The Brain That Wouldn't Die

International Women’s Day snuck up on me this year like a rapist in a dark alley.

No time to trim the tree with red and white tampons, or stuff the (support) stockings with Diva Cups and Bitch subscriptions. (I hear Dutch feminists leave their Birkenstocks out by the fireplace instead.)

I was too busy working for a living like feminists told us we were all supposed to be doing to go to the Toronto parade. Supposedly around 5000 marchers made it though, although in this photo they”€™re overwhelmingly male. (Or just even uglier than usual?)

Meanwhile, the government marked International Women’s Day with a new PSA, which means this chunk of racist, anti-male AND -female agitprop was funded in part by my extorted tax dollars. (So that’s why you wanted us all to get jobs…)

“€¨”€¨It’s a commercial to “€œraise awareness”€ about whatever the hell this is. “€œWomen Not Fighting Back Very Hard”€-itis? Are you telling me that fuming “€œsexually harassed”€ black broad couldn”€™t snap that ugly cracker’s neck? Or is he supposed to be Jewish? And those damn Asians: They only hang out with their own kind, amirite?

“And that’s all head transplants have been “€“ the stuff of semi-thoughtful science-fiction chatter “€“ until last week.”

(Although making the “€œroofie”€ creep look like Jian Ghomeshi was a nice touch…)

Nope, the closest I came to commemorating #IMD was watching, for roughly the 25th time, that feminist cinema classic The Brain That Wouldn”€™t Die. (1962).

If Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! is the Citizen Kane of crap, then surely TBTWD is, at the very least, the Vertigo.

Like the 1983 Steve Martin comedy it clearly inspired “€“ The Man With Two Brains “€“ TBTWD is a feminist fable. But unlike Martin’s earnest, eat-your-spinach effort, it’s an accidental one. (…Wouldn”€™t Die was released the year before The Feminine Mystique, and was actually in the can three years earlier.)

The Brain That Wouldn”€™t Die was clearly created to cash in on the late “€˜50s B-movie brain craze. Yet, precisely because it sprang so nakedly from its makers”€™ raw collective male id “€“ unfettered by considerations of taste or political correctness “€“ TBTW is also, yes, “€œa treatise on unfettered male desire.”€

After his fiancé is decapitated in a car crash, our “€œhero”€ scours strip joints and “€œcamera clubs”€ for a new and, hey, maybe even improved body for his beloved, whose surprisingly lively head, on the other hand, isn”€™t too keen on the idea. The Brain That Wouldn”€™t Die is like Johnny Got His Gun meets Sylvia Plath’s dream journal. All the king’s Mad Men couldn”€™t concoct a sharper allegory about early-1960s sexual politics and female independence if you tried.

Steve Martin’s much-later answer film, however, is about the decidedly fettered variety of desire: the conflicted ones of a man stuck in the post-sexual, mid-feminist revolution 1980s. And Martin was trying. Very very hard.

That is, The Man With Two Brains is the comedian’s extremely self-consciously super-egoistic meditation on what I suppose might well be a real-life, modern day dilemma:

Yes, late 20th century males are supposed to have evolved beyond such primitivisms, but… What does one do when he’s attracted to a decent (and homely) woman’s scintillating mind and/but some crazy bitch-on-wheels”€™ rockin”€™ bod?

Despite the twenty-year span between their debuts, the answer in both films is, why, Mengele-esque surgical shenanigans! Of course!

As such, both movies vividly and explicitly depict, like few others, one of the most infuriating divisions between the sexes:

That men want to fix problems “€“ by brute force if necessary—while women want to talk about them.



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