An Observation

I think I hit on something important with “Wonder Woman”. And something scary:

The reason conservatives don’t see feminist propaganda in this movie, despite the fact that it is being marketed and promoted as feminist propaganda, is that they genuinly don’t see the concept of female warriors as “feminist”.

It’s the pattern I’ve been seeing. People go to the movies expecting feminist propaganda and come out and say “It wasn’t that at all!”

“Well, was the movie lead by a warrior woman who proved she can hack it with the men?”

“Yeah.”

“She was portrayed as a role model for young women? A person to emulate?”

“Yeah.”

But I think I get it. Female warriors were never the problem. Women who kick ass like men were never the problem. This is what modern society has turned into – that we should be cheering on women invading male spaces (again, lest people are tempted to go “She’s just an Amazon, not a real woman!”, Gal Gadot is promoting this movie by literally showing men how to properly beat people up) because the movie talks about other pretty good things and also because it doesn’t bash men outright.

These are our standards now.

Do I think there can be such a thing as a good female superhero movie? Indeed I do. Here’s a good example of how it could work.

And “Wonder Woman” is not that.

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Wonder Woman What?

I considered posting this on Superversive SF, but it’s probably too political and too controversial. So here it goes.

After having a discussion on Facebook yesterday I woke up today baffled – absolutely baffled – that conservatives could possible defend “Wonder Woman”. It boggles my mind.

And I mean, we’re talking real conservatives here. Christians who have been publicly attacked and slandered by SJW’s, who take issue with writers like Neil Gaiman, who are devout fans of Chesterton and Lewis. These are the folks who are totally committed to defending “Wonder Woman”.

And again – maybe I’m just being a jerk here, or arrogant, or condescending, but to me it’s just s obvious that “Wonder Woman” is inherently anti-civilization. The trailers are structured to make “Wonder Woman” look like the feminist answer to “Captain America” – “See, women can lead bands of brothers too!”. She is given a shield and dressed in vaguely patriotic colors, and is shown in every trailer going into battle with her men. The movie knocks the natural and respectable order of things; in one trailer a woman who describes herself as a helpmeet to a man, and a paid one at that, is immediately classed as a slave by Wonder Woman; lest you think we’re supposed to be uncomfortable with Wonder Woman’s faux pas, the secretary immediately takes a shine to Wondie’s feminist bona fides. Ha, see, she gets it! Women don’t need to be stuck in no office! They can be leaders just like the menfolk!

But no, what are you talking about, the movie isn’t being marketed as a feminist movie! It was only one trailer, and they didn’t air it much! And okay, maybe it was being marketed as feminist Cap early on, but it’s really not! It’s just you! Just watch the film! The kick-ass Amazon warrior who rushes into battle and classes helpmeets as slaves isn’t feminist at all! She’s awesome!

And she’s an Amazon, so you know, we already know we can’t be like Wonder Woman! Never mind Gal Godot going on the Conan show and literally attempting to prove that women can kick ass just as well as the men can – nay, better. All as part of the marketing spree for “Wonder Woman”.

Here’s the thing: Those feminists who cry when Wonder Woman goes into battle? Those feminists who see her as a shining icon for her cause? Who interpret liberal and progressive themes into the film? They’re the ones who are right. They’re not crazy, they’re reacting exactly how the director *wanted* them to react. This whole thing reminds me of similar discussions I’ve had with fans of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”, who tried to claim that people who read feminist themes into the show were just reading what they wanted into it – this despite the fact that Joss Whedon has gone on the record explicitly stating that yes, “Buffy” is intentionally designed as feminist propaganda. It’s the feminists who get it. We’re the ones reading what we want into it, because “Buffy” is a fun and well-written show that we don’t want to feel guilty watching.

So it is with “Wonder Woman”. I never doubted the movie would be great. It looked great in trailers. Gal Godot is an excellent casting choice. Chris Pine is a great actor. The dialogue seemed sharp enough. What wasn’t to like about it? That’s why the movie is a propaganda masterpiece, because it has managed to trick conservatives into seeing “just” a fun superhero film about a character who was created by a polygamist who thought women were literally superior to men, while simultaneously catering to progressives and feminists promoting a liberal agenda.

That other conservatives don’t see this – that they don’t recognize something being waved in their faces so obviously – genuinely upsets me. I like these people. And am I any better?

On certain things, probably not. And that scares me. What’s going on here?

I think I know the answer, but I don’ like it.

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What it REALLY Means to Oppose Public Education

“is that you’re comparing what the government is forcing children to do to what their own families are forcing them to do.”

Wrong. The government is forcing education on children. Parents can choose how that education is delivered. But the parent can’t opt to not educate the child at all. So the only difference between Mom and the school is delivery. Both are forcing government mandated instruction on the child.

For a smart guy like ed, I find a comment like this astonishing to the point of being kind of shocked he said it.

Sure, there is no difference between a mother choosing how to teach her children, where to teach her children, what order her children will learn (yes, that can be chosen, at least to a certain degree), and who her children will specifically interact with, then a government mandated school. Nope. Basically just delivery that’s the difference.

That’s preposterous.

 

“I’m saying “cheaters not only are people we should be sympathetic to, but in fact are correct in a fundamental way we don’t like to admit”.

Yeah, but you don’t want to think of yourself as some cool leftist black beret wearing protester, some ultra-cool hipster who’s got it all figured out. No, you just want to get it out there, cuz boyo, no one has thought before you that cheating is admirable.

  1. I didn’t say that nobody has thought of this before. Quite the contrary. I’m building off of other people I’ve read, specifically Joseph Moore of Yard Sale of the Mind.
  2. I didn’t say I thought cheating was “admirable”. I don’t think they should be in that situation at all.

This is a situation I ran into a lot when I was starting to reject right liberalism: Halfway rejectors.

Ed has an idea in mind of how people like me think, and he’s projecting those assumptions here. This is because he’s trapped in a mindset: School has to be like this.

I know he is, because he just put a post up on how the public school system is totally the way to go.

I don’t think that in the slightest. In fact, I reject it vehemently.

Here’s the thing. There’s a certain type of person who cheats just because they’re not interested in hard work. This is bad for a lot of reasons, and this person needs more fundamental help then “Hey, we need to stop him from cheating”.

Then there are the people – people like my friends, who are now engineers and government level Cybersecurity programmers, among other things – who cheat in certain classes because they don’t care about them. And yet, here we are, forcing them to learn those things. Things they’re not necessarily ready for, or that frankly they’re too ready for and know they can do the work, so don’t want to jump through the hoops (I had a friend exactly like this in a Web Design course. He found the coursework preposterous, cheated on all of it, then when it was time to actually design websites he was the best in the class. But can’t go without that elective!).

You can call this lazy if you want to. I call it real life – we do our jobs as best we can, we go home and learn how to do the things that we want to do, and our jobs fund our hobbies. You can live a fine life this way.

And I call it childhood when our parents decide the best way for us to live our lives.

But wait! We still need to follow the government’s education program!

And that’s exactly my point. This is a bad thing.

School is a preposterous artificial environment. It makes no sense. There is almost nothing in the real world school is comparable to. I don’t admire cheaters, but frankly, for the worst ones, cheating is just a symptom of a larger problem, and for the folks like my friends and I, or those cheaters Ed mentions who just want that A, it’s increasingly unclear why we’re making them do this stuff at all.

That’s not to say that lying is the right way to go. But it is saying we have more fundamental problems here that we need to address, mostly by tearing the entire system down and replacing it with something new entirely.

 

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On cheating and the school system

This is adapted from a response to a post on the blog of the esteemed Ben Orlin, who is awesome and who you should all read.

The wild card when talking about cheating is that students will often be in classes they don’t want to be in, don’t care about, and will probably never make use of again. But they need a good grade in that class to get into the college they want, or even graduate at all.

Look at the whole thing from that perspective – you’re there against your will, forced to do something you don’t want to for a reason you don’t care about and that probably won’t affect your life one way or the other once you’re finished with it.

We’ve admitted now that a lot of the anti-cheating arguments are poor or only apply in rare situations, but we’re afraid to take the next step and admit that students who cheat  at least sometimes have a very good reason, and little incentive NOT to. How on earth can you talk about the “morality” of cheating to a person who has essentially been blackmailed into doing whatever you want them to for an hour each day?

For a larger number of cases than we’d care to admit the only good reason not to cheat is the risk of getting caught.

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The Ghost of “The Case for Christ”

This film is the first “Christian” film  I’ve seen in a good long time that actually seems to be getting decent reviews.

And yet…

From Rotten Tomatoes:

A hard-driving journalist, Lee Strobel was exactly where he expected to be at work: on top. His award-winning investigative reporting recently earned him a promotion to legal editor at the ChicagoTribune. But things weren’t going nearly as well at home where his wife Leslie’s newfound faith in Christ went against everything Lee believed-or didn’t believe-as an avowed atheist. Utilizing his journalistic and legal training, Lee begins a quest to debunk the claims of Christianity in order to save his crumbling marriage.

Odds that this movie promotes the false, harmful, and vile narrative that women are “naturally spiritual” and men need to be saved by their wives: Approaching 100% at the speed of light.

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Ghostbusting on Broadway

I know what you’re thinking. “Ghosts?” you say, “But this is Broadway. It’s, like, the gay capital of the east coast. Shouldn’t you be expecting gay crap?”

And you may be right, but this is a little different. The story:

This Friday we made a rare trip down to NYC to see the musical “Bandstand”. It was the very first day of previews for the show, so the tickets were cheap (for Broadway – 72 dollars each). The music was a sort of big band swing and the story looked fun enough, so off we went.

The show was about a group of WWII vets who formed a band and entered a contest; the winner gets into the movies. They’re good, but not good enough until a gold star wife with star power pipes joins in. Ta da. Play.

Sounds fun, right? It was, but it was actually a really, really remarkable tribute to the troops. The lead kills his buddy (the widow’s husband) in a friendly fire accident. An alcoholic in the group liberated the prisoners at Dachau.  Another got in an accident that left him with brain damage. And so on – you get the drift.

This is great stuff! It’s the first thing I’ve ever seen that really goes into, and really attempts to understand (I obviously can’t speak to it’s total effectiveness, as I don’t have that experience), the plight of veterans home from the war. It doesn’t sugarcoat it, or hide from it. Cool, right?

Except…

We have one character – the sax player. He’s a bookish guy, in college for law school, and a bit of a neat freak. At one point, the lead tells him he should get a girl. He looks at him and says “Come on. I thought you were smarter than that.”

And my heart sank.

Leaving aside the other problems with this, it’s astonishing how stupid this line is. Apparently men who are smart and neat must be gay. It’s obvious! How did you not notice?

And this circa 1940’s WWII vet? What’s his reaction to this shocking revelation (a revelation, by the way, that has nothing at all to do with the tragic stories related to service all of the other vets have)? Why, it’s to ask him if he ever met anyone special!

No shock. No outrage. It causes no crisis. It’s just full support, no questions asked. Yeah, that’s the attitude tough as nails WWII vets from the 40’s would have to the revelation that a fellow band member was a pervert!

And the best part? The finale song – a wonderful song, all about the struggles and trials all of the vets had to go through since their return – reveals that, surprise, apparently the other band members all knew this too; we know this since war widow references it subtly in her lyrics.

This show was so close to something I could recommend wholeheartedly. It was a brilliant tribute to the troops with wonderful music and a great message. I’d be singing its parises to the heavens…

…But it had to virtue signal. It was a show that already had a very specific goal in mind, a point to make, and it throws in an absolutely pointless social justice talking point to…why? Prove that hey, they may be pro-vets, but don’t you dare accuse them of not being hip to the current liberal cause of the day.

It’s such a great show, and it’s such a small thing. It’s the sort of thing that immediately after the show when I bring it up the reaction from people *who agree with me* is to roll their eyes and go “Well, who cares?”

And that’s exactly *why* it’s such a big problem, and *why* it’s so disappointing.

What a shame.

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More on “Princess Mononoke”

Writing a post on each Miyazaki film is surely already starting to tire people out, so I’ll put my further thoughts here, where people won’t get bored reading about the same topic all over again on the Superversive site.

Okay. When I first watched “Mononoke”, I loved it. But – I thought “Spirited Away” was probably still better.

With a few hours to think about it – and, after realizing that I couldn’t stop thinking about it for hours – I think I was wrong. I think “Mononoke” is the best film of Miyazaki’s I’ve watched so far. I think it might be the best animated film period I’ve watched so far. I think it might be the best animated film – and one of the best movies, animated or otherwise – ever.

There are so many remarkable layers of depth to “Princess Mononoke”. It’s a movie that demands multiple viewings. The complexity and ingenuity of the film, from the stunning visuals to the brilliantly complex characters, practically overwhelms you.

After reading reviews, I think people miss what makes “Princess Mononoke” so brilliant – the aspect of the film that brings it to a whole other level, from great to transcendent. It’s not the moral complexity of the film, it’s not the stunning visuals, and it’s not the wildly imaginative creatures or complex and compelling characters.

It’s that the movie is superversive.

But it’s more than that. Let’s look at this from a more detached perspective. Imagine I’m telling you about this great book I read, but it’s no ordinary book. There are no real good guys, and no real bad guys. Everybody is fighting with everyone else for various, competing reasons, none of which are necessarily “wrong” in the traditional sense. Oh, and it’s super pro-environmentalist*

Think of that, detached from Miyazaki or the superversive movement. What are you actually thinking of?

You think of “Game of Thrones”. You think of ultra left-wing morally relativist claptrap, ridiculous environmentalist propaganda. No heroes? No villains? Ludicrous. Evil, even. Oh yeah, and the most obviously villainous person of the whole thing survives to the end and remains leader of her town.

Okay. Now imagine I told you all of that and then said “Oh yeah, by the way, it’s one of the most superversive books I’ve ever read in my entire life. It lifts up the human spirit and restores your faith in humanity. The environmentalist message? It’s remarkably intelligent and nuanced. The lack of heroes and villains? It just means that every man has the capacity to better themselves, and that there’s hope for the future.

The villain? Not only does she survive, but she sees the error of her ways and leads her people to a better future in harmony with her enemies. All of those people, all of those men and women with their terrible, glorious moral complexity – they all come to realize that there are opportunities for peace, to create a better world, and they strive to make that world come about.

And that’s REALLY why the movie is so brilliant It would have been so easy to make this brilliantly written, nihilistic garbage, or even to make it an epic tragedy (which also could have been brilliant)…but that would have been the easy way out. And Miyazaki NEVER takes the easy way out. The result is an experience that does more than amaze and dazzle you – it lifts up your soul. It’s superversive in the most powerful sense imaginable.

And THAT is why it’s one of the greatest movies ever made.

(Also, it doesn’t hurt that some of the dialogue, even in the dub, is SUPER AWESOME – “Now watch closely, everyone. I’m going to show you how to kill a god.” Lady Eboshi, let no one ever doubt how much of a badass you are.)

*It’s actually not at all environmentalist in the western sense of the word, but more accurately Shintoist, which doesn’t stop ignorant leftists from claiming the movie – incorrectly – as their own. 

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