Sunday, October 10, 2010

SMALLVILLE: Clark's Dark Side=Pride?

Smallville's final season premiere has Jor-El and a Lex Luthor clone telling Clark that he has a "darkseid" just like his enemies. His sin? Oh, no...Pride!

Clark: "You may not see me as a hero, but the rest of the world does, and I decide my fate!"

Luthor clone: "The only reason anyone ever calls you a hero is because you clean up the disasters you unleash…" Clark the one blowing up buildings, or unleashing Doomsday plots? Oh, what's that? He's dark because he was proud of saving people, and leaping a tall building in a single bound? Because he took pride in his accomplishment? Please, let it not be that. Sorry, Luthor, sorry Jor-El. Clark may buy into that, but I don't. Compare and contrast:
The virtue of Pride can best be described by the term: “moral ambitiousness.” It means that one must earn the right to hold oneself as one’s own highest value by achieving one’s own moral perfection—which one achieves by never accepting any code of irrational virtues impossible to practice and by never failing to practice the virtues one knows to be rational—by never accepting an unearned guilt and never earning any, or, if one has earned it, never leaving it uncorrected—by never resigning oneself passively to any flaws in one’s character—by never placing any concern, wish, fear or mood of the moment above the reality of one’s own self-esteem. And, above all, it means one’s rejection of the role of a sacrificial animal, the rejection of any doctrine that preaches self-immolation as a moral virtue or duty.
- Ayn Rand, "The Objectivist Ethics"

You see, heroism doesn't have to be a dichotomy between selfishness and protecting the ones you love. Enough of the damn "Jesus Christ Pose" already, enough of this "original sin."

With that, what more can I say about this show that hasn't been said? I don't want to not like it, but despite all the entertainment value, and the "sense of heroism," I stand by my original assessment: the sooner this show is off the air, the better.


madmax said...


Isn't this all just Kant: the idea that for an action to be moral the actor can't benefit from it? While few altruists practice altruism to the extent that Kant or Comte preached it, the way I see it almost everywhere is this:

1. If an actor benefits from his action then the act can't be moral. At best it is amoral (outside the realm of morality).

2. In order for an action to be moral it must result in a *net material/spiritual loss* to the actor.

Number 2 is how altruism is practiced today and it is everywhere. I gave up on Smallvile after the 3rd season because I just couldn't stand the altruism. But a point should be made that today's movies and television is saturated with the Left's version of altruism, which is a combination of ethical sacrifice and multiculturalism/feminism/egalitarianism. This makes today's TV a barren wasteland.

Joe Maurone said...

Max, it certainly jives with Kant; they share the same ideological roots. It's more directly influenced by Christianity, evident in the constant cross metaphors. Jor-El is God, Kal is Jesus...

Damien said...

Joe Maurone,

I don't exactly agree with your view on pride, but I was having trouble thinking of how to put my objection into words, so it took me awhile to post this here. Are you really certian that pride doesn't have a dark side? I'm not saying its all bad, but that doesn't make it all good either. Pride like all emotions is not exactly rational. Is it always good to feel good about one's self? Fire may warm you on a cold winter's night, but it can also burn you. Pride can lead to arrogance, and an unwillingness to admit when you're wrong.

Joe Maurone said...

Damien, if you want to disagree and point that out, fine (as long as you acknowledge that, if you know anything about the Objectivist view on pride, the distinction made between pride and arrogance). But the context of the show is secular Christianity, where pride is equated with the Seven Deadly Sins, and Clark's sin of pride was superficially presented as a sin in itself. Remember, Clark is meant to become the selfless hero, so the bening aspect of pride is not acknowledged there.

Damien said...

Joe Maurone,

I'm aware of the distinction that Rand made between pride an arrogance. I just see a danger of one leading to the other, if one is not careful.

Joe Maurone said...

Only Jor-El does not allow for that distinction.