Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
Maybe we need more good dads like Clark’s foster father teaching in our elite universities.
i wonder, brad, is it significant that this clark never seems to have gone to college? instead, he seems to be from the non-bobo, non super-zip side of america murray describes in coming apart. a few more super-questions along these lines:
1. why is clark from the midwest–why not put him on one of the coasts, or have his parents moving to the suburbs?
2. why does he place himself at the periphery of american society upon leaving home–oil rigs, antarctic expeditions, logging camps. is he getting a manly education here?
3. what becomes of clark when he confronts the working metropolitans at the daily planet?
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ramsey–more good questions. but one answer is he’s too smart for college. and he needs that warrior training apparently–he’s too spacey on his first job etc.
Peter, I thought Jonathan Kent was a fascinating inversion (and implied critique) of the Superman mythos.
I kind of rolled my eyes when you had Jor-El avoiding space jet fighters my riding a flying dinosaur (or whatever it was.) Of course his dad is an action movie hero (even if he doesn’t have superpowers in the context of life on Krypton.)
Jonathan Kent was something more interesting. Superman was originally (in large measure) a power fantasy about the public display of personal greatness – often through violence. Kent demonstrated that accomplishment (raising a family) didn’t have to be about public display, love did not have to be controlling others and that physical courage did not have to involve violence. It is much the most clever depiction of manliness in the movie.
So, Pete, you have to be very subtextual to make Jor-El a philosopher. I was generally underwhelmed by the character and, as usual, by Russell Crowe (the most miserable of the miserables). Very nice comments on JK, which I probably will “sample.”
I think philosopher is generous, but he is an articulate critic of the regime who sees that Krypton needs to be reconstructed along more relational lines that respected the role of the family and the uniqueness of every being. He also says that he can not personally participate in this reconstruction because he is warped (like all of his people are warped) by their experience of being bred for a specific purpose. He could not enter the post-Republic-in-speech promised land.
That didn’t seem all that credible in the context of the movie. He was a scientist, philosopher, statesman, action hero, lover. He seemed like pretty well rounded guy from what we saw (though he doesn’t actually come across as well as Jonathan Kent.)
On the other hand I reserve the right to upwardly revise my opinion of the themes of the movie as they play out in sequels (stuff that I didn’t like in Batman Begins made more sense because of what happened in later movies.)
So that’s a good point about the breeding of the philosopher leader scientist. He seems more like rulers in THE BRAVE NEW WORLD, who are bred to be alienated and sometimes kind be controlled. On the other hand, you could say there’s some distorted about even breeding philosophers, and he could have some engineering-based relational issues. But the he doesn’t actually display any such issues. So, once again, Pete is on to something big.
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