I have to confess that after reading his most recent column in the New York Times, I started feeling kind of sorry for the poor guy. It turns out that two of Douthat's most favorite movies are the pre-pubescent silly comedies Knocked Up and The 40-Year Old Virgin. The reasons why he likes these truly idiotic films is are ideological (trust it to Douthat to find ideology even in something this inane): "They’ve made an effectively conservative message about relationships and reproduction seem relatable, funny, down-to-earth and even sexy." So staying a virgin until the age of 40 and an unwanted pregnancy are what Douthat finds sexy. As we have seen from his previous columns, Douthat's sex life is so miserable that he must be really lamenting not keeping his virginity for good (I wrote about the reasons for his hatred of women here and here .)
The director of these silly movies has just released a new film called Funny People. The lack of success of this movie makes Douthat really sad. I, however, see a lot of hope in this movie's failure. Maybe people are getting tired of this mindless kind of entertainment. Maybe they feel that they can finally have an agency in this world and don't need to numb themselves by Adam Sandler's stupid jokes and repetitive comic routines.
It's funny how Douthat's language always betrays certain truths that Douthat's badly digested conservatism prevents him from verbalizing. This is what he has to say about marriage: "More than most Westerners, Americans believe — deeply, madly, truly — in the sanctity of marriage." Douthat is right here, of course. Believing in the "sanctity" of any institution is, indeed, crazy. Believing in Judd Apatow's movies (which according to Douthat are based on "endless penis jokes and all") is even more insane. These films don't have a message, political or otherwise. All they do is provide us with completely mindless, escapist entertainment that we all need every once in a while. It doesn't oocur to anybody except Douthat, though, to take them seriously and build a political agenda around them.