Monday, December 06, 2004

What Makes Them Incredible

Professor Alex Wainer has a piece on The Incredibles on the evangelical website BreakPoint. It (really) needs another level of editing, but it has the signal virtue of addressing a misperception among some critics that has (as you may have noted) frustrated me—the question of whether the movie is Nietzschean / Randian. The important thing to recognize is which Superman is the film’s inspiration—which genre we’re dealing with here. The answer in this case is not Nietzsche’s Ubermensch but Jerry Siegel’s Superman (DC Comics). Alex notes that while Siegel did initially model Superman after the Ubermensch, he quickly moved in another direction to create the now archetypal hero who “fights for Truth and Justice.” It is this tradition that The Incredibles joins. Far from it being Objectivist, Rand, in fact “would have found the whole superhero ethic of putting oneself in harm’s way for the good of others to be the very self-giving attitude she abhorred.” Just so. Credit also to Alex for attempting to encourage consistency with its own ideals within the evangelical community.

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