As a textual critic who came of age in the '90s, it is difficult for me to talk about authorial intention. Indeed, most academics today tell their students to avoid declaring "The message" of a text, encouraging them instead to respect the multivalence of meaning, the slipperiness of poetic discourse, and the freedom of the author to engage discursive play without being pinned down by an absolute interpretation. But I confess that, despite my training, after having watched The Hangover and read all over the Internet about it, I can't help but wonder if director Todd Phillips is a misogynistic asshole. Or maybe he is just a film director trying to make money by selling a film that denigrates women and celebrates a retrograde version of masculinity. When you live in a culture of rape, either way, it doesn't really matter.
Originally published at http://www.brightlightsfilm.com.