Monday, December 19, 2005

Hal's Head as Political Allegory

Naive readers think that Hal gets hit on the head a lot just because

(a) the Universe itself hates him;
(b) the writers think it's hilarious;
(c) Hal himself is an idiot.

All those are true, of course. But you and I are wise enough to realize that there's a deeper literary purpose to it all. We understand that the leitmotif of Hal getting hit on the head is a metaphor.

Hal Head Hitting (H3) is political allegory of the subtlest order, which is why we give it such respect here at the Absorbascon.

Hal Jordan personifies the post WWII man. Former military man in the glamorous 1950/60s career of test pilot. Wears a suit and tie to baseball games, which he finds so exciting he loses track of time. A sexist pig, but only out of ignorance, not ill will. A company man in love with his employer (cleverly personified as the beautiful Carol Ferris). Confident in his own abilities and the power of the democratic arsenal at his (literal) fingers. Hal Jordan WAS his time.

What is his weakness? Yes -- the YELLOW PERIL itself: communism, which threatens to undo our post-war prosperity by undermining the concept of individual superiority (which the vain, smug Hal evokes incredibly well). Along with his fellow pseudomilitary peacekeeper colleagues from similar but distant societies, Hal is directed by the distant Guardians, who with their light blue and white visages clearly are meant to embody the United Nations, ordering local forces to squelch possible political instabilities or challenges to their universal authority.

The "H3 Phenomenon" is a warning to us all. We the post-war Western World (as represented by Hal Jordan) must remain ever vigilant against sneak attacks. One "klonk" to our metaphorical heads (our "heads of state", as it were) and our society can be rendered senseless, our all-powerful arsenal of democracy dangling uselessly from our unconscious hands. We must remain alert so that our leaders are not blindsided by ideological ambush, which is why the search for communist sympathizers within the ranks of our political and cultural elite is so important, lest we be nurturing a Sinestro/Castro in our very bosom.

It's either that, or Hal just gets hit on the head a lot.


Anonymous said...

Interesting, yet hilariu. Have you been thinking this up the last few days?

Bobby Flashpants said...

So, what you are saying is that ceiling tiles, tree limbs, etc., hate freedom?

Scipio said...

No, it occurred to me all at once when I saw an enitirely different panel, which I will be shating later...

David J Oakes said...

I fully agree that Hal is theliving embodiment of the post-War era. Even Barry only embodies the "Better living through chemistry" worship of science, but really not all that much more than Hal (or any other Schwartz-ian SA hero).

Which only makes it that much more interesting that the Reagan Era, a replay of the 1950s, was Hal's nadir. (And a lot of the SA heroes, come to think of it.) And now Hal is returning only after the 1950's are once again cycling past. It's really a shame that Johns is completely incapable of dealing with high concepts like cultural politics, or this could all be very interesting.

"which I will be shating later..."

The sad thing is Scipio, I actually don't assuming this is a typo on your part, no matter how obvious...

Scipio said...

" It's really a shame that Johns is completely incapable of dealing with high concepts like cultural politics"

Is he? Why do you say that?

Chuck T. said...

Isn't Hal getting hit in the head just like the old pulp stories, a plot convenience? If you needed to move Character A to plot point B, pow! Stars and little birdies.
Old Conan comics: hit the head a lot. When I was a kid, in Dave Cockrum's old Nightcrawler series, after like his fifth concussion in two issues, Kurt laments "Maybe I should wear a helmet," and pointed it out for me ever since. It also made me laugh, because Warlord had that big winged hood ornament of a helmet, and I seem to recall him getting knocked out a lot at the time. I have a feeling you could find a ton of Batman-kissing-floor panels if you looked too, so you can't single Hal out for abuse...maybe.

Mallet said...

It's just in Shwocase: Green Lantern, it happened in virtually every single story. Sometimes toy planes would fly in and knock him out, before the bad guy could even think to. Batman may have hit the ground but it wasn't because he forgot to dodge a thrown lamp.

Scipio said...

"I have a feeling you could find a ton of Batman-kissing-floor panels if you looked too,"

Haven't been reading this blog long, have you, Chuck, LOL?

Blockade Boy said...

I've heard of hitting someone on the head with a metaphor, but never hitting someone on the head as a metaphor. Kinda puts the whole Omarosa vs. drywall battle in a new perspective.

And how does Pieface fit into all of this?

New costume redesign (Mister Terrific) up at my blog, by the way!

Axel M. Gruner said...

Dude, isn't Communism the RED peril?
The YELLOW peril were those nasty Asian people.
Therefore Pieface as an American Asian, so that it does not count as racism?

Jeff R. said...

Communism is the Red menace. Like Sinestro.

You're right about the Yellow Peril. (Not to be confused with the Yellow Peri, a magic-powered Superboy villian from the early eighties.)

But Pieface is an Eskimo, not an asian. That's how he got his name. Eskimo=Pie, + Face=Hal Jordan's incandescent wit.

Axel M. Gruner said...

Dear Jeff,
I'm not sure what the nomenclature is, but I always thought that the american aborigines were more related to the Asian natives. Are Eskimoes "red Indians"? Or more or less "yellow"?
...god, that's disgusting, discussing colors of skin.
Let's just keep it to the real stupid metaphors. I think "the yellow periL" originally even denoted buddhism and other religions that came to the "Old World" in the 19th century.

Mike Loughlin said...

Pieface represents the indigenous tribes who support, yet are put down by, the Man. Hal needs his grunt work (and I've never seen him paid!), but calls him a derogatory name, and sees nothing wrong with it.

Honky bastard.

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