Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Don't Know His Ás From a Hole in the Ground

I have to laugh at the emotions invested in the upcoming Thor movie by right-wingers.

Unlike some members of the blogroll, I have never been a comic book nerd. That being said, I am an ubernerd, but of the O.G. (original geekster) variety. Well, this week, a "Big Hollywood" piece by tuber nosed AWR Hawkins about the upcoming Thor movie gushes on about how it's not an exercise in "Political Correctness"- in it, the gods are men, the men are two-fisted, and the sweaty action is NOT GAY, DAMNIT!!!. Well, I just had to exit Skíðblaðnir to steal the mangoes of Iðunn. One particular mango was particularly hilarious to me:


Not surprisingly, big screen super heroes and mythic figures of valor – male figures – have been among the hardest hit by this revisionism. As a result, the mighty have learned to cry, the powerful to admit vulnerability, and the brave to second-guess themselves, all in an effort to win over the effeminized masses. And this is what makes the screenplay for the upcoming feature film, “THOR,” so wonderful: not because it carries on the ridiculous revisionism, but because it shatters it with a hammer blow from Thor himself.

Hawkins then goes on the give a synopsis of the movie's plot:

Once banished, Thor’s mortality is represented by the fact that he and his famous hammer are separated. From there the rest of the screenplay is ultimately the outworking of Thor doing what he must to recover his hammer, and thereby his powers.


The funny thing about Hawkins' piece is how Hawkins has got his characterization of ridiculous revisionism exactly ass-backwards. When one consults the original Norse source, the Þrymskviða in the Poetic Edda, Thor's hammer is indeed lost, stolen by the jotunn Thrym, who agrees to return the hammer if the goddess Freyja consents to marry him. The errand to retrieve the hammer goes quite differently from the movie's COMPLETELY NOT HOMOEROTIC testosterone fest:


Loki said, "Yes, my labors met with success. Thrym, the lord of giants, has your hammer; but no one can win Mjöllnir from him, unless he brings to him fair Freyja as a bride."

Forthwith they rushed to find fair Freyja. "Dress yourself in bridal linen," said Thor. "You and I are on our way to the world of giants."

At this Freyja foamed with rage. The halls of Asgard shook with her anger. The necklace of the Brisings broke apart. "You may call me man-crazy, if I go with you to Jotunheim," she said.

Straight away all the gods and goddesses gathered to discuss how they could recover Thor's hammer.

Heimdall, the fairest of the gods, like all the Vanir could see into the future. "Let us dress Thor in bridal linen," he said, "and let him wear the necklace of the Brisings. Tie housewife's keys about his waist, and pin bridal jewels upon his breast. Let him wear women's clothes, with a dainty hood on his head."

The Thunderer, mightiest of gods, replied, "The gods will call me womanish if I put on bridal linen."

Then Loki, son of Laufey, said, "Thor, be still! With such foolish words the giants will soon be living here in Asgard if you do not get your hammer from them."

So they dressed Thor in bridal linen, tied the necklace of Brisings around his neck and housewife's keys about his waist. They pinned bridal jewels upon his breast, and dressed him in women's clothes, with a dainty hood on his head.



The resulting tale, with Loki's explanations for the redness of the bride's eyes, and for her ravenous appetite, is hilarious. The image of the god of thunder in bridal raiment is a funny one. Absent from the tale is any concern for stereotypical "manliness", because the individuals who sat around their fires regaling each other with these tales through the months-long night weren't insecure doughy half-men who feared that their sexuality would be called into question. While AWR Hawkins is so insecure in his masculinity that portrayals of sensitive men and strong women send him into a fainting spell, Snorri Sturluson sure as hell didn't have that problem.

Yeah, I know Snorri authored the Prose Edda, but he drew on the Poetic Edda as a source, and he was the greatest of the preservers and transmitters of Norse legendry. If the Poetic Edda hadn't been an extant source, damnit, Snorri would have written it down for posterity.

UPDATE: As much as they express contempt for "Hollywood", it's mind-boggling how large it looms in American conservatives' "minds"- I've come to the conclusion that they view reality through the filter of pop culture, mainly television and movies (readin's hard). Their views of gender roles are based in 1950's and 60's sitcom stereotypes which were bullshit even then. They really don't have an understanding of history, they only have what's been fed to them through various screens. This is why they think that torture is a good way to elicit facts, that women should be subservient and docile, and that men should be emotionless golems. They don't stand athwart history yelling "Stop!", they stand athwart pop culture yelling "Validate ME!"

'Nother Update: I forgot to give a nod of the naked noggin to Monsieur McGravitas, who brought the Big Ho post to my attention. Also, re-reading the Lay of Thrym, I am struck by the portray of Freyja as a powerful, autonomous female figure who exerts her authority to protect her interests. I am also struck by the phrase tie housewife's keys about his waist, which implies that a woman had high status within the household (gotta re-read the sagas with a keener eye toward the portrayal of home life and the role of women).

23 comments:

TruculentandUnreliable said...

As a result, the mighty have learned to cry, the powerful to admit vulnerability, and the brave to second-guess themselves, all in an effort to win over the effeminized masses.

Apparently being a human being is totes a girly trait.

I find it funny that the conservative understanding of "masculinity" is basically sociopathy.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

I find it funny that the conservative understanding of "masculinity" is basically sociopathy.

Pretty much... their views of sexuality and gender roles are really bizarre. It's like they are a bunch of five year olds holding on to their "wee wees" for fear of losing them.

Another Kiwi said...

Nice post and point, old chum. They are are sad little puppies aren't they. T+U is dead on with the "human" comment.

Smut Clyde said...

B^4 informs me that this is the same Thor movie that was all Badthink a few months ago because of Heimdall being insufficiently Aryan. Now Hawkins must reassure his readers that no, it's Goodthink after all so they can enjoy their dose of aryan homoeroticism without qualms.

Also, conservatives are free from the taint of political soundness.

Peter said...

While those of us who are open about our appreciation for homoerotica look at RAWR Hawkins with bemused contempt. Sic semper Littlus Dickus.

Also I word like to register a complaint. Word verification presents me with "disesses" which I would hesitate to verify as a word. Yet another quandary for the literate.

Peter said...

"would". I would lie to register....

FYautocorrect
FYiPad
No fucks for you RAWR Hawkins, you'd enjoy the pounding too much.

Peter said...

Oh for fuck's suck. I give up.

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Oh for fuck's suck. I give up.

You'll never make Valhalla at this rate!

TruculentandUnreliable said...

It's like they are a bunch of five year olds holding on to their "wee wees" for fear of losing them.

Boys wear blue and girls wear pink!

It's because they can't conceive of a world with nuance, so, of course Male! and Female! are defined, unbreakable categories.

Of course, the fact that they have occasional (or constant) secret, dirty, dirty thoughts about Teh Ghey just makes them more entrenched in their backwards bullshit.

Substance McGravitas said...

I find it funny that the conservative understanding of "masculinity" is basically sociopathy.

To play devil's advocate for a moment I must smash you with a hammer.

vacuumslayer said...

I think the thing that really gets me about this kind of thinking is that it really boxes people in. And people are complex, dammit. It's dangerous to make assumptions.

And ya know, they get us women coming and going, 'cuz we're expected to "be feminine." at the same time that which is considered feminine is BY DEFAULT considered silly and inferior.

vacuumslayer said...

That was a tad more eloquent in my head and did not have the word "considered" in it so much.

Jack Crow said...

A wonderful antidote to awful day. Thanks BBBB.

Smut Clyde said...

What has happened to VS's avatar?
What have you done with Louise!?

Johnny Pez said...

"Joey, do you like movies about Norse gods?"

vacuumslayer said...

I blowed up vs' avatar on her iPhone! I am taking over!

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

VS needs an animated gravatar.
~

Aunt Snow said...

They really don't have an understanding of history, they only have what's been fed to them through various screens.

Plus they've never stepped away from their own milieu. They've never changed the way of life they were raised in, seen how other people live first hand. They're always using a yardstick to compare other people to themselves, and finding the rest of the world wanting.

Dragon-King Wangchuck said...

I think you missed the underlying point - Thor is really Tom Hanks.

From the Epic Sagas of Bosom Buddies to the hyper-violent Saving of Private Ryan's Hammer. Make no mistake, the next incarnation will have Thor as a master symbologist trying to crack the Da Vinci Code. With his PENIS. Totes heterosexually.

stopmyabortion said...

Odin dressed as a woman in order to get close to his rape victim.
The other gods were suspicious of Odin's use of feminine magic, and Loki called him out on it.

Of course Loki actually turned himself into a mare and gave birth to Odin's eight-legged steed!

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

Of course Loki actually turned himself into a mare and gave birth to Odin's eight-legged steed!

The story of Sleipnir's origin is one of my personal favorites. Damn, that Loki was a gender-bender.

aimai said...

Great Post, BBBB! I'd like to point out that the hero "questioning his humanity" and even experiencing despair is a pretty big part of most heroic myth cycles from the Iliad (where Achilles is both the most masculine and the most sulky and childish of all the heroes ever) and the stories of Enkiddu and Gilgamesh.

Strong women are Norse, very. My favorite Saga, though I haven't re-read it in a number of years, is Njal's Saga and it has a marvellous female protagonist: Hallgerd. Hallgerd is a powerful, loose cannon with "thieve's eyes" and she seduces everyone in sight and also dominates the scene by creating trouble and forcing her husband, Gunnar, to continuously pick up the pieces. In the end of that part of the Saga she takes her revenge on Gunnar for the slight of slapping her by refusing to help him (refusing to give him her hair to restring his bow as his enemies close in around him). "To each his own kind of fame" he says, with characteristic Norse brevity.

rea said...

Achilles is both the most masculine and the most sulky and childish of all the heroes ever

And of course, Achilles was a cross-dresser, hiding among his mother's women on Scyros until Odysseus found him and conscripted him into the Trojan War.