Remembering the Mad Max(iPad) Kerfuffle

Over the next few posts EYEis focusing on the extremely niche and nerdy theme of sexism, social justice & science fiction. Next up EYEtravel back in time to remember last year’s minor Mad Max(ipad) Kerfuffle.

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So after over a decade of disappointing diminishing returns, pointless reboots and far, far too many masked avengers, in my humble subjective opinion, Mad Max – Thunder Road turned out to be the most entertaining piece of full throttle, live action, no expense spared,  blockbusting, escapist sci-fi nonsense this side of the Matrix.

Mark Kermode‘s mild mannered gripes are entirely on the money. The feminist motifs are a little bit muddled and it’s about 15 minutes too long but these are minor quibbles. After all we’re talking about a story that grabs you by the throat from the get go and keeps a firm hold all the way despite essentially being one long car chase.

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EYEis exactly the right age to have discovered the low budget, post apocalyptic brilliance of The Road Warrior on home video and the prospect of a triumphant return has been a long time coming.  Although not a complete disaster, Max appeared to have run out of road by the end of 1985’s PG rated Beyond Thunderdome but then after almost twenty years out in the desert his return was heralded by an extremely promising teaser trailer…

When the first couple of glowing reviews started trickling thru a few months later, it did occur to me that the Guardian sponsored fourth wave feminist mafia might very well get their twitters all in a twist about a story depicting a violent, male dominated future where women are corralled into various slavery subsections including, breast-milk producers or “prized breeders” perpetuating the pantomime villain’s kingly line.

Which goes to show how little EYE know…

Because in an unlikely turn of events, by the time the lights went down on premier night it was being championed as an allegory for the strengths of sisterhood and by the end of the week Mad Max even had his own feminist tumblr (whatever that’s supposed to signify?).

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If you’re wondering what caused this unexpected turn of events, all fury roads lead back to one blog piece written by some P*** artist called Aaron…

In his article ‘why you should not go see mad max feminist road’, Aaron Clarey explained how he basically took the hump because he reckoned that Charlie Theron got too much trailer time and (shock horror)  the author of the vagina monologes was consulted on the sex slave element of the story.

The fact that this relatively obscure blogger, who wrote a relatively obscure post, on a relatively obscure blog, made international headlines, you have to start thinking about who are the guardians of your news, who are the filters.  Aaron Clarey

Just in in time for the opening weekend his article for the Return of Kings site was picked up by media around the western world and spun into the latest reason to take a pop at anyone supporting the seemingly controversial concept of ‘men’s rights’, with headlines like mad-max hilariously angers “Men’s Rights Activists” and mad-max-makes-misogynists-sad.

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Personally I reckon Aaron missed a rare cinematic treat and I also suspect that a lot lot lazy journalists were unwittingly co-opted into selling-a-whole-load-of-tickets for Time Warner’s big budget franchise investment.

What should strike you is how similar the articles are to each other. The media we have is one full of “journalists” who essentially plagiarize each other without adding any additional reporting or value. If you read one of the above articles, you’ve read them all.  Return of Kings Editorial

It is worthwhile recording that in the cut and paste feeding frenzy that followed the initial critique posted on wehuntedthemammoth.com‘, the ‘equality champion’ mask slipped from the faces of more than one smug (so called) liberal media columnist.

Jason Wilson’s effort, the man-o-sphere is outraged about mad max hand me my popcorn, for the market leader in mainstream media misandry is a fine example.

Clarey is proposing that the man-o-sphere boycott the film. Which is all the more reason to go, get a large popcorn, satisfied in the knowledge that it’s salted with reactionary tears. Jason Wilson – Guardian Columnist

Like Clarey, Mr Wilson hadn’t actually seen the actual film but such a minor detail didn’t get in the way of him boldly declaring that it is a film about ‘the impotence and failure of men’s right’s activists’ (with added 3D explosions and scantily clad supermodels, obviously).  Jason didn’t quite have the cajones to sign off with an order for a large popcorn salted with (Jessica Valenti trade marked) ‘male tears’ but anyone paying attention will have assumed that’s exactly what he was implying…

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This is what a futuristic feminist looks like.

Inevitably enough, Wilson turned out to be the worst kind of bigot that it’s possibly possible to imagine (a self hating, left leaning, rose’ drinking, checked shirt wearing, social justice hipster academic  who thinks that anyone who doesn’t agree with him must be a ‘conspiracy theorist’) and reports about the emasculation of Max turned out to be greatly exaggerated.

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Jessica Valenti may have seen ‘a call to dismantle patriarchies’ and  Laurie Penny may see ‘a feminist playbook for surviving dystopia’ but, as impressive as Imperator Furiosa’s contribution may be, EYEsuspect that their less privileged predecessors in the profession of paid pontificators where saying exactly the same thing about Aunty Entity twenty years ago.

And as Milo Yiannopoulos points out in his own inimitable fashion, Fury Road’s feminist credentials have been somewhat exaggerated.  Indeed it could be just as easily argued that wind up merchants like Wilson helped to hoodwink a lot of feminists into buying tickets to see a testosterone fueled cinematic metaphor for female dependence and privilege.

After all, the only reason Furiosa famously hits the target is because she’s resting her gun on Max’s mannly shoulders and by the end of the movie, the scantily clad damsels have returned to the man made shelter from whence they fled, whilst their savior Max returns to the obscurity of the wasteland.  ‘How else to read this than as a proxy for the hard-working but tragically unrecognised labours of the much-maligned straight white male, who saves the life of  [a truck load of ladies] but doesn’t even get a shag out of it?’

Fury Road merely repeats dissident feminist Camille Paglia’s dictum that if society were run by women, we’d all be living in mud huts — because that’s precisely what has happened to the “many mothers” community in this movie. By the time Theron rocks up, mother Gaia’s feminine heaven on earth is no longer a verdant paradise of rug-munching and male subjugation: it’s a few wrinkly old grannies huddled together in the desert because their soil went bad so they just gave up on it and starved to death. Milo Yiannopoulos

EYEguess sometimes people see what they want to see and all this nonsense only goes to prove that Mad Max Thunder Road has something to offer most demographics, including anyone who gets off on watching Tom Hardy getting the shit kicked out of him by a bunch of girls…

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