We thought we'd escape the post-election blues by seeing The Incredibles last night. It's yet another phenomenally animated Pixar film with a nice retro early 60's "comic book meets James Bond" look to it. But I couldn't keep myself from decoding some important red state ideological points buried in the narrative.
The film is a power fantasy for red state McMansion families: girth-challenged suburban dads and perfectious Security Moms. None of the family members is particularly nice, though, and I found it hard to identify with them as characters. The father deceives the mother and never really suffers the consequences for it. The mother is humorless and flawless. The kids are selfish brats. None of them have much arc to their characters. The bit characters are shamelessly ethnic stereotypes: a French burglar bearing a strong resemblance to John Kerry, a whining Jew teacher named Bernie, a token jive talkin' Black who dissappears for most of the movie until he's needed for ass kicking superhero backup support, and a short, New Yorker Asian-Jewish costume designer. The message here is quite clear.
The Incredibles, an ideal white superfamily, have superior powers, yet they live in a world that wants to level the playing field, that resents their superiority. So, thanks to a weak, gratuitous plot contrivance, Mr. Incredible has to give up his superhero identity because too many frivolous law suits are draining the government of money. The villain (the only interesting, dynamic character in the movie) embodies the red state white man's fear of affirmative action and equal opportunity. See, Mr. Incredible spurned this boy, his greatest fan, who then turns into his greatest enemy, and who concocts a diabolical plan to sell technology that will give everyone superhero powers, so nobody will be super anymore. Sounds like socialism to me. And that's the insidious subtext: some people (the white middle class ones) are simply better, more superior, more valuable, more special, more deserving than others, and the rest of society is a bunch of losers, bozos, morons, and victims. This is the ideology of Republican aristocratic-minded selfishness writ large: we're better than you because we're better than you. Only we can save the world (and we do it grudgingly) because only we are good, strong, and if it weren't for us (the elite superhero class who always have security on our minds), your cities would be rubble. Just look at 9/11: New York, Pennsylvania, Washington DC. All blue state territory. We don't need cartoon disasters; it's all too real here. And yet we're too blind to see that we really need Incredible red suited Superheros. If only we would change our secular, ethnic ways, equal opportunity minded ways... maybe then we'd have true security.
But what am I griping about? We just re-elected Mr. Incredible! I predict this film will be VERY popular with red state nuke-you-lar families. They will see an image of themselves up on that screen, and as they drive away in their monster SUV's with the W stickers on the bumpers, they will feel validated.