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).