Subtext? What’s Subtext?
Here’s an example of what I dislike about the piece:
[Jimenez asks, rhetorically:]Why isn’t Batman bi? This is part of a constant need by people in their 30s and 40s to apply complex sexual and emotional ideas upon these characters. Batman was not designed to talk about man/boy love, he was designed to beat up bad guys. There have been some wonderful adult comic book treatments of these ideas, but I would ask how much further we need to deconstruct these characters. What needs are we fulfilling when we mix childhood fantasy with real-world concerns? Anyway, so long as Time-Warner owns them, we will never see Batman go down on Robin.
They even pull out the old “politics and ‘sexual stuff’ cannot be incorporated into a superhero narrative” chestnut! Uh…sorry, but politics and “sexual stuff” are part of every narrative. For exhibit “A” of what happens when you try to pretend that this isn’t the case, see Kingdom Come.
Whilst reading various KC/Incredibles discussions over the weekend, I was struck, once again, by the artificial barriers people take such pains to erect between “story”/”entertainment” and “subtext”. Now, I have nothing specific to say about The Incredibles, because I haven’t seen the film and don’t plan to anytime soon, but I do think it’s odd that anyone would insist upon either “enjoying” the film or “analyzing” it. You see this all the time though: “Oh, it was great entertainment, but if you start to think about it, it’ll make you sick!” [In a hushed voice] “It’s Nietzschean…” (or Randian, or fascist, or whatever) Well, you know what? It doesn’t become Nietzschean just because you decided to pay attention to this fact. It already was (unless you don’t know what you’re talking about–in which case it probably wasn’t). And you enjoyed it! So what does that say about you? Well nothing of course! Oh, I guess it means that you were capable of being “entertained” by a piece that participates in an objectionable philosophical discourse. But so what? Is that such a terrible thing to learn about yourself? I think Plato is an extremely dangerous thinker. But I still love reading the Dialogues! There’s a lot to object to/think about in any text (even Emerson! even Amazing Spider-Man!), and you don’t have to go spelunking for it either–it’s all right there on the surface! There’s no such thing as subtext.
Good afternoon friends!