Tuesday, August 17, 2010

AAARRRGGGHHH!!!! Or, "It's Clobberin' Time!!!"

Y'know, there's a lot of good that can come from reading heroic fiction--even if that fiction's a comic book. My parents used to let me read comic books because, then, at least I was reading*.

Now, we've got some junk science headshrinkers that are saying that comic book heroes, particularly as portrayed in popular movies, are bad for young men's development.

Carlos Santos, PhD, of Arizona State University, also found that a boys’ ability to resist at an early age, the superhero machismo of being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive and physically tough -- stereotyped images of masculinity -- were more emotionally stable, friendly and had better psychological health in middle school.

Uh-huh. And I'm sure these geeks define being in "better psychological health" as more able to cry, and more willing to give a buddy a hug when he's feeling blue.

So we've got a cabal of shrinks that is determined to disincentivize being emotionally stoic, autonomous, aggressive, and physically tough. Hey kids, instead of going to see the new Wolverine movie, we're going to do flower arranging!! Yay!!

First, I've spent a lifetime trying (and often failing) to matriculate and master stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness. Geez, not only do we need to put the kabosh on those movies, but we probably ought to round up and burn as many copies of Epictetus as we can find. Show me how, from a societal point of view, whatever values/attributes with which the shrinks would replace stoicism, autonomy, aggression, and mental, physical, and moral toughness, and describe how it would be better from both individual and societal perspectives. Life ain't an episode of Oprah Winfrey, schmuck-o.

Second, the movie lauds the old superheroes when they were confined to comic books, but denigrates their attributes when they show up on the silver screen. But here's the deal: these movies are popularly acclaimed or panned based on how true the screenplay stays to the hero depicted in the graphic novel. Scorn one, you've impugned the other.

Finally, I hope the shrinks know psychology and anthropology better than they do comic books.
...today’s aggressive, emotionally unavailable, detached and self-engrossed macho versions of superheroes like “Iron Man”, rarely address the virtue of doing good for humanity unlike the superheroes of yesteryear like Superman and Green Lantern.

Hey, dumbass, the Green Lantern turned bad and died an evil, genocidal maniac.

Know what I did this weekend? I went to see The Expendables with my son. And I'll guaran-damn-tee you that'll create less male behavioral problems than if we'd stayed at home watching Oprah.

*Yuh, a little hyperbole there; I read a lot. Mostly because we either didn't have a TV or didn't have any channels in English. Mostly.

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