Tuesday, July 6, 2010

An Excerpt from Ronald Reagan's Diary

February 14, 1981:
Ran a movie... It was a comedy (Jane Fonda, Dolly Parton, & Lilli Tomlin) "Nine To Five". Funny - but one scene made me mad.

Some brief background:

"Nine To Five" was a groundbreaking comedy that satirized the rampant sexism which far too often dominates American workplaces. Its protagonists are three female employees at a generic white-collar office, all of them archetypes - the hard-working and brainy jane-of-all-trades whose accomplishments always manage to be overlooked during promotion time (Tomlin), the busty blond who must fight not just the sexual advances of her leering boss but the malicious rumor-mongering of her female co-workers (Parton... surprised?), and the naive newbie whose idealism is quickly crushed by the unfairness which surrounds her (Fonda). As one might expect, the three women quickly form a friendship, which inevitably leads to laugh-filled nights of jocular fantasizing about all of the terrible things they'd love to do to their "sexist, egotistical, lying, hypocritical bigot" of a boss (brilliantly played by Dabney Coleman). This being a madcap comedy, though, those fantasies soon find unexpected ways of taking on a life of their own...

While I don't want to divulge too much about the plot of this movie (which I highly recommend), suffice to say that it is an incisive feminist parable that resonates just as well today as it did back in 1980. Considering Reagan's extreme right-wing agenda on women's issues - he opposed passing an Equal Rights Amendment, fought against abortion rights, tried to end the Title IX programs that guaranteed equal education opportunities for women and girls, derided single mothers who needed welfare to supplement poverty wages as being "welfare queens", and rejected working toward mandatory pay equity between the genders vis-a-vis appointees who dismissed such measures as "looney tunes" - you can easily guess the themes in this movie that he found objectionable.

Or can you?

Let's pick up where we left off...

... but one scene made me mad. A truly funny scene if the 3 gals had played getting drunk but no they had to get stoned on pot. It was an endorsement of Pot smoking for any young person who sees the picture.

I leave you with this question:

Is it more depressing that Ronald Reagan was too stupid to realize that this movie flouted the core principles of his own agenda on gender rights, or that the man who WASN'T angered by economic inequality, racial discrimination, and the AIDS epidemic managed to get his ire roused by watching three forty-something actresses enjoy a bit of the wacky tobacky?

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