During my recent hiatus (indeed, almost simultaneous with it’s inception), one of the things that happened to the world was this new Superman movie. Of course, long-standing readers of this skree (unfettered as it is) will remember my prior declaration that Superman is stupid.
So, as you can imagine, I approached this movie thing with some hesitation. Brian Singer has improved my life dramatically so far, and I had high hopes that he would come through for me again. But… for cryin’ out loud, Brian, did it have to be Supes?
Well, uncertainy aside, it was looking like Mr. Singer was going about it the right way. Picking up the tale as an extension of the first series was genius, picking an actor who looks and sounds exactly like Christopher Reeve was genius, and just coming out and admitting that the story is about Christ with fists was a fine idea.
(hey… Christ… Christopher… hmmmmm…)
So what the hell. I went and saw it.
Predictably, I had issues. But, in the spirit of foreshadowing, let me offer to the reader the idea that by the end of this post, my previous stance on the man in red and blue tights may not be entirely what it once was.
Still, though. Issues. I mean, it’s Superman.
I saw the film with a good friend of mine, who was very enthusiastic about the possibility that it could be good. In point of fact, we both chanted quietly “don’t suck, don’t suck, don’t suck” as the previews were ending, and this was not intended as ironic mockery, but was instead a true prayer to the Gods of Cinema. However, after the film, he summed up said issues with Supes remarkably well when he said: “Well, I guess I don’t know what I was expecting. It’s Superman. You kinda gotta check your brain at the door.”
Which is true. I mean… [SPOILER!!! AVERT YOUR EYES!!!] he flies the crystal island thing right into space, but he can’t even walk on the island for more than a minute or two?? He didn’t realize that the place was laced with kryptonite (and then fucking fly away as fast as possible) when he landed there?? And… oh, never mind. There’s just too many to deal with. [END SPOILER]
But, it’s Supes. I get it. So, we leave that aside, and we have, in essence, a marvelous Superman movie. Bravo, Brian Singer. Superman fans will love you for it, and you have my respect and admiration.
Now we come to the difficult part. The… friction part. The part where I start to experience congitive dissonance, and seperate my minds into tiny shards, become a god, and destroy the known universe (because, of course, there is no Superman to stop me any more, hahahahahahaHAHAHAHAHA — Lois, why are you smiling?).
I mentioned previously that as I get de-turkeyed, I’ve been going wonky in some important ways. This process has apparently had a far more profound effect than I had anticipated. Somehow, after all this shit, I appear to have developed a sliver of comprehension of where this Superfellow is coming from. WTF.
I know, I know. I realize that if I am not careful, I will be asked to sit down with my compadres and dish myself up a big ol’ plate of crow. (But, see, that’s not in my food plan! har har har, I made a funny.) But, hey. I didn’t get where I am today by cowering in fear about expressing my feelings and theories regarding the motivational structures of fictional people who wear costumes and fight crime, so I say onward! Onward, I say! Carpe that diem!
I think I can sum up my quandry (see blog post title) with an email I got from a friend of mine. Let’s call him “Wolver-Super-ine-man”, for reasons that will only make sense to him and a select few others. He writes:
…you had to goddamn bring out the whole Superman thing again. I thought we put this thing to bed. Yes, we agree that Kal-El could not have had negative physical reinforcement as a teaching tool at any time in his life. You do acknowledge the existence of negative emotional feedback, but you won’t accept it as a driving force in a person’s development. Worse, you seem to have concluded that shaping and maintaining a personality based on emotional experience is equal to stupidity.
See… this is what I’m talking about. This shit right here. This, right at the end of this paragraph, right there, is where I suddenly experienced a strange uneasy feeling.
Had I said that? I mean… that’s kinda bold, ain’t it? And by “bold” I mean “arrogant and unfeeling”. Had I really impuned that “shaping and maintaining a personality based on emotional experience is equal to stupidity”?
Let’s find out!
On 7.4.06, the darklord impuned:
We must assume, then, that as Clark grew from child to hormonally-posessed teenager to superheroic adult, one of two things occurred. Either:
- The young Clark Kent never tested his parents authority, or
- If he did test his parents, his behavior was successfully shut down based exclusively on verbal and emotional feedback. Every time.
He then went on to say:
That said, it’s important to not forget that this creature who quietly accepted the boundaries he was given is someone who has no possible way to receive any negative physical consequences for his actions.
And, he thus concludes:
Superman is stupid.
Like, dumb-as-a-post stupid. Head full of rocks. What kind of a mind would never, ever test the boundaries of his social web, when the potential reward for succeeding could well be rulership of anything you wanted?
You know, sometimes you get a glimpse at the face in the mirror with a kind of stark clarity that you hadn’t realized you had grown into. The face is yours, you are sure, but… when did I change so much? This experience is not often pleasant, and for me at least is usally accompanied by a kind of paranoia. If I missed this, I think to myself, what else am I missing?
What makes this particular experience so special is that it is occurring right in front of all my friends. And, the whole rest of the Internet, forever.
Well, I don’t know about you, but when I read that conclusion, what I hear today (as opposed to just over 1 year ago… when I fucking wrote it) is that the author is projecting his own power-centric view of the world onto this Superfellow, and declaring this fellow impossible. This, for the simple crime of his having rejected the idea that power over other people is the goal of living.
That is, perhaps, a less than holistic view of the world, and of people. I do hereby retract it.
Superman is not stupid. He’s straightforward.
He’s still not all that interesting, though. 😉