Superman in his latest incarnation is a box office smash, a suitable homage to the late Christopher Reeve’s version with a 21st century twist. Amazingly, some conservative bloggers find fault with the movie, for purely socio-political reasons. Chief among them is self-promoting expert on everything Debbie Schlussel.
Who is Debbie Schlussel? Well, I didn’t know either until I started blogging. Schlussel is a sharp-tongued critic of everything to the left of her far-right agenda, especially Hollywood stars who she believes suck up to Arab ass too much. Like all conservative pundits, Schlussel takes everything in popular culture seriously, as if each song lyric, film premise or TV show spells the end of civilization as we know it.
Schlussel is a Jewish Ann Coulter, if you will.
Anyway, Schlussel pops up on TV and radio every once in awhile to spout her special kind of invective. On MSNBC and on her own blog, she lambasts some of the plotline of Superman Returns. I will attempt to summarize, but the links to her post and to the MSNBC transcript are below if you want the news directly from the horse’s mouth.
- Superman is a wimp because he leaves Earth for five years to “find himself” and his home planet, Krypton, “like every sensitive, slacker metrosexual.” (her blog)
- Lois Lane is a slut because she has slept with two men (Clark and her fiance), and has a child by one of them, she’s not too sure which.
- Lois Lane is against marriage, and says so, despite being affianced.
- Lois Lane wants to devote herself to her career, and remain a single mother
- The film makers dropped the phrase “and the American Way,” from the 1950’s TV show intro of Supie standing up for “truth, justice and the American Way.”
- HIs muscles are toned down.
- HIs cape is not bright red, but “a muted burgundy. It‘s kind of a dingy, you know, “Vogue” kind of fashion you‘d see on one of their androgynous models.” (MSNBC commentary)
- He’s fighting Lex Luthor, instead of someone more relevant, like AL Qaeda terrorists.
So, let me state categorically that all this close analysis is just plain stupid. Superman is a comic book character. So is Lois. They exist in a fantasy universe. To quote Groucho Marx, “any resemblance between these two characters and reality is merely coincidental.”
That said, let me, as a comic book reader from way back, address Schlussel’s points.
- Imagine you are an orphan, the Last Son of Krypton. Your parents and your entire home world have been obliterated. Astronomers discover remnants of your home. What do you do? Ignore the whole thing, and go back to life as usual? Or do you use your superpowers to visit what’s left of home?
- Two guys. One of whom has been gone for five years with no explanation. You are sleeping with the man you are going to marry. And you’re a slut? Then millions of other women are, too.
- Nothing new here. Don’t blame Lois.
- Uhh, ditto. Old plot device, dating back to the ’70s. Remember “Murphy Brown?”
- Only the George Reeves TV show had “truth, justice and the American Way” in the intro to Superman. Recent versions of Superman have dropped the American Way part to emphasize that Supie had adopted the whole Earth as his home. (In fact, strictly speaking, he was an illegal alien, bypassing border patrols entirely. IIRC, a president granted him citizenship some years back.)
- Both George and Christopher Reeves and Dean Cain were fit men, but none were built like Schwarzenegger. Brandon Routh is not that much smaller. Besides, they’re actors. No human living or dead can actually look exactly like a comic book character.
- And Batman’s comic book costume was apparently just fabric, but his movie costume is more like lightweight armor. So the movie Batman is afraid of being shot dead by bullets? Perhaps the latest Superman is a clothes horse, and gets tired of red and blue with yellow accents. Who the F cares? It’s a comic book.
- Terrible plot idea. Lex personifies “evil villain,” and is one single enemy. Al Qaeda is an organization with thousands of members. So, Superman is supposed to defeat them all in a two-hour movie, and do what with them? Send them all to the Phantom Zone? Besides, if Superman singlehandedly ends the War on Terror, what platform does the Republican Party have for the 2008 presidential election campaign?
Schlussel spends part of her time bewailing what terrible role models Superman and Lois are for the kiddie audience. Both characters, to her, are too self-absorbed and too imperfect. That Lois is (gasp) sleeping with a man to whom she is not married, and has a child out of wedlock, well, that’s just plain awful. Now all children watching this flick will want to wear burgundy capes for Hallowe’en and leave home to “find themselves” — native Americans call this a “vision quest,” BTW. All girls will want to pine for superpowerful, godlike lovers, ditch their fiances and sleep around with two men.
Puhleeze! I repeat — It. Is. Just. a. Movie. It’s not real, and was never intended to resemble reality. Debbie Schlussel, get a life.