[Marxism] The Dream Life of Bush Men in Suburbia

Yoshie Furuhashi furuhashi.1 at osu.edu
Fri Nov 5 16:40:49 MST 2004

The dream life of the rich, white, and educated men in suburbia, who 
brought you George W. Bush's second term, is animated here:

<blockquote>The New York Times
November 5, 2004
Being Super in Suburbia Is No Picnic

"THEY keep finding new ways to celebrate mediocrity," grumbles Bob 
Parr, once known as Mr. Incredible, the patriarch of a superhero 
family languishing in middle-class suburban exile. He is referring to 
a pointless ceremony at his son's school, but his complaint is much 
more general, and it is one that animates "The Incredibles," giving 
it an edge of intellectual indignation unusual in a family-friendly 
cartoon blockbuster. Because it is so visually splendid and ethically 
serious, the movie raises hopes it cannot quite satisfy. It comes 
tantalizingly close to greatness, but seems content, in the end, to 
fight mediocrity to a draw.

By "they" Bob means the various do-gooders, meddlers and bureaucrats 
- schoolteachers, lawyers, politicians, insurance executives - who 
have driven the world's once-admired superheroes underground, into 
lives of bland split-level normalcy. "The Incredibles," written and 
directed by Brad Bird and released under the mighty Pixar brand, is 
not subtle in announcing its central theme. Some people have powers 
that others do not, and to deny them the right to exercise those 
powers, or the privileges that accompany them, is misguided, cruel 
and socially destructive.

Bob (voiced by Craig T. Nelson, best known for his title role on 
television's "Coach"), who was once a superman in both the 
Nietzschean and the DC Comics sense of the word, has been forced by a 
litigation-driven, media-fueled anti-superhero backlash into the 
flabby, dull life of a cubicle drone. He and his pal Lucius, a k a 
Frozone (Samuel L. Jackson), do a little clandestine moonlighting, 
with the help of a police scanner, but it hardly compensates for the 
9-to-5 tedium of Bob's day job processing insurance claims.

His wife, Helen (Holly Hunter), a daring and feisty crime fighter 
named Elastagirl in their former life, now stays home raising their 
three children, two of whom have already manifested special abilities 
they are not allowed to use. Bob and Helen's teenage daughter, Violet 
(who speaks in the scratchy deadpan of the essayist and public radio 
storyteller Sarah Vowell), can make herself invisible and generate 
impermeable force fields, but these powers serve mainly as metaphors 
for her shyness and disconnection. Dash (Spencer Fox), her younger 
brother, uses his gift of superhuman speed for low-level mischief. 
Like their parents, the children are forced to conform to a society 
where "everyone is special, so no one is."

In the movie's view of things, this kind of misguided egalitarianism, 
enforced in petty ways at school and work, is not just stultifying 
but actively, murderously evil. The super-villain, a flame-haired 
nerd named Syndrome (Jason Lee), is a would-be superhero tormented by 
his own lack of special talents. From his high-tech island 
laboratory, populated by faceless minions, a slinky second-in-command 
(Elizabeth Peña) and giant killer robots, he plots a quasi-genocidal 
campaign against the former costumed crime fighters, whom he lures 
out of retirement by promising them the chance to practice their 
profession once again.

Syndrome's ultimate goal is not so much to rule the world as to force 
the rules that already govern it to their logical conclusion. His 
diabolical utopia will be cleansed of heroes: once he is done, he 
hisses, "everybody will be super, which means no one will be."

The intensity with which "The Incredibles" advances its central idea 
- it suggests a thorough, feverish immersion in both the history of 
American comic books and the philosophy of Ayn Rand - is startling. . 
. .

"The Incredibles" is rated PG (Parental guidance suggested). It has 
some violent and potentially upsetting scenes.

'The Incredibles'

Opens today nationwide.

Written and directed by Brad Bird; directors of photography, Janet 
Lucroy, Patrick Lin and Andrew Jimenez; edited by Stephen Schaffer; 
music by Michael Giacchino; production designer, Lou Romano; produced 
by John Walker; released by Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation 
Studios. Running time: 121 minutes. This film is rated PG.

WITH THE VOICES OF: Craig T. Nelson (Bob Parr/Mr. Incredible), Holly 
Hunter (Helen Parr/Elastigirl), Samuel L. Jackson (Lucius 
Best/Frozone), Sarah Vowell (Violet), Spencer Fox (Dash), Elizabeth 
Peña (Mirage), Jason Lee (Buddy Pine/Syndrome) John Ratzenberger 
(Underminer) and Dominique Louis (Bomb Voyage).</blockquote>

* Critical Montages: <http://montages.blogspot.com/>
* Greens for Nader: <http://greensfornader.net/>
* Bring Them Home Now! <http://www.bringthemhomenow.org/>
* OSU-GESO: <http://www.osu-geso.org/>
* Calendars of Events in Columbus: 
<http://www.freepress.org/calendar.php>, & <http://www.cpanews.org/>
* Student International Forum: <http://sif.org.ohio-state.edu/>
* Committee for Justice in Palestine: <http://www.osudivest.org/>
* Al-Awda-Ohio: <http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Al-Awda-Ohio>
* Solidarity: <http://www.solidarity-us.org/>

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