Box Turtle Ben Versus The Movies

By now, Box Turtle Ben has been pretty well raked over the coals. He’s been exposed as a racist, a misogynist, an all-around ethically-challenged Republican the likes of which we’ve grown only too used to seeing these days. He’s bit the hand that now feeds him and his posts on Red America so far seem to focus exclusively on linking to Malkin. Yeah, ’cause there was a shortage of that in the wingersphere.

But I’d like to focus on an underexamined facet of Young Ben’s career: movie reviewer.

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Ben’s long-defunct personal blog provides hours of entertainment, especially in the instances in which he’s fancied himself a cultural critic.

I was fascinated by his take on the craptastic Autumn in New York, dismissed by most critics as overwrought, sentimentalist bullshit, but seen by Box Turtle Ben as a paean to — who else? — The Clenis:

Perhaps unintentionally, this film supplies an amazingly skillful portrayal of a modern character that has been defined, shaped, and apotheosized by our President.

Clinton owns this character.

He indwells it. He supplies a simple label with a flesh-and-blood reflection unmatched by any other living individual. He is, for all intents and purposes, the modern womanizer.

Will/Gere is introduced to us, as a 48-year-old “notorious womanizer” with a fear of commitment, a hefty bank account, and a marvelous pad. One night, while balancing the attention of several glamorous women, he meets up with Charlotte/Ryder, who is celebrating her 22nd birthday. Gere charms the girl into his arms (and his bed), while enduring inane monologues during walks through Central Park. “I can smell the rain,” she says on their first date. “When did I learn to do that?”


Will is, without a doubt, the uber-Clinton, the womanizer refined. He possesses all the glamour and natural beauty of the silver screen, the charm and skill of a politician without an Arkansas background or a wedding band. He does not know why he is a womanizer, except that he likes it. And he is willing to lie, even to the face of a loved one, to protect the secrecy of his habit.

There’s his defense of googly-eyed Jesus pornographer Mel Gibson:

Gibson isn’t just a good conservative because of his work onscreen — married to his wife Robyn for 20 years, a devoted Catholic and father of seven children, Gibson has distinctly avoided the pull of the Hollywood scene, speaking out on the importance of family and faith in modern culture despite being routinely named as one of the “Most Beautiful People.” In a recent interview, Gibson criticized the “culture of divorce” that plagues celebrities: “There’s nothing more important than your family . . . If you ruin that part of your life, what’s left? Work, money, screwing around? I see a lot of people living like that who tell themselves they’re having a good time, but if you look under the surface, you only see corpses masquerading as human beings.” Gibson added, “It’s my duty to be a good husband and father, and that’s probably the only thing in life that I take seriously.”

A good actor, a good father, and a good conservative — Mel Gibson is a rarity worth hailing in this day and age.

And his tireless cataloging of the way middle-school girls responded to the siren songs of Britney Spears:

Her fans, of course, are following suit. As they sing along with Britney’s chorus (“You think I’m in love/I’m sent from above/But I’m not that innocent”), the twelve-year-olds that were knotting their shirts “like Britney!” last summer are now showing off tight leather skirts and platform boots. No, this is nothing new in the realm of pop singer idolatry. The Madonna-philes of the 1980s segued nicely from the “Like A Virgin” stage to the “Material Girl” stage, with a few Boy-Toy sidetrips in between. What’s changed is that Madonna — and Pat Benatar, Cyndi Lauper, and a handful of others — in large part influenced high-school girls. Britney Spears is radically changing the habits of sixth graders.

The old adage rings true — children are getting older faster every day. Spears has become a poster child for an America that increasingly forces adulthood on the prepubescent, and as the teen pop star transforms herself into an adult sex object, she brings legions of younger fans right along with her.

But where Young Ben really shines, however, is in his stirring and heartfelt defense of Bridget Jones:

Some women, of course, do not relate to Bridget at all. If they ever wanted a man, they drove their hooks into him early, and skipped the single life entirely, except perhaps for that short feminist excursion in college.


Through no fault of her own, Bridget and women like her live in a period of time where, if nice guys are scarce, gentlemen have been hunted down to extinction. The true reason that many women empathize with Bridget Jones isn’t just because of the embarrassing social situations, the cliquish infighting among friends, or the loneliness of single life, but that they recognize the painful reality of her situation. The number of available men who exemplify masculine ideals and gentlemanly conduct are few and far between. And regardless of the reasons for such a famine, until a significant number of men begin to change, to stand up on their own two feet and treat the fairer sex with respect and honor, the population of Bridget Joneses will surely increase, with no end in sight.

Pity the poor single women. If only they’d “sunk their hooks” into a man nice and early like all the good girls did.

Forget blogging for Red America. The Washington Post should have hired this guy to replace Desson Thomson.