December 23, 2017

"Fittingly for a piece of entertainment that means well but misfires at every turn, the film's star, Matt Damon, has been embroiled in his own series of blunders..."

"... on the Downsizing publicity tour, stemming from his comments about Hollywood's sexual assault crisis.* Damon probably wishes he could just shrink himself to nothing and disappear forever inside the film's 'Leisure Land,' a pint-sized monument to the suburban male ego."

From the NPR review of "Downsizing."

I wanted to like that movie because:

1. The director is Alexander Payne, who made "Election," which is one of the best movies about politics (and high school).

2. I myself have contemplated the idea of getting small as an environmentalist solution. I didn't think about a radical medical procedure or reducing people to bug size (which is what happens in the movie), but I did think — for fictional purposes — of a government imposing a scheme of eugenics that bred human beings to the smallest natural, healthy size. I was picturing strong taxing and spending incentives along with extreme social pressure to be very small. This gets my tag "unwritten books." In my story, the government isn't fascistic about imposing this scheme. It catches on because people believe in it. It would be like the way so many women now hope to produce children who are as tall as possible. Flip that. Women would be oohing over how short each other's children are, and relatives who haven't seen the kid for a while would exclaim, My, how you haven't grown.

_____________________

* Matt Damon is in big trouble not for sexually harassing somebody, even allegedly, but for stating a pedestrian truth in a somewhat clumsy way. He didn't go out of his way to make a statement on the subject. It came up in interviews , when he was asked if he'd work with other actors who were targets of allegations of sexual abuse:
“That always went into my thinking. I mean, I wouldn’t want to work with somebody who—life’s too short for that.” he said [to Business Insider]. "But the question of if somebody had allegations against them, you know, it would be a case-by-case basis. You go, "What’s the story here?"'

He said that the “rotten apples” accounted for only about 1 percent of the industry and there are plenty of good men. “We're in this watershed moment, and it's great, but I think one thing that's not being talked about is there are a whole s**tload of guys - the preponderance of men I've worked with - who don't do this kind of thing and whose lives aren't going to be affected.”

He also said to ABC: “We’re going to have to figure — you know, there’s a difference between, you know, patting someone on the butt and rape or child molestation, right? Both of those behaviours need to be confronted and eradicated without question, but they shouldn’t be conflated, right?”

57 comments:

james james said...

"I myself have contemplated the idea of getting small.."

So did Steve Martin.

I'm sure there is a YouTube clip out there.

- james james

james james said...

Ah yes; 3:35, here, from an old SNL.

As far as I know, Steve Martin never made a woman watch him masturbate.

Not even in his heyday. Which was the Seventies. When you could probably get away with that kind of thing.

- james james

BDNYC said...

Matt Damon seems weak, so I expect he’ll apologize, reform himself and throw himself at the mercy of the mob. Shame.

Women want tall babies for evolutionary reasons. It’s not some trend. They want them for the same reason they want intelligent and attractive babies. Evolutionary fitness. The statistics about the advantages of height, particularly professionally, are pretty stunning.

Hagar said...

Karma is a bitch,man!

narciso said...

Jonathan swift did it better, Payne is better with perrotta projects than his own weak contributions

Ann Althouse said...

"So did Steve Martin."

I considered putting that in the post and I used the phrase "get small" knowing it would evoke that. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't, because there's a big difference and it distracts from what I want to talk about. Martin's comic idea was that it was a way to get high, that it was transgressive and fun, like LSD. But I want to talk about the motive for getting small that is in the new movie "Downsizing," and that is environmentalism.

People talk about population control as a solution, but one way to have less total human biomass would be to prioritize small people. There's nothing of that in Steve Martin's idea. He was satirizing getting high, not satirizing environmentalism.

james james said...

"Matt Damon is in big trouble not for sexually harassing somebody, even allegedly, but for stating a pedestrian truth in a somewhat clumsy way. He didn't go out of his way to make a statement on the subject. It came up in interviews "

There was also this:

"Though the New York Times has been widely celebrated for its article exposing decades of sexual-harassment accusations against Harvey Weinstein, one journalist claims the paper sat on an earlier article detailing the producer’s misconduct. Sharon Waxman, founder of the Wrap, writes that her own investigative reporting, which took her on an international trip to uncover rumors of Weinstein’s sexual misconduct, was cut from the Times in 2004 under pressure from several Hollywood elites. Waxman alleges in the Wrap that Matt Damon and Russell Crowe called her “directly” to dispel the reports she was following about Miramax’s Italian head Fabrizio Lombardo, who was allegedly hired “to take care of Weinstein’s women needs.” She says that because of their influence, and interference from Weinstein, whose company was a big advertiser in the Times, the article was edited to remove the more salacious details."

I think this was walked back.

- james james

exhelodrvr1 said...

That crazy pendulum!

james james said...

Maybe Matt Damon's biggest problem is that his two latest movies were bombs at the box office:

'Suburbicon' $5,775,178 (George Clooney-directed 'social satire, racial commentary, and murder mystery')

'The Great Wall' $45,157,105 (action film with $150 million budget)

Perhaps it is his career that is Downsizing.

- james james

FIDO said...

This 'societal small sizing' will be a failure because people will cheat. YOU all can be short, but I am going to find me a Megan McArdle and marry her so my kids can pick on your kids and get jobs they are barely qualified for because they are tall.

Also, if you ask women from around the world what size man they want, it is pretty regularly around 5'10 to 6'2". Even in Thailand. Even in China where they tried that 'small sizing' thing (I think Mao called it The Great Famine and while it was dictatorial, it really worked! People shrunk 6 inches for generations)

North Korea is doing a good job on that too.

narciso said...

Damon pretended to be a nice guy in rainmaker his true nature as punk was displayed in good will hunting

Dickin'Bimbos@Home said...

Hillarywood - go die in a fire.

james james said...

"I considered putting that in the post and I used the phrase "get small" knowing it would evoke that. In retrospect, I wish I hadn't.."

Ouch.

Environment it is, then. Where we get so small our squabbles become Insect Politics.

- james james

tcrosse said...

George Costanza could tell you the disadvantages of shrinkage.

rhhardin said...

Pedestrian truths are a bitch, to women.

Michael K said...

Damon had a good series with "Jason Bourne" but the rest have been weak, including "Saving Private Ryan."

The Hollywood left have few good ideas.

EDH said...

Hugely fascinating, last night Tucker Carlson interviewed a feminist professor.

Professor Anne DeLessio-Parson wrote a scholarly article for The Journal of Feminist Geography that eating meat means people take up more space. Since livestock requires so much food, water and space, vegetarianism uses less space. Taking up more space is an example of toxic masculinity, DeLessio-Parson explained.

Besides repeatedly claiming that meat eating perpetuates the "hegemonic masculinity" by taking up more space, the interview also was a classic example of the conservative man smitten, if not impressed intellectually, with a stereotypical "hippy chick".

Watch the conservative host give free reign to the discursive ramblings of a disarmingly coquettish hippy chick."

james james said...

"...of a government imposing a scheme of eugenics that bred human beings to the smallest natural, healthy size."

The smallest humans are the unborn.

We often kill them before they get bigger.

So there is that.

Eugenics.

- james james

james james said...

"People talk about population control as a solution, but one way to have less total human biomass would be to prioritize small people."

My 8:49 comment could be considered the way we are currently having less total human being biomass.

Easier than actual shrinking people.

And the power needs for that technology would probably ruin the environment.

But if we did it by societal choice, as Althouse is suggesting, then we would simply keep aborting babies we think might grow tall.

So it isn't really that much a stretch, after all.

- james james

wendybar said...

Matt can thank his Hollywood comrades who, in order to get Trump, opened a Pandoras box.

Tim at large said...

The best movie about politics is Napoleon Dynamite. Which presaged both the Obama and Trump campaigns in Pedro’s campaign.

“Vote for me, and all of your wildest dreams will come true.” - Pedro.

Birkel said...

Think of all the times a conssevative, or even a Republican, said something small and it was blown out of proportion. Think of all the times it was a nothing comment ( "...macaca..." ) and it led the nightly news. Think about all the inartful things that were true ( "...binders full of women..." ) but made into a political hitjob.

Now ask me if I care about Matt Damon.

Tim at large said...

Isn’t he the one who made “The Promised Land”? Did any of those dire predictions come true?

Birkel said...

Tim at large:
The things Trump promised were reasonable. Point to the things he said that were unachievable.

Obama, in the other hand, promised things that violated the laws of economics.

james james said...

If society were to get smaller would the remaining tall people be ostracized?

Maybe they wouldn't be able to eat at the same lunch counters as small people.

But they probably wouldn't fit the smaller lunch counters, anyway.

And I will not bring up Randy Newman's 'Small People'. At least, after announcing that I won't bring it up.

- james james

rhhardin said...

The classic is Carol Adams's The Sexual Politics of Meat, which I bought and read long ago owing to a weakness for the workings of the grudge driven female mind.

A general resentment of men worked into various theoretical structures.

It's a specialization of how men treat women generally. They're women, they're nice, and they're weird.

That's domestication. Equality isn't domestication.

james james said...

The small people would eventually want to build skyscrapers.

Twenty, thirty feet tall.

Majestic.

- james james

rhhardin said...

Remember that as you get smaller, you get a lot more light.

Weight goes as the cube of the height.

james james said...

Today's elite: You can never be too thin.

Tomorrow's elite: You can never be too small.

- james james

Fernandistein said...

FIDO said...
This 'societal small sizing' will be a failure because people will cheat.


It's a silly idea because the environmental difference between a large person and a small person - how much they eat, breathe, etc. - is trivial compared the impact of their activities.

series of blunders

"Blunder" = he didn't follow the narrative that a few anecdotes about mostly trivia represent a "crisis".

rhhardin said...

Drawf tossing could come back.

rhhardin said...

As you get smaller, more animals regard you as food.

james james said...

Maybe we could get so small that Golden Retrievers were now the size of Godzilla to us.

Godzilla Golden Retrievers, playfully crushing small cities beneath their paws.

Cute yet terrifying.

- james james

rhhardin said...

Who has not noticed vultures around family gatherings hoping that one of the children dies.

rhhardin said...

As you get smaller, paradoxically, your moral authority diminishes.

Paco Wové said...

"As you get smaller, more animals regard you as food."

Woman eaten by her cats headlines will flood the newspapers.

rhhardin said...

Be small and you're a parvenu.

tcrosse said...

NBA hardest hit.

james james said...

In the Small Future anorexia would be a malady for starving yourself to get shorter.

In that world Karen Carpenter was mere inches before she died.

- james james

Left Bank of the Charles said...

For environmental friendliness, why have smaller children when you could have no children at all.

Kevin said...

He said that the “rotten apples” accounted for only about 1 percent of the industry and there are plenty of good men.

If that were true then it should be easy for Matt to say he'd never work with any of them again. He could just pick from the talented 99%.

The problem is many might put Matt in that group. Any statement he might make about ostracizing the "rotten apples" could serve to ensure they never work with him again.

And even if he wasn't thinking about that, his good friend Casey Affleck is clearly a "rotten apple" in the minds of Hollywood actresses. He's desperately trying not to say things which might impact Casey's career.

It's just so hard to be a Hollywood actor these days, when taking a strong stand for virtue exposes yourself and everyone around you as the unvirtuous people they truly are.

So hard to create the character when the people are looking for the truth.

The Godfather said...

I’ve always thought Matt Damon was one of Hollywood’s dimmest bulbs, and these remarks certainly confirm that impression. On the other hand, he did say “conflated”, which is pretty impressive.

james james said...

In the Small Future women will desire a man shorter than themselves.

A man so short he can look up her skirt.

- james james

james james said...

In the Small Future gadgets will be even tinier. So you will need the tiniest people with the smallest hands to put things together.

Chinese workers, we are gaining on you.

- james james

Freeman Hunt said...

It's absurd that anyone is angry with him for what he said.

Jupiter said...

"In my story, the government isn't fascistic about imposing this scheme. It catches on because people believe in it."

Cass Sunstein?

Dave Begley said...

I will go see Downsizing because Payne and I are both alums of Omaha's Jesuit high school. I meet him once and we had a very nice conversation. Our high school is used in the film.

I am, however, concerned about this movie. This whole "man is ruining Mother Nature" stuff is nuts. Just like the CAGW mania.

I hope Payne's next movie is an adaptation of my classmate's novel "A Plague of Dreamlessness." It is set in Omaha.

Payne just moved back to Omaha full time. Probably to send his kids to Prep and Duchesne.

reader said...

If people are smaller the ladder industry would boom. The ladders would need to be light weight for small people to maneuver them. Wood and metal ladders would surely be too heavy. So what is the environmental impact of a the composite ladder industry?

Would tall people be ostracized or shamed into helping small people do the things they struggle to do.

William said...

He didn't say anything I disagree with. Nonetheless, I hope his career is destroyed. There will be time later for being fair minded, but right now the priority should be the destruction of Matt Damon's career.......If Hollywood were really serious, they would appoint someone like Ken Starr rather than Anita Hill to investigate it's transgressions. Anyway, I hope Anita comes out with a really strong statement condemning Matt's incorrectitude.

cubanbob said...

I'm not wishing for Damon's career to be destroyed. On the other hand I just don't care if it is. Is that cruel neutrality?

Kevin said...

He didn't say anything I disagree with. Nonetheless, I hope his career is destroyed.

"I do think at a certain point you've made enough money.” -- Barack Obama, who Damon undoubtedly voted for twice

Unknown said...

Shouldn’t this post have an “Al Franken” tag? To whom else would Damon have been referring?

TerriW said...

Back in the 80s, Mary Jane Rachner (sorry, "Reagan") batted around the idea of focusing our environmental research efforts on shrinking people.

I like long-time perennial candidates (my first vote cast was for Harold Stassen), and I kinda miss her.

rehajm said...

One of these: It's absurd that anyone is angry with him for what he said.

and one of these: Hillarywood - go die in a fire.

The Cracker Emcee Activist said...

It’s a weird movie. So many messages of virtue crammed in to no effect that by the end of the movie you have to assume it was all a kind of soft-shoe parody. Gulliver's Travels meets Brazil. Plus, any decent hawk would hit that Norwegian commune like Smaug.

stlcdr said...

“The secret to acting is that they tell you what to say”

When they don’t, well, actors need to realize that are no better, and sometimes worse, than regular people.

Having said that, Daemon’s statements aren’t wrong: what we are seeing here, is that the media, Hollywood, etc. are more interested in perception rather than truth.

Bad Lieutenant said...

I wonder if Althouse envisions the smaller people having smaller less capable brains, or whether she prefers that skulls remain the same size, and more women die in childbirth.


Isn't that nicer and a less personal comment than saying "Althouse, you're a f****** moron?" I'm so proud of myself.

On the other thread about sensitivity readers and writing what you know, I was going to say that Althouse has no imagination. I guess this is what passes for imagination with Althouse, so maybe better she forgoes it. She is one of those living exceptions to the rule, there's no such thing as a stupid question.

Probably my annoyance stems from this ur-instinct of hers, the drive to change other people.