(Soundtrack: Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers– Greatest Hits)
Johnny Bacardi was right–Milk Plus is an incredible site! Sure enough, one of their panelists has a great essay up about Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Nietzsche’s concept of the “eternal recurrence”. As you probably know, I’m kind of a contrarian, but I am thrilled to be part of this consensus… It’s an epoch-making film!
In other news, I’m done with Lillian S. Robinson’s Wonder Women… It wasn’t bad–it’s a very engaging read–but it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea. It’s very much in the “superheroes as (potential) empowerment fantasy” camp… I think Robinson really misses the boat by spending so much time on Byrne’s asinine Sensational She-Hulk and none at all on Infantino’s Spider-Woman and Daring New Adventures of Supergirl! (I would tell her so myself tonight–she’s giving a talk at our University–but I’m working and I can’t get out of it, goddamnit!)
The author laments that instead of “teaching that sisterhood is powerful… [this series teaches] that power is powerful, and power is most often modified with super” (104). More importantly, Robinson is unhappy with the character as an examplar of “third sex” pseudo-feminism that doesn’t do real women any good (“She-Hulk’s feminism is so one of a kind that she does not–cannnot–share her strength with other women and therefore empower them”) Well no kidding! This is John Byrne after all…
Of course, I’m dead-set against this construction of the genre anyway–and I think Robinson’s work makes my case for me! Good superhero stories deal with existential or epistemological issues…not socio-political ones. In the final analysis, Wonder Women can’t do anything but hearken back to the golden age of Moulton’s Amazons…and it’s significant that Robinson cringes whenever she has to discuss the fact that Diana left her feminist niche for the great wide world and had to adopt a mousy secret-identity.
More understandably, she also deplores the fan reaction to Byrne’s She-Hulk:
the She-Mail letters from fans–most of them presenting themselves as terminally horny adolescent boys–provide monthly reinforcement of the notion that Shulkie, as she is nicknamed, is not only the top female in comics, but also the most desirable woman on (at least) this planet.
Yep. That’s gross. In the final analysis, She-Hulk is way more of a Madonna than a Corin Tucker, Carrie Beownstein, or Kathleen Hanna (or Courtney Love, for that matter), and that is a shame…
But see, this is why I’m so much more interested in Infantino’s female superheroes. If Robinson had read those letters pages, she would have seen that those same fans were writing in to complain: “what the fuck man!, where’re the curves you bastard! I can’t even jerk off to these comics. You mean I’m supposed to treat these women as subjects instead of objects? Quit messin’ with my head!”
As far as I’m concerned, subjectivity-for-all is the only true feminism… This sisterhood nonsense is a creepy throwback to the Harem.
I’d better go now, but I’ll type up a few of those letters later tonight, just to show you what I mean…
Good day friends!