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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Reader Comments about "Robbie Gould's Philosophy"

My most viewed blog article, by far, is Robbie Gould's Philosophy. Since I published it in December 2008, it has received almost 21,000 pageviews.

It receives so many pageviews because people watch Dirty Dancing, wonder about Robbie's book, search the Internet for an explanation, and find my article. Just now I did a Google search for dirty dancing robbie book, and my article was the top find.

(For comparison, my article with the second-highest number of pageviews is Eleanor Bergstein and Five Female Characters, which has received about 14,500. In a Google search for dirty dancing female characters that article is the fifth-top find.)

Several critical comments have been posted under my Robbie Gould article, and I am acknowledging them here.


A few comments addressed the question of whether the Housemans already knew Robbie before the movie's story. In my article, I wrote:
When the movie’s story begins, the Housemans already are acquainted with Robbie Gould, although the reason is not explained. Perhaps Robbie’s father was a medical colleague of Doctor Houseman. Perhaps the two families had met at the resort hotel in a previous summer. Perhaps Robbie had served the Houseman family as a waiter during a previous summer.
Here are the critical comments:
The Housemans are introduced to Robbie at the first meal. They didn't know him before.
The Housemans do not already know Robbie Gould when the movie begins. Max introduces all of them to Robbie at their first meal in the dining room.
NO, they did not know Robbie before
I judge that those criticisms are correct.

I do not remember why I wrote with such certainty that "the Housemans already were acquainted with Robbie Gould" and so forth.

I will keep this issue in mind, and look for relevant evidence.

I judge these critical commenters to be right and myself to be wrong.


One comment addressed the question of whether Robbie is Jewish. In my article, I wrote:
The hotel resort’s owner has encouraged the waiters – all of whom are Jewish and successful college students – to flirt with the Jewish families’ daughters of marriageable age.
Here is the critical comment:
... there is no reason to assume Robbie is Jewish, and in any case, I don't see how it matters.
I don't assume that Robbie is Jewish. Rather, I infer it.

Many people who watch Dirty Dancing do not recognize its Jewish subtext. Such recognition is not necessary for an intelligent understanding and appreciation of the movie.

However, I invite those people to read my articles The Jewish Subtext in Eleanor Bergstein's Two Movies and The Resort Hotel's Employees.

I judge this critical commenter to be wrong but correctable.


A few commenters addressed the question of whether Robbie was carrying the book in order to lend it to Baby. I wrote:
During this conversation, Robbie pulled his much-read paperback copy of The Fountainhead out of his uniform pocket and tried to give it to Baby to read. Why was Robbie carrying this novel in his uniform as he set the tables for the next meal? He could not have expected Baby to confront him in this situation, so he could not have brought the novel with the intention of giving it to Baby.

Apparently, Robbie had brought the novel into the dining room with the intention of giving it not to Baby, but rather to Lisa, whom he expected to serve as a waiter at the imminent meal. He and Lisa had quarreled the previous night when he had become sexually aggressive at the golf course. Lisa had refused to submit to him, and he had refused to apologize. Robbie had not given up in his efforts to seduce Lisa, however, and he intended to lend Lisa The Fountainhead as his next step.
Here are the critical comments:
He's got the book with him to read on breaks.
... he was carrying the book, I think, not to gift to Lisa, but rather like I do Atlas Shrugged.

Atlas Shrugged is like a Bible to me. When I'm actively reading it, I carry it, and I write notes in the margins. And it's tattered and ratty looking from much usage, similar to Robbie's The Fountainhead.
The second critical commenter, who writes notes in Atlas Shrugged, has a blog called Yoga Sophisticate, where she published an article, titled My Amazing Discovery in Dirty Dancing, about the movie and Ayn Rand. She argues that "Hollywood is trying to make a mockery of Ayn Rand in this great movie." She has written several blog articles about Rand.

I judge these critical commenters to be plausible and myself to be probable.


A few commenters addressed the question of whether Robbie was slumming with Lisa. I wrote:
...Johnny and Baby embraced briefly on the porch.

At that moment, Robbie walked past the cabin porch and noticed Johnny and Baby embracing, and joked insultingly: “Looks like I picked the wrong sister. That’s okay, Baby, I went slumming too.”

The joke’s idea was that Robbie perceived that Baby was more on his intellectual and cultural level than Lisa was. Baby would have been a better sexual partner for Robbie. Lisa still was refusing to have sex with Robbie, but Baby apparently had begun already to have sex with Johnny.

Robbie had picked the wrong sister to seduce when the Housemans had arrived for their family vacation. Baby was the sister who read books and could understand The Fountainhead and understand the Objectivism philosophy. Baby was the sister who was willing to have sex without a marriage commitment. Instead of picking Baby for a brief sexual affair, Robbie had made a mistake and went slumming with the intellectually and culturally inferior sister Lisa.

Robbie told Baby that Baby had made a similar mistake. Baby actually was like Dominique Francon, but she had gone slumming with the intellectually and culturally inferior Johnny instead of submitting herself sexually to and spending her vacation time with Robbie the Roark-like genius.
Here are the critical comments (emphasis added):
When Robbie made the comment about picking the wrong sister, he only meant that Baby puts out and Lisa doesn't. By "slumming," he wasn't referring to Lisa, he was referring to Penny, just as Baby was "slumming" with Johnny.
He meant Penny when he said he went slumming
I thought that Robbie meant Penny when he said he went slumming too since he considered that the dancers were 'lower class'.
I agree ... about Penny being the one he went slumming with...
Why no mention here of what Robbie says to Dr. Houseman about Penny in his last scene?...that certainly gets into his "slumming" philosophy. ... the "girls like that'll pin it on any guy..." line,if I remember it correctly,is what prompts Dr. Houseman to snatch back the envelope (and later apologize to Johnny).
The critical commenters are correct that Robbie surely did think that he had slummed with Penny.

However, his intention of his particular scene was to insult Baby, and I think this comparing him to Penny would have been an ineffective insult. He said to Baby: "Looks like I picked the wrong sister", so he was comparing Baby with Lisa. Robbie indicated that he had slummed with Lisa too, but Baby has turned out to be more slummable than Lisa.

I judge these critical commenters to be plausible and myself to be probable.

1 comment:

  1. Wow! Am so very flattered that my blog post received mention in this very well crafted blog post! Thank you for taking the careful time to recognise my argument. You are a great thinker and writer. Good work on achieving a high number of page views on the original.