Wonder Woman and the alt-right conservative cult


The Wonder Woman movie is coming to Morris this weekend! I’m looking forward to it and will be there, even though I’ve been disgusted and disappointed by all the recent DC comic book movies, and despite the fact that the whole Wonder Woman concept has a complicated and somewhat fraught history. I have hopes that this one will be a step up.

But of course the news is all about the men. Alamo Drafthouse theater chain has announced several screenings for women only, and naturally enough, some arrogant privileged men have staggered back in horror and compared themselves to Rosa Parks for refusing to bow down to this awful discrimination.

I’ve got news for them: this is an advertising gimmick. It is not an announcement that they plan to perpetuate ongoing oppression of men, because men as a class are not oppressed. I know this is a shocker, but you can still see Wonder Woman at another showing, not all theaters are trying this promotion, and besides, why do you want to go to a wussy movie that stars a woman as the hero? Aren’t these the same people who were outraged that Ghostbusters was rebooted with a female cast?

Maybe they should go catch a showing of Bound, or Julia, or Tru Love, or The Hours, which are all woman-centric stories, and men are not restricted from watching them. Or maybe Y Tu Mamá También, very sexy, but also confusing for the manly macho types.

Roy Edroso has thoroughly dismasted all the poor boys complaining about giving women only a first shot at the movie, so I won’t rehash all of it, but his opening paragraph brought up something else of concern.

The Trump Presidency is making it hard for even conservatives to take conservatism seriously, so rightwing outlets increasingly avoid The Leader’s nonsense and console themselves with culture-war fantasies. National Review, for example, recently featured long paens to the conservative values of Billy Joel and Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and celebrated the holiday weekend with “The Politically Incorrect Guide to Memorial Day Movies” — which they advertised as “films certain to drive your liberal friends crazy,” because they’re war pictures and liberals all think “serving one’s country in uniform” is just something to be “dismissed or derided.” Take that, Hanoi Jane!

I’ve been getting a fair bit of email from young assholes along the lines of “Your son joined the army? You must be so ashamed of him, you pinko liberal pacifist!”, because of course in the republic right now,

  • believing that we should throw soldiers unprepared with no achievable goal into random combat adventures around the globe is patriotic, while

  • believing that a leaner army with less exploitation by defense industries and commitment only to necessary, limited interventions and defense means you hate our troops.

I have a lot of respect for a responsible, restrained military, and none for the armchair generals and gung-ho bloodthirsty civilians who think war is a glorious thing. To assume that as a liberal I dismiss or deride the men and women in the armed services is equivalent to suggesting that because I think Betsy DeVos is a criminally incompetent twit I must also hate education. It’s a stupid deduction.

I am also proud of my army captain son, as I am of all three of my children. One of the things I can be proudest of is that all of them grew up to be their own independent people with their own ideas (that they actually think about). That I was never tempted to join the military does not imply that I consider that decision to be a bad one. I didn’t raise my kids to be my clones.

I also had grandparents and in-laws and uncles who served with distinction in the army, navy, and marines in WWII; I have family in my generation who served; I have nephews who were in the military. The conservatives have a cartoon version of liberals in their heads, and aren’t shy about projecting it on us despite all evidence that they are wrong.

Comments

  1. anthrosciguy says

    One of the two major parties in the USA has brought forth bill after bill with improvements to benefits and pay for our armed service members and vets; one of them has repeatedly voted against them. The party that votes against our armed service members and vets is the Republican party. If you support the Republican Party you do not support our troops or our veterans.

  2. says

    @Caine I’ve been so happy about that! Wonder Woman is getting really good reviews. Can you guess that I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the first reviews came in? I have a feeling that June 2 is gonna be a good day in terms of WW movie reviews.

  3. says

    @Caine I’ve been so happy about that! Wonder Woman is getting really good reviews. Can you guess that I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the first reviews came in? I have a feeling that June 1st is gonna be a good day in terms of WW movie reviews.

  4. says

    Nathan:

    @Caine I’ve been so happy about that! Wonder Woman is getting really good reviews. Can you guess that I breathed a huge sigh of relief when the first reviews came in? I have a feeling that June 2 is gonna be a good day in terms of WW movie reviews.

    I’ve been wanting to see it since the first trailer! I had faith it would be good. Heh. We can’t make opening night/weekend, because that’s when partner works, but we’re heading into town on Monday to see it. :Excitement:

  5. says

    My wife gets back from Washington tomorrow (another long drive to the airport and back) so I’m going to try to persuade here that we should go Friday night. We’ll see. She’s not a big comic book movie fan, but hey, Wonder Woman.

  6. The Mellow Monkey says

    I’m really excited about seeing this one in the theatre. I haven’t actually gone out to a movie in months (since Rogue One, I think?), and Wonder Woman holds a special place in my heart. Yes, the character and the comic have a complicated history, but as a kid WW was the only hero who mattered to me. Of course, in my little kid head I projected all sorts of my own expectations and ideas onto the character, just as everyone else does, but I can manage other people’s interpretations of my childhood icons without rending my clothes and throwing a tantrum.

    *looks at a certain segment of the Ghostbusters fandom*

    Ahem.

  7. anchor says

    Well stated PZ. Those who approbate stereotypes choose to live a cartoon life in a thoroughly miserable cartoon world.

  8. davidnangle says

    It would be nice if we could tie presidential and congressional pay to military activities… so that our politicians earned less with each saber they rattled.

    Sounds crazy to link such things until you realize they’re ALREADY LINKED… just in the wrong direction.

    The world would be a peaceful place if such people had to crack open their wallets for our kids’ combat pay.

  9. says

    No slight to 75 years worth of comics writers, but the story of Wonder Woman is far more interesting than any movie could be. Jill Lepore has done the most exhaustive analysis in her Secret History of Wonder Woman, but her creator being a polygamistic psychosexual lunatic who intended it as the comic book equivalent of a “Miss Manners” guide is amazing, and probably the reason this kept happening:

    http://www.superdickery.com/wonder-woman-spanked-by-a-giant-doll/

  10. Cartimandua says

    I for one will be boycotting Wonder Woman with a passion. Gal Gordot likes to pretend to be a real life feminist WW icon.

    In reality she is a fascist who directly, voluntarily and passionately supports a right wing murderous regime. I entreat everybody to read the article below, consider the principles of BDS and make a personal ethical decision as to whether to support this fraud.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/wonder-woman-gal-gadot-on-israel-gaza-israeli-actresss-pro-idf-stance-causes-controversy-9643412.html

    I would be interested to hear anybody’s reasoning as to how they can morally sit back and cheer this movie without feeling their skin crawl.

  11. Cartimandua says

    Ahh. That’s Gadot as if it matters. Should be “Gorgon” from the Greek ‘dreadful’.

  12. says

    Of course, we on the left have a cartoon version of conservatives in our heads, but unfortunately those cartoon versions escaped our heads and became elected to Congress as Actual Real People.

  13. F.O. says

    I’m uncomfortable myself with Gadot being such a staunch supporter of the IDF.
    This might have a play in whether one decides or not to pay for the movie, but should this reflect on its value?

  14. gijoel says

    It looks pretty kick arse. Hope, DC have finally made a decent movie. Would have preferred it set in WWII, as you can’t go wrong punching Nazis in the face.

  15. says

    OH MY GOD! An Israeli Jewish actress who was born and raised in Israel and was forced to serve in the IDF is an Israeli patriot who may not be a big fan of Hamas!

    Who would have guessed?!?

    BTW… I went to google Gadot’s support of the IDF, but the most recent statement from her is from fucking 2014 (also… that article is kind of nasty). This entire shit is back because Lebanon decided to ban Wonder Woman today, despite allowing all movies from Natalie Portman as well as all of Gal Gadot’s previous movies, including the Fast & Furious franchise and Batman V Superman… and they are most likely going to screen Justice League, too, so this whole things makes basically zero sense.

    Yeah, I’m going to go see Wonder Woman. Because I’m not supporting Israel and the IDF by seeing it; I’m support Warner Brothers and DC, and finally seeing, on the big screen, the other greatest superhero of all time.

  16. methuseus says

    @Nathan #19

    and finally seeing, on the big screen, the other greatest superhero of all time.

    I’m not sure who the other one you’re talking about is. Just curious, because I think Wonder Woman on her own is justification enough.

    I agree with the whole IDF thing. Godot likely supports the regime where she grew up, but, as you said, it’s more lip service to what she grew up with than anything sinister. It’s like saying someone who supports the US military in any fashion (i.e. how PZ supports the military, but criticizes the bad parts) should be vilified vis a vis the second Iraq war.

  17. says

    methuseus @ #20:

    Batman. Both Batman and Wonder Woman were my first superheroes. I don’t know who I like more between the two.

  18. F.O. says

    @Nathan
    I assume that you find white supremacy problematic, so I will use it in an example:
    How would you feel about a highly politicised movie whose main actor has been unflinching in his support for white supremacy?
    Would you have second thoughts about its implications?

    The 2006 war between Lebanon and Israel left Lebanon with massive infrastructural damage; using the very argument of yours, what do you expect Lebanon to do? Cheer for a movie that puts a proud IDF soldier left center and right?

  19. tkreacher says

    Cartimandua and F.O.

    If I decided not to watch, read or listen to entertainment based on someone involved in its creation being personally terrible on one issue or another I would never watch read or listen to anything.

  20. F.O. says

    @tkreacher It’s not “someone involved in its creation”, it’s the main protagonist, it’s the face that appears on every single ad, it’s “someone whose face will become a symbol”.
    While the difference is of degree, I don’t think it’s insignificant.

    And I haven’t said I won’t watch the movie. I will, most likely, and look forward to it, and think it’s going to be a lot more good than bad.

  21. says

    @F.O. My issue isn’t specifically with the ban, but with the selectiveness of the ban. They’ve never banned anything starring Natalie Portman (including her 2015 Israeli film A Tale of Love and Darkness), they didn’t ban BvS, and there hasn’t been any indication that they will ban Justice League (which also releases this year). And while they do have an ongoing ban against Israeli films, Wonder Woman is not technically an Israeli film.

    Further, many have tried to make this about Palestine when Lebanon has been as much a friend to Palestinians as Israel has. And actually, to be 100% honest, this is what irks me more than the ban in Lebanon. That is what it is and I’m not judging Lebanon for doing it, even if I find it weirdly selective.

    What really irks me are comments like Cartimandua’s. This is all because, back in 2014, Gal Gadot put out an admittedly cringy Instagram post. It ignores the fact a) she wasn’t in the IDF for the 2006 Lebanon/Israeli war (she would have been too young), and b) we don’t actually know how she feels about most of this… other than not regretting her conscription into the IDF, we don’t actually know anything about how she feels about how Israel treats Palestinians, about Bibi, or any of it. People can change over time, and for all we know, she could now be a massive leftist who hates Bibi and agrees that the way Israel treats the Palestinians is apartheid (in which case she deserves our support).

    Or she could be a massive conservative who wants to wipe all Palestinians specifically, and Muslims in general, out (in which case yes, I would definitely say we should boycott everything she does).

    Or she could be like me, who grew up in a massively pro-Israel, pro-Zionist bubble and is only now really coming to terms with the reality of the situation, and so, like me, is extremely uncomfortable actually talking about it (in which case I’d say we should support her and give her time).

    We don’t know because in the intervening three years she hasn’t talked about it… ever. So I say before we condemn Gal Gadot on one Instagram post and her time in the IDF (which, need I remind everyone, is compulsory… she didn’t actually have a choice), we wait to see what she actually thinks.

    And in the meantime, enjoy finally seeing Wonder Woman get her due.

  22. Cartimandua says

    Nathan –

    I truly appreciate (what you project as) your male perspective on this. Thank you so much.

    I will keep this simple.

    I criticised Gal for her publicly stated opinions, not her (enthusiastic #iluvidf) membership of a criminal organisation. But now you mention it I will ping her on that too – if you get conscripted into the SS don’t wear your team colours after you escape.

    But to refresh your memory, Gal said, and I quote:

    “I am sending my love and prayers to my fellow Israeli citizens,” she wrote. “Especially to all the boys and girls who are risking their lives protecting my country against the horrific acts conducted by Hamas, who are hiding like cowards behind women and children…We shall overcome!!! Shabbat Shalom! #weareright #freegazafromhamas #stopterror #coexistance #loveidf”

    She has never walked this back. Ever. So fuck her. And not in the way the manlets targeted by this movie’s genre might think. What is she, ‘Schrödinger’s liberal’?

    I laud your ticket buying zeal, just remember. The reason there are safe-space sessions is to remove the gaggle of men-of-a-certain-age wanting to buy the magazine to read the articles. But whatever. Enjoy your Hollywood sex / power fantasy with its frisson of fascism.

    Really. Is this recycled mysogeny the best we can do? I note in passing that Batman and Superman managed to keep their pants on. Wonders never cease. And my skin still crawls.

    “I cannot stand by while innocent lives are lost”

    @tkreacher I hate to have inconvenienced your entertainment comfort by pointing out you’re supporting a racial bigot as a dubious feminist role model. This isn’t vagina-crystals or woo, it is somewhat more serious. Or not.

    Your call.

    FFS.

  23. says

    The military isn’t perfect, particularly regarding gender/sexual orientation and religion. Remember, though, that the military desegregated almost two decades before the Civil Rights Act, and a military member accused of a military criminal offense has more rights, enforced by better lawyers, under Article 31 of the UCMJ, than does his/her civilian counterpart… and is far less likely to be under suspicion because (s)he was Driving While Melaninically Enhanced.

    So, like every other institution in every society ever, the American military is a mixed bag, not a uniform justifiable object of opprobrium from any particular viewpoint, ideology, or anything else.

    — A Veteran (who was a commanding officer for the better part of a decade)

  24. tkreacher says

    Cartimandua #26

    @tkreacher I hate to have inconvenienced your entertainment comfort

    You haven’t, and nothing I’ve said implied that you had. Nothing I’ve said even implied you informed me of something I didn’t know.

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