A few years ago, we had to sit through the endless online deconstructions of how Love, Actually is terrible et al because all the relationships aren’t healthy (of course not) and that got kinda tedious. FWIW, there are some fantastic love stories in that movie if you ignore the romantic ones: Liam Neeson and his little guy, the one lady who yearns for one of her office colleague loves her disabled brother without reservation, Emma Thompson’s character loves her kids enough to hide her own heartbreak to make sure their Сhristmas pageant memories are good, etc.
So now we have the memes making fun of Hallmark channel movies, about how the big city girl should stick with her job and avoid her loser high school boyfriend, where were those loser boyfriends on Jan 6, etc. Those are all funny, but I have THOTS and this here is where I share them, so here we go.
First off, as solidly red as rural areas are, let’s not act like all the major metro areas aren’t surrounded by wealthy suburbs absolutely teeming with Trumpers, and a lot of them at that. Take a look at a bunch of the organizers getting sentenced in Jan 6. They are not redneck stump jumpers necessarily. I looked up some Iowa defendants—of 6, four are from the largest cities in the state or their suburbs, and the one who is very likely going to jail is from Des Moines. (The CA defendants are split about 50-50 between major cities (2 out of 53 are from Beverly Hills and I don’t think they are married, but not sure; 2 are from Huntington Beach (no surprises there, etc. etc.
So while I am surrounded in low-density rural Iowa by people who are definitely voting for the wrong guy, it looks uniform because there are so few people per square mile. The big metros are contributing whackos aplenty, though, and I think it’s time the FBI and Homeland investigate Yale Law School as a radicalizing organization.
The second thing the movies get right: breakups. Maybe I haven’t seen a sufficient number of them, but I feel like I’ve sampled pretty widely, and in general, the city guy who gets dumped is a complete gentleman and behaves decently about the entire thing. The breakup happens because the individual members of the couple want different things—and to be honest, I don’t really see that Hallmark really judges the city guy for wanting what he wants. In my experience wanting different things is a REALLY VALID reason to go your separate ways in a relationship. And if we want to help men find models for behavior that aren’t based in toxic tropes, we could in general do worse than the dumped city slicker whose reactions are reasonable, supportive, and consist of a largely of a wistful backwards glance…and that’s all.
Finally, that high-powered city job is often not particularly good, lets be real. It seems to me that a lot of women in these movies have middling corporate jobs. It’s not like they are CEOS or upper management making boatloads. Instead, they answer to a shitty boss and their offices are, as often as not, in cubicle-farms. In a LOT of US cities, jobs like these allow these women to work themselves to death for a salary that covers housing and not all that much else. Big whoop if you are surrounded by urban delights and a million restaurants if you can’t afford to go to any of them.
No, I don’t think it’s particularly realistic that you can afford to make a living in your small-town Poinsetta Farm/Cookie Bakery/Flower shop but…the urban hustle of working long hours into the night gets PUH-LENTY of air time in US television.
My point isn’t really that rural life is great and wonderful and whatnot. My point is that her job in the city sucks because most jobs suck. Just saying.
As for me, I’m really forking cold because it’s snowing. But it is pretty.