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The Evolution of the Douchebag in Modern Cinema


Once upon a time at the movies, the noble everyman triumphed at the end while the shady operator got his comeuppance. It was the natural order of things. Then, in 1987, everything changed. Michael Douglas, in the guise of Wall Street power broker Gordon Gekko, proclaimed, "Greed is Good." These magic words opened the floodgates of Douchedom, whetting viewer’s appetites for all that was loud, selfish and posturing. Nowadays, films are overrun with characters afflicted with the scourge of male pattern badness: Vince Vaughn in Swingers, Owen Wilson in The Royal Tenenbaums, Bradley Cooper in The Hangover, just to name a few. Our panel of scintillating experts will explore the depths of today's Douchebag Revolution, its staggering economic model, what it means for the future of cinema and the ultimate question: Is High Douchebaggery the new Punk Rock?


MODERATOR Robyn Sklaren

Dear Mr. Vernon, we accept the fact that we had to sacrifice a whole Saturday in detention for whatever it was we did wrong. What we did was wrong, but we think you’re crazy to make us write an essay telling you who we think we are. You see us as you want to see us, in the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case…a princess…and a criminal. Does that answer your question? Sincerely yours, the Breakfast Club.

PE Oppenheim Doctoral Candidate Georgia State University

P.E. Oppenheim is a failed academic who taught film studies during the twilight years of the Bush I Administration. He has recently (and masochistically) reignited his doctoral studies at Georgia State University, with an intention of finishing his dissertation, which may or not be focused on Discourses and Metrics of Failure in the Culture Industries, sometime during the early years of the Jenna Bush Administration.

Eliza Skinner Writer, Acrtress, Stand Up Comedian

Eliza Skinner is a comedian based out of LA, where she is a regular performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater. She has performed in comedy festivals all over the world and headlined the Hell Yes Fest in Austin last spring. Eliza has written for Glamour, Cracked, Showtime, PRI's Fair Game, and the NY Press, and her digital shorts have become favorites on and

Dan Kois Cultural Critic

Dan Kois is a senior editor at Slate and a contributing writer to the New York Times Magazine. He is the author of "Facing Future," a book about the Hawaiian musician Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.

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