portrait of Tokyo, of the lives there… But that moment of her looking – I still think that was pinpointed where the alienation was coming from, and how little it had to do with actually being in Japan.

    As a Ukrainian, I initially had similar feelings about “Everything is Illuminated.” Because, there were these humorous moments, and I thought they were demeaning even as I was tempted to laugh. But then I sat down and re-watched that movie, and saw something that my initial reaction had obscured: the beauty of strangeness and strangers.

    Anyway, I don’t want to tell anyone how to feel about “Lost in Translation,” because hell, don’t get me started on how I thought “Enemy at the Gates” was a stereotype-laden piece of trash… It’s definitely good to get different perspectives on this stuff.

    Sorry for the off-topic ramblings, Holly. I apologize.

  98. Mnemosyne says:

    I hated that goddamn movie, perhaps because I thought that both characters were self-centered narcissistic assholes from the first fifteen minutes, and I resented every single minute spent in their company.

    Hey, not everyone has the same taste in movies. I’m sure there are movies you like that I couldn’t stand, and I guarantee you there are movies I love that would make you vomit. (Since I like horror movies, I mean that literally.)

    At least you have the comfort of knowing you read it correctly from the beginning. ;-)

  99. zoe says:

    When I read that Britney Spears 16 year old sister is pregnant (the one with the wanta be career as singer), I thought, don’t the kids today know about birth control? It seems like where I live there are small towns where there’s some strange celebrity special attention you get by being pregnant, especially as a teenager. It is a sort of power position for a while. Then you have to care for the kid and deal with the changes in your body. And being a heart of gold waitress (a la Waitress) only looks good in the movie. I’ve been a waitress. It ain’t a recommended career. But for a sweet movie girl with no ambition beyond marriaging well, it’s okay. Girls don’t have the ambition to have a job that gets you out of living from paycheck to paycheck anyway. They have simple minds.

    When you are a pregnant teen, you’re large with child, you get attention. People coo and ah. I can’t help thinking that people think her future IS motherhood. Of course once you have the baby, are not as attractive anymore and have the full burden of infant, people’s attention tend to wander. You don’t see movies about this.

    We don’t have movies where the women use birth control or have abortions. It’s forbidden that the cool people talk about that. And among people in their teens and twenties that I know, there’s social pressure to “keep the baby” and “have the opps pregnancy.” I don’t see much freedom in that. It seems like we are saying that women who don’t have the baby don’t get to have a story. Not interesting. Invisible. In fact, literally people have written, “there wouldn’t be a story if she had an abortion.” How about a story where becomes empowered from a quivering mess? What about the comedy where she tells people off, finding her voice, and has an entirely different relationship with the guy who impregnated her? How about her awful visions of the clinic, perhaps from those awful anti-choice propoganda, then when she gets there it’s NOT the horror show. There’s some comedy in that. Of course, the fact we don’t see that is some sort of pressure in society that we HAVE to depict women who suggest abortion like the mother in Knocked up as heartless bitches.

    I saw Juno. Yes I did. I thought it was cloying and artificial and calculated wacky. However, it’s what adults think a teenage pregnant girl would act like if she had “sass.”

  100. DailyBedpost says:

    I’m still laughing about the fact that Diablo Cody was wearing a surgical glove for no apparent reason.

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  102. Mold says:

    Oh god, another spunk-filled teen movie. It’s bad enough to sit through the idiot boy ones. Now an idiot girl movie that hides the stoopid.

    Sorry folks, if she was as brilliant as the trailers show, she’d use BC. If it failed, she would take measures to keep her life on track.

    How about a movie with a female that isn’t slutty, stoopid, or deranged?

  103. annalouise says:

    I’ve spent a fair amount of time hanging with large number pregnant teenagers in the years I spent volunteering at a high school for young mothers. I’ve also spent a fair amount of time hanging with a much smaller number of strippers.
    I can tell you, very little makes a person have sass, quite like being the subject of much ignorant hand-wringing by earnest liberals who are convinced your life is just one big pile of poor choices and misery. The goes double if said earnest liberals shhhhh you hard anytime you mention that your life has moments of joy. Because if, god forbid, some naive young person notices you demonstraing one second of happiness she might fall into the same trap.

    jesus christ.

  104. Morgan says:

    the movie was too precious. teenagers do not talk like that at all. MSCL blows this dialog away. the tic-tacs, oy
    the dave letterman interview made me think she was an ass. if i had seen that first, i would not have seen the movie. it’s almost like she needed to strip to prove something to. . . the world? herself?

  105. Sally says:

    Sorry folks, if she was as brilliant as the trailers show, she’d use BC. If it failed, she would take measures to keep her life on track.

    How about a movie with a female that isn’t slutty, stoopid, or deranged?

    Honestly, this is one of the shittiest, most offensive things I’ve read in a long time. It’d be shitty and offensive if it were posted anywhere, but it’s particularly appalling on this blog. I’m going to guess that you’re a pretty recent reader, and I don’t think you’d have said that if you weren’t.

  106. Sabotabby says:

    I saw it a few days ago (without knowing anything about Cody, her writing, her stripping, or that glove thing).

    I really liked it. I mean, it wasn’t realistic, but it’s a comedy, so you’re not expecting it to be realistic. I read it as pro-choice—Juno is weird and quirky, and so she makes a weird and quirky decision, but her parents, best friend, and boyfriend all keep telling her that they’ll support any choice that she makes, including abortion. But beyond that, I liked its view of families, both blended and adoptive.

    One could totally make a comedy about abortion, though. Make it about the clinic escort or receptionist with lots of waiting room scenes. It’d be awesome.

  107. Michael says:

    Holly, huge ups on the Baffler/Jaspers analogy – that really precisely nailed my slight revulsion with this schtick, and I’ve read both the book and the script.

    I would support swift and brutal vigilante justice against anyone who uses the term “honest to blog” in conversation. Locking them in a room for a month with nothing but early copies of Wired magazine seems entirely appropriate.

    I would absolutely love to see the Baffler folk take on this movie and Diablo Cody. They eviscerated Tarantino; Cody’s status as a sort of Taran-tween-o really begs for their treatment.

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