One of the common responses I’ve gotten to my analysis of The Last Jedi as a “leftist porno” is that I’m projecting.
It’s just a movie; I’m taking it too seriously. Politicizing media is what SJWs do—why am I stooping to their level? Treating media this way just polarizes people and encourages them to treat even benign things as ideological hills to die on. I’m reading too much into it and making conservatives look bad.
One commenter complains—
but I watched the movie twice, the second time with an open eye for the political content, and I didn’t see one bit about how it was politicized.
—which seems to me rather like a fish saying it tested that pond twice, the second time with an open eye for wetness, and didn’t see one bit how it was wet.
Although movies are fiction, they still convey ideas and messages that mean something. And this is true even when the filmmaker himself doesn’t consciously intend to convey a particular message. For example, even if Patty Jenkins hadn’t intended Wonder Woman to convey the message that anything men can do, women can do better (and in heels), it would nonetheless have conveyed that message—along with many more that flow from it, such as that women should be celebrated in combat and leadership roles.
It is our role as viewers to discerningly interpret what messages are being conveyed.
In other words, this is fundamentally a question of exegesis.
That being so, the fact that leftist commentators and reviewers are noting the clear messages in The Last Jedi—for instance, “Who run the worlds? Girls” Rosie Fletcher, How Star Wars: The Last Jedi is the first truly feminist Star Wars film in Digital Spy (December, 2017).—really puts the lie to the naïve denial that any such messages exist. If Hollywood were populated by level-headed political moderates, we could plausibly say that the liberal commentators were just projecting their own political predilections onto the movie. Ideological eisegesis. We could debate how much the movie really conveys those messages, and what other messages it might have intended instead.
But the opposite is true: Hollywood is populated by leftist ideologues, and so when commentators who are also leftist ideologues note the obvious messages in the movie, it behooves us to pay attention. Sound exegesis starts by asking, “What would this mean to the author and his audience?” And leftist ideologues understand the author, because they are his audience.
Conservatives pooh-poohing and saying that this all reads too much into it—that is the true eisegesis.
Conservative responses of this kind remind me of when leftists just can’t believe that jihadists really want to destroy Western civilization. It’s a head-in-the-sand mentality. “Well I’m not like that, so I can’t believe anyone is. I’m sure they just don’t understand us. I’ll show them how much I admire Islam and then they will like me.” It fundamentally misunderstands the nature of man’s heart, and the selectivity of God’s grace—and betrays a woeful theory of mind.
But more than that, in the case of feminism, it indicates the extent to which many conservatives have already become collaborators in the culture wars. Their egos are heavily invested in feminine tropes and ways of thinking; in proving to everyone that they are the kind of men which women say they approve of. Some are more overt, actively seeking feminine approval for their shaming of those who point out the obvious; others are more confused, often seeing the problem but misplacing the blame onto men.
Either way, however, they are so inured to the primacy of feminine directives in society that they have lost most of their awareness of them. Supplicants, sacrificing their masculinity on the altar of femininity—in the dark.