Saturday, August 28, 2010

RE: Protomen = Objectivism

So if you actually read all the lyrics and notes for The Protomen's rock opera, and then think about them, it turns out that it's an Objectivist tragedy.

There are exactly 5 individuals who amount to anything: Dr. Wily, Dr. Light, Joe, Protoman, Megaman. Dr. Wily represents the evil of the state, which manipulates first Dr. Light and then the world through altruism. Because he is not himself infected with altruism, Wily gets to win all the time despite ripping off Dr. Light's work and using violence to coerce others: Light allows this because he has allowed himself to be blinded by altruism.

Dr. Light represents the folly of an otherwise productive individual trying to help others rather than himself: Every time he tries to do anything for others, the whole world gets fucked.

Joe comes off better than anyone because he comes closest to the Randian hero archetype: When he realizes what Wily's robot communist "Utopia" is, his instinct is to get himself out and leave the sheeple to rot. At the moment of his escape, he is intercepted by the two great evils of Objectivism: state violence in the form of Wily's assassin, and altruism in the form of Dr. Light. The former fails to stop Joe, the latter succeeds - and we are also reminded that Wily's assassin is Light's Monster.

Protoman & Megaman are both born into Light's altruism, but in the course of their struggle they recognize the sheeple for the unworthy parasites they are and fall into despair, having been denied an opportunity to live for themselves. "The Stand" is the Big Objectivist Speech of the opera.

I didn't care for it myself but, like Ayn Rand's own works, they're still pretty popular.


If these people
Tell this story
To their children
As they sleep,
Maybe one day
They will learn a hero
Is just a man
Who knows he is free.

Oh goddamn it.

I mean to be honest I always kinda thought thematically the entire proceedings of The Stand were really weak and came out of nowhere. The whole concept of the city's populous not willing to stand on its own feet or hold its own rebellion could have made for a great story if it was even hinted at or mentioned earlier, but instead it's just brought in on the final track. As it is, Megs vs Protoman was just a final fight that ended in tragedy and a disgusted Mega Man left them.

I suppose the main reason I can give it the benefit of the doubt and enjoy the music is for what Magus more or less said -
the Protomen ask us to sympathize with this True Altruist, Light, making him the protagonist and tragic hero, something Rand certainly never did and would never do. So to say that the Protomen are Objectivist is wrong, the plot just involves Objectivism and causes us to think about it

- because even though the Rand overtones are there too much seems like it's made to be the bad guy. Their entire 'schtick' after all, is that The Protomen themselves are rallying against Dr. Wily's evil, 'building an army', etc., even when conducting interviews or performing. Maybe I haven't seen the right ones but no interview ever really seems like The Protomen are pushing that kind of an agenda, even though the story may or may not.

I remember the last time Objectivism was used in a story and showed how beautifully it really doesn't work, because it was called Bioshock and it fucking ruled. The fact that the story is not finished feels like it's freezing it at this moment in time, after Act I. We, as the readers/listeners, are perpetually frozen in this moment when the city is at its darkest, and this story is made to be a tragedy.

So yeah, Objectivism is definitely there, but I'm just hoping it's either a bad circumstance (Dr. Light is, after all, the hero, even though life continues to shit on him, and I'm thinking that it might just be because this story is meant purely to be a tragedy) or that objectivism is one of many bad guys.

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