A Deluge of Perspective

Wes and I were watching Spartan last night (it has Val Kilmer in it, in the post crazy period, and supposedly it went quietly by and no one noticed it. Also, this will spoil the ending somewhat so stop reading if you plan on seeing it and don’t want to know what happens) when we erupted into a bit of a discussion regarding weak women. The premise of the movie is that the President’s daughter is kidnapped for nefarious purposes and Val Kilmer has to go rescue her. Intrigue, murder, and gunfights abound until he finally rescues her in a nasty little room in Dubai.

Her first words to him are essentially the mindless prattle of an attention-starved spoiled little brat. Jems such as “Just leave me here, no one wants me at home,” and “My father only sent one man?!” for example. His response? Punch her in the stomach. I couldn’t agree more. Wes responded to my support of this action by informing me that I despise all weak women. At this point we paused the movie and launched into a discussion about weak women that I’ll now share with you.

In my opinion, there’s nothing wrong with a weak person (male or female.) If your upbringing has been such that you have the luxury of being soft and weak, then count your lucky stars, friend! If you’re busy telling us all how tormented you are, when your life has been relatively priveleged and safe, then my patience for you runs out quickly.

I reserve nothing but the most reeking contempt for people who whinge and complain about how unhappy they are, how life has been so hard, or about how awful their upbringings were when they truly have nothing to complain about.

If you walked to school every day cringing in fear of a drive-by shooting and returned home to find your mother running a brothel in the living room, then fine, yes, I see your point.

If you grew up in an upper middle class suburb with two parents who love each other and are still together and you never had to experience an empty belly or wear clothes that were too small because your parents couldn’t afford new clothes, then kindly shut the heck up.

What bothered me about the girl in Spartan is that, after watching this guy lose his compadre in a gunfight, the first words out of her mouth were not “Thank you”, they were a whiny request for validation of a childhood that, to be quite frank, was not that bad. Certainly not bad enough to make her genuinely want to stay in Dubai. I was so contemptuous of her character because, really, what could be a better slap in the face to someone who just saved your life and lost two friends in the process than to tell him he shouldn’t have bothered because your priveleged life was so tortured and painful?

Everyone has challenges growing up, but it’s the perspective with which you view those challenges that earns you my respect. When you are a child, you filter everything you see and hear through your own limited range of emotions. When someone says they are happy, you can only ever perceive them as being as happy as you were when you won your league championships.

When you have a more mature perspective, however, you can sympathize with a wider range of emotions, maybe even fathoming emotions you’ve never felt. For example, if the saddest thing that’s ever happened to me was my parent’s divorce, and I read a mother’s account of what it felt like to lose a child during the Holocust, I’d never equate my sadness from my parent’s divorce with that mother’s sadness. In no way does my pain compare or equate with hers. That’s perspective.

So, to wrap up an already long post, I suppose that I reserve my contempt for those who lack enough perspective to see and appreciate their own good fortune. If the one-eyed, thrice-amputeed homeless fellow has something to smile about, what’s your excuse?

4 thoughts on “A Deluge of Perspective

  1. But the point isn’t that she was worth rescuing… it’s that she was the mission and he was going to complete the mission no matter what.

    Anyway, I like the movie. It’s my fault you had to watch it, actually.

    And, Kristen Bell has gone on to play very unweak women, including Veronica Mars, the chick who kills people on Heroes, the voice of Gossip Girl, and Sarah Marshall of “Forgetting Sarah Marshall,” who I can only assume was assertive, as I have never seen that movie.

  2. -Dane, I might not have been clear in my thesis here. I wasn’t trying to argue that she wasn’t worth rescuing. I was trying to argue that she sucks because she’s whiny and the first thing she does upon rescue is act like a prat. Val Kilmer’s character or motivation has nothing to do with it. I’m just saying she’s annoying because she lacks perspective.

    Also, I thought the movie was not bad. It’s pretty good as far as conspiracy flicks go. The only sore spot was that girl and, as she occupies precisely 7% of total screen time, I’d say it’s not too big of a deal.

    I think Kristen Bell did OK with the role (all the screaming, crying, and huddling) but I think the part was poorly written. Does this clarify?

  3. True. I hate sniveling characters as well. Books, movies, whatever. There are so many times I just want to crawl through the fourth wall and scream “cowboy up, crybaby!” But alas, I can’t. And I realized that without weak characters as foils, the heroic characters wouldn’t seem so heroic. And if everyone always followed the logical path, there would be no conflict or drama. Still, she was whiny.

  4. Good point about the foil aspect of whiny characters. Still, though, whininess is no fun for anyone.

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