Behold, dear humans, a bleak and terrible universe, wrapped around a dank, sadness-studded planet, all emitting an armpit reek so toxic it is like nothing you have ever known, and will never want to know again.
Does this universe look, upon first glance, shiny and lighthearted and fun? It is not. It is only darkness and self-hatred and pain.
Surely you know this already. You know, if you’re reading this column, or any column, all about this wretched world where women are one-dimensional harridans and males are soaked to the bone with sexism, homophobia, bloat, waste, bad beer, numb violence and callous regret, where flatulence and vomit jokes are king of the humor pile and a large deer urinating on your face while your impossibly beautiful wife screams in mock terror inside your tasteless bedroom one bright and shiny morning occurs very early in the movie, you know, just for laughs.
Do you know this world? This movie? This strange and sour man who makes it all happen? I think you do. You probably even know his name.
See, there was a time, not long ago and maybe it was just last week, where I would have been all too happy to expend a hot blip of writerly energy railing, rather uselessly, against Adam Sandler and the trademark idiotosphere depicted in all his movies, pointing out Sandler’s incredible skill at reducing all of human existence — the male of the species in particular — down to a feeble date-rape joke, told by flaccid frat boys, signifying nothing.
Was a time, in fact, I would have thoroughly enjoyed skewering Sandler’s impressive ability to make the world a worse and sadder place through lazy, gross-out comedy, how his skill at convincing millions of undereducated Americans that all men are just flabby, emotionally stunted perverts and women are needy whiners was weirdly unparalleled in the popular culture, to the tune of a $46 million, No. 1 weekend opening for his critically loathed “Grown-Ups 2.”
“He’s just giving people what they want,” the meek counter-argument usually goes, which is sort of like saying people sort of “want” diabetes from inhaling junk food. “Some people find him funny, so what’s the harm?” goes another. “There’s no accounting for taste,” says everyone else, fatalistically, as if there was nothing to be done about it.
These are all, of course, totally false. Nothing is foregone, and nothing of Sandler’s ilk is the slightest bit harmless. You can always choose. There is always a way to contribute positively to the culture, or demean and destroy it. You can work to increase the vibration, or you can expend tremendous energy lowering it. Simple.
But I will not take that route this time. Because I have learned. Or rather, I am still learning. I am learning to see people like Adam Sandler as not merely brainless grist to be mocked and mourned like one mourns the existence of Texas Republicans, or Antonin Scalia, or the Vatican, or Florida.
Rather, I am learning to flip it all around, to see Sandler and his ilk (hi, Judd Apatow) as shining examples, a beautiful beacon, a gleaming axis of negative possibility the around while I can revolve my deeper intuition of what life can really be.
In other words, I recognize, with all sorts of delightful, wine-enhanced epiphany, that Adam Sandler perfectly represents the thing not to become. And he does so brilliantly.
See, Sandler is the cautionary take writ large, the toxic place you avoid like karmic Chernobyl, a giant pothole made of spiritual vacuity and rotten asparagus and nails. His casually venomous…
Read the rest of this column by clicking here
Mark Morford is the author of The Daring Spectacle: Adventures in Deviant Journalism, a mega-collection of his finest columns for the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate, and the creator of the new Mark Morford’s Apothecary iOS app. He’s also a well-known ERYT yoga instructor in San Francisco. Join him on Facebook, or email him. Not to mention…