Hollywood Gothique
The Archive

Zardoz Meets David Brooks

James Wolcott has a very funny post in which he theorizes that he has found the text that inspires contemporary conservative writers like David Brooks (who thinks that women should get married and have babies right after high school, and then maybe think about going to college and getting a career after their children have grown up).

Wolcott believes that John Boorman’s cult film ZARDOZ is the culprit. It’s a science fiction movie in which Sean Connery plays a virile, loin-clothing wearing character who restores the natural order to a futuristic world ruled by immortal, cold-hearted women and their impotent men.

I’ve only seen ZARDOZ once, long ago, but I do recall enjoying the extent to which it tried to do something intellectually interesting with the science fiction genre. (Frederick S. Clarke, the late editor of Cinefantastique magazine, called it a rare example of science fiction cinema that was the intellectual equal of the liteary form of the genre, which was more noted for its intellectual depth).

Still, I have to admit that Wolcott has a point (even if that point is based less on his own thinking than on quoting extensively from Pauline Kael’s review of the film). This is the kind of film that some insecure man could watch while thinking, “Right, this is what goes wrong when civilization becomes to feminized, and it takes a real he-man to set things right.”

Anyway, read the post. It’s good for a chuckle.