"There is always a philosophy for lack of courage."—Albert Camus

Monday, June 20, 2005

Will Bank On Attention

The latest media star is Jennifer Wilbanks, the runaway bride. Interviews, books, you name it.

What happened to the time when you had to do something heroic or excellent to garner national esteem?

We have gone from Cool Hand Luke to Cold Feet Jennifer.


John Huisman said...

Cool hand Luke was heroic?

Hunter Baker said...

Cool Hand Luke as a hero is a stretch, unless you consider it heroic to be able to eat 50 eggs or something like it. But I know Mr. Homnick couldn't pass up the little feat of language.

Jay D. Homnick said...

Hey, Karnick, where are you when I need some defending?

Of course Cool Hand Luke is a hero. He is essentially the same character as Randle Patrick McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, the inmate who is willing to give himself up to break the stronghold of the oppressors and to show the oppressed the path to rediscovering their selfhood.

And both of them are modeled on Samson, if you're Jewish, or a different self-sacrificial fellow if you're a Christian.

Am I telling you guys something you didn't know? Hey, Karnick, Kaarniiick...

John Huisman said...

It seems to me that Luke is less of a Christ figure and more of a rebel. His goal was not to redeem his sorry situation (which was of his own making), but to defy, undermine, and escape it.

S. T. Karnick said...

I agree with Mr. Huisman and Hunter Baker on this, Jay.

The character "Cool Hand Luke" was clearly meant as an antihero, which means a hero for an immoral, decadadent age. (This is not presented as my judgment of the time in which the film was made, just as a definition of the term "antihero.")

The characters may indeed be modeled to some extent on Samson, at least by derivation, and possibly on Jesus Christ, but very poorly in any case. (Samson, at least, is posited as having sins in the Biblical account. Any comparison between these characters and Jesus Christ is, well, worse than a stretch) Both characters are perhaps punished inordinately by society, but neither character is good, let alone perfect. They are basically unsavory characters whom the filmmakers (falsely) claim are at least better than society as a whole. That is to say, they are not so much characters as devices for social criticism, and certainly not heroes. At the very least, their insistence on receiving what they judge to be their due amount of respect from others is the very opposite of what Jesus Christ represented.

Jay, a different comparison would indeed have been better, even though the word play were inferior.—STK