Mad Max vs. Angry Aaron

UPDATE — May 22, 2015:

Now that I have actually seen Mad Max: Fury Road, I can say with confidence that this motion picture seems, or strives, to be a piece of feminist literature by a male who collaborated with females to achieve it. Differences in terminology are important. If we are to call literature propaganda, and if we are to boycott something for its themes, symbols, and irony, we are just a few subtle regressive mutations away from burning books again.

Luckily, no number of Men’s Rights Activists (whether they identify with the term or not), can derail the success of Mad Max, and that was never really a fear from my standpoint.

What bothers me most regarding this particular topic — and let this be my pre/post thesis statement — is that any knuckle-head who believes in segregating or quarantining Action movies (or any genre) from notions of Feminism is not only exhibiting a pristine and disgusting form of disrespect, but it is also artistically, socially, and personally limiting. If you never wanted to see the movie, that’s one thing. Not your cup of tea? Don’t drink it. But if you are refusing to see an entertaining movie — one that you previously  wanted to see — on the grounds that it is “too feminist”, what you are saying is that you literally won’t even entertain the thought.

Original — May 16, 2015:

Mad Max: Fury Road has been upsetting some people, but not for the reasons you might assume. Actually, it’s just been upsetting one dude.

Men’s Rights Activist blogger, Aaron Clarey has called for a boycott of the film, Mad Mad: Fury Road in his slipshod essay entitled, “Why You Should Not Go See ‘Mad Max: Feminist Road'” – easy to see where that puppy is going based on what Clarey assumes is a clever victory in alliterative replacement, swapping one F-word with another. I have an F-word for Clarey, and it comes with his own preference of “you” or “off” to follow it.

(For those struggling to lift their heavy knuckles off the floor to scratch their heads at that one, I’m saying, “Fuck you/fuck off, Aaron Clarey.”)

The thesis of his ridiculous dirge for less thoughtful cinema is that men are in danger of being tricked into observing “feminist propaganda”, that the explosions in the trailer are merely present to lure men into the theater, where their righteous misogyny may be altered, damaged, or obliterated by seeing women kicking ass, taking names, and not being completely written off into the most reductive roles possible.

If you were like me, the explosions, fire tornadoes, even the symphonic score surrounding “Fury Road’s” first trailer made your attendance a foregone conclusion. It looked like a straight-up guy flick. No fucking around.

Clarey’s presumptive hopes surrounding the teaser trailer for Mad Mad: Fury Road (and his outrage to follow) demonstrate that he thinks “straight-up guy flicks” are in short supply in Hollywood’s male-dominated wet-dream factory, as though our theaters and our minds haven’t been turkey-basted in Marvel and DC action movies boasting juicy male muscle-men tossing fists and igniting explosions and rescuing helpless women for the last 15 years.

But, look, I get the difference between Mad Max and The Avengers, as franchises and characters. I understand that the safeness of the superhero thing is kind of boring, and I empathize with the wish for something a little more dangerous. I, too, yearn for a hard R-Rated flick over a generic PG-13 family romp, but that’s not the issue Clarey is bringing up. He isn’t grateful for a true action film with literal and figurative grit if it means a strong female character may be involved or even possibly taking the lead from time to time. Additionally, he hates that Eve Ensler (The Vagina Monologues) was brought in for consultation. He can’t fathom being sated by a film with all this pesky female involvement.

But, c’mon, man.

Avert Eyes Lest You Become Seduced Into The Wrong Ideals

Avert Your Eyes Lest You Become Seduced Into Acquiring The Wrong Ideals!

Mad Max: Fury Road is still R-Rated and still looks so cool and grimy and dark and powerful, yet Clarey appears to believe an action movie cannot be transcendently badass if it isn’t fulfilling old tropes of men being men and women being girls. And this is where I take issue.

He says was excited for the movie…

But then my spidey senses started noticing a couple things.

(See what I mean? He can’t even resist avoiding this sort of pop-culturally mimetic bullshit to serve as a vessel for his sexist paranoia.)

Charlize Theron kept showing up a lot in the trailers, while Tom Hardy (Mad Max) seemed to have cameo appearances. Charlize Theron sure talked a lot during the trailers, while I don’t think I’ve heard one line from Tom Hardy. And finally, Charlize Theron’s character barked orders to Mad Max.

Nobody barks orders to Mad Max.

You shut your damn mouth, Clarey! Are you George Miller? Are you? No! He decides who barks and who doesn’t bark!

Did you even know the writer/director’s name? Because it doesn’t appear once in your essay. If you can’t appreciate how rare and wonderful it is that the filmmaker who began the Mad Max universe is the one to continue it, then what are you doing writing about movies in the first place? What the fuck are you doing wasting anyone’s time talking about what Mad Max should or shouldn’t be. I’m not saying you have to like or agree with his choices, but respect that this is a singular vision. You claim you are “being insulted AND tricked into viewing a piece of American culture ruined and rewritten right in front of [our] very eyes,” but you have no idea who is rewriting it. It’s the person who fucking wrote it to begin with, dingle-berry!

I’m sorry, Aaron. Maybe I lost my cool, and maybe it was unfair of me to call you a dingle-berry, but when you speak of “the extents Hollywood and the director went to trick me,” it does not factor in to your argument that this is George Miller‘s playground, and he can do whatever he wants in it, as well he should. Reboots and remakes are so common, and this is one of few that hasn’t been co-opted and literally re-written. Notions of purity have little to do with what gets a philistine’s dick hard; for Fury Road to be pure, all it has to do is reflect the creator’s idea of Mad Max, with little-to-no interference from the expectations of either Hollywood or fan-boy cry-babies.

BADASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

BADASSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!

This is one reason why people should see this movie. Because the better Mad Max: Fury Road does in the box office, the more Hollywood will learn to trust its true filmmakers and take old projects with reboot potential off their heartless assembly lines. And the more Hollywood learns to distrust its own tired and calculated instincts — about production and about sex/gender — the closer mainstream cinema can get to achieving a stature of important cinema.

But I’m losing track of the primary issue here — Aaron Clarey’s misogynistic and paranoid boycott:

So do yourself and all men across the world a favor. Not only REFUSE to see the movie, but spread the word to as many men as possible. Not all of them have the keen eye we do here at ROK*.  And most will be taken in by fire tornadoes and explosions. Because if they sheepishly attend and Fury Road is a blockbuster, then you, me, and all the other men (and real women) in the world will never be able to see a real action movie ever again that doesn’t contain some damn political lecture or moray about feminism, SJW-ing, and socialism.

[*acronym for Return Of Kings — gross]

Aaron Clarey's (slightly modified) Twitter Photo

Aaron Clarey’s (slightly modified) Twitter Photo

There’s a mountain of disgust that could be unpacked from just this one delusional passage (his parenthetical alone is troubling), but here’s the logical problem with Clarey’s call to action and the primary one I’ll be discussing: in addition to the harm he strives to cause to women and the film industry, his arguments here also reduce and harm men — yes, Aaron is hurting himself — by assuming 1) that men are so stupid that we absolutely will be tricked and duped into seeing this movie if someone like Clarey doesn’t tell us not to, and 2) that men are weak-minded enough that seeing Charlize Theron as a non-hyper-sexualized action hero will turn us all into rabid feminists through action-movie-hypnosis.

(But wouldn’t that be something?)

If seeing women in non-conventional roles and knowing that they collaborated with men on action movie sets is something that scares and threatens you — whoever you are — then you should see this movie. You owe it to yourself and others around you to open up your steel-trap mind, inch-by-inch, until you let enough light in to realize that these are good things — that collaboration and exploration helps elevate cinema. If you are honestly afraid of what this movie will do to you, then you are the weak one. Confront this fear. Cleanse your toxic masculinity. You can begin treatment by watching this movie, and then continue it by going to therapy.

One last little thing that Clarey does that irks the hell out of me: he refers to Theron’s Imperator Furiosa as an “impossible female character”. Why does he think of her as impossible? Probably because he hasn’t seen women portrayed like this often enough or ever before. Do any of us really know anyone like Mad Max? No. NO! It’s a fucking post-apocalyptic action flick. Mad Max is impossible, an entertaining fiction, but he’s believable to some as a male character because he’s familiar, because these are the types of male characters we see all the time. It is not because it is a realistic portrayal of masculinity. The reason a woman could be considered unbelievable in such a role is exclusively because it’s less familiar to you.

So get familiar, damn it! Crawl out of your male-centric cocoon. It smells better out here.

(Ya dingle-berries.)

Charlize Theron's Middle Finger



2 Comments on “Mad Max vs. Angry Aaron”

  1. 1 tycio said at 8:10 pm on May 16th, 2015:

    I hate Eve because she is a coward for aging the protagonist in The Little Coochie Snorcher That Could in later versions. She is dishonest. She made like she was conveying real stories then fictionalized them when people got butthurt.

  2. 2 Jennifer said at 3:31 pm on July 7th, 2015:

    This is a great rebuttle. Also just a great piece in general about Hollywood and film.

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