Thursday, July 01, 2004

"A cultural embarrassment"? Writing for the National Review Online, John Podhoretz takes a broad swipe at superhero comics and their film adaptations:

"There's no question that superhero comic books offer pre-teen and teenage male a very potent fantasy outlet — the idea of a powerful man who is hidden inside a frightened, neurotic boy's body. Gerard Jones's terrific book Killing Monsters makes an unimpeachable case for the depictions of violence in these fantasies, arguing that they offer a comforting outlet for those who feel totally powerless.

"Comic books developed a bad reputation because of the violence they depicted, which was and is a silly reason to dislike them. Here's a better reason: They're a cultural embarrassment. They weren't when they were the province of powerless boys, but they have become a cultural embarrassment because the common culture has unthinkingly and stupidly accepted them as an art form. This was a natural outcome of the youth-worship that took over American culture in the 1960s, because if you're going to immature and illiterate energy in all its guises, why not go all the way into the most immature and illiterate of cultural forms?"