Thursday, 18 December 2008
A film based on the famous graphic novel by Daniel Clowes, Ghost World is a magic-realist paean to the tempestuous years between adolescence and adulthood. The protagonists are two American teenaged girls, one clearly Jewish, the other a fair-haired Anglo-Saxon.
Aside from the casual ridicule of the male sex so typical of these Anglo-American media productions, both the comic-book and the movie make a cardinal error in their depiction of teenage girls in general (and Anglo-American teenage girls in particular). This folly is common among sexually-troubled middle-aged men who choose to include young women in works of art or literature: for they project too much of their own life's wisdom into these wafer-thin personalities. In fact, teenage girls are not some complex blend of Dostoyevsky, Derrida and Ian Curtis: they are one-dimensional, shallow and negatively programmed by a matriarchal Anglo-American mass media that exalts them.
In other words, the heroines of Ghost World are not even believable fiction: they are figures entirely unrepresentative of real Anglo-American teenage girls. These are not alienated philosophers, Mr Clowes: not delicate aesthetes, political warriors or religious mystics. No, they are programmed, standard and plastic: the slime of the Anglosphere. And no, your 'mid life crisis' gives you no excuse to pretend otherwise.