38 / CHRONICLESngoes to bed with Jerry. Her behavior isnwildly out of character, and Mazurskynmakes no effort to explain it. It isnapparently enough for the director ifnhe can turn the screws a litde tighternon his film’s protagonist. The episodicnstory lines of his films are not forcednupon him by the travels or picaresquenadventures of his characters, but by anlack of insight into human characternthat compels him to invent new situations.nMazursky’s films become a seriesnof forced and ponderous paeans tonfreedom and spontaneity, in whichnthe actors, but never the characters,nimprovise.nFreedom and spontaneity are barrennvirtues in the absence of other values.nMazursky’s husbands always cheat onntheir wives; his wives always retaliatenby cheating on their husbands andnundertaking expensive psychoanalysis;nhis children smoke marijuana, wearnpunk fashions, and rebel against theirnparents (which is understandable);nWoman’s PlacenREVISIONSnIn the 19th century, giants stillnroamed the earth. Even the sociologistsnwere philosophers in thosendays — Comte, Weber, Toennies,nDurkheim, to name only a fewnnames celebrated in Nisbet’s ThenSociological Tradition—displayed anbreadth and richness that is notnmuch in evidence in this iron age ofnsocial thought. None of them,nhowever, was as richly allusive andnas possessed of brilliant insights asnGeorg Simmel. Not too long ago,nYale was kind enough to collect anvolume of Simmel’s writings onnwomen {Georg Simmel: OnnWomen, Sexuality, and Love, YalenUniversity Press, New Haven), withna lucid and very helpful introductionnby the translator, Guy Oakes.nIn his essay “Female Culture”nSimmel probed the delicate questionnof “the fundamental relationsnof the female nature” to what hencalls “objective culture,” i.e., thencultural processes and systems thatnhave become objective by escapingnfrom the subjective intent of thencreatures. Our objective culture, itnwhile their friends stand around like anpostmodern chorus commiseratingnabout how tough it all is.nPerhaps what Mazursky needs mostnof all is to leave Los Angeles for anwhile and spend some time out here innthe real world. When he takes hisncharacters from the working classes, asnin Harry and Tonto and last year’snMoscow on the Hudson, the results arenfar superior. In Moscow on the Hudson,nfor example, the sleaziness of thenNew York slum in which Robin Williams’nRussian defector lives is balancednby Williams’ unshakable optimismnand his certainty that he willnfind a better life if only he works hardnenough. There is, however, no suchnbalancing element in Down and Outnin Beverly Hills.nMazursky’s problem is shared bynmany other comic filmmakers andnnovelists of this century. They have anvision of what’s bad—it’s easy to see;nit’s all around us—but they have nongoes without saying, “is thoroughlynmale.” Simmel contends thatnwomen are uniquely blessed with anmore integral nature. While thenobjective culture of Europe andnAmerica depends on division ofnlabor, women’s domestic work isnboth “more diversified and less specialized.”nSimmel relates this phenomenonnto women’s nature,nwhich he characterizes in one word:nfidelity. While males tend to dissolventhemselves into a plurality ofnroles, women find it more difficultnto divide their loyalties. Simmelngoes on to suggest that woman’snnature may be better suited to somenprofessions than to others, butnwoman’s greatest cultural achievementnremains the home. However,nthe erosion of family functions innmodern times has reduced woman’snrealm—once a vast empire—downnto litde more than a capital city andna few suburbs, something like Byzantiumnin the 15th century. In ournown time, even the capital things,nthe birth and rearing of children,nare threatened by a set of Turks farnmore savage than the armies ofnMehemet II.nnnvision of what is good. Directors likenMazursky, Blake Edwards {Victor/nVictoria, S.O.B., and “JO”), and JohnnHughes {The Breakfast Club) can seenwhat’s wrong, but all they can offer innresponse is the same treacly secularnhumanism that left a middle-classnfamily open to the blandishments ofnBeverly Hills and the tricks of unscrupulousnbums like Jerry. At best, allnMazursky has to offer is a misplacednsense of charity: when someone hasnlittle, give him something; if he wantsnmore, give him more. If that is allnthere is, the rest of the country willnsoon resemble Beverly Hills.nSam Karnick is a screenwriter whonlives in Madison, Wisconsin.nMUSICnTrain of Foolsnby Janet Scott BarlownThe First Rock & Roll ConGdentialnReport by Dave Marsh, New York:nPantheon Books; $12.95.nIn the 30 years since it first gainednbroad popularity, rock ‘n’ roll has putnon some show; it has been by turnsnentertaining, grotesque, energetic,nabsurd — and always “successful.”nThere were even times when it had angood beat and you could dance to it.nBut since the 60’s, the decade ofnpervasive Relevance, an even betternshow has taken place oflF-stage, aroundnthe kids-turned-writers-turned-criticsnwho early hitched a ride on the bignRock Train, struggling ever since tonappear in control while hanging on forndear life. Within this group, no onenhas struggled harder than Dave Marsh,n”America’s Best-Known Rock Writer,”nas he is described on his own bookncovers. Marsh stands alone in thisncrowd of freeloaders for one reason: henhas decided he owns the railroad.nDave Marsh is a critic with annagenda propped up by a cause. Thenagenda calls for a political union ofn”rock star, steelworker, [music] industrynprofessional, welfare mother, andnjust plain fan,” all responding to rockn’n’ roll “as a potent vehicle throughnwhich what’s right and wrong aboutn