It occurred to me this morning that the reason we are so engaged with comic book “super heroes” these days is because society has evolved to deny the existence of real heroes.
When was the last time a soldier or statesman or philanthropist was lauded as a hero? I can’t remember. War has become so mundane that exalting soldiers rings hollow; statesmen have become extinct – all politicians are now self-serving prevaricators; and philanthropists are a facade for society destroying capitalists.
I also noticed an article [Link] entitled “The Wizard of Oz most ‘influential’ film of all time according to network science.”
The key thing here is the word “influential”. As nearly as I could determine, it means the films that have the most imitators.
The score was based on how much each film had been referenced by subsequent films. The authors found that the top 20 most influential films were all produced before 1980 and mostly in the United States.
The question that immediately arises is how many films since 1980 are actually original?
The work is damned by the paper and the full list being hidden behind a paywall. That in itself is enough to strongly indicate a lack of scientific rigor. Three movies are cited: The Wizard of Oz; Star Wars; and Psycho. I have to admit to having watched all of these three. And been disappointed. These may be influential but they are all horribly flawed.
Wizard of Oz is fundamentally a grail quest. If we compare it to l’mort d arthur (e.g.,) it suffers. Years after, all that abides in memory of it is the female lead’s voice, which is truly memorable.
Star Wars has become a religious icon for slavery and oppression. It is also, in its way, a morality play establishing that goodness in society can never be unalloyed with bad. But the unblinking admission of slavery limits its status as fable.
Psycho is another journey cinema, in this instance of insanity. It may be brilliant but only in the cinematic sense. Dealing with the social subjectivity and apathy of mental disease is cruelly absent.
What is not amazing is that the historic wellspring of goodness is absent. And that they have deteriorated (rotted?) to the point of embracing this. Is there no source of goodness and integrity in cinema today?
On the other hand, the early deep winter of climate change, anathema of thought and deed among the politicals, is briefly absent from the old Confederacy and hence I may enjoy a modicum of body comfort. Even that seems the depravity of our society. The morality today seems to be strictly personal, strictly among friends, whatever that word means. We have become a society of small groups, almost like Hunter-Gatherer bands, who are the Us and everyone else is the Them to be distrusted, hated, or preyed upon.
Perhaps that is fitting? A return to the Paleolithic, at least socially, before disease and climate destroy society and civilization and leave a few million humans to the tender mercies of a decomposing planet?