Further pursuant to the question of post-traumatic issues…
…the specific thing I am talking about is not the portrayal of or acknowledgement of these issues, because cod knows I can’t bloody write a book without somebody with PTSD in it. I barely know how non-traumatized people operate; their brains are different from mine. True fact, actually: writing people without trigger issues is like writing aliens.
But… oh, let me give you a specific example. I saw some criticism of the new Spider-Man film, here and there, that indicated that people thought it wasn’t angsty enough, that Spidey didn’t sacrifice enough, that he didn’t suffer enough. In particular, one acquaintance said, “The only thing he sacrifices, he gets back at the end.”*
To which my reaction was, You have confused Spider-Man with the Goddamn Batman.
The point of Peter Parker is not that he suffers, or that he endures suffering. It’s that he makes a terrible mistake and then he learns from it. His grief is not miraculously healed; his culpability does not vanish. But he does what he can to atone and then he moves on with his life.
Peter Parker’s character arc is not about sacrifice. It’s about responsibility. But we seem to have gotten to the point where the only character arc we can see for a traumatized character is one of sacrifice. Of sexy, sexy angst. (Can I blame Heathcliff? I’d like to blame Heathcliff.)
Spidey suffers a traumatic experience. It changes his life. But he doesn’t suffer PTSD, and that’s the way it should be, in this particular case.
(And the Goddamn Batman should be the Goddamn Batman. Because he is. And he and Spider-Man get to have different character arcs.)
*SPOILER! I actually liked that aspect of the movie. Specifically, I liked that the movie undermines the sexist trope that women have to be protected by the men in their lives. This movie lets Gwen Stacy have the moral authority of an adult who is capable of choosing, herself, what risks to take, and not of a child who needs to be protected.
Posted: Tuesday, August 7th, 2012 @ 3:22 am
Tags: batman, movies, neurology, ptsd, spider-man.
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