The Hollywood Reporter is “reporting” the championing of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark by Glenn Beck for its apparent conservative message which includes defeating atheism. Sounded pretty far-fetched to me too, but, per the article, conservatives also say The Dark Knight is one of the best conservative movies ever.
In regards to the atheism, it appears this is Glenn Beck’s interpretation. One of the antagonists in the musical play is an “atheist, god-like” scientist who is buddying up with big government. This scientist specializes in global warming and abuses his position along with the government to exploit the environmental issue. Spiderman is also rejected by the media, or what conservatives call the “mainstream media” and therefore is a hero beyond just his spidey powers.
Now I haven’t seen the play obviously, but it’s a little hard for me to swallow this interpretation. Most superheroes, if you read through the popular icons such as Batman, Spider-Man, The Punisher, etc, are not in sync with the government and the authorities. They are outcasts, misunderstood by the public. I don’t believe this casts any sort of political label on them at all as they take it as it comes. If you’re a bad guy, you’re on their shit list whether you’re liberal or conservative. Superman is the only hero I’m familiar with that has been shown to be pro-government and nationalistic–read Frank Miller’s classic The Dark Knight Returns.
In regards to the scientist being an atheist–did the play say that at all? Doubtful. This is Glenn Beck’s wishful thinking. Any scientist who dares to defy his Mormon gods is going to stir up the label of “atheist” whether they are or not. Comic books are known for having stereotypical mad scientists–let’s face it, scientists get a bad rap, especially in the Golden Era of comics from what I recall.
Glenn Beck is certainly entitled to his perspective as I am certainly guilty of drawing atheist viewpoints out of neutral movie material, but one thing Beck should realize is that there is such a thing as an atheist conservative. Fact is, libertarians–known to be the fuel behind The Tea Party–often are unbelieving atheists or agnostics (Michael Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine for example). Beck seems to assume that every atheist is a liberal and every liberal is an atheist or a better way to put it is Beck provokes the attitude that liberals are anti-God. They’re not–not all of them. Liberals simply have an ideology contrary to Becks which acknowledges real issues like global warming (sure there is hype, but it doesn’t negate environmental science). Christian conservatives don’t like the idea of global warming–and I’m guessing–because it assumes faulty design work by God which is supposed to be able to withstand human activitiy.
Want to know the real reason why Beck-style conservatives like Spider-Man and Batman? Because they beat up criminals outside of the legal system which considers things like constitutional rights and representation by a lawyer. It’s a fantasy world where all crime is fixed by a punch to the face. The real world is much more complicated.