Alarming News: I like Morgan Freeberg. A lot.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: We were following a trackback and thinking "hmmm... this is a bloody excellent post!", and then we realized that it was just part III of, well, three...Damn. I wish I'd written those.
Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler: ...I just remembered that I found a new blog a short while ago, House of Eratosthenes, that I really like. I like his common sense approach and his curiosity when it comes to why people believe what they believe rather than just what they believe.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is an intriguing guy...[he] asks great questions and answers others with style, flair, reason and wit. On the blogroll he goes. Make him a part of your regular blogospheric reading. I certainly will.
Brutally Honest: Morgan Freeberg is brilliant.
Common Sense Junction: Misha @ Anti-Idiotarian never ceases to amaze me. He keeps finding other good blogs. I went over to A.I. this morning for my daily Misha fix and he had found this guy named Morgan Freeberg in Fair Oaks, California, that has a blog, House of Eratosthenes. Freeberg says its "The Blog That Nobody Reads" but it may now become the blog that everybody reads.
Jaded Haven: Good God, Morgan, you cover a topic from front to back with a screwy thoroughness I find mind boggling. I'm in awe of your thought proccesses, my friend, you're an exceptional talent. You start by throwing in the kitchen sink, tie in someone's syphilitic uncle, bend around a rip tide of brilliance and bring it all home in a neat, diamond dripping package of an exceptionally readable moment of damn fine wordsmithing. I love reading you.
Mein Blogovault: Make "the Blog that No One Reads" one of your daily reads.
Philmon: When Morgan meanders, stick with him - he's got a point and it'll be worth it in the end. He's not a hit-and-run snarky quip kind of guy. The pieces all fall into place like tumblers in a lock and bang! He's opened a cognative door for you.
Rightlinx: Morgan at House of Eratosthenes is one of the best writers out there. I read him nearly every day because he manages to provide an interesting perspective, even though I don't always agree.
Poetic Justice: Cletus! Ah gots a laiv one fer yew...
What an interesting coincidence. Yesterday, “Kidzmom” wanted to talk to the boy, and found out he wasn’t in a very conversational mood. And so she went on from that to reminding me of pressing parent-type business we needed to talk over, and from there we went to this flash drive I (for some reason?) have to get him for school. And that brought us round, somehow, to superhero movies.
And she found herself staring right down the barrel of my theory about superhero movies vs. superheroINE movies. Which leads to my prophecy: In the next decade or two, and probably beyond that, we will never, ever, ever, EVER see a Wonder Woman movie. Why? Because heroines are not developed in movies the way heroes are.
I didn’t like either one of the Tomb Raider movies, because when there’s too much time consumed on screen to develop too little by way of characters or story — it is BORING. And female superheroes are not developed. They are, rather, what I would call “templated.” Let’s see…she is strong-willed, assertive, loaded with really cool skills, athletic, not dependent on a man, confident with her body, stands up for the rights of the oppressed, capable of doing lots of things at the same time, doesn’t take crap from anybody, blah blah blah blah blah. Right? Well, that just isn’t fun to watch, and it has nothing to do with the fact that she’s a dame.
Lara Croft, through a radio headset, tells a guy to keep driving his jeep in a straight line out in the middle of the African plains. And then she drops in on him from a hang glider. Wow! Who coulda seen that coming? Well…since what you’re defining is that Lara always has a plan and she has lots of skills doing things, and that was already defined, again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again…the scene really exists for no purpose insofar as developing the story, or a character within it. Actually, the character that was supposed to be defined was the guy driving the jeep. When the scene’s over, we know absolutely nothing about him other than that he’s capable of driving a jeep in a straight line, and following orders, and — since he was taken by surprise by Lara doing what she always does — he must be a little bit of a likable dope. Probably not what the producers of the movie intended.
Consider the case of James Bond, notorious for defining the same character attributes over and over again, across generations. Generations. You would think it should be equally boring to watch him, right? But no. We can’t wait to see what he does. The reason: There’s always a twist, even if it involves exposing Bond’s few weaknesses. The masseuse is a Chinese spy…and Bond knows it although the audience does not. His conquest last night is secretly working for the villain, and while he slept she reached under his pillow and took the bullets out of his P99. Goldfinger does not want to steal the gold, he wants to blow it up. Andrea Anders was responsible for sending the golden bullet with “007″ engraved in the casing to MI6 headquarters. Even if the central character has been developed to all the depth he is ever going to be developed, there is always something to guarantee this is a bad time to take a potty break. That’s how you make a good action movie.
But that has to do with playing the cards. Superheroine movies are dealt bad hands of cards that can’t be played well in any way.
In the case of Wonder Woman, the problem is audience sensitivity. Just the star-spangled shorts make this an impossible task. If she wears them, you’ll tick off half the audience; if she wears something else, you’ll tick off the other half. Then there is the matter of who Wonder Woman is. Is her alter ego really Diana Prince? If so, how many people know that? If a bullet happens to get past her bracelets, can it break her skin? If that’s the case, then is she just as strong as Superman? It seems to logically follow that she must not be. What’s up with that invisible jet, anyway? Can she fly without it? If she can, then why does she have the damn thing? And, being made out of clay, can she go into outer space in nothing but a bustier and bikini briefs like she does in the comic books?
The problem that confronts any superheroine here, is that while the superhero is inspired by the desire of young men to be more powerful, his female counterpart is inspired by populist rage. Once you are the champion of populist rage, you are at the mercy of that rage as well. We just saw it in the Obama/Hillary face off — the angry mob is always ready to say, once its grievance list receives representation, “Hey this is NOT the representation I had in mind!” And mobs do not have any way of communicating dislike or dissatisfaction, other than through injury and destruction. There is no other rhetorical device available to them.
And so female superheroes are beholden to delivering to their populist mob fan base, whatever it may be, exactly what that fan base expects. Precisely. Nothing more, nothing less. For Wonder Woman, it simply isn’t possible to define what this is. She’ll be boycotted if the costume designers simply change the cut or color of her boots, never mind whether the question is settled about how the magic lasso works.
Those are my thoughts.
But I found Whiskey had a lot more to say on the same subject. I found this out when I was taking delight in how well Katie Allison Granju was getting her man-and-boy-bashing wrinkly misandric ass handed to her in the comment section under the “Teenage Boys Are Stupid” thing…and upon finding Whiskey was the most thoughtful commenter there, decided to look and see what else he has to say.
The secret to comics is who created and read them, back when they were popular, first in the late 1930′s and early 1940′s, and again in the 1960′s (the “Golden” and “Silver” age respectively). The Comics creators were mostly Jewish, nerdy-smart guys, who liked the pretty girls who had no time for them, and preferred the wealthy athletes in High School and College. In wish fulfillment, these mostly Jewish artists and writers, who in the 1930s and early 1940s lived at a time when actual, real Nazis were active in America (the German-American Bund), created (almost exclusively male) characters that provided wish fulfillment to every young man and boy who was not a high-status, wealthy athlete, liked by guys and pursued by girls.
Which is about 90% of the male population, at one time or another. That’s what comics were, and the reason for the characters success. Superman is the most globally recognized fictional character. Because of that secret.
Yes, it’s really that simple. Male wish fulfillment is the secret to Superhero success.
Why does this work for male wish fulfillment and not female wish fulfillment? Therein lies the mystery. Part of it could be the destructive energy involved in the angry populist roar, that seems to engulf everything when the agenda shifts to showcasing how powerful and strong a woman can be.
There is much left undiscovered here, particularly with regard to that gender gap. Personally, I’d find it exquisitely frustrating if I was a gal. Perhaps it’s a conundrum that defies solution, since boys and girls are fundamentally different, and as Whiskey points out, male wish fulfillment has been inextricably intertwined with superhero success since Day One.
Great blog, albeit a young one. When I get some more time, I shall make a point to read every page.
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