Movie idea: ‘Oz’s Eleven’

OK, here’s a can’t-miss movie idea: Oz’s Eleven.

Artist’s conception of Jacki Weaver in full makeup as the villain in “Oz’s Eleven.”

It’s a stylish heist caper based, of course, on the Soderbergh/Clooney remake of Ocean’s Eleven. I’m picturing an all-star, all-Australian cast — Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Hugh Jackman, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman, Geoffrey Rush, Anthony LaPaglia, Chris Hemsworth … you get the idea.

But the real star will be Jacki Weaver as the villain — the odious and predatory heiress to a mining fortune. She’ll be a completely over-the-top caricature of the awful, useless, bloated, predatory global upper class. She’ll say ridiculous, horrifying things, lecturing poor people by saying:

If you’re jealous of those with more money, don’t just sit there and complain. Do something to make more money yourself — spend less time drinking, or smoking and socializing and more time working.

Or she’ll say that all Australians are lazy because they refuse to work for $2 a day.

Playing someone so hideously villainous will be a challenge for Weaver — going beyond even her Oscar-nominated role as the monstrous Cody matriarch in Animal Kingdom. But I think she can pull it off.

Such a broadly repulsive villain might seem a bit much, but it will ensure that the audiences sympathy lies with our merry band of thieves.

That’s the tricky thing about heist movies, after all, stealing is wrong. If you need to get the audience cheering for thieves, then you have to show them stealing from someone who really seems to deserve having their vast fortune whisked away. This horrifying villain would be the epitome of unearned and undeserved wealth, someone who did nothing to earn her fortune yet who nonetheless wields it as an oppressive, exploitative weapon.

Once audiences catch a glimpse of this woman, you can be sure they’ll be eager to see a masterful heist that cuts her down to size.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not defending real theft in real life. But in a work of fiction, it would be cathartic to see a character like this — someone who’s practically inviting, practically daring thieves to target her vast, unearned fortune — getting her comeuppance.

It would be a story, as Oscar Wilde put it, in which, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Stay in touch with the Slacktivist on Facebook:

'Moral tribalism' and translating the d-word
'Vote for the crook. It's important.'
Guys like us, we had it made ...
Sinister rumors connect Hillary Clinton with tree-planting in Malawi
  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    Woo hoo, we got mentioned on Fred’s blog! Engage culture cringe in 3..2..

    Gina’s advice was well received down our way. We appreciate her tips on how not to be a poor scumbag, especially her advice on being smart enough to inherit billions from your father like she did.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    From what I understand she didn’t so much inherit it as she used the legal system to steal it all from her children, who her father really left everything to. 

    Just to take it one step beyond even cartoonishly evil. 

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Reminds me of how the Hiltons got their old man’s will overturned after he left a large fraction of his fortune to charities which cared for the poor.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    I could almost see where the Hiltons are coming from though. It’s less sociopathic in my mind to think yourself more deserving than some faceless institution than your own kids. 

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Also, not for nothing, but an “Oz’s Eleven” where Scarecrow is the mastermind, Tin Man is the hustler, Lion is the muscle, & Dorothy is the star in the con?  I’d watch that in a minute.

  • redsixwing

    “Oz’s Eleven” where Scarecrow is the mastermind, Tin Man is the hustler,
    Lion is the muscle, & Dorothy is the star in the con?

     This is where my brain went, immediately.

  • LG

     I went straight to the HBO series.

    A much less pleasant turn, to be sure.

  • redsixwing

     Oh dear. Indeed.

  • Tricksterson

    And they’re out to strip the Emerald City bare.

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    Or they are the only ones who know it isn’t made of Emeralds but they are going to bring down the crooked regime of the Wizard & lay it bare?

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     Wooh. Someone who’s actually read the book. Been a long time since I ran across someone who knew that bit of trivia

  • http://mordicai.livejournal.com Mordicai

    I’m mostly excited for the sequel to Oz’s Eleven, Jinjur’s Eleven. The trilogy rounds out with Ozma’s Eleven. Also, there are wheelers, because why not.

  • Ross Thompson

    Wow, pretty much every comment on that article is some variation on “She is not attractive enough to have sex with”, because we all know that’s the real measure of a woman’s value.

  • The_L1985

    Welcome to the Internet. It’s even better when you’re a Woman who dares to have a different opinion from a Man. Clearly you’d see things his way if he just raped you, and the fact that you see this statement as the threat it is rather than a compliment means that you are both fat and ugly.

    Hence the unisex username–I see enough of that sort of hideous comment WITHOUT being its victim.

  • http://profiles.google.com/marc.k.mielke Marc Mielke

    Well, that’s silly. I wouldn’t want to have sex with Donald Trump either, but for a million bucks I’d think about it with either or both. 

  • Ross Thompson

    Well, that’s silly. I wouldn’t want to have sex with Donald Trump either, but for a million bucks I’d think about it with either or both.

    The difference is that, upon reading an article about Donald Trump, very few people’s first thought is “I don’t want to have sex with him”, and even few think that other people would be interested to know that.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Ross: Granted, but I, for one, think that. Mainly because of that ridiculously overexaggerated hairstyle he wears. It’s just not attractive on him at all.

  • Seraph4377

    Yeah.  It’s both disgusting and frustrating.  I feel the same way whenever someone busts out the “Mann Coulter” jokes.  I mean, here is a cruel person, a greedy person, a vile and repulsive person, a person who – judging from everything that I’ve read about her – has a level of personal evil approaching fucking Sauron, and all they can say about her is “Hurh, hurh, she’s fat and ugly”.  Because that’s the go-to when you want to put a woman in her place.

    I had to flee the scene after reading the first few comments.  All I could think was “Come on, guys, don’t do this again.  Don’t make me want to defend someone this horrible.”  

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alan-Alexander/502988241 Alan Alexander

     What are people supposed to call her? A bastard? A son of a bitch? A motherf****r? Are there any good expletives to use against a woman that are neither sexist against women nor impliedly masculine in tone? What’s the best word to use if you want to register your contempt for a woman who violates every standard of civilized decency but don’t want to be accused of sexism?

  • christopher_young

    A sorry apology for a human being? A blot on the fine name of the Australian people? The scum of the earth? It isn’t that hard.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    “Asshole” works well for both genders.

  • Fusina

     With one caveat. An asshole is actually useful…

  • Seraph4377

    1) I like “scumbag”.  Yes, I’m aware of its origin, but I feel that – like the word “gay” – it has been so thorougly divorced from that origin that it’s no longer a consideration.  “Douchebag” also works well.  Invisible Neutrino and christopher_young also have good answers for you.

    2) Even if you can’t think of a way to insult a woman without using misogynist language, that is no excuse to go ahead and use the misogynist language.

    3) Why limit yourself to a single word?  I think my little speech got my point across, and christopher has some nice little insult phrases.  Consider Spider Jerusalem or Byron Hadley of Shawshank State Prison, the reigning masters of the form.  When Mr. Hadley refers to a prisoner in his charge as a “barrel of monkey spunk”, he’s making his feelings quite clear.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    Considering the function of an actual, literal douche bag, if one is looking for a truly non-gendered insult in that vein it would be better to go with “enema bottle.”

  • Ross Thompson

    I’ve always thought of “douchebag” as meaning “actively harmful to women, but still forced on them”.

  • Guest

    A friend of mine pointed out that she prefers douchebag because its literal meaning refers to something unnecessary and harmful to women.

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    Considering the function of an actual, literal douche bag, if one is looking for a truly non-gendered insult in that vein it would be better to go with “enema bottle.”

    Douchebags get kind of a bad rap.

  • derlurker

     Uh, what?

  • Ross Thompson

    Yeah, Penny Arcade are definitely the go-to guys for feminine hygiene issues. Remember that these are the same guys who claimed that rape victims have no right to be offended by the fact that they sell tshirts that celebrate rape culture.

    (Yes, PA do good things, too. But they’re still massive dickwolves.)

    In the real world, douching kills beneficial bacteria and leads to increased risk of infection. Medical advice is not to use them.

  • The_L1985

     Callous, heartless, and horrifying strike me as perfectly decent words.

  • LG

    I favour “rat fucker”.

    I’ve yet to run in to any complaints.

  • hidden_urchin

    I used to work with rats studying their mating behavior.  Can we use “skunk” instead?  I don’t much like skunks especially since my dog hasn’t yet learned that sniffing the tail end of one is a bad idea.  (Yup, the last time was at 11 pm.  I was not pleased.)

  • LG

     Well, if we’re basing things off of “unpleasantness where dogs are involved”, I think porcupines are much more appropriate.

    A foul-smelling dog is irritating, but pulling barbed quills out of a dog’s snout? That’s just downright unpleasant.

  • Guest

    “What are people supposed to call her? A bastard?”

    What a weird first example. “Bastard” isn’t gendered, any sex can be a bastard.

  • EllieMurasaki

    What a weird first example. “Bastard” isn’t gendered, any sex can be a bastard.
     
    The force behind the insult is the statement that the insultee’s parents were unmarried. That accusation–more accurately, the implication of parental loose morals–always, always hurts the mother, and it doesn’t necessarily hurt the father as badly or at all.

  • Guest

    Point taken, but the original commenter asked what could Rinehart be called, and gave the examples “A bastard? A son of a bitch? A motherf****r?” as if “bastard” is, like “son of a bitch” or “motherstarrer” something that can only literally apply to men. I didn’t get the impression that the original commenter was noting the fact that all three of those examples also contain inherent insults to women.

  • Lori

     I think it’s perfectly fine to attack the looks-based criticism of horrible people directly, rather than by defending the horrible person.

    I have to confess that the “Mann Coulter” jokes are a source of major frustration for me because they give me a bad case of extra hand syndrome*. It’s totally wrong and inappropriate to criticize her based on her looks. On the other hand, Colter’s career is to a large extent built on trading on conventional ideas of female beauty. The fact that she’s thin, blond and wears short skirts is not entirely a matter of genetics and personal fashion preference. That would be problematic enough if she was just playing the game, but she goes well beyond that by using her adherence to beauty norms not only to advance herself, but to attack other women. She has a whole “GOP women are hot, Dem women are all hairy, ugly hippies” schtick that she’s worked for years. There’s a part of me that’s small enough to take some satisfaction in watching her weapon turned against her.  And then comes the third hand—-turning it against Colter affirms that idea that looks are a legitimate weapon. Which they are not.

    FSM that women is horrible, her career is a fine example of what’s gone wrong in our political discourse in recent decades and the fact that her star is falling is a source of both satisfaction and relief for me.

    *What happens when you use the phrase “on the other hand” more than once in an argument.

  • Fusina

     My daughter wanted to know why someone who has both looks and intelligence going her way is so mean. She asked me what happened to her when she was little that warped her so much. I mostly feel sorry for her–at the end of the day, she may be “hot” but that is all she has.

  • http://www.facebook.com/j.alex.harman John Alexander Harman

    When you have three, you could borrow Niven and Pournelle’s “on the gripping hand.”  (If you’re not familiar with the reference, it refers to the asymmetrical aliens of The Mote in God’s Eye and The Gripping Hand, who have two small, delicate, arms ending in extremely dextrous hands with three fingers flanked by two opposable thumbs on one side of their bodies, and a massive, muscular arm ending in three heavy, evenly-spaced, mutually opposed digits on the other.)

  • Ross Thompson

    In Britain, The Gripping Hand was titled The Moat Around Murcheson’s Eye, which I always rather preferred. Apparently, Hand was Niven’s preferred title, which Pournelle wanted Moat, and this is the compromise they came up with.

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    What happens when you use the phrase “on the other hand” more than once in an argument.

    When you get to three, it’s “on the gripping hand”.

  • TheFaithfulStone

    On the gripping hand…

  • cameronhorsburgh

    To be fair, that was a fairly typical reaction whenever Kerry Packer said anything Rinehart-like. Although given Packer’s penchant for thuggery it actually worked in his favour.

  • Rizzo

     Dunno, what’s worse; calling a person ugly or calling them a base and mean spirited boor?  Because if I can’t call her ugly then I’ll surely call her a base, mean spirited boor.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     Well, the latter is the relevant point, I think it’s far more appropriate.

  • ako

    Every time I see people publicly castigate a selfish, hypocritical, self-righteous, dishonest, willfully ignorant, and wantonly cruel woman for being unattractive, I wonder if they think a lack of attractiveness is the worst possible quality a woman can have.  Because why would they look at a spoiled greedy scumbag who floats through life on a cloud of inherited money and spits in the face of the poor and immediately go “Ugh, totally unboneable!” if they didn’t think that for a woman, being unattractive was worse than being a spoiled greedy scumbag who spits in the face of the poor?

  • cameronhorsburgh

    Sounds like another Underbelly instalment. This just might work.

  • Jim Roberts

    I’m pretty sure this will be an episode of Leverage once Dean Devlin finds out about this.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Speaking of great heist movies with a deserving villain, may I suggest LADRÓN QUE ROBA A LADRÓN? Love that movie.

    I can’t believe anyone who inherits money would ever talk about deserving it. We recently inherited a sum of money (nothing like this, obviously), and not once did I think we deserved or earned it. We were grateful for it, of course, but it was a gift, not a paycheck.

  • Arynne

    It’s not her weight that’s such a turn-off — it’s her expression. My goodness, she looks like Oscar the Grouch.

  • Akedhi

    Which is still completely irrelevant. Whether you or I or anyone else finds her sexually attractive has nothing to do with anything.

  • christopher_young


    What happens when you use the phrase “on the other hand” more than once in an argument.

    When I can see this coming, I tend to start with, “OK, imagine for a moment that I’m a statue of the goddess Kali

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     I frequently use “on the third paw.” Which still gives me trouble when I get to a fifth consideration.

  • Lori

    Yet another reason we really got screwed when we lost the prehensile tail.

  • VMink

    My go-to term is the traditional SF “on the gripping hand,” c.f. The Mote in God’s Eye.

    But then it gets interesting after that.

  • The_L1985

     You win the thread.

  • Jessica_R

    I think an asshole would fit the bill. She’s an enormous asshole. A creep. A greedy bastard. A selfish, cowardly, jackass. A monster. A parasite. I’ll stop now but this is kinda fun frankly. I think it’s important to hone your non misogynist insults so you don’t get a derail into defending this miserable pile of walking horseshit. And again, no one would believe this character if you wrote her, they would accuse you fairly of stetting up a strawman. 

  • The Lodger

    Or, to steal a trope from Balloon Juice, “Enormous, mendacious, disembodied anus.” (Bonus points if you can sing it.)

  • http://jamoche.dreamwidth.org/ Jamoche

    There’s always the Grinch song:

    “Your soul is an appalling dump heap overflowing with the most disgraceful
    assortment of rubbish imaginable mangled up in tangled up knots!”

  • Guest

    Joining in.

    Loathsome. Appalling. Vile. Deplorable. Wretched.

    Hit a thesaurus, there’s really no excuse for gendered insults, or for resorting to “fat/ugly/unfuckable” as if that had any bearing on the obscene tragedy of this person’s existence.

  • http://twitter.com/jclor jclor

    For some of the most impressive and (strangely) coherent uses of profanity to describe a repellent excuse for a human being, see also Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe’s takedown of homophobic Maryland state delegate and Bill of Rights misinterpreter Emmett C. Burns Jr.

  • VMink

    I… I think someone just earned the Spider Jerusalem Prize for Best Creative Use of Utterly Unprintable Language for this year.

  • zmayhem

    Oh. My. God (and I say that with utter reverence). I’d seen people link to it before but avoided it because the Gawker sites make me flinchy since the redesign, but that… that is a thing of majestically obscene beauty. They should film that and show it every Christmas.

    That was just — holy wow. Somewhere R. Lee Ermey is smiling a dreamy smile.

  • LL

    She’s just going along with all the other multimillionaire Republican (I know it’s probably not Republican in Australia, no idea what the Australian version of Republican is, whatever Rupert Murdoch would call himself, I guess) powers that be. Rich people have been blaming poor people for being poor for a long time, but it kinda went out of style for awhile there, since fewer and fewer poor people were agreeing and it led to things like Social Security and minimum wage laws. 

    Now, thanks to the Republicans, it’s back in style to say that poor people are poor because of something they themselves did wrong, while saying that rich people are rich because of their own virtues (smarts, hard work, etc.), even if those rich people got rich because of their parents (ie, their fathers), like Romney and this woman. So, she’s just saying horrible things to fit in at the next Rich People Club gathering. Well, she would probably say them anyway, just not publicly.

  • Sgt. Pepper’s Bleeding Heart

    She’s just going along with all the other multimillionaire Republican (I know it’s probably not Republican in Australia, no idea what the Australian version of Republican is, whatever Rupert Murdoch would call himself, I guess

    This is going to confuse the hell out of you, but it’s the Liberal Party. Or for the hardcore social conservatism, their coalition partners The Nationals.

    Although both the Liberal Party and The Nationals are less right wing than the US Republican Party.

  • Carstonio

    No question that insults for someone like Reinhart shouldn’t focus on appearance and gender – her take on the Just World Fallacy would be just as repulsive if it was voiced by a man. Elsewhere I’ve encountered people who say that Michele Bachmann’s eyes make her look insane, and I’ve been ridiculed for raising objections to that.

    Also, is there anyone here who doesn’t see the JWF as a rationalization for the person’s own prosperity or others’ suffering?

  • AnonymousSam

    *Shrugs* When I first heard of her and then saw the picture, my thought was that she looked on the outside how I saw her on the inside. Her expression in that picture says more than any other subjective quality — she looks mean and contemptible. She looks like the human female personification of Jabba the Hutt. “HO HO HO. BRING ME SOLO — AND A COOKIE.”

    Makes one wonder about the media stereotype of rich women being fat, slovenly disgusting blobs. Are we looking at the kernel of truth behind the myth? A woman who has enough to utterly let herself go, to care nothing about anything and have everything she could possibly want, to not have to care about pleasing or answering to anybody? If you add all those things together, how often do you get a person who looks just like this?

  • Daughter

     You just missed the point of all the comments that preceded yours, didn’t you?

    FWIW, Ann Romney appears to have some of her disdain for the poor, although not expressed so blatantly, and she’s slender and attractive. So I repeat: appearance has nothing to do with the kind of person she is, and the kind of person she is has nothing to do with her appearance.

  • AnonymousSam

    Hence why I said “kernel of truth” and not “this is always the case hurrhurr I fail statistics but don’t know why.” I’ve known my share of overweight women who were absolutely wonderful, but they didn’t have that cast to their faces that this woman does, the one which indicates she spends most of her time with a rather surly expression.

  • Daughter

     You didn’t just mention her expression. You compared her to Jabba the Hutt, and talked about rich women being fat, slovenly slobs. That does way beyond an issue of a surly attitude being reflected in one’s expression.

  • AnonymousSam

    Uh. That was one of the first things I said.

    *Shrugs* When I first heard of her and then saw the picture, my thought was that she looked on the outside how I saw her on the inside. Her expression in that picture says more than any other subjective quality — she looks mean and contemptible.

  • Daughter

     Yes, that’s one of the first thing you said. And then you went on to say other things which were inappropriate.

  • PJ Evans

     I’ve met people with that kind of expression: all the lines turn down, no laugh lines or smile lines. And yeah, they weren’t people you wanted to associate with. (One of them complained about not getting presents they wanted at Christmas, so I asked if they’d given other people what they wanted. It apparently was a new idea to them, that giving people things they don’t like could result in getting things you don’t like.)

  • Lunch Meat

    I’ve met people with that kind of expression: all the lines turn down, no laugh lines or smile lines.

    Meh. My mother had surgery on her palate many years ago, so she can no longer smile as wide as she used to and when her mouth is relaxed, she’s frowning. She tends to look like she’s faking when she does smile. And she’s overweight. I’m finding it hard to see anything “ugly” at all about that picture up there.

  • Carstonio

     Even before I read the post, I thought the woman looked mean or angry in a sullen kind of way. Partly the mouth and partly the eyes, almost like George Wallace. But this has little to do with smiles or beauty. Roma Downey and Finola Hughes look perpetually angry to me.

  • The_L1985

     I think he’s referring to he facial expression.

  • http://narrowcrookedlanes.wordpress.com/ Will Wildman

    No, you’re looking at confirmation bias.  Having ‘learned’ what unpleasant form rich women supposedly take, you look at a case that seems to match the stereotype and decide that it’s the ‘kernel of truth’, rather than bleedin’ obvious statistical probability that, given a sufficiently large number of rich women, eventually some number of them are guaranteed to look like they are ‘supposed’ to.

    There are plenty of rich people with not a care in the world who take huge efforts to make themselves attractive, and plenty of not-rich people who do the same, and plenty of both rich  and not-rich who make no efforts at all.

    And that’s without getting into all the things that are wrong with equating ‘more weight than I consider appropriate’ with ‘slovenly, disgusting blob who has let themself go’.

    Get over appearances.

  • AnonymousSam

    I’m not nearly as affected by appearances as you seem to think. My significant other is overweight, as have been most of those I’ve dated throughout the years, with contrary examples being the exception rather than the norm. I’ve argued on numerous occasions that even the term “overweight” (though I prefer it to “fat”) is inaccurate, since weight isn’t a measure of health and our society, with ready access to foods more nutritional and plentiful than anything our ancestors have ever had, is naturally going to be physically shaped in accordance with the difference in our diets.

    All this is irrelevant as my judgment is reserved exclusively for what I’m looking at: a picture of a woman who glowers sullenly at the camera.

    I think we have different usages of “slovenly,” if not also “disgusting.” When a person being photographed doesn’t alter their expression from what appears to be a “fuck you, I don’t care if you’re taking a picture” expression, that’s saying something about themselves whether they like it or not (kind of like how “no comment” is a comment).

    I agree that how we look doesn’t determine who we are. I’m really not sure that who we are doesn’t at least affect how we look.

  • Daughter

     You know what else? A single photograph isn’t enough to determine someone’s demeanor, either. All of us have moments when our expressions may appear surly, because we’re tired, frustrated, worried, not feeling well, or even just deep in thought. If someone happens to snap a picture of you at that moment, they might come to a false conclusion about your character based on that single photo alone.

    None of this is to defend Rinehart. By her words (and NOT her looks), she shows herself to be a callous, horrible human being.

  • AnonymousSam

     Sorry, I misread. I thought you said I hadn’t mentioned it.

    A single photograph isn’t enough to determine someone’s demeanor, either.

    True… I concede that. There’s even a psychology term for this, but it’s one I keep forgetting the exact name of. Basically it refers to assigning assumptions about a person’s nature based on the situation in which you usually associate with them, both in positive and negative ways. Kids expect their teachers to act like authoritarian figures even outside the classroom, while the Vatican obviously has trouble not seeing child molesters as still being moral authorities, etc…

    Still, I did call it a myth and I chose that word purposefully. If I might amend my words, despite the many wealthy women who do not conform to this stereotype, there always seems to be one loud example who does and they’re the ones media loves to show us, both in fiction and (as we see here) reality. Intent isn’t magic, I know, I know, but all I meant to speculate upon was to how many people it really does apply.

  • RK

    It’s not just the one picture – wait till you read her poetry! http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/02/15/3431797.htm

  • zzxjoanw

    I feel like no poem should ever contain the phrase ‘special economic zones’.

  • http://narrowcrookedlanes.wordpress.com/ Will Wildman

    Not every picture is a portrait.  She’s not looking at the camera that took this picture; nor do we have any idea what she is looking at at that moment.

    I am fascinated by the idea that you were using the phrase ‘utterly let herself go’ as a moral rather than physical descriptor.

  • AnonymousSam

     It’s a stylized background though, as of a professional photograph, implying this picture was taken with her consent. Unless that’s just photoshopped in… I’m used to backgrounds like that being in school photos. That’s why it feels like it was intentional, and that she just didn’t care whether she smiled or not.

    Moral, no; meaningful, yes. Letting oneself go doesn’t necessarily mean gaining weight, either, just ceasing to care what one looks like at all and living in an excessively hedonistic lifestyle. It’s hard for that to not be indicative of some nasty personality issues — if you’re rich and you know others aren’t, and that doesn’t bother you enough not to take full advantage of said wealth and put it toward selfish purposes, then yes, in a circular way, it leads around to being meaningful in my mind. There’s just a point at which it feels unjustifiable to have so much money.

    Not that letting one’s self go is the exclusive domain of the rich (I have a stepmother who accomplished it on about $45,000 a year — child support laws in her state changed so that she could royally gouge my stepfather, and rather than put the money toward the children, she put most of that money toward keeping herself very comfortable), but it’s a lot easier to accomplish when you don’t have to be concerned about physical labor or having to make a good impression with a new employer.

    Hmm. Though, come to think of it, people didn’t always used to smile for photographs and I have no idea how a traditional photograph is where she lives. Maybe this is just what she thinks is the norm. Or maybe it was shopped and isn’t a professional photo at all. She does smile in some pictures, just not as many as otherwise (at least as far as Google shows). If one of those had been used for the articles reporting on this, we probably wouldn’t be having this discussion.

  • http://narrowcrookedlanes.wordpress.com/ Will Wildman

    Based on the dark shape sticking into the left side of the photo, and the middle-distance expression, my impression is that she’s speaking at a public event (rather like the exact incident she’s being rightfully attacked for in this article).

    But let’s get back to the ‘let herself go’ thing combined with ‘unjustifiable to have so much money’.  What’s the exact opposite of the way she could look in this photo?  I’m going to suggest ‘ultra-thin and heavily made up, with options on cosmetic surgery’ – which is surely even more the province of people who have unnecessarily vast quantities of wealth, given that it requires a lot more time and resources to achieve.  Would that be more morally defensible or indicative of greater care for people who aren’t so financially lucky?  I’m pretty sure it would just get her lambasted for pouring so much cash into her own vanity rather than doing good in the world.

    The thing is: there is always, always an excuse to attack a person (especially women) on grounds of their appearance.  The only thing that changes is where each individual chooses to draw their line, but with all the millions of us on the web, we can be sure that someone (many, rather) will always be ready to step up to the plate.  That is what I’m so tired with seeing.

    Yes, we wouldn’t be having this discussion if the article had used a smiling picture rather than one that might be glowering.  We also wouldn’t be having the conversation if people would just stop trying to divine how a person’s flaws are written all over their face.

  • AnonymousSam

    What’s the exact opposite of the way she could look in this photo?

    I’m not arguing in favor of an opposite, just a different– “humble” would be what I would offer up in contrast. As above, I have no problem with a person being overweight, unless you want to argue that I do view it negatively and thus must have a secret reason for wanting my SO to be overweight, which would be… psychology I hope you don’t actually contemplate. Zhe does occasionally grumble about zir weight and I try to make clear the fact that zir happiness is more important to me than zir weight — if zhe is happier this way than in trying (possibly fruitlessly and with a great deal of frustration) to diet, then why bother?

    I don’t attack people based upon their appearance. To be fair, I’m attacking her appearance based on her character, which still may not be charitable of me. I don’t exactly mentally compare overweight, generous people to Santa Claus, but the archetypes of “fat and jolly person” do exist, just aren’t invoked as often because I/we actually care about offending those people. This just happens to be a community in which an insult to a bad person gets criticized as reflective of the speaker’s beliefs toward everyone, not just bad people, which sometimes gets taken to excessive degrees.

    (In posts like this, it’s almost inevitable that someone pulls out the “don’t use the word ‘bitch’ because it equates women to canines” argument, and that… is kind of a ridiculous slippery slope.)

  • http://narrowcrookedlanes.wordpress.com/ Will Wildman

    No, I’m not particularly interested in your relationship with your SO, other than hoping it’s happy.  I’m also not actually accusing you of thinking that all rich people are ‘spiritually fat’ or that being fat is evil or et cetera; I’m really quite disinterested in people’s internal purity.  (I would make a bad monk.)  What I am interested in is not seeing stereotypes about appearance dragged into every discussion where they don’t belong.

    I don’t attack people based upon their appearance. To be fair, I’m attacking her appearance based on her character, which still may not be charitable of me.

    I’m not seeing how this is better.  Would it be okay for me to be racist towards PoC criminals as long as I knew I wasn’t directing it towards the law-abiding PoC?  (I’m not equating what you said with racism; I’m saying that bad behaviour is bad because it’s bad [/lolcat], not because it’s directed at the wrong kind of person.)

  • AnonymousSam

    Well, I did say it probably wasn’t charitable of me either, but it does come from a different set of motivations. I can’t entirely compare racism to weightism since we’re all pretty much totally agreed that racism is bad (even our white separatist “friend” from other threads seems to think so, despite being racist) while a person being visibly fat has different value to different people (there are still places where women are encouraged to plump up for prospective husbands), but I think I take your meaning.

    I’m not sure I’m up to continuing this discussion, so I’ll concede that it was a stupid remark and it was thoughtless of me to utter it, doubly so because I did so in deliberate defiance of the trend of posts on just that. I’m okay with being wrong when I’ve said something dumb.

  • J_Enigma32

     “I’m going to suggest ‘ultra-thin and heavily made up, with options on
    cosmetic surgery’ – which is surely even more the province of people who
    have unnecessarily vast quantities of wealth, given that it requires a
    lot more time and resources to achieve”

     It certainly is the  stereotype I have for wealthy people, or, at least, wealthy young men and women (say, under 50).

    Of course, you say “wealthy” and the first thing that pops into my mind is a sullen white guy, late 50s, possibly a CEO of some kind, wearing a suit with graying or white hair.

    My image of wealth is outdated; that was the stereotype in the 50s, IIRC. I claim the right to have an outdated image of what wealth looks like. From down here, I can’t even see their chin unless I snap my damn neck, thank you.

  • http://narrowcrookedlanes.wordpress.com/ Will Wildman

    Not every picture is a portrait.  She’s not looking at the camera that took this picture; nor do we have any idea what she is looking at at that moment.

    I am fascinated by the idea that you were using the phrase ‘utterly let herself go’ as a moral rather than physical descriptor.

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

     When a person being photographed doesn’t alter their expression from what
    appears to be a “fuck you, I don’t care if you’re taking a picture”
    expression, that’s saying something about themselves whether they like
    it or not

    Assuming they know they are being photographed. Assuming the photographer didn’t take multiple pictures in a very short period of time in order to find one that looks bad (a favourite tactic of the paparazzi over here – wait for celeb to exit nightclub, keep hammering the shutter, later find one photo where celeb is mid-blink, sell story about he/she being drunk and/or on drugs – very classy). Assuming the photographer didn’t do something to provoke the look he/she was looking for. 

    I’m really not sure that who we are doesn’t at least affect how we look.

    But you don’t know WHY. For example, I have a large full beard. People might assume from seeing it any number of things (that I’m lazy, that I’m a hippie, that I’m a metal head) but none of those are accurate. My beard is a physical way of expressing my connection to my Dad – we don’t have much in common, so the fact that we both have beards is important to me.

  • AnonymousSam

    Google seems to indicate that this expression isn’t uncommon for her, but that could be photographer bias too, so… I don’t know. I’ll concede that. As I said in my last reply, the style of the photo made me think it was a professional job.

    And yes, but that’s why I said “affect,” not “determine.” I’m not trying to move the goalposts here, honestly, I swear my original post still has the same message, at least when I read it. I’d edit it for clarity, but that would feel dishonest at this point (the replies to it being based on the interpretation I created, willingly or unwillingly, and changing the interpretation others get by editing it would also affect how they read the replies).

    But in retrospect, “kernel of truth” was misleading. I didn’t mean to imply that there’s an ugly fat person waiting inside every rich person, just waiting to come out, nor that the many people who aren’t such are some sort of veneer to hide the truth. Two separate thoughts were being expressed there- “When such characters are portrayed in media, they’re calling upon public knowledge of women like Rinehart” and “I wonder how many women like her actually exist?”

  • Guest

    the media stereotype of rich women being fat, slovenly disgusting blobs thin, conventionally attractive beauties like Paris Hilton or Kim Kardashian who are worthy of our most rapt and breathless attention and admiration, constantly on the cover of tabloids and magazines, featured in fiction as main characters in novels, primetime dramas and films…
    Fixed that for you.

  • R_darkhill

    Funny thing about Australia, our conservative party is called the Liberals, if that makes any sense. Thankfully we don’t have the same right wing wealth worship, probably due to our origins as a prison colony, where the lowest and poorest were transported mostly for petty crimes such as stealing food.

  • Tricksterson

    It does actually.  you probably use the European definition of the term liberal rather than the American.

  • Emcee, cubed

    The Wizard if Oz was my first thought about the title. My second, when I remembered it was Fred, was  that it was a gang headed by a werewolf.

  • Nequam

    I think Frank Zappa said it best:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okiGs4_vdyA

  • Daughter

    Somewhat off-topic here: what do you think of this article, via Sullivan?

    I agree that Obama is probably an introvert, but does that mean he doesn’t like people?

    I’m an introvert, and yet I like people a great deal. I have few friends, but I also have few  people I really dislike. If I’m at a party in which I don’t know anyone, I’ll feel uncomfortable because I don’t easily strike up conversations with strangers. But if someone comes over to talk to me, I’ll usually really enjoy the conversation.

    From watching Obama do his meet and greets, it seems like he really enjoys meeting people and hearing their stories. That doesn’t mean it’s easy for him to let people get close to him; but nor does it mean he doesn’t like people.

    In contrast, I can’t tell whether Romney is an extrovert or an introvert, but either way, he seems to find most people distasteful. And generally, the sentiment is returned.

  • ako

     John Heilemann is using an inaccurate definition of introvert to draw a bad conclusion.  I think the introvert/extrovert thing tends to get oversimplified and misused a lot (I’ve been tested a few times and I come out around the middle, which makes the tendency to treat is as a binary extremely frustrating), and the whole “introverts don’t like people” thing is a popular misconception.  Every source I’ve seen says introverts find socialization energy-draining, which is somewhat different from not enjoying it, and completely different from not liking people.

    I always had the impression that President Obama likes and cares about people.  He might be an introvert (I’m skeptical of whether speculation based on public information is all that helpful), but that’s nothing to do with disliking people.

  • Lori

     

    Somewhat off-topic here: what do you think of this article, via Sullivan?

    I agree that Obama is probably an introvert, but does that mean he doesn’t like people?

    I’m an introvert, and yet I like people a great deal. I have few
    friends, but I also have few  people I really dislike. If I’m at a party
    in which I don’t know anyone, I’ll feel uncomfortable because I don’t
    easily strike up conversations with strangers. But if someone comes over
    to talk to me, I’ll usually really enjoy the conversation.  

    John Heilemann is a perfect example of why so many introverts have moments of thinking that “extrovert” is a synonym for “asshole”, at least in the US. US culture is so extrovert-oriented that a lot of extroverts have the idea that being an extrovert is right and being an introvert is somehow broken.

    Being an introvert does not mean not liking people.  I’m an introvert and I like people fine. Like you, I almost never initiate conversations with strangers, but if someone talks to me I’m happy to talk to them. (At least for a while.) I don’t like John Heilemann, but that’s because I don’t like assholes, not because I don’t like people.

    It is true that running for office is an unusual career choice for an introvert and it’s also likely true that certain things would be easier for Obama if he was a bit more the extroverted norm. That said, Clinton is the ultimate extrovert glad-hander and that didn’t prevent him from having problems with both the GOP and his own party while he was in office. The GOP meme about how Clinton worked with them on legislation is very much not what they were saying at the time and serves no purpose other than to try to hurt Obama. At the time they complained about Clinton too. They complain any time they don’t get their way. As for the Dems, Clinton was on the phone plenty and result in them supporting all his key legislation.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Which gives the lie to the claim that they want to work with Obama on legislation. They are incensed that a person of color is the President, and worse, a Democrat.

  • Daughter

     The “introverts don’t like people = Obama doesn’t like people” fallacy got a lot of pushback on Sully: http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/09/electing-an-introvert-ctd.html

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

    Speaking of introverts, A guide to Dealing With Introverts


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X