Love Vs Lust In ‘Zoolander 2’

In ‘Zoolander 2’ is a satirical yet somewhat thought-provoking take on the nature of love versus lust, of how easy it is to confuse one for the other. There was Hansel, portrayed as a once successful fashion model, who prided his entire worth on his looks in the first Zoolander movie. Having been accidentally scarred, he struggles with the existential crisis of not knowing who he really is anymore, now that he has a barely visible facial scar! Of course, this is meant to be ‘hilarious’, about how the incredibly superficially and narcissistically vain can easily fall apart.

Another joke is that Hansel has a regular orgy group of some ten lovers that he was supposedly ‘committed’ to – a seemingly random assortment representing variety in terms of gender, age, size, race, religion and er… even species. (Yup, there is a goat, and a hippo makes a cameo, though there is no bestiality scene. Nope, Buddhism does not encourage the above at all.) This is funny because the spectrum of love (or rather lust) interests is so wide that that subject(s) of commitment seemed totally arbitrary, which paradoxically hinted there was no true commitment to anyone at all, not even any one of his ‘love child(ren)’.

Hansel runs away from his group(-sex) to find himself, as if knowing he was simply distracting himself with too much sexual indulgence. However, tempted by the delusion that ‘meaningless sex always makes me feel better about myself’, as sprouted by the caricature of a horny ‘rabbi’. He does get distracted by another orgy group, which is yet another equally ‘random’ assortment of characters. His ‘sexcapades’ were probably pseudo-spiritual highs for temporal forgetting or ‘losing his self’, while having renewed but fleeting sense of ‘worth’ based only on physicality.

Yes, he muddled worldly ‘self-love’ in terms of sense indulgence, with spiritual love in terms of actual caring for others. He seemed to have realised this a little when he yells this towards the end – ‘Tell my orgy I love them!’ Again, this is funny… for if we are speaking of spiritual ‘true love’, the subjects of his group of lovers are so varied that it might as well represent all beings. And if so, there would be no reason to love these particular ones only. If enlightened, the ‘soul’-searching Hansel would have become committed not only to ten beings in terms of small self-serving lust, but to all beings in terms of great selfless true love – without any lust!

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