Buzzfeed’s Anne Helen Petersen wrote a great piece about How Jennifer Garner Went Full MiniVan Majority tracking her career from Alias to Miracles From Heaven. Thank you, Anne, for the LaineyGossip mentions in the article. I came up with that expression almost 10 years ago and, at the time, it was used in reference to Jennifer Aniston, her appeal and her fan base. Jennifer Garner has, steadily, over the last decade, earned that support – the MiniVan Majority might very well be even more loyal now to Garner than to Aniston.

This week Anne followed up with a companion post hilariously titled The Unbearable Sadness Of Ben Affleck. She tracks the trajectory of Ben’s shame – more precisely, Ben Affleck’s conflict of shame: the shame of what he is, by his own hand, vs what he’s always wanted to be.

What is Ben Affleck?

Gwyneth Paltrow said a long time ago that:

“(When she was younger) I had a broken engagement and a drawn-out and tortured relationship with a complete knucklehead."

A few years after that she told Diane Sawyer that:

"Ben makes life tough for himself. He's got a lot of complication, and you know, he really is a great guy. So I hope he sorts himself out."

That was around the time he and JLO ended their engagement amid allegations that he was a gambling cheater. A decade later, gambling cheater kinda still applies. In that time though he had resurrected his career. After his personal and professional messes (Daredevil etc), he was credited for being a strong writer, a strong director. And then his film went on to win Best Picture.

What did he do next?

He took the nanny on a private plane. And he put on a bat suit.

His marriage fell apart. The bat suit made a lot of money at the box office but people are laughing at it, laughing at the movie, calling it dumb, ill-conceived, bloated. And now, despite the fact that Batman v Superman is making a lot of money, Ben is embarrassed.

Every time he climbs out of his hole, Ben Affleck gives in to his base desires and the hole opens up again. For months I’ve been saying that Ben Affleck self-sabotages. Anne Helen Petersen is positing that this self-sabotage is related to his shame. He’s ashamed of wanting to be a superhero, he’s ashamed of being ashamed about wanting to be a superhero. 

Here he is wearing his sheepish shame face out in LA yesterday.

PS. A couple of years ago I recommended Anne’s book Scandals Of Classic Hollywood. Click here for a refresher on that post. And click here to order it.