A Seemingly Unrelated Anecdote
Last week, I saw a frog dead on our sheds AC unit.
Frogs have seemingly been all around in this hot season. Perhaps its been mating season. We have a nearby pond wherein we can hear them croaking quite actively at night, and we know we’ve seen baby frogs spawn from there.
My wife pointed out the frog was sitting on the AC unit still, seemingly content, enjoying a high vantage point.
The next day I went outside for some yard work, and I myself was curious if this had become a kind of new perch for our local amphibians. Sure enough, the frog was still there. I thought to try and catch it, so I went to retrieve a net. But when I returned, I took a closer look. The frog’s body was dead still, quite literally. It didn’t breathe, didn’t flinch. Upon closer inspection, I saw the frog was not only expired, but it was entirely adhered to the AC unit, a most repulsive manner.
The dead frog’s belly had been absolutely eviscerated by a hive of hungry ants. It took some careful prying to lodge the frog off for what I suspect multiple reasons. For one, its leg was caught in the AC unit. Secondly, the eviscerated stomach ooze perhaps made for strong adhesive. Thirdly, it had to have been perched on the hot metal of the AC unit for at least a couple of days. It was a disgusting and tragic sight.
I can only imagine what brought the frog to perch itself on the AC unit instead of somewhere safer. Had it chosen to leave the pond due to competition with the current amphibian hosts? Had it been seeking high ground to have a better view, a more advantageous perspective to better hunt at?
It remains unclear, though whatever the reason its stuck leg seems to have been its downfall, and perhaps if it had reasoned to even lose its foot to dislodge itself it may have not become a hive of ants meal.
She Hulk Is All The Rage
The New She Hulk series seems to be unparalleled in the amount of attention it has drawn. It has become a flagship production for feminism and woke culture on one side and a large target of scathing criticism from a—let’s say—traditional fanbase of the Marvel, Comic, and Superhero genre.
While ads and trailers had done quite a bit in hyping up the series, platforms like IMDB and other organizations have helped the series ride the wave of public attention as clips of the show continue to go viral on both sides.
What’s especially noteworthy, is how this series seems to be acting as a vanguard of both Marvel and Disney’s aim of having a more diverse representation in media, of aiming to appeal to a more marginalized or forgotten audience. The minds behind this show have not held back on pointing out their own aim here, of creating a superhero that could embody feminist representation, to tell the tale of 1st world single women struggling in a patriarchal society.
Truth be told, from the outright I had my own personal curiosity about the show. A plot featuring a superhero who is required to function within criminal law is an angle that really only Daredevil had achieved—and had done so quite successfully. The show had teased promises of bringing in characters we’ve wanted to reconnect with—Abomination, Wong, and, again, Daredevil. But if I’m perfectly honest, the trailers ramped up both the main character’s sex appeal and a light-hearted plot that admittedly appealed to a more surface level curiosity. This was not going to be a dark or convoluted plot, but an easy going fun flick.
Why You Mad Bro?
The amount of flak that this show has attracted perhaps does not need restating…
Though I digest of the popular critiques perhaps has some utility…
1) She Hulk is a Mary Sue
Anyone unfamiliar with the term ought to brush up on this one. A Mary Sue is a typically young female character that has no flaws and often times lacks any depth. The Mary Sue commonly is a gender swap of an already popular male character. The Mary Sue tends to fail as the process of the gender swap skips the important component in the character composition of exploring growing edges or imperfect histories that make a character palpable. She Hulk is presented as a component lawyer in a male-driven society that comes by the Hulk powers and thereby outperforms her counterpart, Hulk. The training montage of She Hulk tends to get under the skin of most comic buffs as her superseding greatness to Hulk seems to be stumbled upon, without any feat, trial, or thematic purpose except that, well, the writers wanted it to go that way.
2) She Hulk’s Monologue
Thanks to IMDB, we all were able to witness perhaps the iconic soapbox of the show, the defining monologue for every single, independent She Hulk enthusiast out there to rally around. She Hulk explains to Hulk why she’s so great at controlling her rage, citing the mansplaining she endures, the objectification she is subject to, and the perceived threat of death that looms over her if she acts out even once. What irked so many about this monologue is twofold. For one, the monologue comes across as a heavy-handed homily aimed at the traditional Marvel audience, that being, a traditional male audience. The perhaps more offending part of She Hulks monologue is seeing her tear into the Hulk character, a tragic man who lost the love of his life, wrestled with suicide, lived as a public enemy that had to go into hiding for his well-being and for the wellbeing of many others, and was a combatant in multiple tragic Avenger wars. This latter grievance is not as well highlighted, perhaps, because what we see in Mark Ruffalo’s cuckold portrayal of this Hulk is that of a limp smile and nod, a concession that his own traumas really are insignificant to the heroic feats that She Hulk has endured as a woman.
3) The Hypocrisy
She Hulk’s Monologue becomes a pivotal point of argument for the show as the character digs her footing into the real grievance of being objectified while she herself actively participates in sexually demoralizing others and flouting her own sex appeal. The moral ground for the character quickly crumbles as we hear her comment on Captain America’s butt and on his virginity. The double standard is quickly picked up as a tactic of a bully, of belittling someone else who you know you can attack all coming from a sense of insecurity for one’s own pain or angst. Further, the show outright gives us a trailer of this sex symbol, displaying her figure and skin in tantalizing wardrobes that even her female co-stars comment on, and then doubling down by giving us the viral scene of her twerking with her client in a business suit. The show and character seems to be unable to make up its mind if it wants to be a fantasy for a select fetish group or a champion of female dignity and respect. To put it simply, the show wants to have its own cake and eat it.
I believe this summarizes the chief complaints against the show and character.
Why You Should Be So Bloody Thankful For This Show
But to circle back to my title, and to my anecdote, my fellow male superhero enthusiasts owe a great deal of gratitude to this show.
I admit that’s a jarring thing to hear, and I admit, it’s perhaps slightly misleading…
You see, I’m grateful for Disney and Marvel finally giving us a series so bad and so hyped up. I’m grateful that my disheartened expectations for new content has been so suddenly deflated. I breathe fresh air knowing that Disney and Marvel have received their fatal diagnosis, allowing me to have some closure and peace of mind knowing they are respectively dead.
I suffered through Moon Knight with the utmost highest expectations for such an interesting character that had to wait so long to see its debut to only flop. I limped through Hawk Eye with the hope that Jeremy Renner could revive the nostalgic spark of the Avengers in a mini-series only to see it do a disservice to the hero and to an all-famed villain, Kingpin. This wavering relationship of Disney and myself (and perhaps one many of you also share) has been an exhausting dwindling love story marked by romantic highs and then unsatisfying breaks and cutoffs, only to have the toxic romance to be rekindled with the hope that one of us will change.
Sorry Disney and Marvel, it’s not me, it’s you. You’ve changed. We used to love you for your classic cartoons and even your newer Pixar movies. We used to love you for the Avengers and for the smattering of other successful shows and movies you’ve produced. But you’ve changed, you’ve admitted it, and this union no longer needs to continue.
But if I may address my fellow audience that feels the same, I want to reassure you of a few things:
1) The Subtle Agenda Is Finally Overt, And That Affords Us Some Time To Reflect
Most of the uncomfortable nods to a political correctness and DIE (Diversity Inclusivity Equity) culture is right out in the open, stark naked, unashamed. Disney and Marvel are proud of this new skin of theirs, and perhaps this is our time to give pause and wonder where our ideals and principles are. In light of this loud declaration of ideology, we ourselves need to decide what kind of stories we yearn for, what kind of principles we find speak to our hearts, and what heroes and villains are the most compelling. Now is the time to be reflective, introspective, as is the case when loss occurs. When we ourselves are on our deathbed or are at the side of a dying loved one, we think on our mortality, what we value, and what changes we’d like to see…changes for the actual better!
2) This is a Dumpster Fire and it needs your kindling, not your time
Neither of us needs to continue to wax on with this new media with the hope it’ll get better. Like an addict or under-functioning relationship, cutoff is the best thing that can happen so that the unhealthy individual hits rock bottom and finds a new foundation to build something wholesome and good. We don’t need to give Marvel and Disney our money, not even for the morbid curiosity of what new next bad show will be. Thanks to IMDB and other internet organizations, we can be appraised to the new garbage that is rolled out, repost it, and rekindle it without having to waste precious moments of our life or our hard-earned money to see what the rage is about. Quit Disney Plus. Quit the garbage platforms that continue to disappoint. Let’s pull the plug on this and move on!
3) Disney Is Ash, And We Are The Phoenix
I’ve been meaning to write a call to action for other avid fans of the superhero genre to participate in a new age of vigilante and superhero media. I think our time is coming to become new artists and to create new universes for fellow fans to enjoy. Marvel had its glory and golden age in both comic and media formats. We can still admire those creations, but in so doing realize that they are dead, long reposed, fit to be preserved in a museum rather than resuscitated like a geriatric corpse waiting to be put on comfort measures only. Disney is burning itself into ash, and now is our time to create our own phoenixes from the dwindling fire. I’ve put my lot into this fight and continue to write and edit so that a new genre of heroes and villains may emerge to tell refreshing stories with principled themes. In no way am I saying that I offer a perfect alternative to Disney’s new batch of garbage, but rather I’m looking forward to seeing an army of writers and artists to stand side-by-side to create something new and wonderful.
Disney, you are the dead frog. You ventured away from the fold in fear of competition. You climbed high hoping to achieve an advantageous high ground. In so doing, you will find yourself stuck, and I imagine you are unwilling to amputate yourself from the peevish politics and woke culture you participate in. Your whole platform will burn and be devoured, not consumed. Your movies, your show, your merchandise will not be edifying sustenance for the masses, but rather dismantled by the horde of decomposers that seek to create something more remarkable than your stinking corpse.
PS: Stay Tuned. I’m looking forward to expounding on the She Hulk series and what it can teach us. In part, the series admittedly has afforded me some time to reflect on the emotion of rage, and I think there’s some valuable things to unfold on that topic in lieu of the show’s portrayal of it.