Newsweek Film Critic Turns Chick Flick Into an Out-With-Bush Metaphor
Newsweek is so enamored with Out With Bush, In With Obama that it even bleeds into its movie reviews. See Ramin Setoodeh’s latest web dispatch on the newest romantic comedy: "'He's Just Not That Into You' was dating advice born in the Bush era. But now that we have a new president, isn't it time we adopted a new strategy for love?"
Setoodeh’s not seriously suggesting that President Bush offered dating advice in his public pronouncements at the White House. He’s stretching from Bush’s immediate post-9/11 theory of geopolitics:
The appeal of the franchise is its cold-blooded simplicity: if a guy doesn't seem interested in you immediately when you meet him—if he doesn't call you, pursue you, sleep with you or slobber like a dog at your heels—then he's not worth your time. This was romantic advice for the Bush generation: a guy, like a foreign country, is either with you or against you. But we're in a new age, "the new era of responsibility," according to Obama, of hardship and hard work. Isn't it time we dumped "He's Just Not That Into You" like a lame date?
Paragraphs later, he offered the Obama contrast:
If there's anybody who can debunk "Not Into You," it's Barack Obama. Not just because he offers hope—something the self-help book never espouses—but because of the story of how he met his spouse. On the campaign trail, he'd often tell the story of his courtship with Michelle. They met at a Chicago law firm; he asked her out, she refused, over and over, until they eventually went on a first date (Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing"). The "Not Into You" backers cleverly say that stories like this are the exception, not the rule.
But think about all the married couples you know—how many of them actually had a perfect romance from day one? Literature and cinema certainly give us prime examples that contradict "He's Just Not That Into You." Look at Shakespeare or Jane Austen, or even at "Sex and the City" itself.
Setoodeh's playing with a straw man here: absolutely no one accomplishes "a perfect romance from day one." Obama's opponents can respect his apparently solid marriage, an obvious advantage last year in any comparison with Hillary Clinton. But George and Laura Bush surely had a strong marriage as well, strong enough that they might have decent dating advice that Newsweek never really acknowledges.