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The Incredibles

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Hard not to notice a strange ramping up in the terms of attack egalitarianism and education swirling around the Randian kids flick The Incredibles. See, for instance, John Tierney’s article in the Week in Review today.

It feels as if the release of this movie has opened the door for folks to tell us how they really feel, stop speaking in euphemisms and keywords and cut right to the point. Here’s the opening of the article…

The Incredibles is not just an animated adventure for children, at
least not to the parents and teachers who have been passionately
deconstructing the story of a family of superheroes trapped in
suburbia. The movie has reignited one of the oldest debates about
child-rearing and society: competition versus coddling, excellence
versus egalitarianism.

Is Dash, the supersonic third-grader
forbidden from racing on the track team, a gifted child held back by
the educational philosophy that "everybody is special"? Or is he an
overprivileged elitist being forced to take into account the feelings
of others?

Is his father, Mr. Incredible, who complains that the
schools "keep inventing new ways to celebrate mediocrity," a visionary
reformer committed to pushing children to excel? Or is he a reactionary
in red tights who’s been reading too much Nietzsche and Ayn Rand?

And take a look at the end as well, where we turn to the director Brian Bird:

The movie never quite resolves the issue. In the end, Dash is
allowed to race but is coached not to get too far ahead of the pack.
The writer and director, Brad Bird, offered a less ambiguous answer in
an interview. "Wrong-headed liberalism seeks to give trophies to
everyone just for existing," he said. "It seems to render achievement
meaningless. That’s a weird goal."

He sounded very much like
Professor Colangelo, who says that children want to compete and can
cope with defeat a lot better than adults imagine. "Life hurts your
feelings," Mr. Bird said. "I think people whine about stuff too much.
C’mon, man, just get up and do it."

At the risk of running afoul of Godwin’s Law, let’s just turn for comparison’s sake to a document that Atrios linked to yesterday (if a very different context) – a pamphlet that "seems to have been intended primarily for members of the SS, though the copy I am working from carries the stamp of a school library."

The most dangerous opponent of our worldview at present is Marxism, and its offspring Bolshevism. It is a product of the destructive Jewish spirit, and it is primarily Jews who have transformed this destructive idea into reality. Marxism teaches that there are only two classes: the owners and the property-less. Each must be destroyed and all differences between people must
be abolished; a single human soup must result. That which formerly
was holy is held in contempt. Every connection to family, clan
and people was dissolved. Marxism appeals to humanity’s basest
     drives; it is an appeal to subhumans.

We can’t say we haven’t been warned. The interest of a movie like the Incredibles is that it seems to legitimize a certain line of discourse – a seemingly "innocuous" object (a cartoon for god’s sake) that tints the slippage into another level of critique of egalitarianism with the hue of banality, ordinariness…

Written by adswithoutproducts

November 21, 2004 at 11:26 am

Posted in Current Affairs

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