Guys are funny, right? And immature. Definitely immature.
You’d think this if you see nearly any movie with a male protagonist. He’s an overgrown man-child, always there with a quip or an obnoxiously immature pastime that holds him back, while the kick-ass riot grrl rolls her eyes and does all the real work, maybe letting the dude accidentally do something right or lift something heavy.
Maybe it’s be a male character full of power and competence who still has to be funny. Because serious people–adult males, especially–are boring!
Or so hundreds of Hollywood screenwriters would have us believe. Not just screenwriters, but novelists, TV writers, and those in the comic book business.
Jamaul over at Jamual Writes discusses this in a great post called “Always Be Funny.” The new God of War video game, and its strong, silent, and brutal male protagonist got him thinking about the phenomenon:
So, I was just on Twitter talking about the new God of War video game, which I’m watching via YouTube.
I love this damn game. It’s amazing.
But I did notice something about the main character – Kratos.
Dude is uber serious. Never crack jokes. Never smiles.
Even Wired wrote a piece on Kratos – and his appetite for violence, claiming that’s he’s toxic.
I disagree. I think Kratos is just a personality type. Strong, but silent type. A warrior. And that’s the thing with the personality type – they don’t think, they just do. Tough, stoic.
Much like the John Waynes, Clint Eastwoods of the old Westerns, which I love.
These characters don’t talk much, quick to anger, disagreeable, grumpy, strong, leaders, and blaze their own lane.
They’re my favorite type of characters. Which seems to be a relic, nowadays.
The pathetic state of video game journalism aside, imagine a world where a quietly bad-ass character is considered “toxic.” Throw out all your old John Ford westerns and Mickey Spillaine noir thrillers, I guess! Nope, men have to be seen as non-threatening, cute, cuddly teddybears.
I think what Jamual is noticing is that male characters used to have some kind of danger to them, an edge, an element of unpredictability that could erupt at any moment–and here’s the important part–against the bad guys.
Charles Bronson wasn’t mowing down the innocent in Death Wish. Clint Eastwood wasn’t abusing women and children in Dirty Harry. Richard Roundtree wasn’t beating down the righteous in Shaft.
These guys were just bad mofos doing what had to be done. Even Han Solo, grumpy and quippy himself, was competent, and his humor fit the character and his swashbuckling way of life. Which is masculine. Which is why, I think, our cultural elitists in charge of making this stuff need to neuter the men. As Jack Donovan is so fond of saying, strong men acting together are the biggest threat to the nanny state. So the “gang,” if you will, must be broken. Continue reading “Would John Wayne Approve?”