Credit: Paul AndersonIn the decades long wake of such cinematic atrocities as Spiderman, The X-Men, The Dark Knight and even the “cerebral” Watchmen, I am aghast that Hollywood can still find an audience for their “super hero” movies. Notice that I say, “aghast” and not “surprised.” Still, it’s as if, in an ornithological hissy fit, the proverbial Golden Goose will just not stop laying eggs.
Even the death of the preternaturally gifted actor Heath Ledger could not stop this cinematic juggernaut. It seems that no matter the catastrophe, this dismal fare is destined to keep on coming. There are just too many dedicated fans of the genre with too much money and too little taste for the gravy train to end any time soon. More disturbingly, these underplotted and over acted excuses for films encapsulate the insipid aspirations and expectations of the unwashed masses.
The Real Problem
I care. These dimwitted movies actually provide an insight into the minds of our “best and brightest.” They are not, in fact, aimed at capturing the disposable dollars of school children. Instead, they aim to capture the hearts and minds of the 18-25 year old demographic. More lamentably, they seem to be succeeding.
Never mind the lack of cinematic skill it takes to manufacture this schlock. Every one of these movies portrays itself as a paragon of scientific veracity. In actuality, a Catholic-school educated, third-grader could point out the flaws in their logic, plot line and science without resorting to their Catechism or breaking a sweat. Still, it makes no difference tothe pablumn eating audience that comprises our next generation of leaders.
Your Parents Were Right - Comic Books are for Morons, errr... Kids
There is no more profoundly disturbing evidence that the state of education in the United States has taken a decided turn for the worse than the recent embrasure of “comic book” movies by the pseudo technologically-adept, geek portion of the under 25 population. To add insult to injury, most people will proudly classify themselves in that group.
These purportedly intelligent, mind-numbed cases would have you believe that their understanding of basic science is solid and that, in their “estimable” opinion, the technological advances shown in “comic book” movies are absolutely attainable in the very near future. It boggles the mind to imagine that these imbeciles will be running the world in a few short decades.
In past decades, children under eight years old were amazed and entertained by comic books. Indestructible men would fly through the air to save busloads of children or planeloads of innocents while holding off other equally powerful foes. A shrewd combination of strategy and Deus ex machine would always save the day.
In many cases, these comic book antics were seen as a reflection of reality. This situation was all well and good until you turned ten. But as the readers grew into their teens, their actions heroes as well as Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy were revealed as impossibilities. Instead, science fiction and other fantasies took a greater hold.
This inevitable maturation coupled with a solid scientific education left behind the implausibility and outright impossibility of Thor, the Hulk and the Flash. Instead, a new dawning of the possibilities of science created new wonders and new possibilities were embraced.
What the Hell Happened?
Credit: Marie-Claude Bourbonnais - HornetIn recent years, however, a new class of scientific underachiever has emerged; one who embraces the possibility of indestructible flying shields and paralyzing rays contained in a pen. Willful suspension of disbelief aside, these morons think that these items are one or two years away from development. These facts don’t even address the issue of the underlying ramifications left unsaid by the move itself.
“My God, it’s almost as if these movies are works of fiction” is an argument that I have heard time and time again. It is, indeed, a nice fiction to believe that the fans of these movies recognize that immutable fact. Unfortunately, most of them are as oblivious to why their cell phone works as to the subtleties of quantum mechanics.
Does It Matter a Turtle Shell?
Credit: NickHotelA “willfull suspension of disbelief” is all well and good inside a movie theater but it should not be expanded to the outside world. The universe operates in an exceedingly regular fashion. A person using the fact that we don’t understand something as a causal force is sheer imbecility. Radiation is never going to produce Spiderman.
Science can, indeed, make profound and breathtaking leaps but, by and large, it is a process of accretion especially when it comes to the practical application of new concepts. To be blunt, not only will we never encounter a shield like Captain America’s or a Hammer like Thor’s, we will not even develop the more outrageous objects contained in Batman’s relatively believable, utility belt.
Unfortunately, this tendency towards popular science has some unintended but very real ramifications. The fact that people will believe politicians and scientists in unrelated fields over the actual experts leads to hysteria and ridiculously expensive public policies that are doomed to failure. In addition, the very same claptrap is promulgated in the “comic book” movies as justification for some other ridiculously overblown superpower.
The Five (or Six) Step Solution
Read a book that doesn’t have pictures unless you’re an engineer. (Wikipedia and “graphic novels” don’t count.)
Show a little skepticism. (You can trust your parents but people, including your little brother, lie all the time.)
Consider the source of your information. (It adds to their credibility helps if they are wearing a suit and tie.)
Trust Your Own Eyes. (You may get it wrong once but it’s likely that you’ll be dead before it happens a second time.)
Go cold turkey. Give up your comic books. (You can do it. Try Eliot or Chaucer or Conrad or Austen. Please, anything but Rowling.)
The Logan’s Run Solution (We institute LastDay for one generation just to thin out the herd. Who knows if it will really work, but it couldn’t hurt.)
Undoubtedly, the film makers, and I use the term loosely, of Hollywood will continue to prostitute themselves to the masses by making obscene, illiterate fantasies devoid of any socially redeeming value. It is simply too much to expect….
Screw it. I’m out of time. Frankly, I don’t care what happens as long as Medicare and Social Security are protected and, in the immortal words of Harry Reid, even those can go to Hell after I die.