Mad Max mocks machismo


#1

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#2

There are good reasons the Beyond Thunderdome story has such resilience. Virtually every character was worth knowing/watching, and were virtually all people we can each identify with in various ways, from Aunty Entity, to Savannah Nix, to Max, to Blaster, etc.


#3

Wow, that Arthur Chu is a perceptive fella. I agree wholeheartedly with all his points. (Which doesn’t make me perceptive; nor could I have expressed those thoughts so well.)


#4

Amazing article!
:thumbsup:


#5

Really great write-up. Thanks for posting!


#6

I’m attracted to this idea that men suffer under the ideological entrapment of machismo. It’s a limiting function, enforced by the group-think community of men, culturing those who make contact of any kind with that imperative. A stagnant and poisonous homogeneity.

But the rub is, this polar, diametric amplification within the context of an assumed, binary gender identity poisons the whole well of ideology. I have an inkling that fighting it from within that context is doomed to failure.

And it is with the slow realisation of a fluid spectrum of gender identity within which personalities of humans may change and change again that I see humanity evolving. Pointing out the ways in which abuses of personal identity are often perpetuated, with violence, is accurate and necessary, but I feel like there is such a steep perceptual cliff surrounding this observation that it becomes almost impossible to skirt the issue without falling into the precipitous trap of pattern matching further observations to fit into an ideological framework born of that initial observation.

We should abandon poisonous machismo but not in favour of promoting a counter-force (within the context of masculinity) but instead look to evolve clear consciousness from a human-centric perspective. Something which the bounding forces of an ideological framework, at their very core, disallow.

I know this sounds like a sophist perspective of unhealthy ideas already established as useless, excusatory ignorance, and I’m working on how to express this personal concern, not having previously had the thoughts feel explicit enough to formulate. Please criticise this line of thought, I would appreciate it.


#7

I’m tired of arguing about the movie.

Here is one of my favorite 90s rave groups, Messiah, with their song “Thunderdome”, which uses lots of sounds bites from said film.


#8

What I’m still somewhat baffled about is why the reaction this time around was so markedly different. As the analysis notes, it’s not as though Max is ever rewarded for playing the action hero(given his deeply limited agency in the context of societal collapse, there is room for argument as to whether his action heroics are being presented as actively destructive and self-defeating; or as impotent and futile, but not obviously more so than any other options he has). Plus, the level of explosions, postapocalyptic death cars, and similar fun increases substantially with each installment, so even if you don’t like the message about action heroism, it has become steadily easier to ignore.


#9

Cultural conservatism this time around is on the rise. It was on the decline for a solid generation or two after the 50’s and 60’s, but now we have the children of the '70’s and '80’s reacting against that.


#10

I’m tired about the arguments surrounding the movie too. And it’s only been a week.

And while the article was quite over the top with the argument, there was a salient point- a lot of unchecked aggression is causing hell in the world. So is basic human ignorance, and fearmongering, and literal interpretation of religious texts, and any number of other things.

I read the article, and the commentary- and noticed the loudest, most obnoxious commenter
was a woman. Who self identified as a feminist. Feminist or not- male or not- berating people who disagree with you in terms like “unfuckable”, and other utter vile and ignorant speach, immediately makes me tune you out the same way I do annoying screaming 5 year olds. Because that’s what you equate to at best. And in the case of feminism, you make other feminists look like utter assholes to the world, men and women alike.

I don’t know if “men’s rights apologists” exist. I don’t care. I care about living in a civilized society where people who do wrong, admit it. Where people don’t scream at and insult each other. Where rational, fact-based arguments count as proper debate.

Mad Max is my favorite movie franchise BECAUSE of the ridiculous violence, degradation, and epic savagery. I admit that I enjoy it for that! It is a movie- it is meant to entertain. I know the world in the movies is a fucked place, and the way people have to live is horrible. But the man’s argument is that MEN destroyed the world, because men are basically evil, and women are intrinsically pure.

I call bullshit in the strongest possible terms. This is a tired argument an 8th grader could have cooked up.

If you went to see the movie and only enjoyed the single facet of a strong female lead, how did you make it through the movie? All the violence, explosions, everything? You know, the visuals, the STORY?

Could it be you were entertained? Wow. That would mean, man or woman, you rejoiced and thrilled at the epic savagery and violence on display. Or at least, forced yourself to watch without doing something more noble, like getting up and leaving in disgust. Which would mean you either can find entertainment in visceral savagery like the people you decry lead to that world, or you were unwilling to distance yourself from a supposed atrocity.

Look, if you want to start blaming real, existing humans, and an entire sex for all that is wrong in the world using a movie- here’s a hint- it’s a movie. It’s meant to entertain. If you sat through it, it’s as equally a plausible argument to your detractors you were entertained by it. Which means you would be a hypocrite.

I know there are chauvinistic, violent misogynists of men in the world. You don’t need to tell me that. But I think there is something wrong with people who suddenly feel like it was ever ok to call all men, the male species what I heard in that article and forum.

Feminists- this is a guy saying it, so maybe you’ll believe me? You have good, valid arguments and people to justify why women deserved to vote, deserve to be treated and paid equally to men. Those points should have been self evident, all people are created equal. But when you allow people to speak for you, and damn the entire other half of your race for being intrinsically violent, you are no better or correct than every asshole of a man throughout history that claimed “women are the fairer sex”, or “women aren’t as smart as men”.

It’s all bullshit. It all stinks. Reality is difficult to deal with- there is a lot of bad in the world. Let’s focus on what’s actually wrong with it rationally, and stop trying to stereotype not just people of specific colors, nationalities, sexualities, all of it. Especially half of your goddamn species.

And for the record- I fucking love Charlize Theron. Because she was badass in the movie. Her sexuality never came into it for me in the film- she was just presented as an effective, violent baddass with a conscious, trying to help people. Kinda like an evolved Max character- and Max went with her to escape, but went back because her believed in her idea. He wanted them to win, to survive. He just couldn’t stay with them- because he’s always searching for something he lost. That’s his character. Furiosa is like the better parts of Max distilled into someone who can live again in the world- Max just never can.

I enjoyed having a female lead in this- until all the people kept making such a big damn deal about yet another strong female character, as if somehow women still need to impress upon every human being that they are “strong”. Of course they are. It was self evident to me, a guy, watching the fucking movie.

But when you keep screaming about the same point, over and over, with every movie that comes out, you make the idea, something self evident that shouldn’t need explained anymore, a tired trope, and make women look pathetic to people, because you still feel you have to scream “girl power” every 5 seconds.

There have been enough strong female characters in movies, politics, and tv in the last 10 years alone to permanently prove the point. My favorite is Carrol on the Walking Dead. The men that still haven’t figured out that women aren’t timid creatures are men that never will. Stop screaming- your message is just pissing off the men who are listening to you at this point. Especially messages that just stereotype us.

I liked the movie before I had the view of it being a feminist battlecry. Now it just seems reduced to a social critique for me.

Can’t we all just get along, and enjoy the orgy of violence and redemption together, as equals?


#11

Everything is social critique. Only, some things aren’t aware that they are.


#12

Of course. If you chose to view something as a critique, that’s up to you. But if everything you see in the world is a constant critique to you, I am lost for words how sad I feel for you.

When everything is a critique, everything you do becomes an event to be judged. What a tiring chore
existence becomes when the only reason we exist is to critique ourselves and the world. Look at that sentence with just that meaning- no critique. Maybe you’ll see how I feel about the world in it.


#13

Oh dear! Heaven forbid, you a man, being witness to a discussion about a great, popular movie that happens to have a very feminist story line!

How terrible for you that for one moment, it’s not about you and your experiences, as a man, who just wants to talk about explosions and action sequences, and not this feminist mumbo-jumbo! It must be so awful to have the discussion move away from your interests for one moment! How can you bear it?

I didn’t realize that a well thought out, well researched, and impecably written article about a movie was an “argument” (the implication that it’s “another” “argument” because people, especially women, are daring to discuss at length a really important, bad-ass, well written, well done, and well acted movie that maybe centers about women and possibly even feminism because oh dear the horror!!).

I am having flash backs, man. It seems that you keep wanting to downplay the importance of this film within pop culture, and just talk about the explosions. Because explosions are cool. And manly! So fucking manly. BOOM!! (The irony is not lost on me; is it lost on you…?)

This is like the Sad Puppies, who think Star Trek is all about the ships with no social commentary whatsoever.


#14

Have you never taken Film Theory 101? What about film reviews? What about the heated discussions and debates that Robert Ebert and his pals constantly had about movies? I take it you’ve never watched At the Movies with Ebert and Gene Siskel?

And isn’t being a geek ALL about talking endlessly about movies and what they mean and their importance to pop culture? I mean isn’t this what being a geek is ALL ABOUT?

For fuck’s sake, edx.org and the Smithsonian teamed up for a free course titled “Superheroes and their Impact on Pop Culture.” This kind of discussion and debate is not a new thing. The only time people seem to get their Fedoras all dusted up is when the discussion happens to center around women or feminism.


#16

I read the article, and the commentary- and noticed the loudest, most obnoxious commenter
was a woman.

You’re joking, right?

Because then you said this:

I care about living in a civilized society where people who do wrong, admit it. Where people don’t scream at and insult each other. Where rational, fact-based arguments count as proper debate.

And these are direct contradictions of each other. You claim you don’t like when people insult other people…after you insulted a commenter whom you assumed to be a woman… and you also claimed she was the “loudest, most obnoxious” commenter, but you didn’t provide anything to back that up. Which commenter? What made her loud? What made her obnoxious? Compared to what? How did you come up with your data?

because men are basically evil, and women are intrinsically pure.

That wasn’t the argument at all. Mad Max certainly wasn’t evil, and there was another obvious example of a War Boy who redeemed himself. These are important characters! Did you actually watch the movie? Nux provided some of the most emotional parts of the entire movie!!

If you went to see the movie and only enjoyed the single facet of a strong female lead, how did you make it through the movie? All the violence, explosions, everything? You know, the visuals, the STORY?

This is … Honestly the rest of your comment devolves into a bunch of word salad starting here and I can’t even really respond anymore… We were entertained. The movie was awesome. Yes. It was. THE MOVIE WAS BAD ASS. Are you not aware of that? Have you seen the movie?

Which would mean you either can find entertainment in visceral savagery like the people you decry lead to that world, or you were unwilling to distance yourself from a supposed atrocity.

This is again, just word salad. It is not an argument. There is nothing rational or reasoned about this.

Feminists- this is a guy saying it, so maybe you’ll believe me? You have good, valid arguments and people to justify why women deserved to vote, deserve to be treated and paid equally to men. Those points should have been self evident, all people are created equal. But when you allow people to speak for you, and damn the entire other half of your race for being intrinsically violent, you are no better or correct than every asshole of a man throughout history that claimed “women are the fairer sex”, or “women aren’t as smart as men”.

I liked the movie before I had the view of it being a feminist battlecry. Now it just seems reduced to a social critique for me.


#17

I think between here, Facebook, and another forum I’ve said all I have to say about it for now with out repeating myself.

Though I do hope someone enjoys the song. Don’t you miss UK rave that had sci-fi movie sound bites? The Tina Turner video reminded me of this.

The sound bite for “Messiah!” comes from Monty Python’s “Life of Brian”.


#18

Then you could just stop talking about it and let others enjoy the discussion. It’s okay if it doesn’t involve you. I’m sure you’ll be fine. No need to shit on our parade all because the discussion doesn’t center around your world.

Also, no, that song was bad. I really did try to like it. I have a very wide music palate. But that was not a good song. Bad.


#19

90s rave is a “you had to be there” thing.


#20

I was there. Most of it was worse than the video you shared. There was a gem or two. This was not one of those gems. Sorry.


#21

An unexamined life is not worth living. - Some old white dude, so you know it’s true.