J. Jonah Jameson is Alive and Well

I went to see Spiderman 2 the other night. (Don’t worry if you haven’t seen it yet — there are only minor spoilers here, if any. They give more away in the movie trailer!) The first half of the movie sets up for Peter Parker to abandon his role as superhero. No matter how hard he tries, things go wrong — he can’t keep a job, his love life is in shambles (although, in a nice humorous touch, women are flirting with him throughout the movie), and everybody seems to hate Spiderman, no matter how much good he does.

Beyond the obvious supervillain (whom I liked far more than the first movie’s), Spidey’s nemesis is one J. Jonah Jameson — the editor of the Daily Bugle newspaper. Peter Parker makes a good amount of his money selling photos of Spiderman (himself) to Jameson, who throws them up on the front page with headlines decrying the “webbed menace”; poor Pete’s only reliable means of making money is to repeatedly (and proverbially) shoot himself in the ass.

So, I’m watching the movie, chuckling at the extremity at which poor Peter Parker can’t catch a break, when suddenly it all seems very familiar. No matter how much good Spiderman does, Jameson finds a way to distort it to attack him. At one point, after Spidey has tried… and failed… to prevent Doc Ock from robbing a bank, the next shot shows Peter sitting on his bed with a newspaper that reads “Spidey and Ock Rob Bank!” Doesn’t matter that Spidey and Ock were obviously fighting. Nobody ran off to interview the little old lady who’s life Spidey just saved. He’s the enemy and must be attacked any way possible.

So Peter abandons Spiderman, and soon thereafter, crime rises 75% (according to an onscreen headline). Jameson is horrified that he drove Spiderman away, and his chagrin vanishes with comic rapidity the instant he realizes that Spiderman is back — the instant his understanding might do his nemesis any good. Despite the relentless assault coming from the press, it seems that the people on the street actually seem to like our guy, and at one point he manages to change the opinion of a particular fearful citizen simply by being himself and doing what he does.

Certainly Hollywood didn’t intend to produce such a deadpan caricature of the relationship between the president and the media, but there it is — quite possibly the most politically honest thing to come out of the Left in years.

Comments are invited and encouraged

Anti-Spam Quiz: