Friday, October 20, 2006

I loathe Sofia Coppola

But I enjoy her movies.

Recall that I am a resentful, jealous person, and read on.

She makes movies about the problem of being beautiful and static. Movies that are in general assumed to be artful, distorted memoirs of her life as daughter of the glamourous rich and wife of the jet-setting creative. I loved Lost in Translation. The film has the charm of being taken as temporary confidante by the charming high school queen bee, too guileless to be a mean girl.

But I want her to stop making movies. I want to beg her to sit down and resolve her life, with her friends and family, talk endlessly about the terrible burden of never being challenged enough in life and in marriage, being valued shallowly.

I will see Marie Antoinette. I will, likely, enjoy it. And I will leave the theater angry. I loathe that there are some types of work, always the most fulfilling, reserved for the children of the rich and connected. Sofia Coppola, born Sophie Smith, would not be a filmmaker.

It doesn't matter that she is a good filmmaker, and that some would argue they are valid and interesting contributions to the marketplace; it would matter if, say, she were an excellent accountant whose daddy happens to be the inventor accounting. Then, one might say, what does it matter if she does as good a job as the next person who would have been hired?

The difference is that if you are qualified to be an accountant, and you are talented, and hardworking, and skillful- you have a very good chance of becoming an accountant. A talented, hardworking, skillful, qualified filmmaker (or writer, or artist, or actor, or actress, or designer) has almost no ability to compete with Sofia Coppola and her ilk. The nepotism inherent in creative fields, the fields that would benefit most from the elevation of the talented over the connected is vulgar, disgusting, and nauseating to any person who consumes or creates entertainment, art, or media.

Nepotism destroys the impression of meritocracy on which American dreams are built. We should legislate against it, as we do discrimination. Perhaps we should allow some nepotism, in small, private businesses, or home businesses- but in any business over 50 employees, or publicly traded stock, we should recognize that there is a vital public policy interest in forcing qualifications and talent to dictate opportunity.

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