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November 1995, Week 2


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Ron Hoffman <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 7 Nov 1995 09:45:24 -0400
text/plain (61 lines)
> It's something that came up in a class I was teaching a few weeks ago,
> while looking at ROBOCOP 2. Of the primary characters, all males were evil.
> Most women were 'good'. The evil female was only following the lead of evil
> males anyway. The only good representation of something resembling the male
> was the cyborg, the synthetic human.
> Students pointed out a similar construction in TERMINATOR 2, where the only
> good 'male' was a robot.
> It's not quite what you wanted, but it is an interesting thread. Males
> cannot be themselves to be 'good', they have to be some kind of replicated
> human, some kind of cross between man and machine. Sarah Connor in
> TERMINATOR 2 suggested that the T100 (Arnie) was the best father the young
> John had ever had, because, to paraphrase, he would always be there
for him > (John), would never hit him, or abuse him, or come home drunk.
> The point might be that some trend towards the _anti-male_ is appearing,
> some simulacra of a reality that no longer exists, a copy. All males are
> pastiche.
> Interestingly though, in both the films above, the women like only the
> cyborgs. In ROBOCOP 2 the women minders of Murphy are concerned about him,
> are his mother/lover. Similarly in T2, Sarah Connor is, as the extract
> above suggests, enamoured with the T100.
> Errol Vieth
> >
> >Does anyone have recommendations for modern films and materials that show
> >this aspect evolving?
> >
> >Does anyone have any thoughts on the subject that they wish to share?
> >
> >Thank you,
> >
> >Justine Sawyier ([log in to unmask])
It seems to me that what we are dealing with is a tradition of the male
superhero which goes back to ancient times.  After all, is T100 really
any different from Achilles or Sigfried?  The male warrior is as old as
the hunter and the battlefield.  There is often a moral ambiguity to such
characters, but they often fight for the *good* be it country or cause.
In our culture, Superman, Spiderman, etc. are American equivalents of
this (shall I say *macho*) tradition.
By the way, in terms of the Terminator films, don't forget that
Terminator I was a bad guy, and I believe his transformation into the
good superhero had as much to do with Schwarzeneger wanting to be a good
guy as it did anything socially significant.
Ron Hoffman
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