Zach Braff – did you like him more when he was wannabe arty and desperately unfunny, or wannabe sexist and desperately unfunny? Me, I liked the first version best (although “like” may be too strong a word). To be fair, he makes a better sexist than he does an arty actor/film-maker, but I’m not just scoring on attainment (it’s an arbitrary scoring system in my head and how it works is a secret – that’s just the sort of incoherent thing women do).
In all honesty I never really got Scrubs – it always felt like something hilarious which had been through a kind of de-funnification treatment. As for Garden State – is it just me or were the only memorable bits a) that shirt that matched the wallpaper and b) the mega-cool hamster cage in Natalie Portman’s character’s house? Oh, and some totally pointless, pretend-meaningful screaming in the rain. And you could enjoy the shirt bit just by looking at the DVD box, without having to see the whole bloody film. So yeah, I found that a let-down. All the same, I always had this idea that because Braff was kinda “alternative” – at least in a very 1990s, commercialised way – it was impossible for him to be boorishly sexist. After all, if you’re that kind of person, common-or-garden sexism’s just not cool.
This evening Braff has been tweeting some complete bollocks using the hashtags #menlies and #womenlies. In fairness, most of it is such mainstream sexism, of the sort you’d get in glossy magazine “what’s she/he really thinking?” filler pieces, that it’s hardly worth being cross at him specifically. For instance, #womenlies include:
I’m just gonna look in this store for 2 seconds
I just want a nice guy with zero drama
While #menlies includes:
I’m so not attracted to any of your friends
Babe, I don’t even know any good porn websites
Ha ha! So far from being all “indie”, Braff is a proper man after all. Kind of like my dad and his mates (who are in their sixties and not well-known actors, but the “ethos” is there all the same. The only difference is my dad is pretty funny most of the time).
There is apparently some worse stuff, though, since deleted (“if women don’t want me leering at their asses, why are they out in public doing things? Liars”). I guess it’s meant to be ironic or something (which Braff might get away with, were it not for the other tweets). Anyhow, it’s crap.
Having never been a Zach Braff fan, I shouldn’t be particularly disappointed. Nevertheless, I can’t help getting this feeling of “oh, it’s another one. Another well-known person I assumed was reasonable turns out to be a cock”. I feel sad, and partly it’s school-teacherly disappointment in them for letting themselves down, but also it’s bewilderment at how little sexism – providing it’s not full-on, George Galloway-style sexism – has an impact on PR. It’s just not that big a deal.
I could live with Steve Brookstein (metaphorically, obvs; I wouldn’t literally want to be anywhere near his “night raids”). As for Simon Pegg, well, that felt worse. I really like Shaun Of The Dead – especially the bit with the Cornetto break, for some reason – but now it’s all a bit tempered by the thought that in real life this man fears, not zombies, but “humourless militants“. So he’d probably hurl his record collection at me sooner than share a mint choc chip. And now I’m left feeling “who will it be next? Who’s the secret sexist? Is it a default state in famous men?” I just don’t know!
Still, I do know Bill Bailey won’t let me down. He’s proper class. And I bet he could build a massive multi-floor gerbil cage if he wanted to, while at the same time wearing a jumper that matched the carpeting. So who needs Zach Braff?*
* Masses of twitter followers, apparently. But god forbid I ever seek to account for “taste”.