Friday, May 8, 2015

Why are there so many more antiheroes than antiheroines

It's going to hit 30 degrees here today, as it did yesterday. That's 86 Fahrenheit. Ottawa was built on top of a malaria infested swamp so that sort of weather is part of the price you expect to pay for living here but it is only May 8. Anyway, it's got me thinking about summer. Years out of school, I like to have a reading project. I've been thinking about antiheroes.

It's one of the odd properties of television to create unintentional antiheroes. The Simpsons, for example, was a cartoon created around a dysfunctional family and the character we were meant to sympathize with was Lisa Simpson. For a brief time, our real sympathies attached to Bart but real star of the show in the long run has been Homer Simpson. I read an interview with one of the show's writers just a few years ago and his sympathies were still firmly on the side of Lisa. They try to make her shine through but it doesn't work. It's not that everyone hates Lisa, some do but most like her, but Lisa doesn't capture our imagination the way Homer does.

We hear a lot of complaining about our anti-male culture, I do a lot of it myself. Homer is often advanced as a proof of this and I think there is something to that. But Homer Simpson is a double-edged sword. There is the possibility of a subversive rebellion hiding in a character like him.

That's also true of this guy:

Here's my theory. Women thrive on society, it's what they want. Men don't. Men are driven by forces that are fundamentally anti-social. We get tamed by society and that's a good thing. Sometimes, however, society goes too far. It goes from the perfectly reasonable requirement that men should be able to temper their emotions to the unreasonable requirement that we shouldn't have them in the first place.

More to come ...

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