The Incredibles and Kinsey

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The Incredibles is a wonderful, funny film that unapologetically glorifies the bourgeois family. My wife loved it and I loved it. A particularly telling line comes when the daughter tries to explain to the son the gravity of their situation, “You’ve got to understand how serious this is. Our parents could get killed… Or worse, divorced!” (not exact quote) There is a touch of anti-capitalism in the portrayal of Mr. Incredible’s day job, but on the other hand the bad guy is a “merchant of death”, selling horrendous weapons to governments around the world.

Then there is Kinsey. When I saw a trailer for the film I had the bad feeling that Hollywood was going to do the predictable thing and portray Kinsey as some kind of hero in spite of the revisionist work that has cast major doubts on his research. According to a few reviews it looks like my worst fears were realized. (In a Wired review, for example, it is implied that “…infidelity, pedophilia, even bestiality… Kinsey helped open the door for all types of sexuality to be discussed, practiced and celebrated.”) Judith Reisman has argued that Kinsey was, at least, complicit in child sexual abuse and his research was fraudulent because it drew heavily from interviews with prison populations and then passed off these samples as representative of the general population. Whatever the case, Kinsey’s role in the U.S. culture was huge and destructive and it is tragic that Hollywood has decided to celebrate it.

6:59 pm on November 14, 2004