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The other guys 1


Manliness in the democracy

Real men look like The Rock – a wrestler. They are colored, which is – pace my Viking readers – pretty manly: A life lived in the harsh sun, in nature. Now The Rock is a pretty suggestive name & the man must be 6’2” & well over 220lbs. The movie opens with them in hot pursuit. – Any pursuit involving them will be hot.

They hardly fit in a democracy. They destroy $12 million worth of property – money is important in a democracy – & then brag about the killing, the sex, & the fame. They celebrate with celebrities. They are dangerous boasters.

These manly men die thinking they are immortal. Public opinion is responsible. Men look up to them so much, they have come to think they are like gods. The democracy made them: they declare they love NYC in NYC & beg the crowd’s opinion… Maybe they are content to flatter crowds these days, but what about their virtues? When they speak with their colleagues, they declare fraternity & fellow feeling. When a cop wants to say something, he is told: If I wanna hear you talk, I’ll shove my arm up your ass & work your mouth like a puppet.

This is an odd comedy. It enacts briefly the Roman tribunes’ criticism of would-be consul Coriolanus in Shakespeare’s tragedy. Halfway through the first act, the men jump off a building & slam into reality & concrete simultaneously. They promptly lose their glory & their third dimension… We laugh, baffled. What drives men off the edge? Everything else has to be judged in the same way. It is comedic literalism, pretending to misunderstand what people say in metaphoric ways, just to show how stupid those sayings really are.

Then there’s the funeral. The men whose prowess shall impress us some other time, if at all, & two other cops, bullies, start a fight. A muffled fight – for the sake of decency. Their boss tries to stop them: the old man knows the antics & testosterone – but from memory. Maybe he has learned prudence over the years, but he certainly doesn’t have his strength left. Only the young die strong.

Our superstar cops died in their prime… The policemen pray God will let them take their .357s to heaven. Justice is justice: live by the gun, die by the gun, & also spend the afterlife by the gun. Men do not change, they just die. They die standing up for themselves. But we must ask, What is worth dying for? Provisionally, the fact that the superstars die, but not the replacements, suggests there is such a thing as excessive manliness. We will now have to look at moderate manliness. Apparently, it includes humor.

Best cop comedy in a long time. See it.