Kick Ass is now in theaters. And, while many Americans will without-a-doubt be angry with the foul language and violence depicted in the film (most notably proud socialist Roger Ebert), there are aspects of “Dave Lizewski’s” life I think should give everyone hope.
For those unfamiliar with the film, all they need to know is that Dave Lizewski is a high school kid who saw first-hand that good and evil exist in real life, and wondered why no one has ever decided to put on a costume and really become a super hero. Other characters, like “Big Daddy” and his daughter Mindy “Hit Girl” MacCready, have similar (albeit darker) motivations for coming to the same conclusion. They spend the movie tied up in a web of crime spun by the city’s kingpin.
What does this have to do with American Exceptionalism you ask? Quite a bit, actually. In a world increasingly filled with moral relativism and multi-culturalism (Destroyed here by Mark Steyn), the movie gives hope for America moving forward.
Kick Ass will be a success while the last Superman—with “Truth, Justice, and ALL THAT STUFF”— was basically a failure. Why? The same reason (at least in part) why The Lord of the Rings and 300 were successes: much more moral clarity. “Good” and “Evil” are not the subjective ideas liberal moral relativists would have you believe. Sure, there is vigilante justice in films that take place in modern day America, but that’s because the characters exist in a time where those who share the sentiments of Michael “behead civilians and I might just call you a freedom fighter” Moore have been given the bully pulpit and the ability to leave their mark on our collective psyche:
“The Iraqis who have risen up against the occupation are not “insurgents” or “terrorists” or “The Enemy.” They are the REVOLUTION, the Minutemen, and their numbers will grow — and they will win,” (Michael Moore).
Dave Lizewski is like so many other Americans out there who are yearning for somone—anyone—to articulate the kind of ideals they know in their gut to be true. Kick Ass isn’t hypocritical for having vigilante costumed heroes engaged in violence while deploring it–they’re byproducts of a society where the majority of people sit at home disengaged, playing XBOX while it all goes to hell in a hand basket! When Dave is asked by the ringleader of a group of muggers if he’s insane for putting his life on the line for a man he doesn’t even know, Dave responds:
Three a**holes laying into one guy while everybody else watches? And you wanna know what’s wrong with me? Yeah, I’d rather die.
Dave lives in a world where Alexis de Tocqueville would be looked upon as a right-wing kook for his defense of the American experiment. Dave lives in a world where a president creates hubbubs over speeches because no one knows what he believes about American leadership on the world stage. As of right now, you can’t find social circles that live by codes such as Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage unless you’re in the military. Correction: the real US military. I say that because Captain America has turned into a whiney liberal version of his former self, whose enemy is the Tea Party movement instead of al Qaeda terrorists with Worldwide Sharia Law machinations… It’s sad.
American Exceptionalism used to be more about our system of government, the Rule of Law, and our never-ending quest to secure individual liberties for citizens while staving off the “soft despotism” of an ever-expansive federal government. But today, we are increasingly America Alone when it comes to moral clarity.
I believe, when you look out over the throngs of Tea Party activists embracing a return to First Principles instead of a future of economic stagnation due to a liberal activist government and entitlement spending on steroids, there’s a reason to be optimistic. There are still millions of Americans out there who know deep down that this is a special place that needs to be preserved. This November, make a pledge to go to the voting booth and Kick Ass.
Update: Big Hollywood has a good article up on Kick Ass. However, I think I beat them to the punch by days on this one, mainly because I’m a comic nerd.