!!> Reading ➽ Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity ➶ Author Drucilla Cornell – Terrapin-info.co.uk

Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity In This Risk Taking Book, A Major Feminist Philosopher Engages The Work Of The Actor And Director Who Has Progressed From Being The Stereotypical Man S Man To Pushing The Boundaries Of The Very Genres The Western, The Police Thriller, The War Or Boxing Movie Most Associated With American Masculinity Cornell S Highly Appreciative Encounter With The Films Directed By Clint Eastwood Revolve Around The Questions What Is It To Be A Good Man And What Is It To Be, Not Just An Ethical Person, But Specifically An Ethical Man Focusing On Eastwood As A Director Rather Than As An Actor Or Cultural Icon, She Studies Eastwood In Relation To Major Philosophical And Ethical Themes That Have Been Articulated In Her Own Life S WorkIn Her Fresh And Revealing Readings Of The Films, Cornell Takes Up Pressing Issues Of Masculinity As It Is Caught Up In The Very Definition Of Ideas Of Revenge, Violence, Moral Repair, And Justice Eastwood Grapples With This Involvement Of Masculinity In And Through Many Of The Great Symbols Of American Life, Including Cowboys, Boxing, Police Dramas, And Ultimately War Perhaps The Single Greatest Symbol Of What It Means Or Is Supposed To Mean To Be A Man Cornell Discusses Films From Across Eastwood S Career, From His Directorial Debut With Play Misty For Me To Million Dollar BabyCornell S Book Is Not A Traditional Book Of Film Criticism Or A Cinematographic Biography Rather, It Is A Work Of Social Commentary And Ethical Philosophy In A World In Which We Seem To Be Losing Our Grip On Shared Symbols, Along With Community Itself, Eastwood S Films Work With The Fragmented Symbols That Remain To Us In Order To Engage Masculinity With The Most Profound Moral And Ethical Issues Facing Us Today

  • Paperback
  • 216 pages
  • Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity
  • Drucilla Cornell
  • English
  • 14 February 2017
  • 9780823230136

About the Author: Drucilla Cornell

Drucilla Cornell is National Research Foundation Professor in Customary Law, Indigenous Ideals, and the Dignity Jurisprudence at the University of Cape Town in South Africa and Professor of Political Science, Women Gender Studies, and Comparative Literature at Rutgers University.

15 thoughts on “Clint Eastwood and Issues of American Masculinity

  1. says:

    If you re into Eastwood, especially the films he directed, this is sure to enlighten or enrage you, depending on your bent It enlightened me.When I first saw The Unforgiven, with the rape scene from High Plains Drifter still resonating in my head, my comment was that Munny, the reluctant gunman turned farmer, dissed everything Eastwood was known for Indeed, the entire movie did.Cornell s thesis is that Eastwood, in the films he directed, explored and even agonized over how a man must be to be a good lover and husband She explains that rape scene in Drifter away by reminding us that, as we see as the movie progresses, The Stranger is really a former Marshal of the town who was beated and left for dead The woman he rapes was instrumental in that beating, and she had been in a relationship with him In any event, that was an early movie of Eastwood s He had cut his teeth on the spaghetti Westerns with their senseless killings and macho devaluing of the feminine Eastwood has spent much of the rest of his life questioning notions like the solitary strong male and killing even in war and the pursuit of justice In an early film he even says that when you kill someone, you not only take away what he has, but what he could be He also explores love, both that between males and females, but also that of parents for their chiildren Revenge, its justification or wrongness, is another ethical question Eastwood tackles Finally, his war movies Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima show that there is no heroism in war Men and boys are put in a horrific situation and they just react The ones picked to be heroes may not even be the right ones He also shows that the enemy is no different from us It s odd that Eastwood is a lifelong Republican If he uses World War II, the just war, to question heroism and war itself, what must he have think about Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and now Afghanistan For me to give Cornell s analyses of even a few of his films would go far beyond a book review Instead, I ll list some of the movies she discusses and her assessment of what they are really about, and how Eastwood defied Hollywood norms For instance, in The Unforgiven, Munny s partner and equal is a black man In traditional Westerns, Afican Americans were sidekicks, not equals Munny himself feels he was not worthy of Claudia, his dead wife, because of his past as a gunman That is why he is unforgiven.Eastwood shot Bridges of Madison County entirely from the woman s view Francesca is not as some feminists say an object of male gaze Kincaid, with whom she has the affair, treats her with love and respect Her husband, whom she elects to stay with as a point of honor, treats her like a wife That is, the one who cooks, cleans and raises the kids Cornell points out that he even calls her by a bastardization of her Italian name, Frannie.In Million Dollar Baby, Eastwood explores love and remorse Cornell says the very heartbeat of this movie is the theme of the risks taken on by opening oneself to the possibility of love When you love, you put yourself in the way of pain, but not to love is empty Interestingly, just as in Bridges, where you see through a woman s eye, in Million Dollar Baby the narrator is Morgan Freeman, who tells the story of Frankie Dunn In Hollywood, African Americans do not, as a rule, narrate the lives of white men.The ethical questions about revenge form the core of Mystic River Cornell entitles the chapter on this movie Parables of Revenge and Masculinity in Mystic River There are many issues of masculinity, starting with the rape of the boy Rape is supposedly an even greater wound to males than to females because men are supposed to be inpenetrable In any event, one man in this movie loses his pregnant wife and, to get her back, he has to learn to communicate with her He has to learn not to be like his buddies who are kings in their homes One man kills another to avenge his daughter s murder Unfortunately, he killed the wrong person However, since he considers himself a king, he still feels vindicated.Other issues Cornell raises are that of the double in films, and the issue of the phallus vs the penis The penis is what a man has The phallus is what he thinks he has and what he thinks that entitles him to Needless to say, Eastwood rejects phallic power Oh, yes, I know that scene in Dirty Harry with the 44 magnum filling the screen like a giant phallus But that was early Eastwood, and he didn t direct that one himself He has, however, directed 40 films, many of which he produced and co wrote as well as directed Famed directors like Martin Scorsese can t claim a body of film nearly so large or so provocative and searching.In Blood Work, McCaleb receives a heart transplant from a woman named Gloria Called upon to solve her murder, which made the heart available to him, her sister tells him to Ask Gloria when he is in doubt He himself later says that is what he does He seeks the answer that would satisfy a woman Interestingly, in this rather ho hum and far fetched who dunnit, McCaleb does something women only are supposed to do Before trying to make love to Gloria s sister, who has from the start come on to him, he examines himself in the mirror to see if his scarred body would be a deterrent This review does not hint at the depth of Cornell s analyses I have avoided the language of cinematic criticism, which she uses wisely and well Considering the Lacanians I ve suffered through and she does cite Lacan she is a model of clarity.

  2. says:

    Bleh I was intrigued by the premise of this book, but it offers few major insights into Eastwood s work The great majority of it deals with plot summary for the many films covered The insights on a film by film level are sometimes worthwhile, if often painfully obvious Anyone who s seen Flags of our Fathers knows it s an anti war film, but it takes Cornell 10 pages to get that point across What bothered me even was the sloppiness of the book In numerous instances Cornell interchanges names most significantly The Sands of Iwo Jima and Letters from Iwo Jima kind of a major difference , misspells or isn t consistent with other names, and evidences either a lack of copy editing or an incompetent editor You can get the entire point of the book by reading Cornell s conclusion and watching Eastwood s films yourself a pastime much enjoyable than spending a few hours with this book.

  3. says:

    Subversion of masculinity in Eastwood s films Some work, some don t Overall a great book if you re looking for ways Eastwood didn t uphold the stereotypes of a white man.

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