The Gospel According to Saint Angelina

My new piece at The Federalist:

Angelina Jolie wants us to talk about rape, but not in the Western-centric, man-blaming, feminist-professor way of the chattering classes.

She would like us to move beyond insular #YesAllWomen Twitter outrage to a global perspective with a broader, wiser understanding of the evils of human nature and the ability to overcome that evil with good.

Jolie stepped into this conversation way back in 2009 when she agreed to lend her considerable star power to a movie that explored rape in the context of a children’s story.

That movie became “Maleficent,” the blockbuster fairytale backstory dominating the domestic and global box office.

Jolie confirmed June 10 to the BBC that, as some had theorized, the wing-stealing scene does indeed refer to sexual violation.

“We were very conscious, the writer and I, that [the scene in question] was a metaphor for rape,” Jolie said.

The crucial scene depicts the fairy Maleficent meeting her human sweetheart. Motivated by ambition, he drugs her and cuts off her wings.

Hayley Krischer at the Huffington Post was shaken by this storyline: “This is the horrific side of rape culture. We’re so enmeshed in it that it’s impossible to ignore that a metaphorical rape occurs in a Disney movie.”

She shouldn’t be shocked.

Click here to read the rest at The Federalist.

Review: Angelina Jolie stars in ‘Maleficent,’ an Irony-Free Answer to ‘Wicked’

2001 brought us Shrek on the silver screen and 2003 Wicked on stage. Both stories made the case for the villain, how society is so twisted that evil is good and the villain really the hero.

The wind has shifted again and 2014 brings us Angelina Jolie in Malificent, the story of the fairy who curses the princess known as Sleeping Beauty.

Malificent isn’t misunderstood or disguised good wrapped in black leather. She isn’t a victim of circumstance. She isn’t delightfully evil or wickedly charming. [Read more...]

Family Man Brad Pitt: ‘I Haven’t Known Life to Be Any Happier’

Brad Pitt, who shares six children with Angelina Jolie, has never been happier, he tells Esquire.

The Daily Mail reports on the story, which will be in the June/July issue of Esquire.

‘I always thought that if I wanted to do a family, I wanted to do it big,’ he explained. ‘I wanted there to be chaos in the house… there’s constant chatter in our house, whether it’s giggling or screaming or crying or banging.

‘I love it. I love it. I love it. I hate it when they’re gone. I hate it. Maybe it’s nice to be in a hotel room for a day – “Oh, nice, I can finally read  a paper.” But then, by the next day, I miss that cacophony, all that life.’

Hard at work: Brad, who is promoting his new movie World War Z, was spotted leaving a meeting in Los Angeles on Wednesday

He talks about the point at which his life changed to wanting to do something good:

‘For a long time I thought I did too much damage – drug damage,’ he said. ‘I was a bit of a drifter. A guy who felt he grew up in something of a vacuum and wanted to see things, wanted to be inspired. I followed that other thing. I spent years f***ing off.

‘But then I got burnt out and felt that I was wasting my opportunity. It was a conscious change. This was about a decade ago. It was an epiphany – a decision not to squander my opportunities. It was a feeling of get up. Because otherwise, what’s the point?’

For more, including his reaction to Jolie’s breast cancer surgery, read the full post at Daily Mail and the excerpt at Esquire.