8.09.2006

Re-turning To Ones Self With The Other
:how I rewrote the themes in my head

A friend informed me that Superman Returns was now showing at a cinema near me here in Amsterdam... of course, I went to see it immediately. There are other things one could say about the movie, but I want to tell you what it was about and what it should have been about.

What it was about:
The justification of our no-fault therapeutic culture of mid-life crisis, illegitimate parentage, and absentee fatherhood (with a subtext of modernist (erroneous) faith in progeny and the basic goodness of humanity & an underdeveloped postmodern ambiguity about the potential destructive/salvific power of technology). In other words, typical Hollywood garbage.

What it coulda-shoulda been about:
Needing the other, and the deconstruction of the autonomous selfhood (as resolution of the freedom-determinism dialectic within personal identity).
Let me break it down for you.
Lex is the banally evil actual Nietzschean √úbermensch who defines his own power-morality, resenting "the other" as limiting his own would-be absolute autonomy.

Clark is in the process of "becoming oneself," in a continuous existential coming to terms with his own identity. But now he realizes this can no longer be facilitated by an appeal to irresponsible destiny, nor to autonomous self-definition, but rather only in a recognition of ones finitude and situatedness with the other.

Having re-turned from his last attempt at being an autonomous (Kryptonian) self, finding "nothing there but a wasteland," he turns back to the other (the earth-world, personified in Lois). In conflict with Lex (a sort of alter-ego) he recognizes his need of the other, as much as the other (as a self) recognizes her need of him in order to really discover their-own-selves in them-self in a mutual relation (love).

Of course, to fill out this theme in a film would require genuine dialog.

Note : be sure to see comments below. Leopoldtulip ably challenges my interpretation and prefered alternative. But I now see a more substantial connection regarding the "was about" and the "wasn't but shoulda been" about. In brief, the absent father is actually Autonomy, and Hollywood is in denial about it. Lois is the Real Uberfrau!
Recommended Reading.

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