Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Holdin' Out for a Hero


This past weekend found me experiencing an interesting dichotomy of film- 10,000 B.C. and Be Kind Rewind all in one night. One film choice was mine (the girl who has no taste) and one was Shawn's (the film major)...I'll let you figure out who picked what.

Be Kind Rewind wasn't bad. Not the Science of Sleep/Eternal Sunshine Michel Gondry style I expected, but it was a sweet movie and I think maybe I laughed a few times...maybe. Still, I'm not a big Jack Black fan.

The religion major in me loved some of the themes in 10,000 B.C., however. Myth, prophecy and religious beliefs, killing man-made "deities", love and interconnectedness...etc. There was even a brief moment (I swear!) where, once the hero realizes his destiny, we see a group of thorns. Not a crown per se, but it still seems pretty symbolic to me.

10,000 B.C. and the rash of superhero movie previews I had to sit through got me thinking. Why is it our culture has a need for such violent savior figures? Superheros, war heroes, everywhere you look there is some good guy who saves the day by kicking ass and taking names. Very rarely do we see a hero who saves the day through self-sacrifice or non-violence.

This is not a new theme by any means. The Jews were waiting for a savior to conquer and destroy the Romans, and the ancient Greeks gave us Odysseus who is the hero archetype embodied.

If this is not a new theme, then what does that say about our human nature? Are we born with an inherent understanding of archetypes?

Is it the society (perhaps patriarchy) we've created that requires a hero willing to use violence?

Is violence a necessary condition to be a hero?

Can anyone name me one pop culture "hero" who doesn't use violence?

Will Lindsey ever stop asking questions?

In other news-
I love Easter weekend because the Discovery/National Geographic/History Channels play all sorts of religion nerd shows. I also love that Pier 1 is currently a pagan symbol mini-mart of sorts...

Yeah you know, Easter...that holiday when we celebrate Jesus' resurrection by gorging ourselves on chocolate symbols of fertility!

4 comments:

PeterAtLarge said...

I'm hoping that Lindsey will "never stop asking questions." I haven't, not yet, and I've lived a few decades longer than you. When you find out that there aren't any answers--that's the day! Keep on blogging! Cheers, PaL

Lindsey in Lawrence said...

Peter-
Thank you for the comment!
While I sometimes think it might be nice to think I have all the answers and be confident in those answers, I realize I would never really be happy.

So here's to questioning...? :-D

Themindtaker said...

Can anyone name me one pop culture "hero" who doesn't use violence?

All my heroes are dead rock stars who preached peace and love. But I
guess the "numba 1 artist" right now is Kanye... does he stand for peace?

Is it the society (perhaps patriarchy) we've created that requires a hero willing to use violence?

(Yeah, patriarchy) Definitely. We got to where we are today (vis a vis the U.S.A.) by fighting, war, killing-- all throughout history! Maybe we need a president who makes some large gesture for peace to prove to people that a peace-nic can be a badass (no silly, not Jimmy Carter). Then his/her story needs to be made into a movie.

We just need to glamorize peace the same way we glamorize killing in all those war-porn movies that do so well in the box office. If only there was a way to make peace exciting and marketable (see? it always comes back to capitalism...)

stephanie said...

In a way, I think the modern take on viloent heroes plays back to our primitive times when we were impressed by those who were able to keep those pesky sabre tooth tigers at bay. We depended on those who would save us from the evils in the world and usually we had to use violence to do so.

Excuse the lack of thought and articulation, I'm still groggy from the night before.

Also, I find it interesting that if you ask people "who is your hero?" most don't say "SPIDERMAN!" Well, most above the age of 6. They're going to say a parent, or a dignitary they look up to, or someone who has inspired them in their lives. So all we need to do now is convince the cinematic creators that we can have heros who "save the world" by putting forth a good example and being successful or helping people without the aide of a bazooka.