Danny Taggart's Blogarama

A more-or-less daily dose of news, politics, techmology, and any random thoughts that pass through my head.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Why are objectivists hyping "The Incredibles"?

I'm somewhat befuddled as to why objectivists seem so enthralled with The Incredibles. I suppose some of it has to do with some press coverage labelling the movie "Randian". It is understandable for objectivists to bask in the national spotlight that so rarely shines on them.

Objectivists seem to be confused by The Incredibles. What underlies their confusion with this movie is their reflexive attempt to fit cultural events into the narrative of Atlas Shrugged. The proper dichotomy should be, they argue, between the strong and the weak, the able and the incompetent. So it is not surprising that they should scratch their heads at a competing narrative: one of special people born with unearned gifts and of regular people who must make do with what they have. One of the regular people dares to rise above his station through hard work and innovation. As did Prometheus (an Ayn Rand favorite), this rogue attempts to bring the “fire of the gods” to man by means of a technology that gives everyone the Incredibles’ powers. For his impertinence, he is labelled a villain.

Now, I'm not arguing that Syndrome is not the villain - he is. That is how the writers have presented him, but that's not the point. The moral message of the movie lies beneath the superficialities of presentation, in the fundamental traits of its characters. Given their complaints about the false choice presented in this movie, one would expect objectivists to remain neutral in judging it on moral grounds. But, disturbingly, they are not. It's disturbing because, in a choice between a self-made innovator and a hero with innate powers, they side with the "hero". Instead of praising the American spirit of pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, they engage in royalty- and god-worship. Anyone familiar with objectivism would find this sickeningly ironic.