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Old May 5 2012, 08:50 PM   #16
beamMe
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Gaith wrote: View Post
A fun and thought-provoking essay; thanks for sharing it.
I provokes thoughts all right. Thought along the lines of
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Old May 5 2012, 10:47 PM   #17
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

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I agree with these comments, but I also find the essay to be pretty persuasive. I recently watched an interview with Joe Johnston, in which he mentions that the movie's time frame is three years! As busy as Cap's schedule is, surely he could have found some time for R&R amidst all the fighting. The essay makes a very strong case that Peggy is against premarital sex, and Steve appears to be okay with that. Given how heroic and horny Tony Stark is portrayed as being, and how openly Jane Foster goggled at Thor's bod, this seems more of a throwback/homage to 1940s Hollywood than either the realities the time or a manifestation of contemporary prudishness.
I agree that Rogers' character is more conservative than others (which is consistent with the comics). He's basically a good-natured, virtuous young loner, with very little experience of popularity (with males or females). We don't see him in orgies with groupies because it wouldn't be in character. But nor do we see him palling around with male fans, being the life of the party.

This is why I don't think the discussion of phalluses and ejaculation is convincing - it adds nothing to the argument, and is overly speculative.

Put another way, the psycho-sexual stuff is necessary if we don't already have convincing explanations for poles, tanks, and the like. But as plot devices they're perfectly reasonable as they are. They don't stand out as sexual in any way, and only an obsessive Freudian interpretation (in which everything is touched with sexual meaning) sees otherwise.
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Old May 6 2012, 04:49 AM   #18
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

^ Fair point, but there was a lot more to the piece than that. Getting hung up on those perhaps gratuitous flourishes doesn't mean there aren't solid observations elsewhere.
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Old May 6 2012, 07:52 AM   #19
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

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^ Fair point, but there was a lot more to the piece than that. Getting hung up on those perhaps gratuitous flourishes doesn't mean there aren't solid observations elsewhere.
Yes, I agree. All in all, it's an interesting review.

But to my mind, the piece makes two particularly noteworthy claims, i.e. the apolitical, de-Nazified conflict and the importance of Captain America's virginal purity. I'm not convinced by either, particularly the use of sexual imagery to back up the latter.

(As a Freudian aside, I don't see his sacrifice as 'war/death' rather than 'sex/life'. Much of his behaviour is to stop destruction and death, and he's a natural leader - i.e. concerned with unity, harmony, peace. These are all quite the opposite of the death drive, Thanatos, which aims at dissolution, atomisation, strife.)
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Old May 6 2012, 05:29 PM   #20
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

This is a good reading, I think. It's hard to argue against the idea that splitting Hydra off from the Reich during the war fundamentally changes Captain America's conflict, and that this was probably done to ease the film's transition into non-American markets.

The other claim is based on a well-known ubiquitous idea, known to all medieval knights and American football coaches: the link between sex, abstinence and male aggression.
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Old May 6 2012, 05:47 PM   #21
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Cap isn't just a boy scout, he is the quintessential, super-boy-scout. The essay addresses this, and explores how the movie addresses this.

The idea that Cap is a virgin, and "dies" a virgin at the end of his movie, is significant. Despite the supposed purity of WWII era movies, the men at the time were spreading veneral disease across Europe. The point of Captain America is that he is personally SO GODDAMNED ETHICAL AND MORAL. It's great that he is, and the comic world needs ONE character like this. WHY IS HE LIKE THIS?

Kal-El/Clark Kent is like this because he is alien, because he has unlimited power in his world, and because he has a repressed, highly moralized upbringing. What is Steve Roger's excuse?

It's fair to ask that question, and it's fair to credit the movie for addressing it. Steve Rogers is the 1940s version of the 21st Century computer nerd who can't get laid. He is the cliche that we construct jokes around. It is perfectly fair to ask, what is the character and inner personality of a man who starts out that weak and powerless, who is bullied to that degree, and then becomes that powerful? His stance against bullying isn't just moral, it is OCD and bordering on fetishism. He has made up his mind about a black and white stance on right and wrong, and become locked into it to the point of never again questioning himself.

Steve Rogers isn't just frozen in ice, he is frozen ideologically. His ideology isn't 1940s America or democracy, it is the ideology of a chronic victim. That isn't the worst thing in the world. It is certainly believable that it is the motivation of someone who actively NEEDS to be a superhero. There are a thousand things he could have ended up doing with his power, but he drives himself in one direction only. Yes, he is neurotic, and it isn't ridiculous to ask in what ways his neurosis manifests.

To think that Steve Rogers never ever ever thinks about sex or is never motivated by it, is to reduce him to something far less human than the rest of us. He is supposed to super human, not sub human. Can we not imagine that his sex drive is as powerful as his physique implies? Certainly Peggy imagines it, as well as the secretary who tries to seduce him. The sexuality is there. He represses it, this is fact. So let's not delude ourselves that there is no repercussion to this repression.
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Old May 6 2012, 09:36 PM   #22
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Caliburn24 wrote: View Post
Finally, if Cap's virginity is supposed to make him a better soldier, shouldn't there be some evidence that the other soldiers (namely Bucky) are worse soldiers because they are willing to sleep with anything that is willing and has two XX chromosomes? Bucky and the rest of the Howling Commandos seem just as violent and bloodthirsty as Cap, just without his superpowers.
Well, Bucky does get tortured, is unable to make an impression on Peggy, and then (presumably) dies, so his fate would seem to be in keeping with a Puritanical reading of the flick. As for the rest of the Commandos, sure, they're rowdy and macho, but they're also a straight-up boy's club; we never see any of them with ladies on their arm.
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Old May 6 2012, 11:06 PM   #23
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Steve would have totally banged Peggy if he had the chance. He couldn't because it would have made his future relationship with Shannon Carter totally squicky.
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Old May 6 2012, 11:45 PM   #24
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

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I took a college course on Hitchcock movies once, and on the first day, the professor laid out two ground rules: one, what the filmmakers had or have to say about this or that can be useful, but is never necessarily definitive, and two, there is never such thing as "reading too much" into a movie, for the purposes of discussion at least. Even mistakes and/or improvisations are preserved forever in the movie; ergo, everything is up for grabs in terms of constructing arguments. That said, not all arguments are justified or convincing.

So, how does this article do?
While the other soldiers passionately climb on top of one another to try and reach for the flag, Steve calmly undoes the pinions holding the pole up, sending it crashing to the ground. His reward for dispassionately reversing the phallic erection of the pole is to ride in a jeep with Peggy.
Okay, now that's a funny and fun observation.
You could just as easily claim it shows out of the box thinking. The other soliders thought they had to climb the pole in order to get at the flag, whilst Rogers thought about it and brought the flag down to him.

One could argue the former shows that in order to get ahead you have to climb over people to reach the top, whilst the later shows you can get just as far ahead by not doing so.

As for Peggy remember the character was British and the British are generally percieved to be more reserved in matters such as Sex. So perhaps you could say it was reinforcing the perception about the British being reserved.
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Old May 7 2012, 01:40 AM   #25
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

LaxScrutiny wrote: View Post
The idea that Cap is a virgin, and "dies" a virgin at the end of his movie, is significant. Despite the supposed purity of WWII era movies, the men at the time were spreading veneral disease across Europe. The point of Captain America is that he is personally SO GODDAMNED ETHICAL AND MORAL. It's great that he is, and the comic world needs ONE character like this. WHY IS HE LIKE THIS?
Because he has a more strident moral compass than most people. Is natural human variation in personality no longer sufficient to explain character traits?

It's fair to ask that question, and it's fair to credit the movie for addressing it. Steve Rogers is the 1940s version of the 21st Century computer nerd who can't get laid. He is the cliche that we construct jokes around. It is perfectly fair to ask, what is the character and inner personality of a man who starts out that weak and powerless, who is bullied to that degree, and then becomes that powerful? His stance against bullying isn't just moral, it is OCD and bordering on fetishism.
I'm sorry, but this assertion is ridiculous and completely unsupported by anything from the film. He's opposed to fascism, and he wants to be out there, making a difference in the world.

He has made up his mind about a black and white stance on right and wrong, and become locked into it to the point of never again questioning himself.
Please. He spends half the movie questioning himself.

To think that Steve Rogers never ever ever thinks about sex or is never motivated by it, is to reduce him to something far less human than the rest of us. He is supposed to super human, not sub human. Can we not imagine that his sex drive is as powerful as his physique implies? Certainly Peggy imagines it, as well as the secretary who tries to seduce him. The sexuality is there. He represses it, this is fact. So let's not delude ourselves that there is no repercussion to this repression.
I mean, is he repressing it? Is someone who wants to wait until he's in love and married necessarily repressed -- at least, any more so than the prevailing cultural norms at the time would prompt, anyway?
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Old May 7 2012, 02:01 AM   #26
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Steve would have totally banged Peggy if he had the chance. He couldn't because it would have made his future relationship with Shannon Carter totally squicky.
Naturally.

Are they going to use the same actress for Sharon as they did for Peggy?
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Old May 7 2012, 03:21 AM   #27
Sci
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Hound of UIster wrote: View Post
hyzmarca wrote: View Post
Steve would have totally banged Peggy if he had the chance. He couldn't because it would have made his future relationship with Shannon Carter totally squicky.
Naturally.

Are they going to use the same actress for Sharon as they did for Peggy?
I hope so. Hayley Atwell is amazing, and her chemistry with Chris Evans is pitch-perfect.
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Old May 7 2012, 03:56 AM   #28
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

I'd throw my nuts in her mouth.
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Old May 7 2012, 04:05 AM   #29
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

I think the writer expended a great deal of effort on nothing.

t the film's primary interest is in exploring the relationship between sex and war, particularly how the power of the former may be harnessed and perverted into the latter.
Nah; Johnston just wanted the love story to be kind of sweet and retro. This guy made Rocketeer.
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Old May 7 2012, 04:06 AM   #30
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Re: Captain America: Sex, War & Domination

Jennifer Connelly had such sweet cleavage back in the day.
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