Monday, July 7, 2014

That jerk Pharyngula destroys your enjoyment of all superhero movies forever

I haven't read him for a couple years. And apparently scienceblogs now feels it has to re-create the evil of the late 90s by forcing popups on you.

But here's an insightful post of his:

Pharyngula - man of steel, movie of wreckage. Where among other things he makes the following insightful observations about superhero movies:

•Slugfests. In every case, bad guy meets good guy and you know that shortly they’ll start throwing roundhouse blows at each other. This is not how people interact with each other, except when they’re very drunk and stupid. These are supposed to be super-intelligent, powerful beings, and their standard response to any challenge is to punch someone in the nose.

•There are no human costs. We see skyscrapers fall, entire New York city blocks destroyed, invulnerable super-bodies flung through office buildings like missiles, and never see a single person injured or killed. We see one death and Superman howls in anguish, and I just wanted to say, “Hey, Supe, when you smashed that IHOP? You probably turned half a dozen people who were just trying to have a pancake into bloody mush. I don’t even want to try to get a body count from that imploded building over there. So why are you upset over the quick and painless demise of that one jerkwad?”

Yeah, on the one hand I agree: superhero movies are mass-media psychopathy. Seriously: if you really are suspending disbelief when you watch these movies, and if the proper reaction of a human is to care about the suffering of others, then you really should have been traumatized like crazy when the Avengers and those alien guys went and destroyed New York City or wherever, no?

I mean, thousands of innocents must have died, no? Do you not care about their families? The children who will never see their fathers and mothers again? Families rent asunder? Lovers forever separated by the veil of death? The trauma of knowing that the authorities can't even find your loved ones' remains?

So either suspension of disbelief is bullshit, or all humans are psychopaths who can watch others suffer without feeling an emotional reaction.

Frankly, I believe the latter.

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