The ‘pop’ stands for ‘popular,’ just in case you forgot, and pretty much, if it is overly popular, I don’t care for it. Mediocrity is the driving force behind pop culture. It takes a true master artist to be popular and yet maintain one’s integrity and not be swallowed by the huge vacuum of our lowest common denominator society. We are a simple minded species that always goes for the shiny lights and tinsel—how else can you explain the popularity of Barry Manilow, Brittany Spears, and the Kardashians? Some of the most talented artists get shoved by the wayside, so that some bland talent can dominate.
So, in pop culture nowadays, the more graphic the better and screw actually having to participate by using your imagination. For example, the new Netflix series, Daredevil, here is the epitome of no imagination. First off, it should be called ‘Kingpin,’ because the show is about Wilson Fisk, with Matt Murdock as a side character. And to tell you the truth I have never found Kingpin all that interesting, but here – oh my god, you need a splatter shield, bits of flesh and blood flying everywhere! Yes, he was brutal in the comics, but it was implied, not something you had to scrape off your face! When did we become such Vulgarians?
Now this show has oodles of issues, the best thing in it is Foggy Nelson, they nailed his character, the rest is ‘Dark Night of the Daredevil’, some sort of homage to Frank Miller’s brand of excessive violence, which, along with Watchmen was meant to be an aberration, NOT the new model! After the second episode I was a bit tired of his thrown together outfit, after the ninth episode I am sick of it, come on, buy the sorry shit a daredevil suit, and let’s get on with it! The difference between a “good” guy and a “bad” guy is the good guy doesn’t lose it and just keep punching or toss people off of rooftops. Corny…yes, but essential to the Hero’s journey. The “good” guy must rise above it and have control of his emotions, it is a learning curve, but one he has to master.
So what is my point? It is easier to get a gut emotional reaction from ultra violence and brutality, we react or more accurately, we are manipulated to react. The extreme violence doesn’t further the storyline in any discernible way, and it does not give depth to the character, it just gives us a knee jerk reaction. The more we see, the more inured we become, and the farther they have to go next time. Daredevil should try hiring writers, instead of copping out to sophomoric violence. Which brings me to Alfred Hitchcock. Here was a man that could make you feel the devastating brutality of a character, without ever witnessing it. He might bash his bully father’s skull in with a hammer, but it was off screen, not in your face.
It was the implied threat, when your imagination supplies the images, that allows for multiple levels of interpretation, it was more dreamlike. If you aren’t familiar with Hitchcock, shame on you, he was the master of giving you anxiety (a spoof of Hitch was done by Mel Brooks, aptly called High Anxiety). I find it is the same with women’s bathings suits, a one piece with see- through panels can be more erotic than a skimpy bikini. “Imagination is more powerful than knowledge” Albert Einstein.
Okay so I watched the finale….son of a bitch! They redeemed themselves by lifting up the hero and pulling all the threads tight. It does not abnegate what I have written above, but they have won me over—that is the Daredevil I fell in love with, the poor man’s Batman! A huge part of the early comics was DD’s way of navigating and interacting with a very different level of perception, there it was done by the artist, It is the kind of thing lacking in the show, replaced by choreographed violence.
But they got me, I’m a fan…I just pray Kingpin takes a long hiatus!