Saturday, November 27, 2004

Incredibly right wing?

On a more pleasant note: the film, The Incredibles.

I cam out with one thought - "Randian wetdream" - seems I'm not alone.

For those who haven't come across Ayn Rand (now there's an unpleasant fantasy image) she was the founder of Objectivism, a particularly individualist/elitist strand of thought yankland side during the cold war. Against moral relativism and collectivism, it has had the likes of Alan Greenspan (chair of the US federal reserve for its acolytes).

Her most famous novel, Atlas shrugged featured the intellegentsia going on strike, and thus crashing the world into darkness.

How does this relate to The Incredibles? Well, the film repeats the mantra: "If everyone is special, then no-one is special" Now, a dictionary says:
spe·cial ( P ) Pronunciation Key (spshl)
adj. Surpassing what is common or usual; exceptional: a special occasion; a special treat.
Distinct among others of a kind: a special type of paint; a special medication for arthritis. Primary: His special satisfaction comes from volunteer work.
Peculiar to a specific person or thing; particular: my own special chair; the special features of a computer.
Having a limited or specific function, application, or scope: a special role in the mission.
Arranged for a particular occasion or purpose: a special visit from her daughter.
Regarded with particular affection and admiration: a special friend.
Additional; extra: a special holiday flight.
Something arranged, issued, or appropriated to a particular service or occasion: rode to work on the commuter special.
A featured attraction, such as a reduced price: a special on salmon.
A single television production that features a specific work, a given topic, or a particular performer.
[Middle English, from Old French especial, from Latin specilis, from specis, kind. See species.]

Now, the film clearly means the first above - but even that is negated by the fact that each of the Superheros had their own, er, special powers. The implication of the film was that the herd wants to hold back the elite, rather than let them express themselves.

The villain of the peice, Syndrome notably did not have powers, and was trying to become a Superhero despite the lack of them, i.e. he didn't know his place and was thus teh cause of much misery and destruction. Shades of international politics here, certain countries are powerful, and imitation of that power leads to war and mayhem.

The herd wants to hold the Special back, but the specials must keep the herd in their place.

Finally, in this potted review, the stock 'Anti-coporate' attitude was exploited in teh form of the villainous corporation - an insurance firm, that makes it's profits by cheating, and trying not to pay out to it's customers. See, capitalism would work if we had more dashing entrepreneurs and fewer grey coporations cheating us, dontcha think?

We can all be special.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you for pointing out the inherent and resounding flaw of that repeatedly invoked logic. I had an argument with a friend of mine based on his statement that, "if everyone is special, no-one is special" and it took me quite some time to realize that the apparent truth of that statement rests on the limited definition of special as 'exceptional,' while excluding the aspect that allows for the appreciation of something by an individual. Special does not simply mean better, and I applaud you for being the only source on the internet that I have found, which recognizes this.

8:33 PM  

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