Mad Max on the Feminism Road

mad max fury road reaction gif

Really enjoyed this post from Freddie de Boer about his frustration with the common misinterpretation of Mad Max: Fury Road as “Furiosa replaces Max in a Mad Max movie”—a take that’s entirely false:

It’s important to understand that Furiosa doesn’t replace Max because the entire movie demonstrates the failure of dictatorship and the superiority of communal leadership. It’s not about men being erased in deference to women; it would be totally bizarre for a movie with that intent to place so much agency in its male characters. (Nux’s sacrifice saves the lives of the remaining characters, to pick an obvious example.) It’s about the superiority of democracy and shared governance and diversity over the the whims of an individual autocrat.

He then links this framework to how a “new masculinity”, embodied by Max, can be “unthreatened by the strengths and abilities of others” while joining with the ideal version of feminism:

Feminism is not about women replacing men in an equally stratified and undemocratic structure as the patriarchy that preceded it; that’s a parody of feminism. Feminism is about equality, diversity, communalism, and radical democracy. Indeed, the movie models consensus and communal deliberation for us. When they stop and discuss whether to continue on the salt flats or turn back for the Citadel, Max and Furiosa do most of the talking, but everyone weighs in and is heard. Furiosa doesn’t lead by fiat. She listens and becomes convinced, as do the rest, and they all make a plan together. Max isn’t erased; he’s a valued and essential part of the whole, just as white men will be in the new world of democracy and equality we are building.

In that group discussion on the salt flats—one of the few quiet moments of the movie—Max concludes his case to Furiosa thusly:

Look, it’ll be a hard day. But I guarantee you that 160 days riding that way, there’s nothing but salt. At least that way, we might be able to, together, come across some kind of redemption.

What a great metaphor! The path towards a better world is hard and painful, but retreating away from it is worse in the long run. “The obstacle is the way,” as Ryan Holiday would say.

Might be time for a Fury Road rewatch.

America Media Politics

Murdoch Expands His Mega Media Empire

Published in the North Central Chronicle on September 14, 2007.

First published in 1889, the Wall Street Journal has won countless Pulitzer Prizes and worldwide acclaim for its quality reporting and editorials. It also was the first news outlet to report Enron’s financial disaster, as well as the Sept. 11 attacks. So what lies ahead for such a highly regarded and successful newspaper?

Rupert Murdoch buys it.

That’s right. The same man who owns American Idol, Fox News Channel and MySpace now owns one of the most prestigious names in U.S. news – possibly the world. The average citizen, however, may see nothing wrong with this. After all, we live in a capitalist society. Aren’t businesses allowed to grow?

In fact, the buyout of the Wall Street Journal illustrates the very thing that’s wrong with our capitalist society and our democracy. We’re much more interested in making a buck than preserving our sacred constitutional rights. But hey, if one man can afford to own dozens of newspapers, cable channels, magazines, a film studio and two publishing companies, what’s the sense in stopping him from buying more? Why even fight it?

What most people fail to grasp is that when media businesses merge, a voice in the media is lost. Pretty soon, when most mainstream media outlets are owned by just a few corporations as they are now, there are few remaining independent, credible voices left. This is when our basic right to information starts to diminish.

We all have a right to truth from the media. James Madison, Founding Father and architect of the U.S. Constitution, said that “a popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a prologue to a farce, or a tragedy, or perhaps both.”

Essentially, we need a free press. In order for this country to survive this crazy thing we call politics, we need to know what’s going on. Fox News and CNN, the two highest rated and well-known cable news outlets, can’t tell you whole truths because their bosses depend on an uninformed public that is not willing to step up and force change.

But here is the truth: The only thing stopping this country from becoming an even greater nation is the people itself. We are apathetic, unaware and unwilling to force our media and our country to serve the basic rights of its citizens, rather than the greed of its stockholders.

Democracy and capitalism can work well together – so long as they keep each other in check. Our democracy may be the most bragged about democracy in the world, but that doesn’t make it the best. Right now, our capitalism is beating the hell out of our democracy. And Murdoch’s latest move is just kicking democracy while it’s down.

The Wall Street Journal buyout should be a wake up call to all Americans who love their country. We can’t see the truth about the Iraq War, global warming, the 2008 Presidential election or concentrated ownership in the media if the media moguls are consistently pulling the wool over our eyes. Do yourself a favor and open your eyes and see for yourself.