Saturday, June 15, 2013


Townhall's Kevin McCullough says that the filthy critics who've given Man of Steel negative or mixed reviews don't like it because they hate God and fatherhood:
We could point to any number of reasons why this film works, but perhaps one of the most offensive things to critics, but by far is of singular importance to the film in ways that few will dispute, is Clark's two dads.

Clark Kent/Kal-El a.k.a. Superman, has not one but two men of distinct honor, fidelity, integrity, and moral uprightness that speak into his life in the narrative.... the father figures in the film portray far more than what the American entertainment complex usually allows men--especially fathers--to exhibit.

These men are pillars in their families. They both make decisions that consistently demonstrate provision and protection for those in their care, and unapologetically they lead their families--with humility--to make decisions that are not emotionally easy, but that at their core are truly just, good, and right.

These men are pillars in their communities. They both demonstrate the character-birthed foresight to speak truth to those who need it, regardless of how unpopular it may be....

These men are pillars to a watching society. Both men sacrifice their own welfare for the good of the greater world, their families, and even for Clark/Cal....

One gives up Clark, knowing he is the only hope of salvation for the universe, thus he sends him to earth. And it is there where the other adopts Clark as his own flesh, teaches him all that he is capable of and lives faithfully before him, to give Clark the foundation he will need to be the saving force of all mankind.

But wait, this sounds vaguely familiar.

Of course it does.

The narrative of the Biblical text claims that God the Father -- who in many places throughout scripture takes the name of "El" (the name of Superman's Krypton family) -- sent His Son, who would also have questions about His role in the world as a child, grow up as an alien to those around Him, see the evils and injustice of the world--and work miracles to correct them, and eventually be the literal salvation of humanity through His ultimate miracle of defeating death.

Yes I suspect one of the reasons some entertainment critics have been so unfair to the legitimate greatness of this epic masterpiece is that they are too overcome by an allegory of another story that they have not settled in their own belief system yet....
So the critics may think they don't like it because "Every opportunity for humor, compassion or plausible responses to otherworldly phenomena is buried beneath product placements and CGI special effects," or because "There's very little humor or joy in this Superman story," or because "this reboot skimps on fun and romance" -- but they really hate it because they're instruments of Satan.

It's not just McCullough who's trying to get cultural traditionalists into the theaters to see Man of Steel. Here's a story aimed at the Christian crowd:
[Director Zack] Snyder and his "Steel" co-creators Christopher Nolan and David S. Goyer have layered this latest incarnation with quite a few allusions to Jesus Christ. Here are a few:

While there isn't a miraculous birth per se, Kal-El's (Henry Cavill) father Jor-El (Russell Crowe) claims that his son is the first "natural" birth in centuries. All children on Krypton are genetically engineered to a pre-determined purpose and thus artificially inseminated. Not Kal-El.....

There is some Christ-like imagery planted throughout "Man of Steel." One blaring symbol occurs during a climactic battle: Superman jumps from General Zod's (Michael Shannon) ship and hovers in the sky with his arms out-stretched like the crucifix. Freeze-frame it and you can have your own Superman prayer card.

Kal-El says he is 33, a not-too-subtle reference to the same age as Jesus Christ when he was crucified.

The Passion of Superman. Kal-El is more than willing to sacrifice himself to save the people of Earth. Originally reluctant to reveal his identity and powers to the world, Supes decides to turn himself over to Zod to save humanity from annihilation.

When things get tough, Clark Kent seeks advice from a priest. Visible in the background is a large painting of Jesus so you can see Supes and Christ side-by-side.

Superman is a non-violent being. Even though people everywhere seem to want to beat up on Clark Kent, he never returns the favor, always opting to keep the peace....
Did an eagle-eyed Fox scribe just happen to spot all that? Or did Warner Bros. spoon-feed this list to the Fox writer? My money's on the latter -- Hollywood knows that a movie secular audiences read as secular can make a lot of extra cash if Jesusy audiences can be persuaded to see it as Jesusy. (See, e.g., The Blind Side, which was carefully marketed to Christians and became a surprise smash.)

I wonder if McCullough also got a call from the Christian-marketing folks at Warners, and if that inspired his Townhall column. He sure wrote Man of Steel up as if he was trying to please the studio ("The film is without question the greatest Super Hero film of the modern era, maybe of all time.... 'Man Of Steel' without question will be the number one money maker at the box office for the year").

They say you can't serve both God and Mammon. Hollywood, I guess, would beg to differ.

(And um, didn't we all know this about Superman already?)


UPDATE: More articles on Man of Steel's Superman as Christ at Christian Post, Breitbart, the CNN Belief Blog, and The New American. Yeah, Warners is working this hard.


Yastreblyansky said...

(And um, didn't we all know this about Superman already?)
I didn't! I thought the original Superman was Jewish, not in a Jews-for-Jesus way, but anti-fascist. Chauncey de Vega has also noted the Jesus connection with this Superman, not with enthusiasm. Are you saying that the new S-man is an openly right-wing plant in the garden of American myth? Ugh.

Victor said...

Most times, if something's not explained to them, and stamped "Made by Man - Ok's by God and Jesus," American Christian's won't get it on their own.

They don't get humor, because a lot of it is "ironical" - due to a severe irony deficiency.
And they don't get allegory, unless that's spelled out for them, too.
And, as for symbolism, they only get it if it's blatant.

And you can't blame the movie studio's if they want to maximize their profits, by wanting to appeal to more than just secular action-adventure/sci-fi fans, by trying to include the Jesus-freaks.

Hey, even if it's a lame effort, why not try it?
Most of these people have already proven that they'll believe just about anything, as long as the right person tells it to them.

So, why shouldn't Hollywood get into trying to fleece the Jesus-grifter's flock?

And that'll be easier if the Jesus-grifters get a piece of the action.
Do that, and they'll be more than happy to tell their followers what the people with the money want them to hear.
The grifters don't really give a sh*t about Heaven and people souls - they don't care about "The Power and the Glory" of God.

They only care about 'the power and the money.'

So, Yastreblyansky, if you want to go see it, by all means do so.

Think of it as helping to grift the Jesus-freaks, by extending their money beyond just tithing to their church - let them tithe to their mortal enemy, Hollywood, and the box-office, too!

tony in san diego said...

Superman Has Two Daddies!

aimai said...

Yes, the original Superman was written by a Jew and inspired by Jewish issues in identity and fear. I heard a long interview with the guy who just wrote the book on Superman discussing this and the Nazi reaction to the idea of a Jew inspired superman responding to their ideas of a superman.

But that doesn't mean that miraculous births and kings who die consenting aren't embedded in the Superman mythos--its more accurate to argue that Jesus himself is an avatar of Adonis and other half human/half divine yearly dying gods. Superman and Jesus, in other words, are both expressions of an earlier myth cycle.

What catches my attention in SteveM's piece and its quotes is the way the pro-christian interpretation desperately looks for heroic father figures and stasis, rather than accepting the primacy of Superman (or even Jesus) in his own story. They draw the viewer's attention to the (supposedly) much maligned father-as-leader. I thought the most interesting thing was the transmutation of the phrase "speak truth to power" into the extremely significant "speak truth to those who need to hear it." This is the role Christian dads are assigned: lecturer to the indifferent masses, Cassandras and naysayers and complainers who are ignored by those (women, children, minorities, pagans) who should be taken dictation rather than having their own thoughts.

In reality Superman is no different than other child-heroes. The parents always get killed off so the child/bambi can come into his own and have all the adventures. You can't turn the story into the triumph of the fathers without torturing it to death. But they do like torture.

Unknown said...

Kathy said...

I don't suppose it's ever occurred to these people that liberal Christians might be offended by the pretense that Superman is Jesus.

Lance Mannion said...

Hercules, Moses, David, Jesus, King Arthur, Luke Skywalker, Harry Potter...

Aimai makes a very good point about the attraction to heroic father figures and stasis.

Anonymous said...

If Superman is Jesus, shouldn't he, like, die?

By this guy's analysis, I guess The Lion King is totally Jesus too.

aimai said...

Well, he's the successful Jesus who doesn't die that the fundies have been wanting.

M. Bouffant said...

Ah, that explains this:
Their Superman, played by Brit Henry Cavill, is more brooding than bumbling, a far cry from Christopher Reeve. He spends a lot of screen time immaculately groomed, posing like Christ, and pondering why he’s alone in the universe.

Steve M. said...

By this guy's analysis, I guess The Lion King is totally Jesus too.

Christians seem to think so.

Tbone said...

Christians have money and are easily fooled. Why not get in on fine grifter cash?

Anonymous said...

So the fact that The Lion King is 85% Hamlet, the Musical doesn't register with them...

Isn't Superman more like Moses anyway?

aimai said...

Even hamlet can be christ, if you squint.

Yastreblyansky said...

They draw the viewer's attention to the (supposedly) much maligned father-as-leader. I thought the most interesting thing was the transmutation of the phrase "speak truth to power" into the extremely significant "speak truth to those who need to hear it."
That's the important point. I get it about Adonis (and Osiris/Dionysus etc). But the myth is always interpreted in a contemporary ideological light as well. And when they appropriate it in order to turn it upside down it's a perversion. I'm glad they didn't notice Jor-El is dead! Happy Father's Day.

paulocanning said...

Hilarious as this is being heavily marketed at gays as Cavill is such a stud. The three leads were on UK TV Friday with a gay talk show host selling it. Shirtless pics, 'cor look at Cavill', gay, gay, gay , gay ...

Phoenician said...

I didn't! I thought the original Superman was Jewish, not in a Jews-for-Jesus way, but anti-fascist.

The original Superman, as Grant Morrison points out, started off fighting war profiteers, corrupt senators,and wife-beaters.

Siegel and Shuster crafted an all-American everyman persona hiding a powerful and admired immigrant with a Jewish-derived name. "Clark Kent" is as American as you can get (for 1933) - but "Kal-El" is a sort-of-Hebrew name. Pretty nifty, when you think about it.

Mooser said...

"Yes, the original Superman was written by a Jew and inspired by Jewish issues in identity and fear."

You are not getting "Superman" mixed up with "The Rocky and Bullwinkle Show"? Or did they both deal with the same issues?

Mooser said...

Nope, can't buy it. If Superman was Jewish, his name would have been Superstein or maybe Superwitz, or something.

Mooser said...

"Aimai makes a very good point about the attraction to heroic father figures and stasis."

Yes, my life has been one long fruitless quest for stasis-symbols.

Phoenician said...

If Superman was Jewish, his name would have been Superstein or maybe Superwitz, or something.

His name, Oh Great Thinker Of Our Time, was "Kal-El".

To quote the wikipedia:

"Because Siegel and Shuster were both Jewish, some religious commentators and pop-culture scholars such as Rabbi Simcha Weinstein and British novelist Howard Jacobson suggest that Superman's creation was partly influenced by Moses,[50][51] and other Jewish elements. More recently, this interpretation has been endorsed by biographer Larry Tye.[52] For example, Superman's Kryptonian name, "Kal-El", resembles the Hebrew words קל-אל, which can be taken to mean "voice of God".[53] The suffix "el", meaning "(of) God," is also found in the name of angels (e.g. Gabriel, Ariel), who are flying humanoid agents of good with superhuman powers. Tye suggests that this "Voice of God" is an allusion to Moses' role as a prophet.[52] Moreover, Kal-El's parents send him away in a vessel, delivering him to new adoptive parents in an alien culture in order to save him from impending doom, just as Moses' parents do.[52] "The narratives of Krypton's birth and death borrowed the language of Genesis."[52]""

lostinthewoods said...

Did everyone miss the 'evolution' is stronger than 'morality' bit? How about the comment that Krypton's outposts and Krypton itself died because of planned population control? But then again, they also dis the Kochtopus so many times as well...mining the core of Krypton destroying it, the greed for energy extraction...and the ships certainly had octopus christian symbolism, morality...but also anti corporate and military (the take down of the surveillance drone) and globalism. Mixed messages which remind me much of christian the earth and all of creation.