Safely nestled in my comfy study, surrounded by my framed vintage Howling Commandos and Spider-Man covers, Chewbacca POP! figure on one bookshelf and Catwoman on another, it’s easy to forget just how really awful the world can be. I mean, sure, there are first world problems we deal with, like bullying and wage gaps and unpaid maternity leave, and those are all totally real and legitimate, but once you get outside the walls of your own quaint reality you start to see some really horrible shit affecting people on a much more primal Maslovian level, and it’s goddamn scary. Our planet can be a horror show on a very routine basis, ranging all the way from destructive acts of nature leaving tens of thousands without homes, to the senseless ravages of terrorism leaving heartbroken families and mutilated bodies in its wake. And, fuck, those are just two examples from last week.
We live in an interesting world, different from one not even an entire generation ago. Information is instantaneous, and the alacrity in which we receive bad news now seems like a pushy salesman who won’t leave the doorstep; in How Green My Valley, Richard Llewellyn remarked, “Bad news has good legs,” and that was back in 1939. Today’s bad news has modernized–it doesn’t walk anymore, it flies at the speed of electrical impulse. Social media is a vessel for all things for all people, and we voice our displeasure with information simply by clicking “dislike.” In a world where we bear witness to almost-regular postings about widespread malfeasance and turmoil before breakfast, one particular headline I saw popping up everywhere this week really stuck out to me:
I’m not going to lie to you. I thought the new Ghostbusters trailer was kinda shitty.
The whole thing looks like it’s trying too hard, oblivious to the aloof cool goofiness of the original, lost in over-produced broad gags and raunch. I loved the original film, as do many–it’s one of those rare cinematic miracles that pulls of near-perfection, with all of its talent hitting their stride at the exact right time. It’s hard to repeat that kind of immaculate production; even the same people couldn’t quite do it just a few years later in the tepidly-received sequel. I mean, I dig what they’re doing here with the all-lady cast, and each of those women can be super hilarious in their own right, so maybe the chemistry is there? I’ll definitely be in line to see it in a few months, but my expectations are as tempered as Damascus steel, and honestly, I was much more looking forward to the purported Channing Tatum/Christ Pratt Ghostbusters movie that has apparently fallen apart (though I’m still down for MIB 23 like no way). So when I paused at hearing the very official pronouncement that this new Ghostbusterinas trailer was, indeed, the shittiest thing ever, a few thoughts ran through my empty girl brain:
- “Well, yeah. It was pretty shitty.”
- “Wait, it wasn’t that shitty. I mean, I’ve seen far shittier.”
- “I wonder what is the ‘dislike’ count is for, like, really shitty stuff? Does it scale?”
I did some research, and in the interest of some weird appeal to fairness, I tried to find the most obviously awful YouTube videos I could and see how their reception faired, and I even had categories and mathematical ratios that I made up. This was totally professional is what I’m saying, my dyscalculia notwithstanding. It’s science now. Deal with it.
So in addition to the WORST YOUTUBE VIDEO EVAR, I compared the trailer for one of the worst-rated movies evar, Adam Sandler’s The Ridiculous Six (currently sitting at a perfect zero RT score), and the worst non-movie video I could think of, Osama Bin Laden’s filmed interview where he takes responsibility for the 9/11 attacks. Here were the stats I found a few days ago:
Is the methodology solid here? Maybe not. Maybe the Ghostbusters trailer is objectively more than six times shittier than the trailer for Adam Sandler’s latest “take all my friends on a paid vacation” scheme, a trailer that features Rob Schneider as a racist Mexican stereotype and Mark Twain speaking like some street punk. It’s all subjective, I guess, though I would point out that while both trailers are kinda bad, only one of them prominently features Taylor Lautner pretending to be mentally handicapped to get laughs.
The important thing, I feel, to take from this contrasting data is that people saw the trailer for the worst-received movie ever made and thought it looked exponentially better than a movie where a bunch of scientists fight ghosts with lasers. Likewise, people looked upon the confession of the biggest killer of Americans in modern times and said, “You know, I hate this, but only, like, half as much as I might hate a reboot of Ghostbusters starring ladies from SNL.”
The point being, people went well out of their way to mark their utter disdain for a two-minute snippet of a movie that hasn’t even come out yet. One question comes to mind: whyyyyyyyyyyy?
In my research for this article, I ran across something that seemed a little fishy: turns out, all these headlines are wrong, and this trailer isn’t the WORST, it’s merely one of the worst. 17th-worst, in fact. Here’s the list. But there seems to be a recurring theme with these poor red-headed stepchildren of the YouTube wasteland:
- People totally fucking hate Justin Bieber
- And Rebecca Black
- And Miley Cyrus, too
- And, um… Nikki Minaj? Wait…
- Plus Katy Perry? WTF? She played the goddamned Super Bowl!
- Taylor Swift? You gotta be fucking kidding me with this, right?
Matter o’ fact, those six characters take up fifteen(!) spots on the Top 25 Most Disliked list, and I feel really weird about that, because A) Nikki Minaj is fucking amazing, and B) “Shake It Off” is an infectiously awesome track on an album that had a ton of Grammy nominations and it won a jillion “Best Song” awards, and C) Katy Perry shot whipped cream from her nipples in a video and danced with LeftShark, she’s an American hero and I won’t hear otherwise. So you can look at those and draw a few conclusions, like, “people hate music” or “people hate pop music” or “people hate attractive women,” which statistics tell us is all totally true because no one likes popular music and porn is definitely not something people are into in large numbers.
Here’s another statistic that pairs interestingly with all this, though: all those ladies that catch so much YouTube hate? Um, well, other ladies like them. Really like them, a lot. So sayeth Spotify, which lists Cyrus, Minaj, Perry, and Swift in their top ten female artists among all female listeners. Could… could it be that men on the internet are expressing some kind of systematic animosity directed at prominent women in our culture?
But wait, maybe these menfolk have valid reasons for their downvotes. There are some legitimate avenues of criticism of this Ghostbusters sheboot. Perhaps we can find polite, reasonable discourse if we check Twitter.
@voxday gender aside, original Ghostbusters at least weren't fat
— Константин Мокин (@goga002) March 3, 2016
My Ghostbusters have dicks. Long, swinging, dicks. They're also funny. These Ghostbusters have big fat sweaty vaginas and are not funny.
— Matty Almeida (@MattyCat24) March 3, 2016
The feminazi #Ghostbusters movie is misandrist propaganda from the Hollywood Left who want erase the white male from history. Do NOT watch.
— The Web's Sam Grady (@TheSamGrady) March 3, 2016
Dear Paul Feig,
Stay the fuck out of my Ghostbusters, you worthless, pandering shitbag.
The opposite of love, Gregg
— Motörgregg (@clinteldorado) October 8, 2014
It goes on and on, I assure you. And maybe they do have a point. Maybe Kate McKinnon really does have a big, sweaty vagina. I can see how that might distract from one’s enjoyment at the megaplex. There she is, up on the screen bustin’ ghosts and whatnot, and all that time she’s got swampcrotch from hours under those hot studio lights. I mean, you can’t tell, of course, because this is a fucking movie where people are wearing pants and you’re just some asshole in the audience worried about something that totally doesn’t matter in the slightest, but, gah, what if, man? WHAT. IF. This same scenario is why I can’t go see anything starring Michael Douglas, because I just know that silver fox is packing a mean case of the ballsweats underneath whatever tasteful slacks he’s Gordon Gekkoing around in. I feel your pain, America! Hypothetical Genital Moisture Anxiety is a real thing and deserves to be taken seriously!
In conclusion, Taylor Swift is pretty cool and one of the only girls I know of taller than me, and “Shake It Off” is one of the greatest videos of all time (of all time!), and somehow throngs of people have made time in their busy lives to mark down their dissatisfaction with a bouncy pop song whose message ironically implores us, in so many words, to fuck the haters and just enjoy shit. Take that phenomenon, throw in internet trolls angry that a remake happened to their favorite thing, blow it up to tentpole-release proportions, and slap on a big middle-finger to misogynists, and baby, you’ve got a stew going.
Maybe the new Ghostbusters movie will indeed be terrible; the trailer certainly makes it seem like it might, and I have no compulsion to argue otherwise simply out of some appeal to sorority. However, this movie, or any movie, will never be bad simply because of the gender of the cast. If a little increased representation gets your manly men’s underwear in a twist, maybe your concept of your own masculinity is a little too fragile. And dainty. With, like, lacy fringe and shit.