Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The Incredibles and the Coming of the Ubermensch

It's a fun film.. how could it have NOT been? But the not-so-subtle Nietzchean subtext of The Incredibles left me cold. Despite the colorful action, wonderful performances and animation, Brad Bird's profoundly anti-democratic message gave me the willies. "If everyone is special, no one is" is the film's mantra, and I, for one, say BULL HOCKEY to that Ayn Rand claptrap.

There must be something in human nature that makes people want to submit themselves to a higher authority, undoubtedly benevolent, but what a miserable worldview.. Perceiving ourselves as so much cannon fodder, always looking to those "in charge" for answers instead of looking for our own. No dignity, no redemption, just some kind of eternal empty childhood. I'm sure I'm not the only one who picked up on Bird's tribute to the Ubermensch, but I wonder if many found it as off-putting as I do in an age where we're all supposed to be nameless extras in Dubya and Osama's Blockbuster Summer Spectacular (or, better yet, nameless yet noble extras on the front lines where the real action scenes are). So sue me for not offhandedly accepting the idea that the folk at the top of the chain are spiritually and ethically superior to people begging for change on streetcorners, or believing that Presidents are appointed by God. What are you left with if you really believe that the people who are gunned down in the streets every day in Iraq or the Sudan or who died horribly on 9/11 or who continue to die from neglect here in the richest, most powerful nation on the globe are simply nothing more than unwashed nobodies.. a vast faceless potentiality just waiting to be tapped by the chosen few? What kind of lunatic amorality does that kind of belief lead to? War? Genocide? Enron? Given America's pathological hero-worship, it seems nothing short of a miracle that we have anything resembling democracy left here. But now that we're electing action movie heroes governor, perhaps it won't be too long before the neocon Ubermensch save us from democracy, and our worthless selves, altogether.

The Incredibles is the perfect family film for the Bush era. A flashy, entertaining diatribe against equality and a call for "heroes" to function outside the "mediocre" constraints of law in order to save the inherently weak from themselves. The only way it could have been more perfect would have been a few scenes with the Incredibles in church. Screw you Nietzsche.


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