(Guest Post by Matthew Ladner)
Up in the Air is a must see flick.
Clooney plays a man purposely devoid of attachments, a middle-aged guy with a Peter Pan syndrome. He travels 300+ days a year for his job, rarely speaks to his siblings, and has no interest in owning a home or having a serious romantic relationship. Not only has Clooney’s character made these choices for himself, he evangelizes this lifestyle in public speaking. His spiel involves using a backpack as a prop. Wives, mortgages, kids, pets- these are all heavy burdens in your backpack, he essentially argues, and you want to travel light.
His job? Flying around the country firing people in corporate down-sizings.
Clooney’s character reminds me of an older, grizzled manifestation of the flawed young men of Kay Hymowitz’s brilliant and biting social commentary. Hymowitz, a colleague of Jay’s at the Manhattan Institute, has written a series of articles lamenting the young men of today. While once it was expected that a man would actually make something of himself before seeking a wife, today sex is widely available outside of marriage. So, thinks today’s bachelor, why get married? Although I can’t find a link, I recall seeing Hymowitz describe the young men of today as “addicted to video games and masturbation.”
I remember it because I spit my “tea, Earl Grey, hot” onto my computer screen when I read it. Anyhoo, Clooney’s character, a bit more mature, is addicted to the accumulation frequent flyer miles, staying in five-star hotels, hanging out at the Admiral’s Club at the airport and one night stands. It’s all going swell, or is it (?), until a young whippersnapper figures out that it is cheaper to fire people by text message and he hooks up with a female version of himself out on the road…
Up in the Air is a great movie that deserves the buzz it is receiving. Drop what you are doing and go see it.