Looks Blue, Tastes Red: “Super” (2010)

I’ll go full red pill on the first date. To her credit, she listened carefully to what I had to say. When it came time for her response, she answered with the kind of pride one would have in beating Ganon at the end of “Legend of Zelda”- accomplishment and triumph; her victory moment. You see, everything I said was “just my narrative,” and it was as if these words unified the triforce and slayed the dragon- my argument lay defeated.

“Narrative” has become a pseudo-intellectual weasel word. If you don’t like the slant someone puts on something, it’s “just narrative.” If the narrative sounds appealing, it’s only due to the carefully constructed internal logic; a well-made narrative will closely adhere to this logic. At its core a narrative is constructed upon assumptions, which makes it narrative rather than reality- a good narrative will carefully hide these assumptions.

In a world increasingly torn apart by the oppositional forces of the political left and right, the term “narrative” has become a jab to the other side’s version of things; an attack on the strength of their reality.

When women look to the deficit in female scientists, understood through the assumption of gender equality, the narrative constructed becomes one of oppression- not the more plausible idea that women don’t fucking love science.  But when the oppression narrative doesn’t gain enough ground, step two is an attempt to redefine science entirely. When you can’t make the herd come to science, you change the rules, add a little glitter, and call it a victory.

The funny thing about the left/right narrative schism is how the other side doesn’t think they’re in a movie- they think this shit is real, and good luck trying to get them to think otherwise. The assumptions they’re using as the foundation of their reality are so carefully hidden that they’re taken for granted, if not entirely obscured.

The red pill is about questioning assumptions.

And when you end up finding enough bullshit, you entertain the idea of questioning everything. Get enough red pillers in a room together and the conversation gets pretty wild. The red pill of cigarettes; do they really cause cancer? The red pill of brushing your teeth; do you really have to? I’m not saying we should jump on any counter-culture argument, but the more you find reality in the mirror image of conventional wisdom… you start to wonder.

But reality may be a difficult starting point for the uninitiated. Try to red pill someone with guns blazing and you’d likely end up with a head full of spaghetti (assuming you’re having spaghetti). So, instead, lets start with something a little easier to digest- understanding narrative, the idea that there can be multiple ways of looking at something, with the kind of pop-culture nonsense you’ve come to expect out of old “Bad” Billy.

Take the song “Better Man” by Pearl Jam- who is the more sympathetic of the two, the man or the woman? The blue pillers response to this question, almost always, will be the woman- however, the red piller will understand that one of our primary foundational assumptions is a woman’s sympathetic nature- innate biological wiring exacerbated by a culture reeling from over fifty years of institutionalized Feminism.

Going further, the grizzled red piller will understand human nature, and a female’s preference toward hypergamy as her chief mating strategy. Women are always looking for something better so it comes as no surprise that she “lies and says she’s in love with him” when she “can’t find a better man.” No misdeeds of the man are mentioned aside from her “[pretending] to sleep” as he “looks her over”- the demonization of male sexuality and the idea that a husband expecting sex from his wife is a fair-enough substitute for abuse.

The blue piller gladly buys into the idea of a man’s willingness to be disposable as a direct correlation to his value, even going as far as it serving as a substitute for actual value and masculinity, and thus the white knight is born.

And that’s where our story picks up, it was the autumn of 2011 and I was that loftily disposable white knight.

I had been with a girl whom I had loved for years; the relationship settled into a comfortable slow rot. She was the crazy type, having not a moment’s hesitation in being the epicenter of a blown up, tearful, shouting scene played out in public- a terrible single-act play occurring often enough to wonder if she enjoyed the audience. She had drug addiction issues, she had spending issues, she had enormous student loan debt for two absolutely meaningless degrees- she had employment issues, where she couldn’t hold down a job for longer than a few months.  She once got into a shouting match with a collection agent who questioned why someone with such incredible debt would spend so much money on “fried food at causal dining restaurants.”

Yeah, she was fat too.

But what have we learned about the psyche of the white knight? The white knight will derive his feeling of masculine identity from the degree to which he’s willing to self-sacrifice for a woman. The more you’re willing to make yourself disposable for a woman, putting aside your own needs and desires, the more of a worthy man you become.

I derived a terrible, perverse thrill from taking care of her. I liked thinking that she needed me. I liked thinking that she appreciated it, and the idea that anyone around us, familiar with our situation, would think that I was a good man for loving her anyway.

Until the final months of 2011. I had enough with the awful, complacent, voyeuristic lifestyle that had started out like a party and morphed into a perpetual low-level stupor; the messy end of a house party that wasn’t great to begin with. It became time to either commit to a life of expecting more from myself, or to grimly accept the terms-of-service I was living under.

I foolishly wanted to take her with me.

I kicked her out, thinking that if she were forced to endure the shame of living on her mother’s couch that she could change. I explained to her what I expected, that I could help her- work with her- we could do this together. 

I was naive.

It was around this time that I saw James Gunn’s bizarrely wonderful superhero movie “Super” (2010) for the first time, and it resonated with me so deeply that it made me cry, sitting in my computer chair in front of my PC, like a total asshole.

People look stupid when they cry.

If you haven’t seen “Super,” and you really should, this is what the back of the box has to say:

When sad-sack loser Frank (Rainn Wilson, The Office), a short-order cook, sees his ex-addict wife (Liv Tyler, The Lord of the Rings) willingly snatched away by a seductive drug dealer (Kevin Bacon), he finds himself bereft and unable to cope. But he decides to right back under the guise of a do-it-yourself superhero named The Crimson Bolt. With a red hand-made suit, a wrench, a crazed sidekick named Boltie (Ellen Page, Juno), and absolutely nothing in the way of superpowers, The Crimson Bolt beats his way through the mean streets of crime in hopes of saving his wife.

“Super” opens with Frank recalling his only good memories, one where he directed the police to a criminal by comically being in the right place at the right time, and the other when he married Sarah- he proceeds to immortalize these “perfect moments” in crayon doodles.

Frank wouldn’t have understood it at the time, but he and Sarah were never built to last- Frank being a doofus, and Sarah being hot. Frank met Sarah at a time when she needed a doofus as she was drug addicted and spiraling out of control. Once she sufficiently cleans herself up, Sarah meets sexy alpha-male gangster Jacques (whom Frank mistakenly calls “Jock”), and she ditches Frank entirely while relapsing in the process.

A story as old as time itself… but not to Frank! He thinks Jacques (Jock) coerced Sarah into leaving him, so he does what anyone would do in the face of coercion: he goes to the police. The red pilled detective explains that it wasn’t coercion, and that Frank should go out and get laid. So Frank does what anyone would do in the face of a police officer telling them to go out and get laid: he becomes a superhero.

And there I was, like a total asshole, sitting in my computer chair in front of my PC, inspired by this non-sense. Frank loved Sarah, and that meant something- or did it?

Or is it that our idea of love is only an assumption deeply ingrained in the male-mind by a female-centric culture where men have become purposeless? We don’t have a great war to fight, or a civilization to carry on our backs, so we may as well exist for the passing fancy of female whims. While our shared idea of love, and its accompanying duties and responsibilities, initially stem from the importance of fatherhood and the vulnerability of the pregnant woman, this notion has been bastardized by modernity to the extent where total assholes are self-immolating for drunken whores stumbling through the aftermath of their own choices.

Romantic, I know.

But there I was, thinking that I loved my retarded girlfriend, and that it meant something, so it was my duty and responsibility to save her.

Along the way Frank meets the adorable and deranged Libby who becomes his kid-sidekick “Bolty.” Enamored by his clumsy crime-fighting, Libby ends up falling for Frank… and, in a sane world, the movie could have ended there. Against all odds, Frank managed to meet someone else- someone cute with similar interests- and he could have put his drug addled wife behind him.

So of course Frank promptly rejects Libby- because Frank loves Sarah, and that means something.

So Frank and Libby storm Jacques’ crime fortress, and Libby gets her head blown off.

As if Frank’s decision to not ride off into the sunset with Libby wasn’t dumb enough to begin with, now saving Sarah from herself has totally ruined that chance forever and cost Libby her life.

Frank soldiers on, invades the crime mansion, disposes of Jacques’ goons, murders Jacque and rescues Sarah… and they live happily ever after.

No, idiot! Of course not!

Sarah stays with Frank for a few months, like before, as she gets herself together, and Frank even notes that this was done out of obligation on her part. Sarah leaves Frank, goes back to school to earn an Anthropology degree (hooray?), marries a better man, and has four kids.

We close on Frank, sitting alone on his bed, crying- explaining how it was all worth it, that he got a pet rabbit and “something much more.”

And watching “Super” in 2011, I would have thought so too. Frank loved Sarah, and stood by the integrity of that feeling even when it was unrequited and enormously detrimental. Through his actions he proved the legitimacy of his words- sacrificing himself, as a good man should- and didn’t stand in her way when she wanted something better. “Super” isn’t a cautionary tale, it’s a guidebook for masculinity and acting honorably- and even if Frank ended up with nothing at the end of it, embodying the lofty white knight meant something.

No, idiot!

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  1. seriouslypleasedropit · July 9, 2017

    I haven’t seen Super, though you’ve sold me on it now so I want to.

    But I think you’re being a bit too hard on yourself, and even Frank. I too have peered through my future, seen a relationship full of misery ahead, and set my jaw anyway. Was I stupid? Absolutely—but not for being willing to give it all. Rather, for being willing to give it all for nothing. I mean let’s be honest: the little boy in every man would still think the Crimson Bolt is pretty cool. He carries a pipe wrench! He beats up bad guys!

    Yeah, some of us have been cool for stupid reasons. But that’s better than not being cool. I much prefer Rainn Wilson the deluded, quixotic superhero, to Rainn Wilson the uggo-chaser who in reality wants his wife back but is too much of a pussy to pick up a pipe wrench and spandex (like a man!).

    One thing you wrote stood out to me:

    “We don’t have a great war to fight, or a civilization to carry on our backs.”

    Amigo, I think we do. No one wants to admit it because it would mean fighting alone, and that sucks. But you don’t have to. There is, in fact, some glory left to be had.

  2. Pingback: Looks Blue, Tastes Red: “Super” (2010) | Reaction Times
  3. Kentucky Headhunter · July 11, 2017

    Ellen Paige getting her head blowed clean off is worth the price of admission all by its lonesome.

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