Positive Cynicism – Steven Spielberg’s entire career in one word

Aaron Davis

Aaron R. Davis

That word? Penis.

At least, that’s what my weird friend Harlan thinks.

Now, we can all tell from watching his films that Steven Spielberg is an emotional child, spending a life directing movies where men are weak and incapable, women are distant or emotionally disapproving and childhood is revered to an embarrassing level. But how, pray tell, are they also about the penis?

“It’s obvious,” Harlan says. “Just watch the damn things. Penis symbolism is everywhere. Spielberg is terrified of not being able to measure up, so it’s all about either conquering it or mastering it. And that’s it.”

Seriously? Well, let’s just ask Harlan what Spielberg movies are “really” about, shall we?

Duel: “A henpecked man is chased across the country by an 18-wheeled penis that might as well be named Patriarchal Disapproval.”

The Sugarland Express: “A henpecked man uses guns as penis substitutes in order to win the approval of his deranged wife.”

Jaws: “A hydrophobic man has to go into the water and prove that even though he’s not a scientist or a manly, crusty old shark captain, he can still conquer the 25-foot tooth-filled penis that’s terrorizing his island community.”

Close Encounters: “A henpecked man reclaims the wonder of his childhood by meeting aliens at the top of a giant stone penis.”

1941: “Submarines, planes and childish glimpses at garters. The whole thing is Spielberg jacking off to things he thinks he remembers from his childhood, even though he was born after World War II. It plays like it was made by a 12 year-old.”

The Indiana Jones movies: “It’s all about fatherhood: first he’s a big kid who apparently date-raped his substitute daddy’s little girl; then he’s a man-child whose best friend is a little orphan kid; then he spends an entire movie trying to gain daddy’s approval; and finally the roles are reversed and he’s the daddy, only he’s desperate for his son’s approval. Plus, he carries a big flaccid penis that he’s overly fond of — his whip — and he’s terrified of snakes. Come on, are you blind?”

E.T.: “A boy with an absent father and an emotionally distant mother learns to play with himself. E.T. is the penis; his neck even becomes erect when he’s excited. At the end, the boy’s penis is placed among the heavens.”

The Color Purple: “A man beats and rapes his wife for years because he wants his father’s approval. Penis as instrument of revenge and self-loathing.”

Empire of the Sun: “Boy dreams about flying his own penis.”

Always: “Richard Dreyfuss explodes while flying his own penis. Maybe he wasn’t careful enough. Has to find Holly Hunter a substitute penis so he can get into heaven.”

Hook: “Henpecked Peter Pan hangs out with children and can’t remember how to fly until he loves being a father enough. Because he made his kids with his penis. That’s why Captain Hook is such a dandy: he needs to dress up his flaccidness in order to hide his fears of impotence.”

Jurassic Park: “Well, it’s a creation thing: Richard Attenborough’s dinosaur ‘children’ turn on him because, I don’t know, he’s so emotionally distant or incapable or something. So, in this case, the penis is science, and what he created with his penis turns out to be uncontrollable. Daddy issues all over the place.”

Schindler’s List: “A man makes up for his past as an ineffectual wastrel by becoming an emotionally distant daddy to the Jewish people. And his factory makes penis substitutes — bullets, shells, bombs — that don’t actually work …”

Amistad: “Anthony Hopkins is a flaccid ex-president who becomes a condescending father figure to a patronizingly childlike but virile black man. Have you noticed that, after Hook, Spielberg really started deifying or forgiving the older, less virile men? I wonder what was going on in his life then.”

Saving Private Ryan: “Tom Hanks is literally a teacher; he teaches Jeremy Davies how to find the strength to use his penis (his rifle) to serve his country (by killing that Nazi at the end … with his penis).”

A.I.: “A robotic Pinocchio abandoned by his mother searches high and low for a real penis. Did you notice that even the robots aren’t masculine? Spielberg fears manliness as much as he craves to claim it. You know what I think they should’ve called that movie? Fuck You, Daddy, I’m Not Impotent.”

Minority Report: “Tom Cruise tries to outrun a bunch of metal penises and prove his heterosexuality by caring for a child who can see the future.”

Catch Me If You Can: “Leonardo DiCaprio impersonates a bunch of virile men in order to gain the approval of a parade of father substitutes.”

The Terminal: “Impotence; all of those flying penises and Tom Hanks is trapped in a vagina — er, airport terminal.”

War of the Worlds: “Penises attack from outer space. Come on, the plane crash alone … planes are a common Spielbergian symbol for cock — the flight of manliness. Oh, and God kills the giant alien penises with a venereal disease because they’re not using protection during their wanton rape of the planet.”

Munich: “Eric Bana tries to overcome his impotence by following in his father’s footsteps and killing Arabs. With his penis.”

Okay, I think he’s stretching towards the end, but some of it makes a terrifying kind of sense. According to Harlan, this stretches over into some of the movies Spielberg only produced, like The Goonies (“A kid plays in a cave until he finds his One-Eyed Willie”) and Transformers (“A kid plays with giant alien dildos to impress Megan Fox, then has a disturbingly implied three-way with his robot car at the end”).

All I’ve learned from this is that Steven Spielberg films are unconsciously horrifying. But so, readers, is my friend Harlan. He is a horrifying man.

And that’s without going into his theories on Pixar films and how they’re all about sexual inadequacy.

Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at samuraifrog@yahoo.com.

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  1. Joel Murphy June 15, 2010
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