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Friday, October 25, 2013

Misreading Sons of Anarchy

I imagine that Alyssa Rosenberg can type very fast.  The sentences flow down to her fingers and spill out on the screen, paragraphs of them.  She is a good writer, that much cannot be denied.

But, to me, she's one of those critics you love to hate.  We have similar tastes, but totally opposite approaches.  She's of the feminist school, whereas I embrace my dudeness.  She looks for the polemical angle, whereas I'm more concerned with the aesthetic.

Lately she's been mad at Sons of Anarchy, mostly because they used an early season school shooting as a plot point rather than a thematic statement.  Me, I'm fine with it.

I don't watch Sons of Anarchy to get some after-school special about how gun violence affects the community.  I watch it because I love the characters and I want to see them go to war with each other.

And I think that's why she misreads BIG TIME a scene from this week's episode.

The set-up:  The Sons are helping a tranny named Venus, played by Boyd Crowder Walton Goggins.  Not only does Venus have huge tits and pokey nipples, back when she was named Vincent, she had a son, now a teenager in the custody of his vindictive pervert mother.  Mom's a hard one.  Not only is she mean, but she's also a child pornographer.

A child pornographer is no match for a biker gang and the Sons rescue the kid, beat everybody up, and are ready to call it good.  But Mom goes off on a huge rant against Venus, cutting deep with the words, and Jax just shoots her.  Bam, blows her head all across the wall.

It's a pretty shocking moment.  I mean, scene-wise.  It's not that shocking that Jax, supposedly "the biker with a conscience," would snap like that.  After all, he's earned that Men of Mayhem patch.

It's not shocking if you watch the show and actually listened to Mom's diatribe.  Alyssa transcribed it so I don't have to:
“You don’t deserve a son,” she spits at Venus. “I had a son once, and he forgot who he was. Deserted his family. Turned into a freak of the fringe. You go ahead. You tell that sweet boy all about his daddy. How much you love him. Want the best for him. It won’t matter. Because when he finds out who you are, he’s going to grow up hating you. Hating your lies. Hating the lie you forced him into.”
If you're familiar with the show's arc, it wouldn't be too difficult to imagine Jax's mother saying something like this to him, if he ever mans up and quits the club to raise his family in peace.  Gemma knows how to wield the long knives.


That's why he pulled the trigger.  It had nothing to do with Venus, nothing to do with child porn, nothing to do with any of that.  It was all due to his family dynamic and inner turmoil.

Alyssa thinks this is Jax's motive:
...the viciousness of her hatred of trans people, which has literally become something that Jax wants to shut up forever.
I think that's a drastic misunderstanding of what the show's about.  Jax cares about the plight of the transgendered about as much as you would expect "the biker with a conscience" to:  not much.

Not enough to commit a cold-blooded murder anyway.

I mean, I'm sure harbors them no ill-will, but he doesn't sit by his son's crib scribbling in his journal about trannies, now does he?

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