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Raggedy Men: Masculinity in the Mad Max Films
 2020018956, 2020018957, 9781433178108, 9781433178115, 9781433178122, 9781433178139

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Masculinity

studies

Raggedy Men Masculinity in the

Mad Max Films

Ezekiel Crago

this book investigates anxieties over the role of white masculinity in american society after World War two articulated in post-apocalyptic film. Using an interdisciplinary approach that employs methods of cultural studies, gender studies, and critical race theory, it argues that masculinity acts as a technology for being-in-the-world that can be used by subjects with bodies coded male or female, employing it as a vehicle for agency. the Mad Max films denaturalize white masculinity by revealing the ways in which it defines the roles of men in a violent hypermasculine masquerade that harms everyone. the films trace Max’s disenfranchisement as he embraces a fugitive masculinity, fleeing social relation and responsibility, finding human connection once more in Miller’s most recent addition to the franchise. this work is useful for anyone teaching masculinity studies as well as those whom wish to better understand the phenomenon of angry white manhood and why masculinity often assumes a life-or-death apocalyptic position in postmodern america.

ezekiel Crago earned a phD in english at the University of California Riverside. He is currently a lecturer at Morgan Community College and University of Colorado Denver.

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Raggedy Men

MASCULINITY STUDIES Literary and Cultural Representations Josep M. Armengol General Editor

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Vol. 10

Te Masculinities Studies series is part of the Peter Lang Humanities list. Every volume is peer reviewed and meets the highest quality standards for content and production.

PETER LANG

New York • Bern • Berlin Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw

Ezekiel Crago

Raggedy Men

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Masculinity in the Mad Max Films

PETER LANG

New York • Bern • Berlin Brussels • Vienna • Oxford • Warsaw

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Names: Crago, Ezekiel, author. Title: Raggedy men: masculinity in the Mad Max flms / Ezekiel Crago. Description: New York: Peter Lang, 2020. Series: Masculinity studies: literary and cultural representations; vol. 10 ISSN 2161-2692 (print) | 2161-2706 (online) Includes bibliographical references and index. Identifers: LCCN 2020018956 (print) | LCCN 2020018957 (ebook) ISBN 978-1-4331-7810-8 (hardback) | ISBN 978-1-4331-7811-5 (ebook pdf ) ISBN 978-1-4331-7812-2 (epub) | ISBN 978-1-4331-7813-9 (mobi) Subjects: LCSH: Men, White, in motion pictures. | Masculinity in motion pictures. | Motion pictures—United States—History—20th century. Classifcation: LCC PN1995.9.M4615 C73 2020 (print) | LCC PN1995.9.M4615 (ebook) | DDC 791.43/635211—dc23 LC record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018956 LC ebook record available at https://lccn.loc.gov/2020018957 DOI 10.3726/b17168       Bibliographic information published by Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek. Die Deutsche Nationalbibliothek lists this publication in the “Deutsche Nationalbibliografe”; detailed bibliographic data are available on the Internet at http://dnb.d-nb.de/.              

© 2020 Peter Lang Publishing, Inc., New York 80 Broad Street, 5th foor, New York, NY 10004 www.peterlang.com   All rights reserved. Reprint or reproduction, even partially, in all forms such as microflm, xerography, microfche, microcard, and ofset strictly prohibited.

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For Tallulah, the best feline companion a person could ever know, and for Erika, the best human companion a person could ever know.

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Contents

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Acknowledgements ix Introduction. “Real Men” and “Last Men” 1 Chapter One. Omega Men: Apocalyptic Masculinity Preceding George Miller 29 Chapter Two. The End of the Road: The Props and Properties of Manhood as a Zero-Sum Game 63 Chapter Three. The Clothes that Make the Man: Costumes and the Sartorial Performance of Manhood 103 Chapter Four. Apocalyptic Boyhood: Perpetual Boyhood as Fugitive Masculinity 141 Chapter Five. Apocalyptic Women: Survival in the Hypermasculine World of Apocalyptic Manhood 177 Coda. The Cycle Continues 199 Index 211

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Acknowledgments

Tis book would not have been possible without the constant support of Erika Anderson, my partner in life and love, as well as her generous mother, KSue Anderson. Tis study is derived from the research that I  undertook for my Doctoral Dissertation at the University of California Riverside, and I owe a debt of gratitude to my mentors there, Sherryl Vint, Derek Burrill, and Carole-Anne Tyler, who read drafts and ofered priceless advice. My thanks to the welcoming community of the Science Fiction Research Association and its annual conference, wherein many of the chapters of the book were presented and discussed. Josh Pearson ofered insightful advice. Tank you to my mentor at San Francisco State University, Geofrey Green, for his constant support and advice. I thank my undergraduate Professor, Rachel Crawford, for introducing me to gender studies in such a fascinating class. I will also be forever grateful to my high school Shakespeare teacher and mentor, Dana, who planted the seed in me that grew eventually into a PhD. Rest in Peace. Part of Chapter One appeared previously as “Te End of the World as He Knows It: Besieged White Male Authority and Angry White Masculinity in Te Omega Man” in the journal Science Fiction Film and Television.

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Introduction “Real Men” and “Last Men”

Apocalyptic Masculinity and National Crisis

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Society is not frst of all a milieu for exchange where the essential would be to circulate or to cause to circulate, but rather a socius of inscription where the essential thing is to mark and to be marked. (Deleuze and Guattari 112) Te end of the world does not mean its destruction in a catastrophic sense. We are always at the end of the world, and we must fnd some comfort in our ability to refect upon that banal fact. (Dumm 319)

Max is not the only man who is “mad” in the Mad Max flms. A variety of others are also mad, in both senses of that word: driven out of their minds with rage. Tis book argues that this fguration is a primary reason for the flms’ successes, internationally, but more importantly for this argument, in the United States. Tropes from the flms have become part of the American vernacular. Tis book examines the appeal of the flms by way of analyzing what they say about manhood. By investigating why these men are “mad,” we can better understand the flms’ afective appeal to its target audience, young men at the end of the 1970s and into the 1980s in the ways that it articulates this madness. Furthermore, the flms ofer a sophisticated critique of the masculinity they appear to celebrate, suggesting that

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they should be read as cautionary tales that propose a way out of a perpetual cycle of domination and fight. Troughout its history, Americans have been obsessed with what defnes a “real” man, and the nation has been imagined and judged in masculinist terms. In her documentation of masculine crisis in the 1990s, Stifed: Te Betrayal of the American Man, Susan Faludi observes that

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the United States came out of World War II with a sense of itself as a masculine nation, our ‘boys’ ready to assume the mantle of national authority and international leadership. Te nation claimed an ascendancy over the world, men an ascendancy over the nation, and a male persona of a certain type ascendancy over men. (16)

As Michael Billig argues in Banal Nationalism, when a nation tries to unify under a shared identity, “one part—one aspect of the cultural and linguistic mosaic—will become the dominant, metonymic representation of the whole” (87). In this way, hegemonic masculinity becomes national identity, and U.S. nationalism imagines the rise of the country’s power as empowerment of a certain kind of manhood. Tis is not a new aspect of American nationalist discourse. Michael Kimmel, in Manhood in America, shows that the crises of manhood expressed in the 20th century can be traced back to the formation of the nation (2). Americans have always attempted to defne an ideal manhood because the nation is defned in manly terms, and defnitions of manhood have always been in fux, just as the imagined community called America has changed (Kimmel 5). He observes that masculine identity is always already in crisis, noting that it is driven less by the need to dominate and master, as masculinist rhetoric would have it, than the “fear of others dominating” the masculine subject and disrupting the façade of manhood, proving he is not a “real man” (Kimmel 6). To be a man is to be constantly tested. Te ascendant hegemonic model of manhood in the postwar years was imagined as a middles-class white man controlling his environment, [and this] man is expected to prove himself not by being part of society but by being untouched by it, soaring above it. He is to travel unfettered, beyond society’s clutches, alone—making or breaking whatever or whoever crosses his path. He is to be in the driver’s seat, king of the road. (Faludi 10, italics mine)

In this book, I  argue that this fantasy of autonomous agency as manhood unbound and ascendant, always in the driver’s seat, leads logically to a fugitive masculinity, a manhood on-the-run epitomized in the fgure of the “road warrior,” a man who severs his afective ties with others, maintaining only the bond between he and his car, a model of manhood portrayed masterfully in George Miller’s series of apocalyptic road flms, the Mad Max franchise. Te analyses of the flms in this

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study interprets the fgure of Max as an articulation of what Robin Wood calls “hysterical masculinity” (xxxvi). Tis hysteria is cross-cultural. Although Australian in origin, these flms have been infuential to cultures across the globe, especially America.1 Te ideal postwar manhood was a continuation of wartime masculinity in a new context as a reaction to domesticity and wage-work fgured as emasculating and confning, taking away the agency from “real men.” As Leo Braudy remarks in his examination of militant manhood, From Chivalry to Terrorism,

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Men at war are on the front line of a more exacting and more one-sided defnition of what it means to be a man than ever faces men at peace. By its emphasis on the physical prowess of men enhanced by their machines, by its distillation of national identity into the abrupt contrast between winning and losing, war enforces an extreme version of male behavior as the ideal model for all such behavior. (xvi)

Men returning from war were supposed to be “winners.” Te ideal postwar man was supposed to be master of his own destiny, and American democracy was supposed to supply him with the opportunities to rise along with the nation’s fortunes, but something always seemed to take this agency away. Tus, his hysterical anger in response is produced by a perception of “dispossession” (Kimmel Angry 9). He has been robbed of what hegemonic manhood promised him, the fantasy that he would be in control and win. In America, the concept of freedom and personal agency, an idealized autonomy, has been structured by racialization and the use of unfree people to both enable and defne this freedom.2 Defnitions of race and nation cannot be disentangled since they evolved as concepts together, especially when imagining the fgure of the “American Man” referenced by the title of Faludi’s book. In 2017, Iowa Congressman Steve King tweeted, “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” Such fear of miscegenation and contamination of “civilization” by “somebody else’s babies” structured much of the political debate in the mid-19th century. Abraham Lincoln was accused of being part African (O’Reilly 48). Benedict Anderson notes that racism denies the racialized subject a nationality and a history by reducing everything about them to biological destiny, and this is a biology registered in aesthetic terms defned chromatically (148).3 Tese defnitions of nation and race, operating as mutually reinforcing ideas, are entwined in notions of modern identity, both personal and national. Much is currently being written about the “resurgence” of the rhetoric of white supremacy in recent press, but nationalism has been bound to racism since the idea of nations frst became what Anderson calls “imagined communities.” Tose who “belong” to the same nation as us are imagined as the “same” as us, and in America, with its history of

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slavery, this belonging is bound to skin color as well as language and culture. Tus, the nation is imagined not just in terms of manliness, but also whiteness. Nationalism is a “common-sense” notion of identity described in great detail by Michael Billig, who defnes it as a broad concept that encompasses “the ways established nation-states are routinely reproduced” in the imagination of the state’s citizens (16). Tis reproduction of national consciousness in the cultural imagination makes both the “boundedness” of the nation-state and its “monopolization of violence seem natural” to those who identify with the nation (Billig 20).4 Tis naturalizing discourse of national boundaries and the violence required to police them developed as a central mode of modernity via colonialism and its incessant mapping and defnition of borders, the beginning of capitalist enclosure, and this book argues that hegemonic models of masculinity in America share in this notion of boundedness and entitlement to violence in maintenance of borders, naturalized by hegemonic masculinist rhetoric. Nationalist “rhetoric habitually assumes that there is an identity of identities” and that identity matters (Billig 92). All identity is political, acting as afective investment and determined by the hierarchies and borders of nationality, racialization, gendering, and other ways that the socius marks the social subject, demarcations that carry value judgments. A crisis for hegemonic national identity, like that of white postwar masculinity, is thus often expressed as a crisis for the nation, and this anxiety is articulated in the 20th century’s most extensive and pervasive mass media, flm. Such cultural articulations are documented in great detail by Steven Cohan in his work, Masked Men, an examination of the performances and crises of masculinity in 1950s Hollywood flm production.5 Tis study performs a similar investigation, focusing on the development of a now pervasive genre of speculative flms.6 Tese narratives imagine life after the “end of the world” as a crisis for the white men who serve as fgures of hegemonic identity in transformation, and the solution to the crisis of manhood is often a return to an idealized past model of masculine identity.7 Tis “return” to past ideologies and practices is a way to ensure a future that stays the same as an idealized past. As Alys Eve Weinbaum asserts in Wayward Reproductions: Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Tought, the concern over producing a proper kind of national subject to populate the future, one imagined as a white man controlling his environment, involves a race/reproduction bind with an inherent purity condition and requires patriarchal control over the selection process of who lives and who dies as well as who gets to reproduce to ensure this imagined purity. Fathers, when it comes to nationalism, are supposed to know best. Te postwar national identity crisis in America is thus universalized as a threat to society as such, coded as “civilization,” by positing a white patriarchal crisis in the terms of the end of the world, a problem solved by

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a return to previously hegemonic social structures that had been denaturalized by postwar discourses, revealed as enabled by sexism and racism. Tis expression of anxiety was not only a “backlash” or reaction to social changes, like the “domesticating” of businessmen represented as the “Man in the Gray Flannel Suit” or the rise of feminist and anti-racist discourses that challenge the cultural centrality of white men, but also due to the proliferation of identities in an increasingly postmodern society, a multiplication of options that challenges hegemony and problematizes the essentialism of masculinity as such. Tis “loss of certainty and the blurring of a sense of place have caused what Giddens (1990) terms ‘ontological insecurity’ … for the person today is a ‘nomad of the mind,’ living with a sense of homelessness” (Billig 136). Tus, the “end of the world” signifes an end of certainty about what counts as a “real man” as well as a clear narrative for this man’s role in society, anxiety informed by masculinist rhetoric and the race/ reproduction bind that structures nationalist identity. Tis book focuses on cinematic narratives about the end of “civilization” because, although “flms are polysemic, speaking or not speaking to diferent audiences in diferent ways” (Tasker 59), the following analyses attempt to trace the use of tropes that structure the narratives and suggest specifc meanings that articulate the cultural and historical conjuncture of the time of their production. Popular texts must be viewed in the context of their historical audience (McCracken 10), but doing so also aids in elucidating our current historical conjuncture. Popular fction attempts to cover over or explain contradictions in modern identity and life, “and its ability to articulate them in a way that the [audience] can relate to is central to its success. Popular fction, we might say, mediates social confict” (McCracken 6).8 Te end of “civilization” articulated by these flms is interpreted here as the displacement of white men as fathers of history, replaced by warriors unconcerned with reproducing society and more interested in “winning” the game of masculinity by aggressively participating in a violent masquerade. Science fction flms produced during the 1970s departed from previous speculations about our possible future, instead positing no future at all or a future that was already past (Sobchack 226). Additionally, the flms investigated here all have a “plot [that] centers on the adventure of a lone hero fghting, along with a helper or two, against near-impossible odds and overwhelming forces.… [And] he will win his minor victory in a hopeless world” (Franklin 78). Tese flms articulate an apocalyptic masculinity always threatened with extinction, but one that attempts to remain king of the road in spite of the hopelessness of this task.

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Gender Discourses and Masculinist Rhetoric Just because those in power are straight and white and male doesn’t mean that every straight white man feels powerful.… But just because straight white men don’t feel powerful doesn’t make it any less true that compared to other groups, they beneft from inequality and are, indeed, privileged. (Kimmel Angry xiii) For all its pretention to being universal, what has been until now considered “human” in our Western philosophy concerns only a small fringe of people. (Wittig 46)

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Gender is an ontological impossibility because it tries to accomplish the division of Being. But Being, as being, is not divided. (Wittig 81)

Te imagining of masculinity in fantastic crisis foregrounds the spectacle of manhood as performance and critiques the artifce that sustains it. It denaturalizes hegemonic ideologies of masculine identity and its position in society. Additionally, as spaces for imagining the future, science fction (hereafter SF) flms are deeply invested in what Lee Edelman calls “reproductive futurity” through how they depict the future of humanity as a species and possible social arrangements. As a locus of technological concentration (SF flms are often more concerned with technology than science), this genre foregrounds the role that technology plays in the reproduction of humanity and masculinity. As Vivian Sobchack argues, “SF has always taken as its distinctive generic task the cognitive mapping and poetic fguration of social relations as they are constituted and changed by new technological modes of ‘being-in-the-world’ ” (224–225). Tese flms depict masculinity as one of these of technological modes, a tool for “being in the world” as a male in society. Stephen Heath describes ideological identifcation such as gender as “an imaginary relationship with the world … [and] this imaginary relation to ideology is itself real” and acts for an interpellated subject as practical reality (McCracken 31). Apocalyptic masculinity reveals this imaginary relationship with reality and how it creates its own crisis. Tese flms also reveal the ways in which technologies of masculinity, such as motor vehicles, produce specifc forms of manhood and often, rather than being used by men, use men to reproduce this form of masculinity.9 Te interdisciplinary approach of this study uses gender studies work that includes sociological and anthropological sources, such as Michael Kimmel’s Manhood in America and the cross-cultural study, Manhood in the Making, by David D.  Gilmore. Pierre Bourdieu, in Te Logic of Practice, observes that a social agent needs to reconcile their value to society, because society “defnes what he [sic] is entitled to” (138). Hegemonic masculinity enables specifc social valuations and the entitlements that come with them, allowing for and often encouraging men to dominate others, a position in society to which they are “naturally” entitled. It creates what Bourdieu

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calls a “habitus” that includes naturalized thought-process and behaviors producing “common sense” and “reasonable” conduct (55). However, this does not necessarily empower men, but instead serves to bind them to a cycle of violence and the fear of being dominated. Andrew Feenberg usefully defnes the diference between power and domination distinguished by Michel Foucault: “Power is a kind of lifeforce that opens perspectives on the real in Nietzschean fashion, while domination is institutional closure, premature totalization” of this power (73). Power is a fow and domination is a dam. Tus, hegemonic masculinity does more than distribute power to men in a patriarchal society, it institutionalizes and naturalizes domination, including the domination of men over other men, and it defnes a set of “reasonable” behaviors that delimit a man’s agency. Writing on Foucault’s theories of power, Gilles Deleuze notes that culture produces such habitus so that social subjects will conform to its laws, and it does this by providing consciousness with continuity via narrative: “Culture endows consciousness with a new faculty which is apparently opposed to the faculty of forgetting: memory … [acting as a] function of the future” (246). However, cultural memory is also always already a forgetting of whatever the culture devalues, especially when a culture uses nationalist rhetoric. As part of this cultural memory and social habitus, gender “regulates” and “delimits” what counts as “human” through “exclusion”: “those who are excluded are not only marked as diferent but are also denied legitimacy because of it” (Wolmark 79). Like racialization, gender determines who matters and who does not. Complicating the analysis of dead-end masculinity in this study, the flms analyzed here deconstruct dominant technologies of masculinity, demonstrating the danger of dominance while also paradoxically arguing for its necessity as protection from itself, a double-bind similar to the use of nuclear armaments during the Cold War. As Kimmel asserts, patriarchal hierarchy is “a dual system of oppression” that afects both genders, so that being a man means being in constant threat of being dominated by a man more “ft” than you (Manhood 285).10 Gender is a performance that produces the discourses that regulate it, and “the gender of the subject then becomes constructed by the constant barrage of normative laws and behaviors that are said to defne its gender” (Burrill 14). For American men, that equates to a performance of self-control and autonomy. Harry Brod argues that “individuality” and the autonomy that it implies is neither a “natural right, nor is it an accurate assessment of [subjects] and their world, but it rather is a mark of their privilege and the blindness to broader social contexts that privilege tends to produce” (174). Tis privileged autonomy is shown in these flms to be enabled by masculine technologies that determine a dominant position in society. Demonstrating the fantasy structure that subtends hegemonic masculinity, as a counter-hegemonic act, threatens the stability of the identity of any man who

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relies on such identifcation to make meaning out of social reality, thereby threatening his privileged individual agency. Agency requires “power relations, which are simultaneously local, unstable and difuse, [and] do not emanate from a central point or unique locus of sovereignty, but at each moment move ‘from one point to another’ in a feld of forces” (Deleuze 73).11 Agency is distributed and not personal, and masculine identity acts in this cultural feld as a privilege that discriminates, an exclusion and containment instead of the autonomous liberty its rhetoric ofers. Te Mad Max flms function as articulations of masculine discourse that, like all discourse, defnes “who can speak, who can be spoken to, and what can be ‘said’ as well as who and what must remain silenced” (Buchbinder 30). As David Buchbinder puts it in his book, Masculinities and Identities, the social designations of gender “carry not only general meaning (this is how a man behaves, this is how a woman behaves), but also power signifcation (this is how a man controls, this is how a woman controls) and valorizations (such behavior is good or bad)” (2, italics his). Tese behaviors and their valorization or demonization determine a man’s “ftness,” his social worth and how well he “fts” the ideal model of manhood, often through his mastery over space and others, but also the self. Kimmel notes that

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self-making required self-control, and self-control required emotional control. So, for example, emotional outbursts of passion or jealousy, which had been associated with lack of manhood; it was women, not men, who were now said to feel these emotions most acutely. (Manhood 128)

Gender is discursive, and “discourse is a strategic and polemical game” (Foucault 3).12 Tis game is never settled, and a man must constantly prove that he is winning if he wants to play. Feenberg notes how theorists often refer to society as a game rather than machine, and that the value of this metaphor resides in how “games defne the players’ range of action without determining any particular move,” which applies to any use or fguration of technology, but the game is also “biased … toward the dominant contestant” (83). Citing Michael Buroway, he asserts that “playing a game generates consent with respect to its rules” (Feenberg 83), and this study is concerned with men who either refuse to play the game as it stands or attempt to play by the rules only to fnd winning impossible and then change the rules.13 Te men in the flms analyzed here attempt to demonstrate mastery and win the game of masculinity through the use of masculine-coded technologies, as all tools are coded in a variety of ways about intended use that “imply a whole system of … behavior” or performance (Feenberg 84). Tese are: technologies of mobility represented by vehicles, allowing for the mastery of space and sense of autonomous agency; technologies of violence, enabling the ability to dominate others, asserting

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individual autonomy through absolute control over other people; and technologies of reproduction, usually in the form of women under the control or protection of men.14 Tese flms show, in spectacular fashion, that the need to prove manhood, a man’s “ftness,” displays manhood as a masquerade wherein such technologies becomes props.15 Consequently, style of dress acts as another technology mediating this masculine masquerade. It is problematic to use the term “masculine crisis” as it assumes that there was once a cohesive masculine identity in danger of fragmenting, when in actuality there has never been such, and, since masculinity is always in need of symbolic proof, it is therefore constituted by crisis.16 To identify the facets of crises articulated in these flms, this study makes extensive use of the work of Sally Robinson and her assertion that one of the distinct aspects of the current conjuncture of masculine crisis stems from the increased visibility of white men in postmodern culture that challenges both the centrality and universality of this model of identity. Robinson draws attention to discourse on the performativity of gender, an investigation that reveals the anxiety of white men who are not used to having this performance critiqued as performance as opposed to some essential maleness. Masculinity is defned by constant testing, but who sets the rules for the test? Other men, but there has never been one monolithic masculinity, rather many masculinities in diferent contexts and diferent bodies, often considered divergent from a white hegemonic standard, and the flms analyzed here approach this multiplicity through a variety of fgurations of dangerous and deviant masculinities which often fail to assert the priority of a hegemonic standard and instead demonstrate the artifce that sustains such distinctions. Men often judge the bodies of other men, but not how they judge those of women. Instead of sexuality, “the power to enact violence on another is the fundamental ruling concept in masculine status … [and] the presence of threat … is how men defne their masculinity in relation to others” (Burrill 21). Masculine “ftness” is constantly measured, but this valuation is diferent when not couched in masculinist terms. As Robinson argues in Marked Men, the added scrutiny of feminists, scientists, and popular media has led many white men to fgure their new status in society as victimhood, and the flms under investigation here partake in this rhetoric of victimization through the fgure of Max. As illustrated in books like Susan Jefords’s Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era, Kimmel’s Manhood in America, and Faludi’s Stifed, the decades of the latter half of the 20th century were a period of white masculine crisis due to a shifting of men’s symbolic roles in society, most notably their status in the family and workplace: more marriages were ending in divorce; more women were in the workplace competing with men; and men, both blue- and white-collar, were being

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“downsized” and losing their jobs as labor was either automated or relocated to be performed by cheaper workers outside of U.S. borders. Te threat of automation was often located in Asia, as American and Australian markets were being fooded by consumer electronics and vehicles manufactured overseas. Immigration was also on the rise, and many menial labor jobs became populated by non-English-speaking migrants, giving rise to a rhetoric of such people “taking jobs away” from white men.17 Tis period also marks the rise of the Right Wing rhetoric of “family values” that informs political debates today, a fguration of family as mode of reproductive futurity under threat that imagines it as patriarchal, with separate spheres for the “breadwinning” father and home-keeping mother who has no reproductive rights and is essentially held captive, and this analysis will articulate what these “values” are and why they are deemed so important to the social order, a logic leading to apocalyptic thinking. Judith Butler notes that gender identity is “a normative ideal” rather than any “description” of a subject’s actual experience (23). Tese ideals become articulated as in crisis when their normative value comes into question.18 Kimmel notes that the defeat in Vietnam indicated to Americans “that extending the frontier had consequences:  the empire was striking back,” and the masculine model of the soldier/protector fell in status in the popular imagination only to be recuperated during Reagan’s America (Manhood 263). Te flms analyzed in this study critique this model of military masculinity, often problematically. Sandra Bartky notes that Michel Foucault’s theories of power relations in society disregard the diference between bodies coded male and female (and also, though she does not mention it, coded racially) and their diferent valuations by society (65). Bartky delineates three kinds of Foucauldian “disciplinary practice” that produce the female body as a docile object for patriarchal use, and in a similar way, this study draws attention to the disciplinary practices and the necessary tools that produce powerful masculine agents out of bodies coded male, a practice fgured as a game that men play against each other to win status and one operating as a technology of masculinity. In White Men Aren’t, Tomas DiPiero uses Richard Dyer’s analysis of whiteness to show that white masculinity relies on a hysterical identity structure, and this hysteria, combined with the social/psychological threats mentioned above to the place of white men in society, often leads to the phenomenon that we now see daily on the news embodied by the character of D-Fens in the flm Falling Down (1993, Joel Shumacher): the “angry white man.”19 DiPiero argues that this crisis is infuenced by the contradiction caused by the enduring historical weight of an identity no longer invested with the preeminence it once enjoyed, and the contemporary push toward

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opening up new raced, gendered, and sexual identities that do not take the white male as their normative ground. (2)

Te flms under discussion here not only explain this anger, they show that this fgure of angry white masculinity has always been with us and is not a recent product of history but a recurring part of national drama. For example, Kimmel notes that Andrew Jackson was America’s frst successful, famous, angry white man, leading to the subsequent tragedy that this brought to the marginalized peoples targeted by his anger. In addition to addressing the ways that class and race change or challenge hegemonic masculinity, this study also investigates how age delimits recognition of manhood, since young men have to cross the imaginary boundary separating “boyhood” from “manhood,” and the older a man gets, the more he needs to prove the utility of his virile manhood.20 Many of the men in these flms avoid manhood altogether, existing in perpetual apocalyptic boyhood and avoiding any of the rules and responsibilities of adult masculinity. Diferent masculinities as well as the concept of the “feminine” are required to help defne the hegemonic standard; as Robinson writes, “gender is a relationship of hierarchy and power among individuals and not the property of separate individuals” (Robinson “Pedagogy” 151). Examining this relationship creates anxiety because the mastering gaze fears the oppositional gaze, since it can see that the emperor has no clothing, so to speak, by revealing the machinery enabling the masculine masquerade.21 Tis book concerns flms that produce this oppositional gaze through the camera in the spectators whether they attempt to celebrate this masquerade or not. Like Robinson’s assertion that gender identity is produced by a relation between individuals and not by each person as a self, Teresa De Lauretis asserts that the term gender is, actually the representation of a relation, that of belonging to a class, a group, a category .… Gender constructs a relation between one entity and other entities, which are previously constituted as a class, and that relation is one of belonging. (4, italics hers)

Furthermore, Kaja Silverman notes that “hegemony hinges upon identifcation; it comes into play when all the members of a collectivity see themselves within the same refecting surface,” which “is not a matter of rational agreement, but of imaginary afrmation” (24). In this way, hegemonic masculinity disguises itself as universal masculinity, as “real” manhood. David Gilmore’s cross-cultural research into masculinist discourses fnds that, “although there may be no ‘Universal Male,’ we may perhaps speak of a ‘Ubiquitous Male’ based on … criteria of performance” that he elucidates:

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“Real” men are expected to tame nature in order to recreate and bolster the basic kinship of their society; that is, to reinvent and perpetuate the social order by will, to create something of value from nothing. Manhood is a kind of male procreation; its heroic quality lies in its self-direction and discipline, its absolute self-reliance—in a word, its agential autonomy. (223)

Silverman also observes that a modern society’s dominant fctions do not just interpellate subjects into hegemonic identities, but also produce a national “reality” (41). Tis is why “family values” become a major discourse of national crisis during the 1970s–1990s. Silverman argues that “the family provides the dominant fction with its primary image of unity” in a patriarchal society (75). Te argument over the structure of the family is also about the reproduction of a dominant fction imagining American identity, one that places white men at the center of the family and social reality, as primary social agents. Although this book will not delve into the Lacanian psychoanalytic model of subjectivity used by Silverman and other theorists, her depiction of masculinity as fction elucidates its function in nationalist rhetoric as well as the reasons for a sense of crisis.

Films and Genre: Meaning and Realism

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As an endless sequence of images, cultural commodities seduce the consumer by ofering up an infnity of surfaces that invite the efortless inscription and consumption of fantasy. Culture becomes just what we want it to be; we take from it what we wish. Te consumer actively supplies the meaning and pleasure that are refected—not refected on him or her but rather back to him or her—or more accurately, that are refracted back to him or her. Mass culture could not work without this participatory dynamic. (Gunster 255) Popular discrimination … is not concerned with the evaluation of quality, but rather the perception of relevance. (Fiske Understanding 119)

Tis study views cinema as an experienced, lived event for a viewer in which the spectator takes an active role in telling the story unfolding on screen, even while the apparatus imposes passivity and receptivity on the audience, which is why genre flms are uniquely suited to the investigation of gender discourses.22 Genre flms rely on the audience to do work by attending to intertextual genre references as part of the enjoyment, and this activity can lead a spectator to what bell hooks calls an “oppositional gaze,” allowing for denaturalization of hegemonic dominant fctions. Tis is why there is no “popular dominant culture, for popular culture is formed always in reaction to, and never as part of, the forces of domination” (Fiske Understanding 35). Also, due to the collaborative intertextual aspect of genre flms, the flmmakers have less agency in the cultural work done by the flm, which means that even in the nostalgic 1980s, when masculinist posturing seemed

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to be necessary for the safety of society, the flms register a critique of what they ostensibly celebrate. Tis study examines flms as afective experiences that audiences seek out because they fnd such afects pleasurable, a space in which they can live out fantasies and work through anxieties. Movies do not “represent” fction in the same way that books do; they provide the audience experience of “actual” events happening in reel-time (Landon 61). Watching a flm, becoming absorbed in its narrative, is an active pacifcation and an investment of attention. Analyzing this pleasurable afect, Steven Shaviro responds to Laura Mulvey’s seminal essay on the “visual pleasures” of flm, disagreeing with her notion that an audience member commands a mastering gaze, because “visual fascination is a passive, irresistible compulsion” (8). He elaborates:

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Film viewing ofers an immediacy and violence of sensation that powerfully engages the eye and body of the spectator; at the same time, however, it is predicated on a radical dematerialization of appearances. Te cinematic image is at once intense and impalpable. (Shaviro 25–26)

Tis is because, to use the terms of narrative theory, the story of the flm happens in the viewer’s imagination and is triggered by the discursive cues coming from the screen and speakers, cues that a viewer can not refer back to. Andre Bazin argued for cinematic realism, an art that amounts to “as perfect an illusion of reality as possible within the limits of the logical demands of cinematographic narrative and the current limits of technique” (26). We want to believe in what we watch, but “what one calls ‘viewing a flm’ is in fact a very complex phenomenon, constantly involving three distinct activities (perception, restructuring of the visual feld, and immediate memory),” a process that is reciprocal and on-going during the viewing (Metz 130). Mary Anne Doane explains that “the cinema is characterized by an illusory sensory plenitude … and yet haunted by the absence of those very objects which are there to be seen” (423). We experience flms intensely, but they consist only of images and sounds to which we cannot usually refer afterwards except in memory or upon reviewing of the flm (the turn to digital has of course changed this and now enables a viewer to pause and rewind). Te ephemeral immediacy of these sensory stimuli make flms afective rather than cognitive, because “we respond viscerally to visual forms, before having the leisure to read or interpret them as symbols” (Shaviro 26). A flm, since it keeps happening, does not usually invite the viewer to think about what is occurring, just experience it. We think about it afterwards, as, with Roland Barthes, we leave the theater. Te voyeurism or scopophilia of flm watching is not an active perversion, “for the overwhelming experience of visual fascination in the cinema … is one of

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radical passivity” (Shaviro 48).23 Watching a flm is an event, and it “produces real efects in the viewer, rather than merely presenting phantasmatic refections to the viewer” (Shaviro 51, italics his).24 Tis is a primary reason that they function so well as producers of ideological hegemony, for, as Shane Gunster explains, “ideologies do not become efective simply through the dispersal of concepts, ideas, and signs that logically express the interests of certain segments of the population; rather, people must actively connect themselves to an ideological formation through the plane of afect” (227). Ideology works not through belief, but by way of what we care about, through our afective investments. Citing Lawrence Grossberg, Gunster argues that “culture does more than simply give meaning to lived experience. It also determines how and why certain beliefs or practices come to matter or to feel important to an individual or a particular group” (227). Cultural works defne the mattering maps used by those in that culture, and flms mediate such maps through content, narrative structure, and the formal elements of mise-en-scène. Tis is not a completely one-sided afair, however. As noted above, popular narratives, especially genre flm narratives, require work on the part of the audience to understand and enjoy them, but mix this pleasurable labor with familiar tropes and conventions that make sure the narrative does not confuse and alienate its audience. Tey are postmodern rituals, and “a ritualized form, whether religious or secular, does not have a myth; it is a myth—or rather it serves a mythic function” (Schatz 96, italics his). Tese flms are rituals of masculine crisis that articulate the myths of dominant masculinities, and viewing them allows men to live these myths. Speculative flm genres like science fction and its sub-genres like post-apocalyptic flms make this mythic function visible and open to critique. Above, this was referred to as an “oppositional gaze.” Matthew Beaumont calls this efect an “anamorphic estrangement” because it requires a viewer to alter their position, like trying to view in Holbein’s painting “Te Ambassadors” the enigmatic, anamorphic skull, a shift of position that “constitutes the point from which the SF text looks back at us, radically estranging our empirical, social environment and revealing its arbitrariness, its basic fungibility” (36). Anamorphic estrangement denaturalizes “common sense” discourses and ideologies by showing their artifce, that they are not natural laws but dominant fctions. He calls this estrangement because, “once internalized, the anamorphic perspective irrevocably transforms the normal” (Beaumont 41). It makes reality strange and acts as a kind of awakening by demonstrating the ways in which the previous perspective on reality was structured by fantasy. Which is to say, in the context of this study, the speculative and fantastic elements of the flms reveal the necessity for manhood to be constantly proven while rendering the arbitrary means of that proof in often obvious and

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hyperbolic fashion by depicting apocalyptic men attempting to solve a problem of “ftness.” I am using the term genre in an academic sense, but it has other uses. Rick Altman observes that “genres are deployed diferently by diverse user groups; producers, exhibitors, critics and spectators all have their own purposes for using generic constructs and terminology” (179). He notes that genre is “not a quality of texts, but a by-product of discursive activity” about those texts (Altman 120). Steve Neale elaborates:

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Genres do not consist only of flms: they consist also, and equally, of specifc systems of expectation and hypothesis that spectators bring with them to the cinema, and that interact with flms themselves during the course of the viewing process. (161)

Tus, generic labeling is necessary for understanding and contextualizing such a text, and, since the genre text can only be known through this greater generic context, each iteration of a genre is in constant dialogue with other works in the genre (Staiger 189). Genre does many things, such as: provide formula, structure individuation of texts, guide programming and distribution, and guide interpretation and audience expectation. It acts as a “blueprint,” “framework,” “label,” and “contract” all at once (Altman 14). Genre flms gain symbolic power from the simplicity of their conventions (Altman 26). For this reason, this study traces the genealogy of certain post-apocalyptic tropes used throughout the 1970s and 1980s that are employed in Miller’s flms.25 Genres are inherently intertextual and this has “increased in importance so that the media can ofer viewers a new ‘home’ located in previous media-viewing experiences and the comfort of recognizing generic references” (Altman 194). Genre flms require active attention as the viewer aids in the storytelling through this intertextual reference (Grant 128). Speculative genres of flm examine the assumed realities of culture that more “realistic” flms often conceal or disavow by taking them as natural, inviting the audience to take an oppositional gaze towards such ideology. As Adilifu Nama notes, Class oppression and elite power are rarely discussed openly in the popular American press, and the shrill edicts of neoconservative political pundits and respected liberal scholars alike that proclaimed the end of racism in the post-civil rights era have marginalized and stigmatized discussions around white supremacy as outdated. As a result, class and racial hierarchies are a taboo political topic that instead fnds expression in alternative cultural outlets such as the imaginative medium of SF flm as entertainment, sometimes art, and on rare occasions a critical rallying cry to the dispossessed. (122)26

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Teresa de Lauretis calls flm a “technology of gender” operating the way Foucault’s investigation of the discourses of sexuality operate as a technology of sex, because gender “is the product of various social technologies, such as cinema, and of institutionalized discourses, epistemologies, and critical practices, as well as practices of daily life” (2).27 She posits that “gender is (a) representation” and that “the representation of gender is its construction” which requires continual construction and deconstruction; it is a technology needing constant repair, and flms operate as reparative narratives for this representation (Lauretis 3). I am not arguing for a naïve theory of flms “refecting” ideological discourses like a cultural mirror, but rather that they are sites of confict over the construction of these discourses ( Johnston 29). When possible, this study historicizes the articulations of the flms to provide context for this constructive practice, for discourses are historically contingent.28 Following that notion, I think it apt to quote Christine Gledhill at length:

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In this context [that of ideology and hegemony], the notion of a realist practice takes on a sinister aspect. On one level the issue is: what is the epistemological status of the “reality” that the realist artist represents? Given that the “representations” of bourgeois ideology attempt to present reality as a phenomenal, unifed, naturalized entity to which the individual must adapt, there is clearly an ideological pressure on the artistic producer to identify reality with the status quo. On another level, if we grant that this is frequently the case in so-called realist production, our task is to identify in particular realist practices those conventions and devices which serve both to reproduce an ideological sense of reality—masking and naturalizing contradiction—and to mask their own work of artistic production. (23)

Tis study takes up the task suggested here of investigating fantastic flm texts as comments on and critiques of realist practices in other flms that produce gender as a naturalized representation of reality. As will be shown, even when using fantastic tropes to create anamorphic estrangement, flms still attempt to create a sense of realism within the logic of their narrative, and this often means reproducing hegemonic ideologies. Tis study positions these flms as masculine melodramas where not only Max’s identity crisis, but also those of other men, are worked out in fantastic and spectacular ways. As Frederic Jameson elaborates in Te Political Unconscious, the interpretative act allegorizes a text (58), and this study treats the flms under analysis as allegories of relations that are gendered, racialized, and classed, addressing a masculine audience and articulating apocalyptic thinking about gender and race. As Jameson elaborates, ideology operates on utopian impulses, impelling allegiance through the ofer of a more ideal reality, and this study examines these texts

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about the end of the world for the utopian ideologies that structure hegemonic white masculine identity under threat of erasure. Furthermore, to use a concept developed by Monique Wittig, this study shows how the “straight mind” is operating in these works, which is a way of thinking about the world that relies on sexual diference as one of many binary constructions that are interlinked, where “man, woman, race, black, white, nature, are at the core of a set of parameters” denoting social subjectivity and agency in a world organized around white patriarchy and enforced heterosexism (Wittig 57). Te flms analyzed here demonstrate how the assumed “normal” is actually only normative and not universal, but reproduced by technologies of gender and enforced using violent masculine technologies. In the mode of John Rieder’s Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction, in which he argues that SF “exposes something that colonialism imposes” (15), this work argues that the speculations of post-apocalyptic flms expose things that a white hetero-patriarchal system of gender impose.29

Chapter Organization

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It is very difcult anymore to talk about flm’s “refection” of society according to the tired rules of mimesis; the hegemony of the media (and the changing relationship of mediation to consciousness) is a signifcant component of the apocalypticism producing panic discourses on all fronts. It is interesting also that when the cinema is discoursing on certain postmodern theorizations … or merely playing out and exhausting tired genre conventions within postindustrial topography, it does so with unbridled negativity. (Sharrett 4) In the most mythic sense, the contemporary state of afairs we deem so changed we term it “post-modern” is such because of the eclipse of the myth of progress. It is harder now to sustain the national myth of benevolent democracy, widely-shared economic prosperity, and stable cultural norms. With the optimistic myth of progress shaken, it becomes easy for us to turn to the alternative myth of the Fall, and seek either scapegoats or redeemer fgures. (Combs 20)

As the above epigraph from James Combs’s “Pox-Eclipse Now—Te Dystopian Imagination” suggests, the failure of master narratives and dominant fctions results in the apocalyptic thinking that informs the imagined worlds of post-apocalypse flm. Te idea of a cinematic hero has shifted with these ideological failures: He … has largely ceased to be a clear agent of the community who acts because he shares their values and wants to see justice done. Now the hero (or, if you prefer, antihero) is more likely to be a functional alienate himself, acting out of some private motive stemming from his alienation from society, if incidentally or unwittingly serving a social purpose. (Combs 21)

Tis study attempts to trace the emergence of this new kind of Hollywood antihero as a model of apocalyptic masculinity who often sufers, his body “violated”

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and “penetrated” like a martyr (Tasker 39). “Martyr” is derived from a Greek word meaning “witness” and this sense of apocalyptic manhood is most emblematic in the shout of War Boys in Mad Max:  Fury Road (George Miller, 2015)  yelling “Witness Me!” as they leap to sure death. What is it we are witnessing when we watch these flms? Each chapter and each section is framed by epigraphs, as in this introduction, meant to be suggestive of the semantic felds under discussion. Te chapters are organized around the investigation of recurring tropes and conventions used by the flms, as well as chronologically, to trace the genealogy of the use and fguration of the tropes and conventions. Borrowing from Linda Hutcheon’s theories of flm adaptation, the chronology investigates how later flms borrow from and adapt previous iterations, becoming texts inherently “palimpsestuous” and intertextual, and both comprehension and interpretation of the flms benefts from this semantic background. (Teory 22)30 Te frst chapter begins with a look at the immediate precursor post-apocalyptic flms produced in the 1970s, and investigates the history of the mise-en-scène of the urban post-apocalypse, focusing on the masculine protagonists’ relationships with this location and discussing the way that the fgure of martial masculinity is positioned within the narrative and cinematic space with the necessity that the man assert control over this space and maintain a clear boundary between a safe private interior and a dangerous exterior. It also examines the display of nude male bodies, arguing that such spectacular demonstrations draw “our attention to the politicization of the body in patriarchal capitalism,” a site “where the power-bearing defnitions of social and sexual normality are literally embodied, and … consequently the site of discipline and punishment” (Fiske Media 73). Tis chapter historicizes post-apocalypse flms on the planes of national history and norms of Hollywood flm production. It examines apocalyptic flms that established many of the conventions and tropes used by Miller, especially that of the “last man standing,” an alienated or anomic protagonist in a battle against the world. In these flms, a lone man fghts to “stay human” (and a “real” man), often while besieged or hunted by others. Tere were very few such flms produced in the decade of the 1960s, as Hollywood stopped funding speculative works, and the SF genre was being reworked by other countries in Europe and Asia ( Johnston 82). Such works produced in the United States were more often made for television. Speculative works became more prevalent in the 1970s due to the increasing fnancial crisis in Hollywood and the rise of a “New Hollywood” as producers became more willing to adopt risk in order to attract viewers and compete with television. Te decade also represents a tumultuous period of American history, and the flms produced

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then articulate many of the anxieties of a populace confronting the demise of a utopian American Dream that fgured white men as ascendant over the world. Tere were many dystopian and apocalyptic flms produced in the 1970s. Michael Ryan and Douglas Kellner opine that “fantasies of the future may simply be ways of putting quotation marks around the present. Tey carry out a temporal displacement that short-circuits the implicit ideological censors operative in the reigning realist narrative regime of Hollywood” (53). Many flms of this era articulate the rising crime rate and poverty in urban spaces, such as the popular Dirty Harry and Death Wish flms, but the masculinist cultural logic that they rely on and perpetuate is taken to extreme lengths in flms where the social order has completely collapsed, turning the city into a lawless place usually depicted as a Hobbesian nightmare of brutality and treated as a space for a game violent men play to prove a manhood that entitles them to take what they want as unfettered consumers in a society which no longer produces anything but violence. Te second chapter leaves the urban space behind and begins the examination of a new mode of apocalyptic flm that heads for the open road in George Miller’s Mad Max (1979). Te Mad Max flms difer from their post-apocalyptic predecessors in their emphasis on vehicular masculinity and mobility as a symbol of masculine freedom while foregrounding the latent violence of automotive travel, showing vehicles of masculinity to also be vehicles of murder. Automobiles are a liberating technology not only by increasing the space in which a man is free to move, but they also liberate time; their advent in the early 20th century liberated men from train and trolley schedules (Colavito 168). With a car, a man is supposed to be master of his destiny, and this sense of individualism is maximized in the fgure of the biker alone on his machine, an image that dominated low-budget flms throughout the 1960s and 1970s. Max’s vengeance in the last act of the flm demonstrates the vulnerability of this road warrior while proving his own murderous capability. In the second installment, Mad Max 2 aka Te Road Warrior (George Miller, 1981), Max uses his ability to drive to save a besieged community, including the feral child who narrates the story, providing hope for a future for these others, but he does not ft in a peaceful community or its future. Max’s performance of road violence keeps this child from becoming one of the violent road warriors like him who have embraced a fugitive masculinity that cannot settle into bonds with others and instead remains always in motion as proof of individual agency, aloof from social responsibility and the necessity to respond to others. Te third chapter extends the investigation of the apocalyptic masculine masquerade through a consideration of the costuming of characters in the flms. Te sartorial performance of gender in these productions problematizes and frustrates heteronormative notions of a gender binary and the “proper” behavior of men and

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women. Tese flms became enormously popular in the United States not only through spectacular stunts and car crashes but also because of the striking and creative production design of vehicles and costumes.31 Te flms use leather as both protective armor and part of a masculine performance, and this becomes further emphasized in the second flm, wherein the gang of antagonists wears a combination of glam rock, punk, and leather-daddy S/M fashion, acting as postmodern hypermasculine dandies juxtaposed with Max. Te fourth chapter examines the fgure of the Feral Kid in the second Mad Max flm as an articulation of the dangers of apocalyptic boyhood. Te narrative of Te Road Warrior saves this boy from perpetual boyhood by acting as a rite of passage he undergoes to enter responsible manhood, and the flm is concerned with what kind of man he will become. Max saves him from the dangers of the road, both literally, in the action sequences of the climactic chase scene, and also fguratively, by refusing his companionship and serving as a cautionary myth for the boy to remember and relate as the story he narrates, explaining how he escaped the cycle of road violence to become such a storyteller instead of warrior. Te fnal chapter examines the last flm produced in the original trilogy, Beyond Tunderdome (George Miller and George Ogilvie, 1985), as the logical trajectory of Max’s story towards oblivion and the narrative’s subsequent turn towards the plight of women and children instead of focusing on the heroism of a lone man. Hope for the future in this flm lies with a young woman, another storyteller like the narrator of Te Road Warrior, suggesting that it may be possible to tell a better story than the cycle of violence represented by Max’s compulsively repetitive narrative. In this flm, the fgure of Max diminishes to nothing, and no one expected to see him again, but he was recently reborn in the performance of a new actor in a flm expected to be the frst of a new trilogy. Te study ends with a coda that examines where this genre has gone since Miller’s frst three flms by looking at this newest reboot of the franchise, Mad Max: Fury Road. In this, the highest-budgeted of all of the flms, Max spends half of the narrative as a relatively helpless victim, and we are compelled to identify with the heroism of a masculine woman who has become a road warrior, but, rather than adopting the fugitive masculinity of Max, instead works for a community of other women and feels a connection to those around her. Te flm tracks the evolving relationship of these two road warriors while it documents the transformation of a War Boy into a care-giver and hero. Even more than Beyond Tunderdome, Fury Road disarticulates the masculinist notion of individual agency and shows that cooperation between individuals is the only hope for a better society. Te future of this genre is female.

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Notes 1. Luke Buckmaster, while working on his recent book about George Miller, Miller and Max: George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend, tried to keep a list of cultural references to Miller’s post-apocalyptic flms but stopped when they became too ubiquitous. For example, he found that, “in the US, a report issued by the Pentagon described new cars created by ISIS terrorists in Iraq as ‘reminiscent of a Mad Max vehicle’ ” (Buckmaster xi). Te cultural saturation reaches the point of confating fction and reality. A well-known biker, Jef Heath, vanity-published his memoir with the title Te Road Warrior: A Dying Breed. Notice that he not only appropriated the fgure of the road warrior from Miller, it is also fgured with apocalyptic thinking in a reference to extinction. Additionally, while editing this book for publication, we experienced the Covid19 pandemic and almost immediately social media was inundated with memes referencing and using tropes from the Mad Max flms. 2. In Angry White Men, Michael Kimmel observes that “one has to feel a sense of proprietorship, of entitlement, to call it ‘our’ country” (35). Ownership is key to the sense of national pride and the freedom it entails in the United States, and this used to include slaves. 3. Anderson writes, “Nationalism thinks in terms of historical destinies, while racism dreams of eternal contaminations, transmitted from the origins of time through an endless sequence of loathsome copulations: outside history” (149). 4. Alys Eve Weinbaum, in her book Wayward Reproductions:  Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Tought, analyzes the racial aspect of nationalism, explaining that, during the formation of modern nations, “competing understandings of reproduction as a biological, sexual, and racialized process became central to the organization of knowledge about nations, modern subjects, and the fow of capital, bodies, babies, and ideas within and across national borders” (2). In order for the imagined community of a nation to rationalize itself as a cohesive polity, it needs to think of national subjectivity in terms of who counts as such a subject and who does not, and this discourse mobilizes the science, now seen as fction, that determined “race” to demarcate the borders of this subjectivity, which must be guarded and reproduced in order to ensure the future of the nation. Tis concern over reproducing the “proper” national subject renders women into the technology that reproduces the nation. Helga Geyer-Ryan notes that the word “nation” came from the Latin nasci, “to be born,” “and thus sutures the arbitrariness of the social construct by its reference to biological ofspring and sexual diference” (149). Nationalism naturalizes the imagined community into a kind of kin-group that confates biology with culture. Weinbaum calls this complex of discourses the “race/reproduction bind.” Furthermore, nationalism can be hard to locate in America because “a nation that seeks international hegemony must deny that it is nationalist,” instead positing America as a universal standard for other nations as a mask for its own interests labelled as “progress” or the “spread of democracy” rather than nationalism (Billig 92). 5. David Savran argues that popular texts of any medium, “because of their high entertainment value and their success in engineering consent [via realism], are decisive for the ongoing production of hegemony” (6). 6. I use “speculative” here instead of “science fction” because, as Philip K Dick explains, “It is not that the stories are about science; it is that the writer is motivated along parallel lines motivating research scientists. But he is not content.… He will create, on the basis of the known data or

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7.

8. 9.

10.

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11. 12. 13.

14. 15.

16.

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plausible data, how it could be better, or how it could all be worse. His story or novel is in a sense a protest, but not a political one; it is a protest against concrete reality in an unusual way” (74). Braudy remarks, “One important component of masculinity thus embodies a myth of historical connection with past models and exemplars, while another looks to a future that will be diferent. As the Greek hero had to die young in the midst of battle in order to be considered a hero in song and legend, so one powerful form of masculinity is perpetually nostalgic in its judgments and standards. All the good men are already dead” (6). John Fiske reminds us that “culture is used to distinguish among classes and fraction of classes, and to disguise the social nature of these distinctions by locating them in the universals of aesthetics or taste” (Understanding 97). In his Arcades Project, Walter Benjamin examines how Marx and Hegel discuss the division of labor and technology’s efects on this process, making labor more “abstract” but easier for a worker to do, thanks to the use of machines, limiting “each person to a single kind of technical skill, and thus produce[s]‌more unconditional dependence on the social system. Te skill itself becomes in this way mechanical, and becomes capable of letting the machine take the place of the human labor” (quoting Hegel 668). Tis applies to the policing of heteronormative masculine sexuality. Steven Shaviro remarks, “Heterosexuality is structural, superpersonal, and symbolic, not an intrinsic determination, but an external form of domination. It is ‘compulsory’ (as Adrienne Rich puts it), imposed on everybody; but this means that it is only imposed. Te very fact that so much energy is invested in presenting it as the norm or telos of human sexual behavior and development points to its purely ideal function” (72). He elaborates on the efects and afects of this identifcation, arguing that “we are imprisoned by our individuality, territorialized, fxed in place, in accordance with the superpersonal model of an ideal heterosexuality. We are held accountable for who we are, expected to conform to the image of ourselves, hounded into secrecy and tormented by an ascription of guilt because of our inevitable failure to do so” (76). Judith Butler notes, “If identity is always already signifed, and yet continues to signify as it circulates within various interlocking discourses, then the question of agency is not to be answered through recourse to an ‘I’ that preexists signifcation” (183). Tus, a gendered subject is one “that constitutes itself within history and is constantly established and reestablished by history” (Foucault 3). Kaja Silverman observes that “history sometimes manages to interrupt or even deconstitute what a society assumes to be its master narratives and immanent Necessity—to undo our imaginary relation to the symbolic order, as well as to the other elements within the social formation with which that order is imbricated” (55). As Benjamin notes, progress is marked by interruptions of history, not continuity. Monique Wittig observes that heteronormative patriarchy is not a social institution as much as “a political regime which rests on the submission and appropriation of women” (xiii). Derek Burrill explains, “In the same sense that masculinity is a product of specifc practices (some bodily, some social) that require an actor and an audience (and some type of ‘script’), masculinity can also be said to be performative in that the actor sustains character in the face of challenges to that character” (21). See Judith Kegan Gardiner’s Introduction to Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions.

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17. In Angry White Men, Kimmel argues that “our sense of being deprived is measured not in an abstract calculus, but always in relation to those around us, those who are getting more but don’t deserve it” (22). 18. Kimmel remarks, “Tese crisis points in the meaning of manhood [are] also crisis points in economic, political, and social life—moments when men’s relationships to their work, to their country, to their families, to their visions, [are] transformed” (Manhood 10). 19. Crucially, DiPiero argues that white masculinity “is less a thing, an entity, or even a position, than it is a response or a function” (231). It survives through the principle that “believing is seeing,” and this requires a constant repression of knowledge that may contradict the supposition of its hegemony (DiPiero 231). 20. Gardiner observes that “age, like gender, is a social, not merely biological, category” (93). 21. DiPiero’s model of white masculinity demonstrates the impossibility of any actual male subject from ever achieving the cultural standards of manhood expected, and he argues that this “forms the crux of white masculinity’s ideological grip, both on the culture and on the individuals who would aspire to that identity.… Which makes failure inevitable and hence those feeting ideals consistently valued and pursued” (185). Te impossibility, then, impels the need to keep trying to prove this elusive manhood perpetually. 22. Fiske notes that the popular text is not “educational … it is not ahead of its readers; it is a textual device that allows them to articulate their social experience in it” (Understanding 88). 23. Shaviro elaborates: “Tere is no way to watch a flm without allowing this to happen; I can resist it only by giving up on the flm altogether, by shutting my eyes or walking out” (49). 24. Shaviro argues that flm watching is inherently masochistic:  “Perception has become unconscious. It is neither spontaneously active nor freely receptive, but radically passive, the sufering of a violence perpetrated against the eye. Images are immaterial, but their efect is all the more physical and corporeal” (51). He argues that flms “infect” us, rather than how the experience of watching a movie “has been traditionally defned in terms of fantasy, idealization, and a dialectic between the pacifying stabilization of identity and the imaginative free play of indeterminacy” (Shaviro 155). 25. Foucault calls genealogy “a form of history that can account for the constitution of knowledges, discourses, domains of objects … without having to make references to a subject” that transcends history (111). 26. bell hooks, in Reel to Real: Race, Sex, and Class at the Movies, argues that movies are designed to be a vacation from the norm, but they also teach us lessons and sometimes allow “border crossings,” letting the audience see diferently from a new social/ideological position (2). Tey can help us question our mattering maps. 27. Gunster usefully notes that “a unifed ideology is constructed by clustering certain subject-positions into an associative chain in such a way that the adoption of any one position evokes all of the others” (219). 28. As Gunster claims, we must “analyze every articulation in its historical specifcity, and not as an abstract, isolated phenomenon” (222). 29. Tis is not just “thematic,” but involves the intersection of “semantic felds” that give the flms meaning; David Bordwell makes the distinction between these concepts by remarking that the theme of a text involves its “governing idea,” such as the pessimism expressed by these flms, but the semantic feld is “a conceptual structure; it organizes potential meanings in relation to one another” and the theme of the flm is only “a node in a cluster of associated semantic features” (106). Tis study focuses on masculinity as one of these semantic features.

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30. Working with Gary Borlolotti, Hutcheon later compares the process of adaptation to evolutionary theories of biological adaptation as flm texts adapt to newer “environments” (historical circumstances and social milieus) (see “On the Origin of Adaptations: Rethinking Fidelity Discourse and ‘Success’—Biologically”). 31. Film producers, mostly in Europe, quickly followed the trend with movies like Stryker (1983, Cirio H.  Santiago), Firebird 2015 (1984, David M.  Robertson), America 3000 (1986, David Engelbach), and Warlords (1988, Fred Olen Ray), to name a few of the titles released in the post-apocalyptic proliferation that occurred after the success of Te Road Warrior. See Chapter Five for a partial list of these flms.

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References Altman, Rick. Film/Genre. London: BFI, 1999. Anderson, Benedict. Imagined Communities: Refections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London and New York: Verso, 2006. Bartky, Sandra Lee. Femininity and Domination:  Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York and London: Routledge, 1990. Bazin, Andre. What Is Cinema? Vol. II. Berkeley, Los Angeles, and London:  U of California P, 1971. Beaumont, Matthew. “Te Anamorphic Estrangements of Science Fiction.” Red Planets: Marxism and Science Fiction. Eds. Mark Bould and China Miéville. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan P, 2009. 29–46. Benjamin, Walter. Te Arcades Project. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1999. Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London, Tousand Oaks, and New Delhi: Sage, 1995. Bordwell, David. Making Meaning:  Inference and Rhetoric in the Interpretation of Cinema. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1989. Borlolotti, Gary R. and Linda Hutcheon. “On the Origin of Adaptations: Rethinking Fidelity Discourse and ‘Success’—Biologically.” New Literary History Vol. 38 No. 3, Summer 2007. 443–458. Bourdieu, Pierre. Te Logic of Practice. Trans. Richard Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1990. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Brod, Harry. “Studying Masculinities as Superordinate Studies.” Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions. Ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner. New  York:  Columbia UP, 2002. 161–175. Buchbinder, David. Masculinities and Identities. Melbourne: Melbourne UP, 1994. Buckmaster, Luke. Miller and Max:  George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend. Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2017. Burrill, Derek A. Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture. New York, DC, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, and Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008.

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Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble:  Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New  York and London: Routledge, 1999. Cohan, Steven. Masked Men:  Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997. Colavito, Jason. Knowing Fear:  Science, Knowledge, and the Development of the Horror Genre. Jeferson, NC and London: McFarland and Co., 2008. Combs, James. “Pox-Eclipse Now:  Te Dystopian Imagination in Contemporary Popular Movies.” Crisis Cinema: Te Apocalyptic Idea in Postmodern Narrative Film. Ed. Christopher Sharrett. Washington, DC: Maisonneuve P, 1993. 17–36. De Lauretis, Teresa. Technologies of Gender: Essays on Teory, Film, and Fiction. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1987. Deleuze, Giles and Felix Guattari. Anti-Oedipus: Capitalism and Schizophrenia. Trans. Robert Hurley, Mark Seem, and Helen R. Lane. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1983. Dick, Philip K. “What Is an SF Writer?” Te Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick. Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings. Ed. Lawrence Sutin. New York: Vintage, 1995. 69–78. DiPiero, Tomas. White Men Aren’t. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2002. Doane, Mary Anne. “Film and the Masquerade: Teorizing the Female Spectator.” Feminism and Film. Ed. E. Ann Kaplan. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2000. 418–436. Dumm, Tomas L.  “Telefear:  Watching War News.” Te Politics of Everyday Fear. Ed. Brian Massumi. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 1993. 307–321. Edelman, Lee. No Future:  Queer Teory and the Death Drive. Durham and London:  Duke UP, 2004. Falling Down. Dir. Joel Schumacher. Perf. Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Barbara Hershey. Warner Bros., 1993. Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Feenberg, Andrew. Transforming Technology:  A Critical Teory Revisited. Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2002. Fiske, John. Media Matters: Everyday Culture and Political Change. London and Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994. ———. Understanding Popular Culture. 2nd Edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2010. Foucault, Michel. “Truth and Juridical Forms.” Power. Ed. James D.  Faubion. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Te New York P, 2000a. 1–87. ———. “Truth and Power.” Power. Ed. James D. Faubion. Trans. C. Lazzeri. New York: Te New York P, 2000b. 111–133. Franklin, H. Bruce. “Don’t Look Where We’re Going: Visions of the Future in Science-Fiction Films, 1970–82.” Science Fiction Studies Vol. 10, No. 1, Mar. 1983. 70–80. Gardiner, Judith Kegan, Ed. Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions. New York: Columbia UP, 2002.

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Geyer-Ryan, Helga. “Venice and the Violence of Location.” Te Practice of Cultural Analysis: Exposing Interdisciplinary Interpretation. Ed. Mieke Bal. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1999. 143–150. Gilmore, David D. Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1990. Gledhill, Christine. “Klute 1: A Contemporary Film Noir and Feminist Criticism.” Women in Film Noir New Edition. Ed. E. Ann Kaplan. London: British flm Institute, 2003. 20–34. Grant, Barry Keith. Film Genre:  From Iconography to Ideology. London and New York: Wallfower, 2007. Gunster, Shane. Capitalizing on Culture:  Critical Teory for Cultural Studies. Toronto:  U of Toronto P, 2003. Heath, Jef. Te Road Warrior: A Dying Breed. Morgan Hill, CA: Ebookstand, 2005. hooks, bell. Reel to Real: Race Sex and Class at the Movies. New York: Routledge, 1996. Hutcheon, Linda and Siobhan O’Flynn. A Teory of Adaptation. 2nd Edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Jameson, Frederic. Te Political Unconscious:  Narrative as a Socially Symbolic Act. Ithaca, New York: Cornell UP, 1981. Jefords, Susan. Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1994. Johnston, Keith M. Science Fiction Film: A Critical Introduction. Oxford and New York: Berg,  2011. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. New York: Nation Books, 2013. ———. Manhood in America. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore: Te Free P, 1996. Landon, Brooks. “Synthespians, Virtual Human, and Hypermedia:  Emerging Contours of Post-SF Film.” Edging into the Future:  Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation. Eds. Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002. 57–74. Mad Max. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne. Roadshow Entertainment, 1979. Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston. Warner Bros., 1981. Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome. Dir. George Miller, George Ogilvie. Perf. Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence. Warner Bros., 1985. Mad Max: Fury Road. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Tom Hardy, Charlize Teron, Nicholas Hoult. Warner Bros., 2015. McCracken, Scott. Pulp:  Reading Popular Fiction. Manchester and New  York:  Manchester UP, 1998. Metz, Christian. Film Language: A Semiotics of the Cinema. Chicago, IL: U of Chicago P, 1974. Mulvey, Laura. “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.”  Screen  Vol.  16,  No.  3, Autumn 1975. 6–18.

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Nama, Adilifu. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: U of Texas P, 2008. Neale, Steve. “Questions of Genre.” Film Genre Reader. 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 160–184. O’Reilly, Kenneth. Nixon’s Piano:  Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton. New York: Free P, 1995. Rieder, John. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown, CT:  Wesleyan UP, 2008. Robinson, Sally. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. ———. “Pedagogy of the Opaque:  Teaching Masculinity Studies.” Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions. Ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner. New  York:  Columbia UP, 2002. 141–160. Ryan, Michael and Douglas Kellner. “Technophobia/Dystopia.” Liquid Metal: Te Science Fiction Film Reader. Ed. Sean Redmond. London and New York: Wallfower, 2004. 48–56. Savran, David. Taking It Like a Man:  Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1998. Schatz, Tomas. “Te Structural Infuence: New Directions in Film Genre Study.” Film Genre Reader. 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 92–102. Sharrett, Christopher. Crisis Cinema:  Te Apocalyptic Idea in Postmodern Narrative Film. Ed. Christopher Sharrett. Washington, DC: Maisonneuve P, 1993. Shaviro, Steven. Te Cinematic Body. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 1993. Silverman, Kaja. Male Subjectivity at the Margins. New York and London: Routledge, 1992. Sobchack, Vivian. Screening Space: Te American Science Fiction Film. New York: Ungar, 1987. Staiger, Janet. “Hybrid or Inbred: Te Purity Hypothesis and Hollywood Genre History.” Film Genre Reader, 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 185–199. Tasker, Yvonne. Spectacular Bodies:  Gender, Genre and “the Action Cinema.” London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Weinbaum, Alys Eve. Wayward Reproductions: Genealogies of Race and Nation in Transatlantic Modern Tought. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2004. Wittig, Monique. Te Straight Mind and Other Essays. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1992. Wood, Robin. Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan. New York: Columbia UP, 1986.

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chapter one

Omega Men Apocalyptic Masculinity Preceding George Miller

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Te very notion of the founding instance or origin of a genre is self-contradictory, because the work in question is in an important way not an example of the genre it establishes, but rather a peculiarly infuential violation of some pre-existing set of generic expectations. (Rieder 19)

Postwar American SF often works to problematize and subvert epistemological certainty about a variety of “common sense” assumptions, denaturalizing them through the process of speculation, demonstrating how they are historically produced by social relations and not intrinsic facets of human life. SF’s articulations can often be oppositional and counterhegemonic, philosophizing with a hammer to break down ideological certainty. Even though often considered “escapist,” this is also true of SF flms made during the maligned decade of the 1950s. Susan Sontag, writing in the 1970s and looking back at the 1950s and 1960s, argues that such “science fction flms are not about science. Tey are about disaster, which is one of the oldest subjects of art” (41). In this sense, she compares this period of SF flms to the work of artists like Hieronymus Bosch and his depictions of plague. SF acts as disaster fction because it imagines endings and beginnings through iconoclasm and speculation; it is often both eschatological and utopian. Tis book does not examine the apocalyptic disaster flms referred to by Sontag, but instead investigates the genre of post-apocalyptic flms that are more concerned with the

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state of the world after a catastrophe which is usually created by humanity rather than cataclysmic threats such as natural disasters, supernatural monsters, and alien invasion. SF often uses current historical circumstances as the text upon which it overlays possibilities, “palimpsestously”1 writing future history as a comment on the historical reality of the present, and speculation about life after the end of the world imagines current history in apocalyptic terms for those privileged by the system of that previous world. Te increased visibility of identity politics during the shift from the 1950s to 1960s felt to some a liberating discourse of social justice, but to many white men it came as a displacement, even a disaster, and it felt like disenfranchisement. Tis was due to a number of factors, including shifts in cultural paradigms of gender, civil rights legislative reforms (especially afrmative action), and the later economic hardships of 1970s “stagfation” resulting in the wealth redistribution of the neoliberal answer to this problem via fnancial markets, but most importantly it was due to the role of mass media in disseminating populist rhetoric of American individualism that conceived of these social changes not as liberation but as regulating and limiting personal freedom and expression, a logic that subtends neoliberal doctrines as well as masculinist rhetoric.2 Tis rhetoric confates the concepts of individual liberty and individual agency. It assumes that the former requires the latter and that any revelation of a limit on agency is an attack on liberty. Te increasing visibility and inclusion of other subject positions besides the white male in popular discourse and entertainment, clamoring for recognition, representation, and equal rights as part of the body politic, challenged the assumed universality and centrality of a straight white male standard (a “universal” standard that elides class diference), a standard based on exclusion disguised as universality. Te individual autonomous agency that informs this standard was being disarticulated by discourses in both the humanities and sciences as personal identity came to be understood as structured by historical social circumstances rather than innate universal traits. Power replaced agency as it became irreversibly political and distributed. Tis panic over an assumed loss of a fantasmatic agency that men are supposed to be born with is often depicted in popular culture as a diminishing of white men in social status along with their exploitation by fgures over which they have little control, expressing a reaction to the knowledge that, as Michael Kimmel puts it, “the era of unquestioned and unchallenged [white] male entitlement is over” (Angry xi). Narratives like the post-apocalyptic flms of the postwar period act as responses to cultural challenges and attempt to reassert the dominant fction of entitled white male agency but only disarticulate it further. Such flms appeal to the aspirations of men across class lines, serving as a regulation of a masculinity

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which was in process of deregulation by a variety of counter-hegemonic discourses during the 1960s. Te rhetoric of lost agency and relevance intersected in the 1970s with an interest in Hollywood flms depicting the “authentic” working-class man as both a fetishized threat to the professional-managerial class and also a fgure of desire representing a nostalgic, “natural,” undomesticated manliness presumably lost by men who pursue intellectual labor, an often violent model of manhood whose entitlement comes through “essential” aggressive traits and rugged individualism, a man who answers to no other man and is sufcient to himself, epitomized in road flms by the trucker and biker. Often, although the real threat to both working class and educated professional men was in fact the new global economy of fexible accumulation leading to the planned obsolescence of certain types of labor, these flms depict the threat as coming from racialized others; other angry, white, homicidal, working-class men; or dangerous, powerful women. Derek Nystrom investigates this anxiety in a series of masculinist flms from the 1970s such as Five Easy Pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson), Deliverance (1972, John Boorman), Walking Tall (1973, Phil Karlson), Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977, Richard Brooks), Saturday Night Fever (1977, John Badham), Smokey and the Bandit (1977, Hal Needham), and Cruising (1980, William Friedkin) in Hard Hats, Rednecks, and Macho Men.3 He argues, Te new visibility of working-class characters in the 1970s was generated by a series of middle-class concerns and dilemmas. Much as representations of homosexuality are often more concerned with stabilizing heterosexual identity (or, for that matter, as images of blackness are frequently produced by white anxiety), the decade’s cinematic renderings of white working-class masculinity tell us a great deal about the crises within … the professional-managerial class. (Nystrom 5, italics his)

In Nystrom’s analysis, the fguration of muscular masculine crisis in these flms as white working-class men threatened by corrupt government and business interests appeals not only to the working-class men being literally disenfranchised by down-sizing and deindustrialization, but also to the professional men and management bureaucrats caught in a privileged class position that nevertheless did not supply them with the autonomous agency hegemonic masculinity promises, where they always have to serve a man above them in the hierarchy, a class position becoming increasingly precarious with the rise of neoliberal deregulation and the fnancializing of every facet of life. Adding to this masculinist discourse, the latter half of the decade of the 1970s saw the emergence of a new kind of blockbuster flm that was, as Tomas Schatz puts it, “increasingly plot-driven, increasingly visceral, kinetic, and fast-paced, increasingly reliant on special efects, increasingly ‘fantastic’ (and thus apolitical)” (“Te New Hollywood” 29). Popular flms became more action-centered than

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story-centered and subsequently less directly confrontational about social problems and more about the production of an enjoyable “ride” like an attraction at an amusement park. However, as Nystrom makes clear in his study, the fact that such flms were less overtly political did not keep them from producing political messages and critiques, especially when it came to gender politics.4 Te three flms produced in the 1970s examined in this chapter star an aging actor known for hypermasculine roles, proving that his model of manhood is still viable and necessary. Tese flms reveal the masculinist anxiety of both flm producers and consumers, bound up in transformations of working and family conditions, racial relations, and gender hierarchies, and informed by the failure of the “breadwinner” model of “self-made” white American masculinity. In this series of flms, these social changes are depicted as an apocalyptic end of “civilization.” Te term “apocalypse” connotes and denotes many things, and we should pause to discuss the original meaning of the word in Greek as a revelation, an unveiling of history. It acts as a way of viewing history and hence a way of thinking about it in both eschatological and utopian terms. Post-apocalypse flms thus occupy a privileged place for an analysis of historical crisis and transformation not only because of their hyperbolic narrative conventions, but also, as Brooks Landon claims in reference to SF in general, due to the “afective impact” of speculating about the end of late capitalist culture, a speculation inducing apocalyptic thinking (59).5 As the oft repeated cliché states, we fnd it easier to imagine the end of the world than the end of capitalism. Perhaps this is even more true of an end to patriarchal dominance. Such apocalyptic reasoning opposes the myth of progress and other dominant fctions such as the omnipotence of white men, imagining an apocalyptic model of masculinity in crisis while articulating how the ideal white man is always already apocalyptic. Tat this speculative positionality fnds expression through apocalyptic anxiety and the threat of extinction indicates the confusion and displacement of the white male subject from a supposed universal standard and a fear of its erasure from history, a shift from being the subject of history to being subject to history. In his book, No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture, Andrew Ross argues that popular fction gives its audience “the pleasure of recognition and identifcation, of knowing one’s place” (4, italics his). It often acts as a comfortable, familiar home, reinforcing ideologies that structure and suture hegemonic identities. Te flms examined in this book demonstrate that many men in the latter half of the 20th century did not know where this place was anymore, and these popular narratives act as melodramas working out the hysteria of this identity crisis.6 I use these two terms, commonly associated with the supposed emotional fragility of women, to intentionally harness this sentiment and apply it to the men depicted in these

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flms. Melodramatic flm traditionally deals with the identity crisis of a middle class, suburban woman as she fnds herself powerless to change a social position which confnes and subjugates her.7 Likewise, the following analyses tease out the ways these flms address a crisis of powerlessness for hegemonic white male identity in the face of changing social norms that challenge its privileged status in society and the family. Films that imagine human life after the end of “civilization” invite instructive speculation on alternative social structures, but often revert to a nostalgic feudal-style patriarchy ruled through violent force, a revelation that the façade of civilization was always only covering over and obscuring the barbarism producing the patriarchal order. Such flms imagine a new social order that reiterates the previous patriarchal system of trafc in women as a central organizing principle of social unity. Tis study begins with an examination of flms produced in the 1970s that established the conventions and thematic tropes that Miller’s flms, to use Linda Hutcheon’s terminology, “salvage and appropriate.” Genre flms, as Tomas Sobchack notes, are “made in imitation not of life but of other flms” (105). Tey are intertextual by defnition, each iteration of conventions representing the evolution of the narrative form of the genre, hence my use of Hutcheon’s idea of salvage and appropriation appropriated from adaptation theory; all genre flms can be usefully viewed as adaptations of previous works. Indeed, Hutcheon’s theorization of flm adaptation as a process similar to biological adaptation applies well to genre flms since later flms can be seen as mutations of the previous work, and some survive in the new cultural environment while others do not. Tese 1970s post-apocalypse flms place their action in an urban environment because, as Kim Newman observes, “the commonest recurring image of the Apocalypse, in literature and flm, is the dilapidated and depopulated city” (18). Cities have become the centers of societies where most things are made and most people live. Cities make us citizens. Here they become spaces of speculation about endings and beginnings where citizenship is problematized.

1970s: The End of the World as He Knew It Is masculinity secured by manly restraint of primitive impulses, or the expression of those impulses? Te male body becomes the text on which this contradiction is played out. (Robinson “Emotional” 140)

During the 1970s, with the combined cultural crises produced by the previous two decades represented by such visible events as the Black Power movement, feminism and women’s liberation, the national fatigue of the war in Vietnam,

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the Watergate scandal and impeachment of Richard Nixon (as well as his policy of violent structural racism called the “war on drugs”), increasing gay activism, a massive wave of new immigration, and economic decline,8 a wide variety of flms in many genres addressed the social upheaval and contestation of values expressed by liberationist discourse, class confict, opposition to governance, and urban racial unrest. As scholars such as Robin Wood, Brian Baker, David Savran, Derek Nystrom, Fred Pfeil, and Sally Robinson have noted, the decade’s flms often respond to this confusion of normative hierarchies by portraying liberation discourses as dangerous to the capitalist hetero-patriarchal white power structure which these discourses were attempting to change. Te establishment response to the anomie embraced during the decade is called neoliberalism by scholars such as David Harvey, a reimagining of liberal discourse that aligns with the existing order, defning personal liberation as competition in a capitalist marketplace, a fnancial market protected by the authoritarian coercive apparatus called neoconservatism which polices the class boundaries it produces.9 Tis neoliberal rhetoric involved not only the elite’s recognition of, but also its realignment with the working class. Te cultural shoring-up of white capitalist patriarchy’s borders (coded as an argument for neoliberal individualism and “law and order”), which made necessary a neoconservative apparatus of state violence, is articulated in a series of post-apocalyptic urban action flms in which white fathers are in danger of being erased from history. Te way this threat is depicted, as well as overcome, reveals the problematic position of privileged white masculinity in the national imagination at the waning of the 20th century. Patriarchal authority has been disarticulated by many discourses since the 1960s, primarily by feminist scholarship, but it is also under threat from men continually frustrated in the unattainable achievement of ideal American manhood and disappointed by a procession of failing father fgures during the latter half of the 20th century.10 Te hegemonic model of late-20th century masculinity ofered the kind of freedom defned by neoliberalism, the false promise of autonomy in a “free market.” Many men felt betrayed because they had so little actual control over anything in their lives, and many of these men blamed feminism, women, and racialized others for this betrayal, rather than unachievable masculine ideals and the steady process of deindustrialization and fnancialization of the American economy, a process encouraged by the federal government (Sugrue 140).11 Tey felt disenfranchised, as if they were denied the privileges enjoyed by their fathers, who were mostly absent, either working or enjoying the spoils of their labor with other men like them, the proverbial drinking buddies, the bowling leagues, the Shriner’s and Elks clubs etc.12

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Tese flms locate this imagined patriarchal national crisis as a threat to reproduction, or more specifcally the threat of wayward reproductions overcoming the “right” kind of “ft” reproduction of a “normal” citizen, consumer, and “real man.” Te end of civilization acts as a space in which to determine what kind of subject “fts” in postmodern America. Te crime in urban ghettos and increased immigration of racialized others threatened the popular imagination of America as a nation of white Christians run by men while also increasing the population of poor people, adding to the growing precariat of the body politic, especially those who, because of the Immigration Act of 1965, which severely limited the infux of people from Latin America, came into the country illegally and therefore were doubly marginalized and had no protection from exploitation.13 Tis chapter’s analyses demonstrate that these “racial, gendered, and sexual identities are not stable, transparent positions [but] always in the process of being produced” by historical contingency and social discourse (Savran 321, emphasis his). It uses these flms to show how this production operates and why such discourse reverts to apocalyptic thinking. During this decade, many alternative social systems were experimented with in communes such as the one in Fresno, California in which I was born, places that members of the community chose to join in order to reject the normal capitalist social order, often because they had adopted apocalyptic thinking (often Biblical), and flms produced during this time often explore the populist ideas of these social alternatives, one of the most famous being Billy Jack (Tom Laughlin, 1971), one of the top-fve-grossing flms released that year in box-ofce sales. It tells the story of a Native American man, played by the writer/producer/director of the flm, trying to protect a hippy commune from a corrupt racist sherif. Like this story of a besieged utopian community, the urban apocalypse flms produced in this decade evince the apocalyptic thinking of urban dwellers during this troubled time who feel besieged in their own homes while trying to imagine a place in a devastated landscape where a man can assert his authority and autonomy, maintaining the pretense of absolute control over himself and his surroundings. Te men in the flms under analysis here, Te Omega Man (1971, Boris Sagal, aka Te Ωmega Man), Te Ultimate Warrior (1975, Robert Clouse), and Ravagers (1979, Richard Compton), demonstrate masculine mastery and the efcacy of masculine force as necessary protection for a community through the use of the props that support and enable the apparatus of masculinity to master its environs elaborated in the introduction to this study, including especially women, positioning mothers as necessary vessels for reproducing masculinity and its likewise “necessary” mastery over said mothers in order to produce only “pure, good stock”

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which will strengthen the community, an indication of reproductive anxiety that requires the purity condition of the race/reproduction bind for its logic of “ftness.” Te flms expose the paradox of dominant autonomous masculinity as both problem and solution to the problem.14 In these narratives, bodies marked as male are fgured as a crucial technology for the reproduction of normative (white) humanity while also remaining a dangerous technology of destruction and dominance depicted as obsolete in a world destroyed by violence. Robert Neville, protagonist of Te Omega Man, never recognizes that he has failed as a father, that he has rejected that role and instead embraced a model of manhood that proves itself through acts of conspicuous consumption and the drive towards death of revenge. He has become a violent threat to society, a lesson learned by previous iterations of his character in the novel (1954, Richard Matheson) and frst flm adaptation (Te Last Man on Earth, 1964, Ubaldo Ragona) and originally intended for the more recent adaptation, I Am Legend (2007, Francis Lawrence) but changed when test audiences did not like an ending that painted Will Smith, playing Neville, as a monster. Charlton Heston’s Neville, in Te Omega Man, remains oblivious to this fact like Smith’s more recent version of the last man. Yul Brynner as Carson, the action hero of Te Ultimate Warrior, must maim himself in order to save the pregnant woman he protects, fgured as the hope for humanity via reproductive futurism; ultimately this last warrior must turn his blade into a surgical instrument and a tool of reproduction to aid in the birth of the child, and the flm suggests that he has now become the ultimate father fgure instead of warrior. Richard Harris, as Falk in Ravagers, fails to either protect or inseminate his wife and only begrudgingly takes on the mantle of “shepherd” to a fock of homeless people at the flm’s end; having the patriarchal pastoral role thrust on him by the community, he leads his people on a quest to fnd “Genesis,” the fabled place where things still grow out of the ground and reproduction can continue, a name that alludes to a new beginning as well as reproduction. Tese flms are deeply concerned with which model of masculinity will best serve the future, and they weigh in on the side of pacifsm even while they show a need to repel brutal men who treat the world as a place for their unfettered consumption. Te casting of recognizable masculine actors adds value to cinematic narratives both in monetary audience-draw but also through the star persona that then informs the flm and comments on the culture that produced it and its star.15 Tis period presented a crisis for flm producers as they saw less people attending their exhibitions, instead staying at home and watching television (there were many memorable television shows to watch at this time now considered the Golden Age of television by television studies scholars). Attendance reached “an all-time low by 1971,” and many of these lost audience members were young, so the big studios

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desperately tried to appeal to this demographic (Nystrom 24). It is interesting, then, that they would employ such older men as the heroes in these flms. Steven Cohan elaborates the star’s utility in naturalizing gender roles:

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Stardom does not just oppose an actor’s charisma to the theatricality of cinema, it makes the opposition central to a star’s persona, casting it in gendered terms, so that what a star authenticates is the apparent naturalness of his or her sexual diference. (xvii)

Tese actors were already-established leading men, safe bets for cinematic heroes, but also signs of the older generation of men’s virility and utility at a time when this was being called into question. Heston made a career of taking of his shirt, and Bynner was often cast as a spectacular, exotic man displaying his muscled torso. Richard Dyer examines the display of white male bodies in the series of Tarzan flms produced in the early 20th century, Italian peplum flms like the Hercules series, and recent action flms like those of Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, observing that, besides pornography, these are the only kind of flms that constantly display the nude white male torso (White 287). Tese muscular torsos demonstrate the masculine performance of these men as useful as well as a physical ideal of virility that of-sets the “feminizing” objectifcation of the display. Tey are performances of virility even as they make the men into the object of a desiring gaze. Te hard body on display, rather than revealing vulnerability, proves the dominance of the man, especially when being punished, due to his ability to withstand pain. Te bodies of Heston and Brynner are sites of both discipline and violence in their flms, but also the producers of such, meted out on the bodies of other men.16 Both of these actors, as well as Harris, usually present a stoic, unemotional (unless angry), quiet, independent, and proud masculinity, with Heston usually playing some sort of savior role, and all of them often playing perennial outsiders.17 Barry Keith Grant notes that iconographic casting of recognizable movie stars in genre flm locates in the actor “in concrete, physical form society’s values at particular historical moments … [because] stars and genres reinforce each other” (19).18 Stars and their spectacular bodies act as part of the cinematic apparatus of Hollywood as well as models of American manhood, pieces of movie technology used to tell an on-going story about masculinity in America,19 and in this epic fction of national dominance, Heston, Brynner, and Harris played key roles, proving their individual manhood by being at odds with society, sufering and surviving to remain “real” men.

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Robert Neville: The End of Manhood or Military Masculinity?

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Te free man and the military state are not two alternative poles in American ideology, nor are they merely a recent symbiosis. Teir marriage goes back to the beginning. (Cohan 133–134, citing Michael Rogin)

Te Omega Man, the second flm adaptation of Richard Matheson’s novel I am Legend, depicts Charlton Heston as Robert Neville, the last man on Earth, struggling against a counter-cultural “family” of people infected with a virus that has killed most other people on the planet, turning the survivors into creatures of the night in black, hooded cloaks, resembling an inverse Klu Klux Klan. Tis threat predicts the 21st century interest in flms about pandemics, rage viruses, and zombie plagues. Kim Newman notes that “the frst non-divine force seen as a possible threat to humanity’s continued existence was Pestilence,” providing narratives ofering “the half-wished for descent into dog-eat-dog barbarity and the extermination of all the boring people” (19). In this pestilential apocalypse, Neville ultimately wins the love of an uninfected black woman who nurtures and protects several uninfected multi-racial children (until she herself “crosses over,” as they say in the flm, and shows symptoms of the disease, joining the cult-like Family). Skin color is foregrounded in the flm through the disease’s symptoms. Adilifu Nama reads this flm as “possibly the most strident example of the mounting white backlash against Black Power politics and the pressing paranoia associated with the declining status of white male patriarchy from its post-World War II position” (67). Te fear of a black planet imagines a white society contaminated by color, and Neville saves the children from the disease with his “Anglo-Saxon” blood, but this disease turns you white. He saves them from whiteness. Paradoxically, such use of a white man’s “pure” blood to “cure” the human race makes whiteness and masculinity the answer to the country’s problems, both racial and gendered, eliding the way that a racist capitalist economy produces such subject positions and the social problems caused by segregation and heteronormative patriarchy. Michael Billig argues that “nationalism involves assumptions about what a nation is: as such, it is a theory of community, as well as a theory about the world being ‘naturally’ divided into such communities” (63). He notes that nationalism “could be said to have brought about a transformation of identity, even bringing into the popular vocabulary the notion of ‘identity’ itself ” (Billig 61–62, citing Giddens). Te fantasy of disaster depicted in Te Omega Man attempts to articulate clear boundaries for a society whose discourses were rapidly shifting due to competing visions of American culture and what it means to be American, a change resulting

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in the shifting and even erasure of boundaries once considered essential to white masculine identity, relying as it does on a central privileged status in society that enables the neoliberal proof of manhood through economic mastery. I understand that the term “neoliberal” has many competing meanings, but one of the most useful defnitions that I have found comes from Steven Shaviro’s No Speed Limit. He defnes this term as meaning

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a specifc mode of capitalist production (Marx), and form of governmentality (Foucault), that is characterized by the following specifc factors: (1) Te dominating infuence of fnancial institutions, which facilitate transfers of wealth from everybody else to the already extremely wealthy (the “One Percent” of even the top one hundredth of one percent). (2) Te privatization and commodifcation of what used to be common or public goods (resources like water and green space, as well as public services like education, communication, sewage and garbage disposal, and transportation). (3) Te extraction, by banks and other large corporations, of a surplus from all social activities; not only from production (as in the classical Marxist model of capitalism) but from circulation and consumption as well.…(4) Te subjection of all aspects of life to the so-called discipline of the market. Tis is equivalent, in more traditional Marxist terms, to the “real subsumption” by capital of all aspects of life; leisure as well as labor.…(5) Te redefnition of human beings as private owners of their own “human capital.” Each person is thereby, as Michel Foucault puts it, forced to become “an entrepreneur of himself.” (Shaviro 28)

In this logic, we “invest” in ourselves, and everything we do becomes a fnancial investment. Hence the vernacular terms “social capital” and “cultural capital,” “as if our knowledge, our abilities, our beliefs, and our desires had only instrumental value and needed to be invested” so that everything we do becomes Marx’s “dead labor” (Shaviro 28). Te current interest in the walking dead operates as an articulation of human existence becoming dead labor and meaningless consumption. Cities are central locations for this neoliberal existence. Although the action of the opening sequence in Te Omega Man loosely follows that of the script, the setting was changed from the suburban locations of the script and novel to urban Los Angeles. Te scene begins with long shots of Neville casually driving through the empty city in a luxurious red convertible until he abruptly stops his car and brandishes a sub-machine gun, shooting at movement in a building.20 Heston’s last man is a man of action, not the brooding man of the novel. Te script emphasizes the weapon even more, suggesting an extreme close-up of it that obscures Neville’s face. Only after establishing Neville as a trigger-happy man-about-town does the flm present shots of detritus and corpses, indicating the end of civilization, but also hinting that some of these corpses are the result of Neville’s violence. Anxiety about urban populations was exacerbated in the 1970s in the United States due to the ghetto uprisings that occurred with regular frequency during

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the latter half of the 1960s, events which, as Steve Martinot asserts, “while they generally represent mass outrage at social betrayal … are rarely seen by whites as responses to broken promises or fairness, because the white sense of fairness equates to white entitlement” (229). Tis inability to understand the frustrations of poor melanated communities was further exacerbated by the vilifying of afrmative action legislation which attempted to address the inequalities of segregation, resulting in, as Linda Williams says, “a peculiar instance of an advantaged racial majority fnding it possible to perceive themselves as if they were an aggrieved minority” (290). Robert Neville acts as a fgure of this white entitlement and victimization operating in complete ignorance of why the racialized Family hates him. Te Omega Man is not interested in how the world ended as much as Neville’s place in it. Signifcantly, although the novel presents Neville as a working class, enlisted veteran, the flm adaptations make him into an ofcer and scientist, a member of the professional-managerial class (Ransom 49). Neville acts as a problematic father fgure in this narrative. Rather than positioning him as civilized, and his enemies as barbaric others, the flm depicts him as dangerous and violent. He loots and kills, but his social position as a white professional man marks his activity as “survival” rather than criminality. In the novel, Neville ultimately realizes that he has been killing living sick people along with the undead creatures of the night and that his “legend” among the survivors is one of a monster. Heston’s Neville never learns this truth, and the flm’s positioning of him as savior of the human race rather than its exterminator attempts to rescue his social position from the dustbin of history.21 Neville’s isolation signifes his individuality as master of his own destiny while the Family’s nesting communal activity invokes the fear of losing personal agency to the mass will of the common people. Te population of the city becomes a threat to his status in it. He virilizes the professional-managerial man by making him a victim of society. His violence is a panic reaction to the threat to his agency represented by the Family, demonstrating that he is an agent of death, the monstrous product of his historical position, an angry white man enacting vengeance on those he blames for a situation he cannot understand and over which he has little power. Neville has militarized his luxury penthouse to keep the Family out and preserve his refuge flled with commodities from the previous civilization. He lives under siege. Walter Benjamin calls the interior of homes a “phantasmagoria … which, for the private individual, represents the universe” (Arcades 19). Andrew Feenberg, discussing de Certeau’s concept of “strategy,” notes that “the techniques of power are not tools wielded by elites; rather, they open a space, an interiority, from out of which those elites act on society” (84). Interior and exterior operate as a vertical hierarchy. Judith Butler argues that “the boundary of the body as well as

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the distinction between internal and external is established through the ejection and transvaluation of something originally part of identity into defling otherness” (170), and this fortifed penthouse acts as a metonym for Neville’s bounded body and its supposed “purity.” Neville uses the strategies of power while the Family uses guerilla tactics, “a form of socially necessary freedom generated immanently within the game itself ” (Feenberg 87). Te Family leader, Matthias (Anthony Zerbe), calls Neville’s possessions “the tools that destroyed the world.” Aside from the many frearms that he owns,22 he has preserved a collection of fne art with the ostensible purpose of retaining European traditions, but his apartment is also full of current luxury commodities, like a stereo hi-f system and whiskey served in crystal glasses, items less about traditional civilization than oferings in Playboy Magazine, items of conspicuous consumption in a world where the only people watching him are members of the Family who specifcally despise such commodities. He maintains the appearance of a continuing commodity culture and the status that it brings him, even stopping to see a movie that he has seen so often that we watch him in a tight close-up as he quotes the dialogue along with the revelers at the Woodstock festival, asking, “What’s really important?” His sneer while mouthing these words expresses the cynicism that had become of the hope represented by the Woodstock happening as well as his position against the counter-culture and its pacifst message, instead embodying the privileged individual fghting to remain that way as a wounded white male victim. He wears designer clothing, and, to while away the long nights, plays chess against a black bust of Julius Caesar on whose head he has perched his old military hat while himself wearing a green velour smoking jacket and looking like Hugh Hefner. In Manhood in America, Kimmel notes that, “in the Playboy philosophy sexually alluring and available women were the reward for adventurous masculine consumerism,” making such available women, as opposed to wives and mothers, another toy with which the boy can play and display as an act of conspicuous consumption (254). Neville soon acquires such a toy when he meets Lisa (Rosalind Cash), a beautiful black woman in the mode of the action flm “macho goddess” that, as Yvonne Tasker observes, depicts such a woman as having an “animal” sexuality (21). She becomes an audience for Neville’s performance of masculine mastery and a “sexually saturated” victim for him to save (Williams “Film” 608). As Cynthia Freeland remarks, in traditional Hollywood flms “the male acts, the woman feels. She occupies a traditional role in the sense that her emotions and perceptions are clues to guide us” for our afective investment (644). After his death at the end of the flm, speared in the side like Jesus Christ, Neville’s mantle as “the Man” is symbolically passed to the young man who rescues him from the Family’s clutches in the middle of the flm and who helps

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Lisa protect the children, Dutch (Paul Koslo), a character with long unkempt hair, wearing a leather jacket and riding a motorcycle. On the back of his jacket is painted in red the upraised red fst of Black Power with the middle fnger extended. We learn that he is a former medical student who not only knows of Neville’s work in bio-warfare, he intended to enter the feld himself before the epidemic. Since the cataclysm, his priorities have changed. His use of weapons and a motorcycle demonstrate his usefulness as a soldier, like Neville, with action sequences showcasing his mastery over this masculine technology, but his jacket adds a note of ambivalence to his portrayal as heroic man. David Bordwell observes that the “open and arbitrary ending” indicates “that we are to watch less for the tale than the telling” (655). Does his ascendancy to leader of what is left of humanity at the flm’s end indicate that Dutch rejects white patriarchal authority and will now care for the children along with Lisa as a post-familial kin-group, or does it just position him as a new white patriarch? Will he give up these props that provide him with individual agency to embrace a living-for-others in a community? Te flm suggests that he might. Like Dutch, Neville has many chances to assert his ftness against the diseased Family in action sequences where he dispatches them with automatic weapons or a powerful rife, emotionlessly killing his enemies. Amy Ransom argues that the flm “downplays the systematic slaying sequences” in order to make Heston more heroic than the other versions of Neville (105). Tis is in keeping with how action heroes are usually portrayed; such flms do not dwell on the consequences of the hero’s violent actions. Far from being a hero, however, Neville is described by Matthias as a predator who hunts and kills them, clouding his defant victimhood. Richie (Eric Laneuville), Lisa’s younger brother, tells him, “You’re hostile, you just don’t belong. At times you scare me even more than Matthias.” When Neville calls them “barbarians,” Matthias agrees with him and adds that they “mean to cancel civilization.” Tis complicates who in the flm is “civilized” and who is a “barbarian” by implying that civilization is the real barbarism. Signifcantly, Matthias was a news anchor before the epidemic and continues to spread “the news,” telling stories that make sense of this strange new world for those whom the disease has forever changed. He and Neville are both following scripts; both consider themselves the only hope for the future, and they are both wrong. Neville’s “pure Anglo-Saxon” blood ensures that the children will survive as a variety of human morphologies and not similar albino mutants like the Family, paradoxically removing whiteness and sameness as standards for humanity.23 By doing so, it disarticulates biological reproduction from reproduction of the socius. Additionally, the flm suggests that the city is no place for the “right” kind of

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society. Cities, places once thought of as more sanitary than the country because they are centers of industry, are revealed as dangerous and dirty when industry and labor cease along with the myth of progress. Te latent violence of the city becomes manifest. Like previous post-apocalypse flms produced in the 1950s, the future is agrarian rather than urban, and labor power is used for the common good rather than individual proft. However, as an action movie, although the flm seems to take a stance against war, it does not do so against violence. Te survivors abandon the city, leaving it to the contaminated Family, and escape into the hills, saved by an angry white man destroyed by his need to protect his property, demonstrating the necessity of white men to secure the future not only through violence but also by abdicating their place in it, much like Heston’s previous role, Moses. After the release of this flm, Heston was instrumental in stoking the anxiety that this abdication causes in many white men. In Angry White Men, Kimmel quotes the aging actor from one of his speeches given during the 1990s, noting that Heston, was less like Moses and more like an angry Pharaoh, feeling powerless as he watches his slaves disappear: “Heaven help the God-fearing, law-abiding Caucasian middle class, Protestant or even worse evangelical Christian, Midwest or Southern or even worse rural, apparently straight … male working stif.” (46)

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Te words could have just as easily been said by Robert Neville in Te Omega Man as he dies, his arms stretched out like a middle-class Christ.

The End of Warrior Manhood and Transformation of Masculine Agency: Escape from New York Each of these alternative personae is not an “image” or stereotype of masculinity; each interacts with the others within the larger, hierarchically ordered feld of power relations; and each has its own discursive history, which became imbricated in its cinematic representation. (Cohan xviii)

Te problem of reproducing the right kind of social subject becomes a family afair in Te Ultimate Warrior. One of the aberrant behaviors of the counter-culture represented by the Family most disturbing to many “normal” Americans was a reimagining of family outside of blood-relations as an extended, voluntary kingroup, and, according to Helen Hester, “kin making, over and against baby making, makes sense when understood as a means of prioritizing the generation of new kinds of support networks, instead of the unthinking replication of the same” that is heteronormativity (63). During the 1970s, the plight of the ideal nuclear family

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became a national crisis. Tis is why “family values” became a major rhetorical straw man for conservative candidates and pundits during the decade; not because the “family” was being threatened, but because it was being reimagined, threatening the dominant fction of what a family was supposed to look like. Te family territorializes a subject’s body by locating it in a schema, and the patriarchal model of familiarity makes this a hierarchy, an asymmetric relation that grants men more power. Te argument over the structure of the family is also about the reproduction of a dominant fction of the imagined community of the nation, one that keeps white men at the center and top of the ideal family (imagined as white) through control over reproduction and thereby control over the future, guaranteeing the unity of society. Like Te Omega Man, Te Ultimate Warrior uses a logic of ftness to establish the superiority of its protagonist, but unlike the Heston flm, it recognizes that violence no longer fts our developing imagination of a future American society that benefts all. It demonstrates the shift in masculine discourse that began to critique martial dominance and instead celebrates a kinder, more caring form of manhood. Importantly, it tracks the transformation of a violent man into a caring one, from a man invested in his autonomy and individual agency to one who lives for others.24 Te use of “ultimate” in the title refers, like that of “omega” in the previous flm, to the “last” warrior, but unlike “omega,” it carries with it the connotation of “best” as well. Tis ultimate warrior saves the future from dominant, toxic masculinity with its totalitarian privilege by giving up violence as his mode of masculine utility, his warrior status, and instead becomes a nurturing father fgure at flm’s end, but this transformation is only accomplished through his self-inficted dismemberment like a punishment or penance. He and his new kin-group escape from the lack of futurity fgured as urban blight in New York City to the usual return to an agrarian rural life. In this way, the flm treats the city not as an icon of civilization, but one of brutality and lawlessness, and it imagines a model of fatherhood divergent from the hegemonic standard, one that is not emasculated by the domesticity of child-rearing or the lack of a valiant, violent quest to prove his virility. Te flm could have been accurately named Te Ultimate Father; although it troubles hegemonic fgurations of fatherhood, it still cannot fnd a way out of a future structured by a patriarchal order. In Te Ultimate Warrior’s urban apocalypse, private property is a thing of the past. New York is divided between opposing social orders that do not respect individual property rights. On the one hand, we see violent men who dominate the streets in gangs as an articulation of public fear about urban lawlessness, in which leadership is determined by size, strength, martial prowess, and brutality. Tey take want they want because violence entitles them to it. Tey allegorize successful

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businessmen in the city. What David Harvey calls “accumulation by dispossession” is exactly how these gangs of men operate. Te flm ends with an image of “the forceful expulsion of peasant populations” when the commune of survivors is overrun by the most dominant gang (Harvey 159). Extending this metaphor of neoliberalization as violent enclosure, the lawlessness of the city acts as the ultimate deregulation of the market to the point where there is no market, just competition. Conversely, a peaceful commune sheltered behind barricades resembling those of the Paris Commune practices a form of participatory democracy and shares resources for the common good. However, this community is shown to be too weak to defend itself from the bands of marauders; they need a man who knows how to fght like the gangs do.25 In Male Matters, Calvin Tomas observes that “being an absolute master would mean being what death is—the agency of the death of others” (191). Likewise, a truly mastering agent would also defy death by choosing the time and manner of their own, a sentiment that will occur later in this study in its examination of road warriors. Te commune entices a warrior (this master of death) named Carson (Yul Brynner) to aid them by providing him with privileged status in the community in distinction to their communal egalitarian values. Brynner essentially reprises his role from Te Magnifcent Seven to play this warrior, but this time he cannot save the community from the barbarians at the gate as his sacrifce in the previous flm accomplished. As with the Family in Te Omega Man, the flm portrays a communal system which is really a patriarchal hierarchy because they rely on the wisdom and knowledge of an old white man, Baron (Max von Sydow) and the capacity for violence of Carson who both consequently have privileged status, and the community fails due to the “weakness” of this father fgure, resulting in the people rejecting the patriarch’s authority and privilege. Tis flm acts as an articulation of the oil crisis of the mid-1970s as well as labor strikes by truck drivers that threatened to shut down national commerce, the same circumstances that compelled George Miller to make his frst flm, and, as will be shown in the third chapter, the second flm of the Max series duplicates the plot of Te Ultimate Warrior. It begins with a long shot of New York seen through weeds, with a rusty abandoned rail car in the foreground, giving the year as 2012 in text overlaying the shot. Tis dissolves to a medium shot of a street with no trafc, flled with piles of refuse and the burnt-out hull of an automobile. More dissolves show other parts of the city and its empty streets while ominous music builds, culminating in a long shot of a half-demolished, derelict building. Much of these images are merely photographs of the actual urban decay happening in the city at the time of the flm’s production as city ofcials, facing economic crisis and

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under the duress of banks, cut back spending on infrastructure and social services (Harvey 45). Te flm displays the real apocalypse now. Following this opening sequence, the narrative establishes an urban food chain. It cuts to a close shot of pigeons, cooing and defenseless like doves of peace, and the music changes to a soft organ melody. Tese birds are emblematic of being at the mercy of predatory men. Such a man intrudes into the shot and chases them, putting the birds in a bag as the music gains in tempo; his dirty unshaven face and torn clothing mark him as underclass, desperate, and he and his bearded friend with even wilder hair continue to collect their meal until one of them is shot with a crossbow bolt. A fght ensues, during which the other man is stabbed. Violence is established as the new norm, replacing the sublimated violence of the symbolic exchange of money, and competing for resources is established as the ordinary relation between men. Te flm then cuts to an idyllic rooftop garden with Baron, groomed and dressed in clean clothing, ascending to his watchtower, where he surveys the neighborhood with powerful binoculars, much like the way Neville does from the balcony of his penthouse apartment. He is indicated as of higher class through dress, the casting of Sydow, known for playing knights, priests, and holy men, and his ability to look down on the city and survey the environs with his mastering gaze from a position of authority, his privileged view of the city. Te narrative cuts to his point of view, watching the gang we just witnessed taking food from the murdered men leaving the building with their loot in an overhead long shot. Tis shot juxtaposes these brutal men with Baron’s “free” peaceful commune supposedly ruled by democracy.26 We later learn that the utopian community structures itself around the ethic that they “do not covet the lives or goods of any people”; they do not dominate or destroy, they reproduce and grow. Tis is an other-directed community opposed to the self-directed ethos of the violent gangs of men and the self-centered ethos of neoliberalism. Te flm treats urban crisis as cultural crisis, but, as Harvey reminds us by citing Gramsci, “political problems become ‘insoluble’ when ‘disguised as cultural ones’ ” (39).27 Te normality of violence established and positioned as an insoluble cultural problem (similar to current discourse on “toxic masculinity” involving a few “bad apples” that need to have their behavior policed rather than a system of entitlement inherent within masculinity that makes it harmful for others), the flm introduces the “ultimate” warrior from this perspective of Baron’s surveillance. His enhanced gaze, shared by the audience with a point-of-view shot, falls on an exotic, shirtless man standing atop the carcass of an automobile, motionless. A man with Baron tells him that the shirtless man has been there for two days, on display. One cannot after all be a self-made man and autonomous when also anonymous (Kimmel

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Manhood 82). Manhood is proven to others, it is a masquerade for the beneft of society as well as self. Masculinity “is performative … because it ‘enacts or produces that which it names’… and in the process ‘regulates and constrains’ the object of its production” (Cohan xv, citing Butler). Signifcantly, we later learn that this man is from Detroit, one of the cities previously central to U.S. industry sufering the most from deindustrialization and fexible accumulation during the 1970s.28 Te combination of these signs, his immobility atop a derelict car and his origin in the “rust belt,” paint this fgure as an icon of an obsolescent, surplus labor population as well as a member of a diminishing working class who in this decade had to fnd employment in the service industry or go hungry. He represents the “silent majority” who had been left to fend for themselves in the popular rhetoric of the New Right. His status as warrior then accommodates his failed status as wage laborer since such a position is often considered emasculating because a man must become dependent on his employer, losing autonomy (Kimmel Manhood 84). In a gesture that complicates and problematizes the position of men as autonomous self-reliant agents, the flm instead shows how even the best warrior needs others to provide food and shelter, that humans are interdependent and not atomized self-contained actors. In economic terms, that means that he must sell his ability to violently dominate others, submitting to the mandates of social groups, limiting the scope of his freedom, but he still chooses whom to serve as a kind of mercenary free agent, the neoliberal subject par excellence.29 As a product and producer of violence, this fgure, when considered in the context of nationalist dominant fctions, enacts an ambivalent discourse of danger and necessity, a peace through strength, and the status that this brings him in the community proves to be precarious and under constant threat, unprotected by the liberal elite represented by Baron. Whereas Te Omega Man depicts intellectuals as causing the end of the world through science, a contagious social disease in the fgure of Matthias, or as an emasculated inefective form of manhood in the case of the Woodstock scene, Te Ultimate Warrior depicts Baron as an elite, educated, benevolent, gentle father fgure who is past his ability to lead in this new world where his privileged status no longer afords authority. He is another aged patriarch who must give up the reigns of society to a newer generation, but this future is not represented by Carson, who is hardly younger than he, rather it resides in the unborn child carried by his daughter, Melinda ( Joanna Miles); Baron must sacrifce himself to ensure this reproductive future. As a maneuver in the “culture wars” then, the flm seems to argue for the rhetoric of peace through strength espoused by the New Right as well as the efectiveness of the free agent of neoliberalism, and the flm’s ending remains ambiguous in its stance on violent masculinity as necessary for reproducing social order.30 It

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also depicts women and racialized others as always already subordinated subjects either in need of protection as victims or being exploited by the gangs of angry white men, and the necessity of a martial class cements a division of labor that requires domestic chores to be the territory of such subordinate people, rendering them into a domestic quotidian technology used by violent men to enable their continued dominance. Tis situation demonstrates the way that, as Silvia Federici observes in Caliban and the Witch, our capitalist society

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does not recognize the production and reproduction of the worker as a social-economic activity and a source of capital accumulation, but mystifes it instead as a natural resource or a personal service, while profting from the wageless condition of the labor involved. (8)

Women, when positioned by apocalyptic thinking, become valuable for their ability to make babies and cement of the bond between men through their exchange value as producer of labor power, reifed into things rather than people. Tese flms are mired in the notion of separate gendered and racialized domains. Te next scene shows Baron discussing the garden with its caretaker, Kal (Richard Kelton). Te plants are “coming back” because they are of “good stock.” While leaving the rooftop and descending stairs, Baron sufers from some sort of attack, the camera watching in medium shot as he clutches his chest and leans against the wall while grimacing in pain, indicating that he is not such “good stock.” His weakness is contrasted with the resolute virility of Carson. Indeed, his association with the garden reinforces this. Baron is feminized in his garden compared to this warrior. Te flm then begins a study of the need to cultivate “good stock,” with Melinda as a vehicle for bearing such stock to a place where it can thrive, a place outside of the dangerous city. Tis opens the possibility that the child will be raised in a verdant space not structured by patriarchal dominance in the way that the city is. Baron is not ft enough for the future, and hires the warrior to ensure that his progeny will continue after he passes, much like the activities of Neville in saving children. Tis flm, in keeping with apocalyptic thinking, uses a discourse of “ftness” or “health” to demarcate the proper subject to populate the future. Te presentation of Baron’s meeting with this mysterious warrior reinforces the masculinist rhetoric of ftness. Te camera reveals Brynner from behind in a close shot that tilts down his body, slowly showing his scarred bald head and bare torso, his sheathed knife at the small of his back, and his black jeans and motorcycle boots, accoutrement that I will examine later in this study when I discuss the tropes of costuming. Te flm then cuts to a low-angle, close, frontal shot of his head and shoulders as he stoically stands with eyes closed as if in meditation,

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oblivious to the danger of the city streets, a fgure of man separate from and master over his surroundings, but this notion is problematized by his need for employment. Te shot/reverse shot sequence that follows emphasizes his superiority over the other men through camera angle by looking down at Baron and his men from Carson’s point of view and looking up at him from Baron’s. He does not respond to Baron’s discourse, and the party of men leaves, only to be ambushed by hungry, desperate “street people,” saved at the last moment by Carson when their lives are in danger. Tus, Carson is shown to be of good stock, while other men in the city are either weak due to pacifsm, like Baron’s people, or murderous and undisciplined like the “street people.” As an icon for the working-class man, he becomes necessary to maintaining society, but only at risk to his own life. Without industry, labor becomes violence, and this is one of the poignant messages of the flm. It ofers an analogy of an economic explanation for urban violence rooted in scarcity rather than the neoliberal rhetoric of voluntary unemployment and laziness. Brynner serves as both agential force in his flm as well as spectacle and object for the audience’s gaze. Fred Pfeil, in White Guys, wonders how a man remains “manly” when subjected to the camera’s gaze in such an objectifying manner (29). Tis is a problem that Steven Cohan observes in Masked Men as always being inherent in the performance of men in flm narratives which he argues was exacerbated in the postwar 1950s. Pfeil argues that the action flms that began being produced in the 1970s, a mode of storytelling that became the main box-ofce draw in the 1980s, reassert male virility and individual agency through violent action sequences that mitigate this supposed feminization, making these flms “fantasies of class- and gender-based resistance to the advent of a post-feminist/ post-Fordist world” that accommodates white men to their position as subjects of this new regime of masculine expectations (Pfeil 28). According to Cohan, during the 1950s, working-class men adopted the values of the middle-class as they also embraced the class mobility that allowed many of them to move to the suburbs and assume the consumptive habits of the upwardly-mobile (xiv). When this promise of social mobility and ascension became a lie in the 1970s, as Nystrom documents, class antagonism increased, and working-class masculine values began to be celebrated as more authentic than those of the middle class. In this regard, the ruined spaces of the postindustrial urban landscape where the action is set in these flms mirror the often wounded bodies of the protagonists (Pfeil 29). Spectacular displays of a muscular male body in popular flms usually serve the dual purpose of showcasing the performance of a superior masculinity while also demonstrating the vulnerability of this body, which provides the action hero with the further opportunity to prove his virility by withstanding pain and “taking it like a man.”

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David Savran argues that this enduring of pain acts as a primary signifer of manliness in postwar America (37). Carson says, later in the flm, that the commune will “want him to perform,” understanding how much his status relies on the performance of his military masculinity, and ultimately, his ability to withstand pain when he must cut of his own hand to save himself in the flm’s climax. His visibility and the display of his naked fesh when introduced into the narrative also acts as a performance that marks him as more “natural” and perhaps animalistic than Baron’s intellectual masculinity, evincing the 1970s interest in working-class masculinity treated by Nystrom. His being an object of the gaze then does not place him in a passive position or “feminize” him because it acts as a performance of his capacity for violence. We watch him, but we watch him act, and we see the results of his actions as he dispatches the “bad guys,” showing no emotion. When Carson agrees to help Baron, the community leader relates that the people in the compound have little hope for the future. He explains, “Tey look to me for salvation; there will be none.” We are shown people living communally, but in a situation of extreme scarcity, even though they are coded as morally superior to those outside of the walls of their compound by their willingness to share the fate of others rather than take what they can for themselves. Signifcantly, the flm contains a sub-plot about another father, Robert (Stephen McHattie), unable to provide for his family. His wife needs more powdered milk for their child, but they have scarce amounts left in the compound larder, and its attendant explains to him that his family has already received its quota. Te common good is more important in this community than his individual needs. Te mother (Susan Keener), depicted as a caricature of a hysterical woman (she is not even granted a name, listed in the credits as “Angry Woman”), relying on the rumor that milk powder can be acquired at a nearby abandoned bakery, calls her husband a coward for not wanting to go out and provide for his family. In distinction from Carson, he will not “perform.” She fnally takes her child to look for milk herself, and the sequence that follows in the dusty, cobwebbed bakery, where they fnd no sustenance, reinforces the fact that Robert is not a “breadwinner” and therefore, by the standards of hegemonic masculinity, less of a man. Te mother collapses into tears after this fnal failure, gang members arrive, beat the father, rape the mother, and fnd the baby, which they use as bait to lure Carson into a fght. He then dutifully performs in another action sequence where Brynner and his stunt double easily dispatch the other men with his knife, but the baby dies anyway, foregrounding the importance of reproductive futurism for the narrative and the lack of hope. Carson will later save the other baby in the flm.

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Te members of the gang are all large white men. Te few melanated people in the flm seem to be reduced to slavery, along with women, in the jailhouse that the gang uses as home base, a place contrasted with the voluntary community of Baron’s democratic commune.31 Racialization depends on the “assumption that white people are just people, which is not far of saying that whites are people whereas other colors are something else” (Dyer “Matter” 540). Richard Dyer argues that “we need to recognize white as a color too,” which is why he prefers the term “non-white” to “people of color,” and I prefer to describe racialized people, borrowing from Janelle Monae, as “melanated,” as simply having more melanin in their skin, recognizing that all skin color ranges over a vast variety of pigmentation (Dyer “Matter” 543). People considered “white” also have varying levels of melanin, only difering in how melanated they are and the tones in which the melanin is expressed due to environment. Supposedly nonracist “colorblindness” is a way to deny the fact that whiteness is a color while at the same time disavowing knowledge of the racial privilege of whiteness and the system of values attributed to melanin in a racialized society. Tis logic informed Richard Nixon’s domestic policies from 1968 until he was embroiled in the Watergate scandal, a stance that Kenneth O’Reilly, in Nixon’s Piano, calls “benign neglect” (322). John Fiske, in Media Matters, calls such reasoning a retreat to an enclave of the mind. Fiske explains, “Te enclave is built for the safety of those who inhabit it,” which makes it automatically marginalize any “other” that does not “belong,” but only in the name of safety (244). Te threat of invasion and contagion, from which such enclave reasoning comes, continues to inform the American social imaginary and, along with a purity condition, subtends the structure of white supremacy, a rhetoric of ftness excluding those who do not ft the standards of the enclave. Although Te Ultimate Warrior has many similarities to Te Omega Man, such as Baron’s ofce flled with traces of the previous civilization like books, the diferences are signifcant. Baron’s home is not a Playboy penthouse like Neville’s. Te only luxury Baron has is cigars, the rare consumable that entices Carson into the compound. His room is also full of clocks, as if he is preoccupied by time, even though he lives at the end of history. His concern is futurity. Also, unlike the luxury automobiles driven by Neville, since the flm establishes the end as caused by oil running out and the rapid spread of epidemics, there are no vehicles used in the flm. While smoking cigars like the privileged men they are, Baron and Carson discuss the hood ornament from a 1981 Cadillac sitting on his desk, shown in close-up, a vehicle Carson says his father owned as one of the last ones made. His name is Carson. Tus this luxury commodity that consumes exorbitant amounts of petroleum is linked to fatherhood and the inheritance of masculinity while these are implicated in the failure of civilization. Tis flm establishes the economic and

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social logic that informs Miller’s later post-apocalyptic warriors. Relaxing as he sits in Baron’s ofce, Carson says, “He really sufered when he couldn’t get more gasoline to run it. I don’t know if he ever said another word. Just sat there while his world was turned of around him.” In this telling, the world did not end so much as it was discontinued, and the fguration of this end as a Cadillac running out of gas indicates that this sign of Carson’s father’s dominant manhood was a product of the industry that caused its own demise with its reliance on fossil fuels. Contradicting the idea of “upward mobility” and the masculine dominance of space via ability to move promised by the postwar years, the flm reveals the fear that men have nowhere left to go but down, and it couches this in terms of disenfranchisement. Following this apocalyptic thinking, men feel entitled to take back what was supposed to be a birthright. At frst (until they turn against him in an act of mob violence and smash his head with a typewriter, disavowing rhetorical power), Baron wants Carson to lead all of his people to a new land like a post-apocalyptic Moses.32 Immobility is defned as a central problem, and Baron ultimately convinces Carson that he should leave the city with seeds from the garden (good stock) and his pregnant daughter (also good stock) since the commune is failing due to dissension among the people and scarcity of food (bad stock). Signifcantly, Baron says “she carries my grandson,” but is corrected by Carson, who says, “or granddaughter.” Baron assumes that the reproduction of society requires passing the mantle of leadership from man to man, but Carson seems to be open to another social formation where the world is inherited by women instead. Baron’s illness prevents him from leading an exodus, and instead he needs to use Carson’s violent body to protect his unborn grandchild, but he makes it clear to Carson that if it comes down to saving one or the other, he is to save the seeds. Carson must take these valuable signs of future life and agrarian society “somewhere they can fourish” because it is “a matter of values.” Baron values the idea of a future more than the future of his own progeny and recognizes that it may not include humanity. He sees beyond reproductive futurism and the end of the Anthropocene to a new beginning. Like previous post-apocalyptic flms, Carson is encouraged to become a farmer and start over away from the city and industry it represents, the modernity that killed the world. Te other major diference between this flm and previous post-apocalyptic movies involves the means used to commit violence; there are no frearms. We are to assume that bullets ran out when the gas did, and no one cares to make them anymore. So, unlike Neville, with his spraying of bullets in impersonal violence against a group of indistinguishable persons, Carson uses only a knife and his superior skill to dispatch gang members intent on doing him harm. He gets his hands dirty, the brutality of the violence more intimate. After chasing him

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through the New York subway system, in the ultimate duel between the ultimate warrior and the leader of the gang hunting them, Carson must turn his knife on himself and cut of his left hand because it is bound to Carrot (William Smith), the gang leader whose weaponized chain entangles Carson’s appendage, and who, after struggling with Carson, now dangles over a pit, threatening to take Carson with him in his fall. Te initiation for men into a validated manhood of individual agency is often a form of masochism, where a man proves his manhood by taking pleasure in being punished, or, in a refexive mode, punishing himself, often in ritualized form. Taking charge of your own punishment becomes a way to assert agency through a paradoxical submission to violation. Tis act saves Carson’s life, but also proves his resolute manhood through the endurance of pain from dismemberment while symbolically severing his connection to the dominant violent masculinity represented by the savage gang and its drag towards oblivion. At the end of the flm, we watch Baron’s daughter give birth to his grandson with Carson as midwife; he uses his knife, this sign of violence and death, to cut the umbilical cord, rendering it into a medical tool for reproduction (making live, rather than making die), and, by doing so, he becomes a reproductive agent rather than agent of death. He saves both mother and child, becoming the new patriarch of this postmodern, post-industrial, post-apocalyptic family as it fees the urban blight, the fnal long shot showing them walking along a beach lit by the dawn, the end of the road and the birthplace of life, having escaped the urban barbarity for an unknown future. Tey continue on their way towards North Carolina, where the remainder of Carson’s family lives. Like Dutch, he must learn how to give up violence as a game that he wins to prove his manhood. Transformed from a warrior into a nurturer, Carson reluctantly takes on this performance of a kinder, gentler masculinity as father of the future, and this fguration of rebirth confates biological reproduction with the reproduction of society.

A Man’s World: Learning to Be a Warrior as Contagious Toxic Masculinity ‘Hegemonic masculinity is the confguration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women.’… [And] as it underwrites positions of power and wealth, a culture’s hegemonic masculinity has to appear to accommodate competing masculinities, too if for no other reason than to defne itself in opposition to these other models. (Cohan 35, quoting sociologist Bob Connell)

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Te decade ended with the release of Ravagers, another urban apocalypse where New York is overrun by gangs of “ravagers” who take what they want, treating the city as a resource for them to exploit, as a bleak space of unfettered consumption and struggle over dwindling commodities, including women, who are dehumanized and used as abject sexual objects rather than vehicles of reproduction and cast aside with the rest of the refuse. It stars Richard Harris as a pacifstic husband named Falk trying to protect and provide for his wife, Miriam (Alana Hamilton) as they hide in an abandoned factory, a mise-en-scène that evokes the end of industry and production, an end to the producer ethic of American labor and the myth of progress it subtends and an allusion to Miriam and Falk being childless. Te frst shot of the flm shows a ruined New York City skyline followed by shots of the empty streets intercut with shots of wilderness while a voice-over explains how everything died, even the oceans, “then it rained again but the land and the people were still barren.” We then see a long shot of one of the gangs of “ravagers” stalking the street before cutting to a long shot of our protagonist running alone through yet more empty streets. We watch as he scavenges in an almost empty store, fnding two cans of food without label, which brings him to tears. Tis survivor subsisting at bare life conditions evokes pathos and stands in opposition to the violent rapacious ravagers; he and his Miriam are clean, indicating their domestic purity, while the savage men are dirty. Falk is followed back to his factory domicile by one of the ravagers, where Miriam waits, an evocation of the practice of separate gendered spheres where a woman’s role requires her to remain at home while the man goes forth into public to provide for her. Te division of labor is one of the primary ways that men remain dominant via the symbolic capital this grants them (Bourdieu 72). She has found an egg, but there is nothing in it, another indication of sterility and the end of reproduction, calling into question their domestic arrangement and the reason for their heterosexual relationship. He is upset that she went to forage and tells her that she does not “have to crawl around out there, that’s my job.” Falk attempts to maintain his sense of manhood in a world that cannot validate it via the symbolic capital of performing the role of breadwinner husband. Instead, he must risk his life to forage from a barren world to provide for his barren wife. He fails as a father by failing to reproduce and by failing to protect her from the toxic masculinity performed by the ravagers. Firearms act as a technology of domination but also as symbolic capital in post-apocalyptic culture and hence are essential to apocalyptic manhood.33 At the beginning of the flm, Falk has none, but as he journeys he acquires progressively larger and more deadly guns. Te use of Harris in this role makes this a complex message about technologies of violent masculinity, since he was known largely for playing military roles and criminals.34

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Having begun in an urban setting, the flm quickly leaves it behind after Miriam is raped and killed. Falk then exacts vengeance by killing the gang leader’s (Anthony James, an actor who portrayed many homicidal or deranged homosexual characters during the decade) male lover in reprisal, leaving the city after this murder to look for the fabled place called Genesis. Looking forward to William Friedkin’s Cruising, rather than fgured as efeminate, homosexuality in this flm is marked by hypermasculine violence, and Falk becomes more like the ravagers when he loses the trappings of a heterosexual life.35 Unlike his previous roles, Harris’s character uses violence in this narrative, but not for heroic purposes. Instead, he joins the trend of rampage antiheroes that became quite popular during the decade, such as “Dirty” Harry Callahan (Clint Eastwood). Te quest narrative then becomes one of survival in a hostile wilderness as Falk is tracked by the ravagers intent on revenge in this cycle of endless violence. Falk ultimately learns how to be an action hero, shooting ravagers like Neville did the Family, and he becomes the shepherd of a new fock of multi-racial people as he accepts the role of patriarch for a group of survivors at flm’s end. Finishing this cycle in self-refexive irony, John Carpenter’s Escape from New York (1981) parodies the previous flms’ portrayals of violent hypermasculinity, taking these conventions to comic extremes. Here the urban apocalypse setting reaches its apotheosis, and it goes out of style (except in Italian exploitation flms made for VHS during the 1980s) until the beginning of the next century. Te renewed interest in visions of urban apocalypse in the current century act as a reaction to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 and the permanent urban warfare that has followed it in the Middle-East as well as the economic collapse of 2008. Te next chapter will begin the examination of Miller’s flms, which place their action in non-urban spaces, ultimately taking violent masculinity on the road and establishing a subgenre of the post-apocalypse that endures to this day as a popular setting. Post-apocalyptic flms in the decade of the 1970s troubled notions of civility and barbarism while also making white male violence seem useful if also dangerous. Tey imagined cultural crises in apocalyptic terms and articulated the neoliberal and neoconservative reaction to identity politics and national decline. Competing forms of masculinity in these flms struggle for dominance, virility, and proof of ftness while the narratives problematize this and suggest that these men cannot ft into any kind of future because they caused the end of the world in the frst place. Tese flms rely for their drama on tropes that the Mad Max flms use in their own ways. Tey portray the failure of fatherhood and its link to the failure of economic masculinity and imagine the future as a perpetual struggle over resources necessitating violence and that a lack of master narratives leads to the

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danger of lawless hordes and unfettered consumption. Tis chapter examined narratives in which the only hope for the future requires escaping from the city to an agrarian existence, suggesting that a new beginning is a return to a previous mode of human life, but also divesting the problematic masculinity the flms display of political valence by locating it in specifc individuals or chronotopes rather than social systems of power distribution through demarcation. Although bleak, these flms end on a note of hope, and we now turn to a series of flms that make such endings problematic and unbelievable. Te next chapter analyzes in more detail the props that hold up the mask of masculinity, enabling men to play the game of manhood to prove they are the ultimate warrior. Studying the masculine technologies of frearms and motor vehicles as part of the apparatus of masculinity, the chapter culminates in an examination of rage and the constant struggle to be king of the road as well as why it drives men to madness.

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Notes 1. A term I am borrowing from Linda Hutcheon’s work on adaptation theory that combines the meanings of layered polysemous discourse in the fgure of the palimpsest with the taboo mixing implied by incest. 2. David Harvey’s A Brief History of Neoliberalism explains this logic of liberalism imagining all of society as a free market that he calls “neoliberalism” in great detail. 3. Nystrom notes: “Te worldwide economic slump that began in 1973, which ended what Eric Hobsbawm calls the ‘Golden Age’ of the post-World War II boom years and inaugurated the ensuing ‘Crisis Decades,’ marked a watershed moment in US class politics. As labor historian and activist Kim Moody puts it, the 1970s was the decade during which ‘business organize[d]‌as a class.’… Tese strategies had the (intended) efect of disciplining the working class, a process that helped cause union membership to drop to only 16  percent of the private sector workforce by the end of the decade (compared to the postwar high of nearly 35 percent in 1953).… Te current lopsided balance of power between a triumphant, mobile capital and concomitant strength of the professional middle class, fnd their roots in the economic transformations of the 1970s” (4). 4. Nystrom observes that there are generally two camps when it comes to discourse about the New Hollywood, one that derides the new high-budget spectacle of the late 1970s, and one that lauds the period between 1967 and 1976 as a moment of European-style auteurism, but they both “argue that the decade inaugurated the development of a ‘postclassical’ mode of flm style,” not to mention a diferent kind of fexible production style that often puts as much money into the marketing of a flm as its production (3). 5. According to Landon, what he calls “science fctional thinking” is that of a virtual subject able to speculate about postmodern technoculture through a recognition of the present as the future, a world so imbricated with fantastic technology as to make it ephemeral and invisible, a realization that one lives in a science-fctional world. I am extending this idea to a realization that one lives in an apocalyptic world.

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6. David Savran argues that the circumstances of the 1970s hindered the advance of American liberal justice and evinced a backlash against liberation politics, but also “a sense of profound anxiety over the loss of the Vietnam War, and more generally over the United States’ role as an imperial power … [resulting in] a whole-sale reconfguration of white American masculinity, a reconfguration that has proven a protracted and complex process” that produces competing models of manhood (193). 7. Laura Mulvey examines this mode of flm in her “Afterword” article that updates her seminal “Visual Pleasure and Narrative Cinema.” 8. Documented in such books as One Nation Divided by Richard Polenberg (282–285); the economic down-turn was hardest on the urban black population (274–276). 9. Te discourses of liberation were replaced in neoliberalism with a circumscribed freedom that made subjects free agents in a supposedly “free market.” As David Harvey notes, “this neoliberal debasement of the concept of freedom ‘into a mere advocacy of free enterprise’ can mean, as Karl Polanyi points out, ‘the fullness of freedom’ for those whose income, leisure and security need no enhancing and a mere pittance of liberty for the people, who may in vain attempt to make use of their democratic rights to gain shelter from the power of the owners of property” (183). 10. Tis failure applied across class boundaries after the gains of the previous decades. For example, the 1950s union jobs ofered “a level of comfort that few … blue-collar counterparts in the American past had been able to achieve” (Sugrue 149). 11. Faludi notes, “Both the feminist and anti-feminist views are rooted in a peculiarly modern American perception that to be a man means to be at the controls and at all times to feel yourself in control” (9). When feminists blame men for social ills rather than the patriarchal order, they fall into the trap of assuming that men are in control. 12. Sugrue notes how the practice of overtime was used as a weapon by the management of industrial centers; it “allowed managers to reduce the costs of hiring and training new workers, as well as benefts packages, while maintaining high production levels. It also diluted union strength by reducing membership” (142). It thus not only kept these working-class men from their families, it also contributed to unemployment. 13. As Sugrue reminds us, “central-city residence, race, joblessness, and poverty have become inextricably intertwined in postindustrial urban America” (3). 14. I am not arguing that these flms are “progressive” so much as instructive, for, as Steven Shaviro argues, “it is high time we rid ourselves of the notion that we can somehow free ourselves from illusion (or from ideology) by recognizing and theorizing our own entrapment within it” (Cinematic 9). Instead, I view these fgurations as historical articulations that continue to shape and inform discourses of race, class, and gender in our present time. Tese flms reveal the paradoxical invisible hegemonic reproduction of white masculine dominance as a gender relationship, demonstrating that “the survival of a dominant fction of masculinity means that some people are reproducing, acting out, performing it … [thus] dominant masculinity … keeps reproducing itself ” (Robinson Marked 151). Te flms under discussion imagine the possibility that this cycle of reproduction might cease. 15. In Stars, Dyer quotes Michel Mourlet at length regarding Heston, noting “that Heston ‘means’ Heston regardless of what the flm is trying to do with him” (131). Mourlet calls him “an axiom,” arguing that “the contained violence expressed by the somber phosphorescence of his eyes, his eagle’s profle, the haughty arch of his eyebrows, his prominent cheek-bones, the bitter and hard curve of his mouth, the fabulous power of his torso: this is what he possesses and what now even

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16. 17.

18. 19. 20.

21.

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22. 23. 24.

25.

26. 27.

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the worst director can degrade” (131). Notice how his body acts a collection of signs that all point to his masculine virility in this description. John Fiske argues that spectacular bodies draw “our attention to the politicization of the body in patriarchal capitalism.… Te body is where the power-bearing defnitions of social and sexual normality are literally embodied, and is consequently the site of discipline and punishment” (73). Heston played Antony in Julius Caesar (1953, 1971) and Antony and Cleopatra (1972), Bufalo Bill in Pony Express (1953), Moses in Ten Commandments (1956), Mike Vargas in Touch of Evil (1958), El Cid in El Cid (1961), John the Baptist in Te Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), George Taylor in Planet of the Apes (1968); Brynner played the King in Te King and I (1956), Ramses in Ten Commandments, Dmitri Karamazov in Te Brothers Karamazov (1958), Chris Adams in Te Magnifcent Seven (1960), Pancho Villa in Villa Rides (1968), and the relentless robotic Gunslinger in Westworld (1973). Like Amy Ransom I am asserting that “the star image is a sign, an icon loaded with meaning” (7). We must also keep in mind, as Cohan remarks, that, “far from reproducing the original person, a star image on flm is itself always a copy of a copy, a mask or persona meant to authenticate a social, racial, and sexual type in the theatricalized settings of a movie and its promotion” (26). In the script, Neville was to shoot at the camera, an act of violence against the audience echoing that of Haskell Wexler’s Medium Cool (1969), which ends with him sitting behind a camera, shooting the audience, implicating them in the flm’s politics, making the flm contagious by disrupting the fourth wall. Tis shot of a man pointing a gun at the camera was used by John Boorman at the beginning of Zardoz (1974) when Sean Connery shoots the audience and can be traced back to Te Great Train Robbery (1903). Tis change in Neville’s character was the result of Heston’s control over the production. He brought the novel to the producer to be adapted, collaborated on the entire project with him, and even suggested the flm’s scriptwriting team (Ransom 98–99). Te flm looks ahead to Heston’s career as NRA spokesman and the assertion that you can pry his weapon “from his cold dead hands” while also capitalizing on his star image as savior of civilization as well as his recent work confronting racism in Planet of the Apes. Robinson notes that such discourses “tend to become popular in eras of critical social change, substituting nature for culture” (Marked 237). Susan Okin makes the succinct point that the logic of “owning” yourself as a possession espoused by Locke and Rousseau fails when one considers two things: “First, persons are not only producers but also the products of human labor and human capacities.… Second, the natural ability to produce people is extremely unequally distributed among human beings” resulting in the exploitation of those bodies in the patriarchal family structure (79). It is an exploitation of their “labor power,” which is to say, their “potential to produce” (Virno 81). Tis can be read as an allegory of the national discourse about the waning of America’s international power during the decade, for which pundits blamed the efete elite intellectual liberals in government. Nixon wrote a book about it that blames the decline on President Carter’s “weakness.” Baron later mentions to Carson that his moniker does not make him aristocracy, but he does wield power in the community through his mastery of words (rhetoric) and epistemic privilege and is given status over the others. Tis depoliticizes the problem or rather hides the political rhetoric. “Ethnic groups do not so much fght about culture as they fght with culture. Of course, not all ethnicity is violent, but it is all competitive. Ethnicity only applies when two or more groups exist and compete in a shared

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28. 29. 30. 31.

32. 33.

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34. 35.

social context. In such situations, though, groups do not struggle or confict over culture but in the name of or under the banner of culture” (Eller 234). I direct the reader’s attention to Sugrue’s Te Origins of the Urban Crisis for details on this matter. Harvey notes that “values of individual freedom and social justice are not … necessarily compatible” (41). He adds that “neoliberal theory conveniently holds that unemployment is voluntary” (53). Tis same ambivalence can be seen in the results of the presidential election the next year when Jimmy Carter, a pacifstic patriarch like Baron, won the race. Tis setting is an apt representation of American society as such. Martinot, speaking of the criminalization of black people in American society, argues that, “Unfortunately, the notion that whites would have to dismantle the concept of ‘criminalization’ is not really a metaphor. From the inception of race and whiteness based on an original outlaw (noncontractual) status [slavery] through the paranoia and violence of all subsequent racializations, the criminalization of people of color is what white identity has always depended on. For this reason, the prison system is at the core of social cohesion in the United States, and imprisonment has become the central motif of dealing with social problems. Te prison system is not only the defense of whiteness but its icon and metaphor at the same time” (208). A subtle irony since Brynner played Ramses hunting Moses in Ten Commandments. Bourdieu argues that all social hierarchy is based on violence or the threat of violence, but that much of this has become sublimated into cultural rituals and practices, turning violence into a symbolic exchange, a structural violation often masked by language and custom (126). Tese flms, by removing the trappings of culture, reveal the violence of interactions in modern American life, especially when resources are scarce. Bourdieu observes that the “ ‘choice’ between overt violence and gentle [Genteel] violence [symbolic] depends on the state of the power relations between the two parties and the integration and ethical integrity of the group that arbitrates” (127). Without such arbitration, and when the power relations are reduced to the factor of who has a gun, overt violence becomes the best and only option. In such flms as Jungle Fighters (1961), Major Dundee (1965), Hawaii (1966), Juggernaut (1974), and Te Wild Geese (1978); Camelot (1967), and Robin and Marian (1976). Following the trend of many 1970s flms, this one pathologizes homosexuality and depicts the gang leader as a raving murderer, a characterization that would make national news the next year with the release of William Friedkin’s Cruising.

References Benjamin, Walter. “Exposé of 1939:  Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century.” Te Arcades Project. Ed. Rolf Tiedmann. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1999. 14–26. Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London, Tousand Oaks, and New Delhi: Sage, 1995. Billy Jack. Dir. Tom Laughlin. Perf. Tom Laughlin, Delores Taylor, Clark Howat. Warner Bros., 1971.

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Bordwell, David. “Te Art Cinema as a Mode of Film Practice.” Film Teory and Criticism:  Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 649–657. Bourdieu, Pierre. Te Logic of Practice. Trans. Richard Nice. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1990. Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble:  Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New  York and London: Routledge, 1999. Cohan, Steven. Masked Men:  Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997. Cruising. Dir. William Friedkin. Perf. Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen. United Artists, 1980. Deliverance. Dir. John Boorman. Perf. Jon Voight, Burt Reynolds, Ned Beatty. Warner Bros., 1972. Dyer, Richard. “Te Matter of Whiteness.” Teories of Race and Racism. Eds. Les Black and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 539–548. ———. Stars. London: BFI, 1998. ———. White. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. Eller, Jack David. Violence and Culture. New York: Tomson Wadsworth, 2006. Escape from New York. Dir. John Carpenter. Perf. Kurt Russell, Lee Van Cleef, Ernest Borgnine. Embassy, 1981. Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch:  Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. New York: Autonomedia, 2004. Feenberg, Andrew. Transforming Technology:  A Critical Teory Revisited. Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2002. Fiske, John. Media Matters: Everyday Culture and Political Change. London and Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994. Five Easy Pieces. Dir. Bob Rafelson. Perf. Jack Nicholson, Karen Black, Billy Green Bush. Columbia, 1970. Freeland, Cynthia A.  “Feminist Frameworks for Horror Films.” Film Teory and Criticism:  Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 627–648. Grant, Barry Keith. Film Genre:  From Iconography to Ideology. London and New York: Wallfower, 2007. Harvey, David. A Brief History of Neoliberalism. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2005. Hester, Helen. Xenofeminism. Cambridge: Polity P, 2018. Hutcheon, Linda and Siobhan O’Flynn. A Teory of Adaptation. 2nd Edition. London and New York: Routledge, 2006. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. New York: Nation Books, 2013. ———. Manhood in America. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore: Te Free P, 1996. Landon, Brooks. “Synthespians, Virtual Human, and Hypermedia:  Emerging Contours of Post-SF Film.” Edging into the Future:  Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural

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Transformation. Eds. Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002. 57–74. Te Last Man on Earth. Dir. Ubaldo Ragona. Perf. Vincent Price, Franca Bettoia, Emma Danieli. Associated Producers, 1964. Looking for Mr. Goodbar. Dir. Richard Brooks. Perf. Diane Keaton, Richard Gere, Tuesday Weld. Paramount, 1977. Martinot, Steve. Te Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2003. Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. London and New York: Berkley Books, 1971 [1954]. Nama, Adilifu. Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film. Austin: U of Texas P, 2008. Newman, Kim. Apocalypse Movies:  End of the World Cinema. New  York:  Saint Martin’s Grifn, 1999. Nystrom, Derek. Hard Hats, Red Necks, and Macho Men: Class in 1970s America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Te Omega Man. Dir. Boris Sagal. Perf. Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash. Warner Bros., 1971. Okin, Susan Moller. Justice, Gender, and the Family. New York: Basic Books, 1989. O’Reilly, Kenneth. Nixon’s Piano:  Presidents and Racial Politics from Washington to Clinton. New York: Free P, 1995. Pfeil, Fred. White Guys:  Studies in Postmodern Domination and Diference. London and New York: Verso, 1995. Polenberg, Richard. One Nation Divisible:  Class, Race, and Ethnicity in the United States since 1938. New York: Viking, 1980. Ransom, Amy. I Am Legend as American Myth: Race and Masculinity in the Novel and Its Film Adaptations. Jeferson, NC: McFarland & Co., 2018. Ravagers. Dir. Richard Compton. Perf. Richard Harris, Ernest Borgnine, Ann Turkel. Columbia, 1979. Rieder, John. Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction. Middletown, CT:  Wesleyan UP, 2008. Robinson, Sally. “ ‘Emotional Constipation’ and the Power of Damned Masculinity: Deliverance and the Paradoxes of Male Liberation.” Masculinity: Bodies, Movies, Culture. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. 133–147. ———. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Ross,Andrew.No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture.New York and London: Routledge,  1989. Saturday Night Fever. Dir. John Badham. Perf. John Travolta, Karen Lynn Gorney, Barry Miller. Paramount, 1977. Savran, David. Taking it Like a Man: Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1998. Schatz, Tomas. “Film Genre and the Genre Film.” Film Genre: From Iconography to Ideology. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. London and New York: Wallfower, 2007. 565–576.

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———. “Te New Hollywood.” Movie Blockbusters. Ed. Julian Stringer. London and New York: Routledge, 2003. 15–44. Shaviro, Steven. Te Cinematic Body. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 1993. ———. No Speed Limit: Tree Essays on Accelerationism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2015. Smokey and the Bandit. Dir. Hal Needham. Perf. Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed. Universal, 1977. Sobchack, Tomas. “Genre Film: A Classical Experience.” Film Genre Reader, 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 103–114. Sontag, Susan. “Te Imagination of Disaster.” Liquid Metal: Te Science Fiction Film Reader. Ed. Sean Redmond. London and New York: Wallfower, 2004. 40–47. Sugrue, Tomas J.  Te Origins of the Urban Crisis:  Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1996. Tasker, Yvonne. Spectacular Bodies:  Gender, Genre and “the Action Cinema.” London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Tomas, Calvin. Male Matters: Masculinity, Anxiety, and the Male Body on the Line. Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1996. Te Ultimate Warrior. Dir. Robert Clouse. Perf. Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow, Joanna Miles. Warner Bros., 1975. Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude. Trans. Isabella Bertoletti, James Cascaito, Andrea Casson. New York and Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2004. Walking Tall. Dir. Phil Karlson. Perf. Joe Don Baker, Elizabeth Hartman, Leif Garrett. Cinerama, 1973. Williams, Linda.“Film Bodies: Gender, Genre, and Excess.”Film Teory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 602–616. ———. Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2001.

chapter two

The End of the Road The Props and Properties of Manhood as a Zero-Sum Game

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Technologies are … fully lived and experienced in our daily actions and practices, and that is why it is important to understand technology not as a mechanical imposition on our lives but as a fully cultural process, soaked through with social meaning that only makes sense in the context of familiar kinds of behavior. Technologies cannot simply determine our behavior, although they are part of a persistent, and often coercive, dialogue about our manners. (Ross 3) Masculinity can be thought of as itself foundational to Western notions of technology as force and tool, as well as tool for force. (Burrill 14) Nothing is more dangerous than a monster whose story is ignored. (Newitz 2)

Te frst chapter examined apocalyptic scenarios that depicted urban space as a lawless place of unfettered consumption where nothing is produced, a situation only tenable when there is just one last man on Earth, because, when others enter the picture, they compete over property and ownership of resources, such as the well water that supplies the invaded community in Te Ultimate Warrior.1 In these narratives, the problem of maintaining a private place of refuge becomes impossible as the city becomes over-populated by the “wrong” kind of people who threaten the very idea of private property with their “savage” brutality contrasted with the “civilized” ethics of a white father fgure. However, as indicated, the flms problematize such clear distinction, revealing the violence that structures and maintains “civilization” and the privilege of this patriarch.

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Te narratives of urban apocalypse in the 1970s are ambivalent about apocalyptic masculinity. Depictions of men doing monstrous things in these flms imagine and demonstrate the danger of a masculinity modeled on dominance unbound by citizenship, social contract, or ideological conscience to reign in this violence, arguing for the necessity of the “right” kind of dominant patriarchy,2 a more rationalized and symbolic violence; structural violence is preferable to overt violence when one has no hope for any other social system not predicated on hierarchy and oppression. However, desperate to maintain a masculinist sense of autonomy, a mastery over destiny, apocalyptic masculinity eschews relationships and therefore cannot “ft” into any future community that requires interpersonal reliance. It becomes a fugitive masculinity, escaping such responsibility, denying the ability and necessity of response. Te answer to urban confict in the flms canvassed in the frst chapter lies in escaping the deterritorialized space of the catastrophe of civilization and starting anew as farmers abroad, representing a frontier that men can territorialize to prove their worth and an escapist rhetoric that subtends the logic of white fight that began in the 1950s in America, continuing throughout the rest of the century. Tis escape from a supposed urban lawlessness was coupled with a “return” to a physical, working-class masculinity that grows and nurtures rather than violently extracting resources to collect capital and thereby proving manhood through economic mastery and winning a competition against all other men in the capitalist market.3 Barry Grant notes that “genre flms work by engaging viewers through an implicit contract” (21). Tese flms establish a contract with viewers to provide fantasies of manhood after faith in economic mastery failed, instigating a genre whose mode of apocalyptic thinking imagines a world where the meaning of manhood is altered, or is in danger of disappearing from a landscape devoid of recognizable cultural markers that would grant it meaning. Tus, by speculating on models of apocalyptic manhood, the flms address this loss of meaning while also expressing panic over the imagining of a loss of agency this meaning used to promise, which was never a property of individual men and instead a product of a privileged position in society enabled by the subordination of others. Tis chapter will examine apocalyptic narratives that leave the city behind and take the crisis of masculinity on the road, altering the conversation. Tey address an identity crisis in white masculinity about utility and type of labor. Tese flms, like their predecessors, hold out the hope of a place where someone still grows things, and humanity can begin anew as an agrarian society, but this future is often unavailable for their central hero, who takes his punishment like a man and, in order to remain an autonomous individual in the driver’s seat of his life, must

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remain separate from society and social attachments, alone and unaccountable to others, embodying a manhood-on-the-run. Te car or motorcycle is associated in modern discourses of transportation with “escape, freedom, and power,” and this rhetoric of liberation had become naturalized by the 1970s (Davies 222). Additionally, vehicles are iconic tropes in consumer society that act as signs of economic status as well as institutional power (police car, fre truck, ambulance, motorcade), and in flms with cars, “the driver is presented in the position of the viewer and the viewed” (Davies 225), focal point of the cinematic discourse and point of view for the audience. John Fiske observes that the “car extends the individual body, gives it control over place, and links it to the social body (the type of car is its driver’s social position sculpted in metal).… Te car is also a panoptic device, not only of police surveillance, but we, too, drive to look” (153). As in the previous flms examined in the frst chapter, public space, especially the road, becomes deterritorialized and contested in these flms, becoming a blank space like that of the urban landscape deprived of working people, which allows for recoding of meanings as well as the examination of the space in the abstract. Te Mad Max flms, more than those confned to urban space, elaborate the logic of “accumulation by dispossession” in further detail, showing how, as Ivan Ascher asserts, the accumulation that Karl Marx called “primitive” is not a thing of the past, but is instead an on-going process of violent enclosure and dispossession (86). Apocalyptic manhood is predicated on the dispossession of both physical and imaginary properties. Tis chapter examines the vehicles and weapons that act as signs and props for the masculine masquerade in road rage flms, technologies that enable the dominance of the road, where vehicles become deadly weapons as dangerous to their drivers as others.

Winning: Masculinity as the World’s Most Deadly Game While avant-garde and original works congratulate the audience by implying it has the capacity to understand them, genre flms can exploit the automatic conventions of response for the purposes of pulling the rug out from under their viewers. (Braudy and Cohen 539)

Tese flms reveal the usually unseen danger of a model of masculinity that defnes itself by its ability to “win” at any cost, that must constantly prove its mastery by any means. J.P. Tellotte argues that “all fantastic texts fnd their true appeal not so much in the sort of ‘escapism or … simple pleasure principle’ that many

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critics emphasize and also use to dismiss the form from serious consideration, but rather in the way they ‘trace the unsaid and the unseen of culture’ ” (206, quoting Rosemary Jackson). In this way, the fantastic trope of road warrior is used to reveal some of the “unsaid” and “unseen” aspects of hegemonic masculinity as well as the excesses of late capitalist commodity culture. Te need to prove manhood by treating problems as games to be won and danger as “fun,” proving manhood by “scoring points,” endangers everyone in these flms. Manhood has been a violent game for men to play for a long time, but recent changes in American culture have encouraged this practice. In Die Tryin’, a study of masculinity and video game culture, Derek Burrill notes how, in the United States, work and play are confated more and more as consumer culture becomes entertainment culture and leisure consumption becomes synonymous with labor, encouraging men to remain boys who play games as their primary occupation, neglecting and denying the adult responsibilities and expectations of manhood, like fatherhood and the ability to be of use to others or proving manhood through economic mastery (5). He asserts that “technology and masculinity can never be imagined as separate” because “masculinity is a form of technology, a set of tools that allows the user [gendered subject] extension of his physical powers” both materially and ideologically, enabling the power of men over others and operating much like a video game avatar in the sense of existing as an imaginary projection of a subject’s identity as a man (Burrill 5).4 Paradoxically, masculinity enables such mastery through force while it also forces men to constantly prove their manhood or “die trying.” Furthermore, the positioning of such men as “toxic,” broken, or psychologically ill, enacts a rhetorical shift from the “political to personal,” which, instead of understanding how such behavior is enabled by hegemonic masculinist ideology and the ways it structures the military-industrial complex, locates the problem in the deviance of “bad” men who have some kind of disease, a positioning of this dominant subject as a victim that elides the social and cultural practices and values producing such “toxic” behavior (Robinson “Emotional” 135). Annalee Newitz notes how public discourse in America demonstrates an “urge to drain all homicidal acts of their political meaning” (51). Tese “diseased,” “wounded” men are then no longer a problem that requires structural, systemic change, but a product of the side-efects of their gender prescriptions, rather than acting out the logic determined by a masculine position in a patriarchal society. Trough the use of its setting and portrayal of apocalyptic masculinity, the Mad Max sub-genre politicizes this fguration of masculinity out of control and demonstrates, as Burrill phrases it, that “the violence of technoscience and technoplay is intimately wrapped up in heteronormative, masculinist imperatives to keep the gender divide stable

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and unassailable” (22). Te failure of masculinity in these flms is often fgured as violent penetration of the body equated with feminization, the violated body contrasted with a wholly masculine, sovereign owner of a male body inviolate.5 Tese flms center on vehicles more than frearms, for, as Burrill notes, violence often requires a tool, “something that simultaneously extends and prostheticizes the male’s penetrative qualities, while shielding him from the external world” (26). Burrill notes that “masculinity (particularly a violent masculinity), as performance, is a complicit part of technological presence and utility” (21).6 To a road warrior, this presence and utility require owning the highway.

White Line Nightmare: The Post-Apocalyptic Road Movie Te road movie promotes a male escapist fantasy linking masculinity to technology and defning the road as a space that is at once resistant to while ultimately contained by the responsibilities of domesticity. (Cohan and Hark 3)

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Tere has never been an epoch that did not feel itself to be “modern” in the sense of eccentric, and did not believe itself to be standing directly before an abyss. Te desperately clear consciousness of being in the middle of a crisis is something chronic in humanity. Every age unavoidably seems to itself a new age. (Benjamin Arcades 545)

Bennet Schaber succinctly describes the evolution of the road flm as a pseudo-Biblical text where “Exodus … gives way to Apocalypse” (39). Te fantasy of escape and the promise of liberty lead to revelation or disaster. Tese flms assume that the road leads away from boring civilization towards adventure, but what happens when civilization is gone, when there is no home from which to escape? When the motor vehicle no longer takes a man to and from his place of employment and home, acting as the means for him to prove his worthwhile masculinity as a breadwinner for his family because the road no longer connects places of production, where wage labor is performed, and reproduction, where labor power is produced, it becomes a meaningless path. It is then re-inscribed with meaning by becoming the only place left where a man can prove he is the master of his destiny. Tis contested space of the road is linear, but it leads nowhere when there is no place like home to return to; it becomes the path to oblivion.7 Te road becomes “neither path to escape nor mediation zone between locations … [but a] site of transformation” (Varga 262), and the future becomes a bleak, competitive landscape structured by scarcity, a present that cannot be escaped, one haunted by past history that will not allow progress into the future, doomed to a never-ending cycle of violence.

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In Mad Max, the frst flm of the series, one of the opening shots that establishes the mise-en-scène of road confict displays a sign that reads, “Anarchie Road 1.6km,” indicating that the flm begins in a place very close to the end of civilization, but we are not there yet.8 Te flm is pre-apocalyptic, depicting a society in rapid decline. As the law of the state and its ordering structure erodes in this imagining of a near future operating as a lens to view the present, the road becomes a deterritorialized and contested property of manhood that allows for a recoding of masculine meanings as well as the examination of individual agency in the abstract. Leo Braudy, investigating military masculinity in 17th century England, notes that the fgures of “both the highwayman and the pirate represent a freedom from conventional identity, possible for every man in wartime, but impossible in peace” (160). George Miller and Byron Kennedy tapped into this sentiment of freedom from social codes by positing the highwaymen of the future, pirates of the roadways. Te fgure of a post-apocalyptic road warrior operates as an icon of neoliberal subjectivity in the way that he becomes an isolated and alienated “free” agent whose only goal can be that of surviving a precarious position whose precarity only ever increases on a road to nowhere.9 Tese men who no longer ft into society instead struggle to prove their ftness on the road in a deadly game. When progress seems a thing of the past, and there are no more frontiers to cross, do these men, as Claire Corbett suggests, merely drive in circles without end? She argues that “the focus on cars, speed, metamorphoses and escape” structures the series of flms into a theme of “circularity … [with] an enduring sense of stasis despite the exhilaration of the long chase sequences” (348). Te only progress Max makes from flm to flm is towards oblivion, in fact leaving the road entirely in the third flm and entering the desert they call “the nothing.” Tis aspect of his story is in keeping with the traditions of Australian flmmaking that Meaghan Morris calls “persistently conquistadorial in its attitude to the land … insistently masculinist … [and in which] fail[ing] gloriously against an insuperable opponent is the ultimate proof of heroism” (131). Tat being said, Miller, in an interview with Danny Peary, remarks that he does not consider “anything in the Mad Max flms … specifcally Australian,” and this was his intention, wanting to market the flms internationally and especially to an American market (281).10 He and Kennedy wanted to take the genre of road flm and make it “a horror flm in the tradition of Carrie” (Buckmaster quoting Miller xvi). Although this intent is certainly one of the reasons why the flms became so popular in the United States, they do however portray the themes that Morris elaborates as Australian. She remarks that, for Max, “the line of his slow ‘becoming’ as a survivor, and as a diferent kind of inhabitant, is overtaken and infected by those of the more rapidly moving societies he crosses on his way.… He is a nomad, wandering into other people’s centers and

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spaces of movement” (Morris 131, italics hers). Te frst flm is his story, but in the others, he becomes part of other people’s stories while remaining a privileged observer of the action, becoming, in the most recent, a passive victim for the frst half of the narrative. His agency and heroism are suspect in every flm. In the case of the second flm, known as Mad Max II internationally and Te Road Warrior in the U.S. market, the idea of circularity becomes a visual metaphor as the group of survivors who guard an oil pump and refnery are circled by a menacing mob of road warriors who cannot leave without the precious resource the survivors own, a trope lifted from early 20th-century Western flms when pioneers would circle their wagons, surrounded by the “savage” racialized fgures of indigenous peoples evoked as well in Miller’s flm by the warriors’ Mohawk haircuts and use of leather and fur. Miller and Kennedy use these tropes to link their flms to the genre conventions of the Western while also drawing attention thereby to the lack of any indigenous people in this space, ostensibly the Australian outback. It is as if they have been erased from or were never part of its history, like Australia was just a “deserted island” found by white colonial powers. Corbett argues that Miller’s flms do not “ignore” such persons, “but that their mystique is simultaneously summoned, used and efaced all in the same moment” (339).11 Such racialized bodies were also missing from the earlier Westerns to which the flm alludes, those roles usually played by white actors in make-up portraying racist stereotypes, drawing from the primitivist colonial mythology of American pioneering that disavows the genocidal expansion of U.S. manifest destiny by coding it as victimization by brutal natives rejecting civilization. Furthermore, the plot structures of both the traditional Western and Te Road Warrior imagine a confict over resources and territory (one that disavows the ownership of those already there), and Miller, by foregrounding the aspect of resource extraction as the primary signifying act that drives the flm’s action, links this confict to industry, capitalism, and colonialism; the things blamed for the social collapse in the prologue that he added to the American release of the second flm, which explains the circumstances that led to the end for an audience not likely to have seen the frst Mad Max flm because it was not marketed or distributed well in the United States. Corbett argues that the fgure of Max articulates a “trauma of dispossession” (333), and in his aspect as an angry white man this is certainly true, but the flms also register a broader collective social trauma of dispossession that overcodes such masculinist rhetoric about his personal strife and gestures obliquely towards Max’s plight being but a microcosm of a larger, longer history.12 Te new economy of vehicular dominance relies on combustible fuel, and, since these men do not make anything new, but scavenge as they roam, the issue

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of reproduction that loomed so large in the flms canvassed in the frst chapter of this study is completely ignored after Max loses his family to road violence; reproductive futurism is replaced by a technological vehicular futurism when all that matters is the “juice” that keeps the machines running. Schaber argues that road flms posit a

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simple being in the world as a kind of capitulation to a blind necessity. Freedom, which all of the protagonists of these flms demand, is reduced to a right of which one feels deprived … [and the] marginality [of these men,]… like the freedom toward which it grasps, is abstract and without content … [little more than] the freedom to drive. (34)

Tis embrace of vehicular freedom is a capitulation to the slogans of automobile advertisements, and the road rage depicted in the Mad Max flms indicates anger caused “by a new postindustrial landscape” that alters the context of this freedom (Lockhurst 145).13 Tese men are driven to express and prove the freedom to drive. As in Ravagers, with this resignation of the future ofering anything new and reproduction of the species as a thing of the past, women are treated as another resource waiting to be used for instant sexual gratifcation, and if not taken into the gang of warriors, discarded on the roadside as just another piece of used detritus.14 Tis violent road work redefnes class structure. Te road agents that populate the post-apocalyptic world of Miller’s flms patrol and roam just like the agents of authority, the MFP (Main Force Patrol) or “the Bronze” of the frst flm, and the parallel between these groups is made explicit in the second flm by many of the gang wearing the paraphernalia and costume of the police from the frst. Ultimately they are both playing the same road game; in the frst chase sequence of Mad Max one of the Bronze states that his car is “still in the game” after a crash, framing the action as such. Tey create a new social order dominated by men, men with no home and no ties to the rest of humanity, fugitives from the past social order who express an excess of pleasure unrestrained by morality or cultural code demonstrated by their freedom to drive. What drives these men is love of dangerous, fast vehicles, and the opportunity to face danger and take it like a man. Tey do not place themselves in harm’s way to protect a community, which is the model of hegemonic masculinity in many cultures (this includes Max; his journey in the frst flm is from such a hegemonic position to one that helps others only for his own beneft), instead, these road warriors face danger to be witnessed doing so by other men and for no other reason; they do it to score points in the game of apocalyptic masculinity. Te esteem of other men in your homosocial group is all that matters in this future. Brian McFarlane argues that “part of the flm’s mesmeric efect derives from its use of gently rolling countryside as visual counterpoint to violent movement and a pounding score … [and] the drama of a powerful machine

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splitting a peaceful landscape” (79). Lacking any agency in a meaningless world with no future, where patriarchy no longer ofers a suture for masculine anxiety, the road warriors exploit any and all in their path for the sake of self-aggrandizement, as a game they are going to win or die trying. Tis masculinist discourse becomes more problematized and critiqued as the flms progress. Colin MacCabe argues that, contrary to much early cinematic theory such as that of Andre Bazin, “flm does not reveal the real in a moment of transparency but rather … is constituted by a set of discourses which … produce a certain reality” (182, emphasis mine). Tese flms produce a fast, dangerous reality for their audience through spectacular stunt work, creative camera rigs on vehicles, and montage editing that conveys a sense of motion to the viewer as if along for the ride, much like early cinema’s performance of the “phantom ride,” where viewers would watch a flm made by attaching a camera to the front of a moving vehicle, usually a train or tram.15 Formal features of a flm, or the style in which it is presented, can be usefully regarded as being part of the content of the text ( Jameson 127). Films have always celebrated the apparatus with showy camera work and editing; Tom Gunning asserts that “it is the incredible nature of the illusion itself that renders the viewer speechless” (740). We do not go to movies for the realism; we want spectacle. But to understand any of the conventions used to produce this spectacular reality-efect, I need to frst elaborate Miller’s predecessors in 1970s road cinema, returning to 1971 and two exploitation road flms that began a cycle of American road rage flms, both of which are texts interwoven into the Mad Max narratives.

Driving Me Crazy: Class Confict and Masculine Crisis in Duel (1971, Steven Spielberg) and Vanishing Point (1971, Richard Sarafan) Our recognition [of genre] takes place not in relation to individual flms but to a total feld which includes a range of contemporary flms. (Tasker 68)

Since its invention at the beginning of the 20th century, American and Australian men have had a love afair with the automobile as a symbol of freedom as well as class status, a liberty linked to the autonomy promised by hegemonic white masculinity and its role in commerce. During the 1950s and 1960s, this use of the car and motorcycle as signs of masculine power that prove the virility of their operators became popularized by flms such as Rebel without a Cause (1955, Nicholas Ray) and Te Wild One (1953, Laszlo Benedek). Michael Kimmel notes that “the

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motorcycle gang of the 1950s was a descendant of the Arts and Crafts Movement’s re-creation of the medieval guild [ofering] control over the machinery, individual autonomy, and mastery within a context of blood brotherhood” (Manhood 243). Tese decades also saw a rise in the popularity of watching competitive racing (both sanctioned and illegal), live or as flms, a practice that occurred on racing tracks and the street, leading to a thriving market for the sale of sports cars ofered to young men, and we can see the continuation of this discourse in the incredibly popular Fast and Furious (2001–2020) series of flms (the frst is a remake of a flm from 1954 that spawned the genre of race flms), to name only one example out of many.16 Tese vehicles were signs of class status used by Playboy masculinity to indicate sophistication and virility as well as signs of power and dominance representing speed and used by working-class men to display both driving ability and technical mastery over the vehicle’s engine. Tey extended the reach of male force and the obsession with control.17 Filmmakers exploited this fascination with “horsepower,” and these earlier flms from the 1950s and 1960s are quoted in the masculinist narratives of Vanishing Point and Duel.18 As Derek Nystrom argues, the 1970s cinematic depictions of working-class crisis operated “as dramas of masculinity and whiteness; they are flms in which class, to invert Stuart Hall’s maxim, is the modality in which race and gender are lived” (14). Tey reduced the plight of the workingman to that of a white man in confict with criminals and corrupt authority. As argued previously in this study, this crisis becomes so heightened in such narratives that it is more descriptive to call these flms melodramas of masculinity and whiteness than action flms, and in this hysterical identity crisis, vehicles play a crucial role. Te vehicles, like the working-class men, are depicted as both a threat to the manhood of the professional-managerial class and also an object of forceful “natural” manhood to be desired. In such flms, the viewer, by use of the camera’s point of view, is compelled to identify as much with the vehicle as the man driving it. Indeed, we never even see exactly who is driving the homicidal truck in Duel, provided only with oblique mirror images of a man wearing refective sunglasses and extreme close shots of cowboy boots, positioning the smoking vehicle itself as an infernal monstrous character in the flm, an atavistic icon of working-class masculine frustration, much like Christine (1983, John Carpenter), the eponymous murderous car from a Stephen King novel of the same name. Te theme of a road duel as an act of vengeance links the flm to other rampage flms of the 1970s where, as Leo Braudy puts it, “the movie avenger of private wrong acts beyond the law” (156), and is an echo of such narratives from earlier centuries where a man proved his righteousness and enacted revenge in single combat, but this newer version positioned the man not as

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a wronged aristocrat or gentleman, but a simple workingman wronged by society. Tese are usually “men without family names, who have only themselves” and fght for personal honor and individual pride (Braudy 156). In most Hollywood cinema that features cars, they are a safe space where a white man can watch the world pass by as a spectator separate from his environment, like in countless detective and police flms where it is used as a place of surveillance. Duel disrupts this myth of safety and escape, evident through use of music and the paranoid afect of Dennis Weaver as a salesman intent on driving fast on California highways to meet a client because, like so many men in road flms, he has a deadline to meet. Duel was adapted by Richard Matheson from his last published short story, and follows the pattern of his other narratives of middle-class men unmanned by their domestic and professional responsibilities, fgures of the “man in the gray fannel suit” who are given, through a usually fantastic aspect of the plot (like the virus in I Am Legend), the opportunity to stand up and prove their resilient manhood and individuality in the face of domestic confnement. Te narrative foregrounds masculinist discourse through a talk radio show played over the opening credit sequence. Tis montage displays in long shots, like in Te Omega Man, a red luxury vehicle, but this time driving out of the “civilized” space of Los Angeles and into the rural mountains that surround it. A man calls in to the radio show to complain about his wife and her constant nagging about his responsibilities. Tis emasculating discourse is paralleled with a call that the salesman makes home to his wife ( Jacqueline Scott) soon after, in which she reminds him to be home in time for dinner (a domestic deadline on top of his economic one). Driven by a tight schedule, he passes a smoking, dirty tanker truck on a two-lane highway, and it spends the rest of the flm attempting to force him of of the road, an act, considered by many who have written about the flm, of working-class rage against the privileges of the professional-managerial class.19 Tis flm depicts a white man besieged, but instead of his home, he is protecting his car. Tis fgure of masculine crisis manages to trick the truck into a head-on collision in a game of chicken rendered as a slow-motion spectacle of destruction, and the salesman proves his manhood against adversity and animosity on the road by sacrifcing his car, this symbol of masculinity and class status, to orchestrate the crash. Braudy is worth quoting at length here: Te paradoxical place of dueling in the early modern state … resembles the politically ambiguous fgure of the cowboy in American westerns. Te western movie duel on a dusty main street in full view of the townspeople draws deeply upon the chivalric underlay of modern masculinity. Professing motives of personal revenge and honor, it appears to be beyond politics, yet it has political implications. (156)

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Te moment of this collision or end to the duel, and subsequent meticulously documented crash is a recurring motif in the Mad Max flms, and it operates as the ultimate test of the masculine resolve of the driver while at the same time showing how precarious his mastery over the road will always be. After the slow-motion replay of the crashing tanker truck from several angles, replete with sound design that includes not only the crashing sound of the vehicle but also the growl of an animal, the flm ends with long shots of the salesman sitting on the side of the canyon into which the vehicles have plummeted, smiling contentedly. Te viewer does not know what lesson this ordinary man has learned through this ordeal except maybe that he is “man” enough to face fear and able to sacrifce the sign of his manhood, that beautiful red car, to put a stop to the toxic masculinity that stalks him. One can imagine that this man never returns to his domestic life and instead walks a new path, living his life on his own terms, “like a man.” He gains such agency by giving up a vehicle that ties him to a class status the flm has positioned as “weak” and inefectual. Vanishing Point, on the other hand, displays the crisis of working-class white masculinity behind the wheel, the kind that races on streets illegally and modifes vehicles for maximum power, by presenting Kowalski (Barry Newman) on the road with another deadline. He must be in San Francisco the next afternoon and attempts to drive from Colorado in one of the aforementioned modifed, powerful vehicles while hunted by a variety of police forces for transgressing trafc laws and fouting their authority. A  blind underground radio announcer, Super Soul (Cleavon Little), learns of his story and begins broadcasting updates, framing his chase and making Kowalski into a folk hero, a rebellious outlaw pitting his independence against the system like so many who precede him in American mythology, most especially recent fgures like Bonnie and Clyde and John Dillinger. Revealingly, he describes this renegade race car driver as the “last American to whom speed means freedom of the soul.” Like a blind prophet from myth, Super Soul becomes a guide to Kowalski, giving him updates on the movement of the police as a gesture of solidarity from a blind black man to this renegade racer. Trough fashback montage, we learn that, before racing cars and motorcycles, Kowalski served in the war in Vietnam and then as a police ofcer in San Diego, leaving the force, disgusted by the abuse of power. Unlike the depoliticized action/ revenge hero discussed by Braudy above, Kowalski is provided with an overdetermined political motivation for his actions, positioning him as a man who has been systematically and historically wronged by his society and its government. In this way, he becomes one of the “forgotten” men that Faludi writes about, a man who has served his community, but it has not served him.

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Like Max Rockatansky (Mel Gibson), who will follow in his footsteps (or tire tracks), Kowalski is fgured as dispossessed and no longer has anyone to live with nor anything for which to live.20 Ultimately unable to escape the police, he drives at full speed into a roadblock made of industrial construction equipment and dies in a blaze of glory, a martyr to independence and defying authority meant to appeal both to the young working-class men who identify with his subject position and also those men who would identify with the salesman of Duel and feel emasculated by their social situation in the professional-managerial class, living vicariously through Kowalski’s struggle for rugged individualism, a quest that ultimately fails. Tese flms provide the central antagonisms and the template for the Mad Max flms that Miller then uses to tell a story about wounded masculinity on a road to nowhere.

Going Slightly Mad: The Road as Phantasmagoric Freedom and the Obsolescence of Authority

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Tis world of half meat and half machinery is one of the lethal places that make up our wound culture, in which death is theater for the living. (Seltzer 22)

Much ink has been spilt analyzing how the fgure of Mad Max fts the archetypal monomyth of Joseph Campbell’s theory of the heroic journey. However, the universalizing of this fgure is akin to the superordination of the white male subject in European discourse that positions white men as the standard unmarked subjects of history. Instead, this analysis will discuss what makes Max peculiar and particular to the historical moment of the shift from the 1970s into the 1980s and how he fts into this period’s masculinist rhetoric. McFarlane remarks that the two flms from that decade’s “Australian flm revival” that were the most successful internationally both advertised the gender of the protagonist, Mad Max and Te Man from Snowy River (1982, George Miller, not the same as the George Miller who made Mad Max), explaining that “the images by which Australia is instantly recognizable in the world at large are of men, of white men,” and this is related to a “suppression of the role of women, relegated to the sidelines in most recent Australian flms” (48).21 Treating Max as a “monomyth” also ignores the importance of father fgures to the meaning of the flms, as either failures or absent, a discourse noted by Faludi that arose after World War II (WWII) when the authoritarian father that boys had to stand up to was replaced by his being away either at work or with other men (375).

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Rather than universal, this analysis positions Max as a specifc historical fgure articulating a cultural crisis of manhood. He was also a divergence from the typical protagonist of Australian flms, owing more to the infuence of American rampage flms (McFarlane 48–49).22 Although action movies, action in the Mad Max flms changes nothing and is fgured as hopeless and pointless. In this endless cycle of violence and crashing vehicles, the flms become an examination of a stalled masculinity on the go, a depiction of a masculinity unable to master anything except the vehicle of manhood, a vehicle shown to be dangerous and ultimately deadly to the primary site of hegemonic masculinity, the male body. Max goes “mad” in the frst flm and joins the nomadic warriors of the road. Tis fguration of road rage as madness positions these men as “toxic” or broken, psychologically ill, enacting a slide from the political to the personal, which, instead of explaining how such behavior is enabled by masculinist ideology and the structures of the capitalist-military-industrial complex, locates the problem instead in deviant “bad” men who have a psychosocial disease, placing a dominant subject in the position of a victim that elides social and cultural practices and values, not to mention the circumstances of history.23 Tey represent a homeless surplus population of violent aggressive men unbound from subordination to bourgeois domestic values contrasted with nomadic vacationers who have a home to which they can return. Tis is made explicit in the frst chase sequence of the flm when a police car crashes through and obliterates a mobile home towed by a vacationing family. Although this prop was prepared structurally to explode in the proper way, Miller insisted on specifc verisimilitude for this brief shot: he wanted everyday household objects to rain from the wreckage as a sign of disrupted domesticity. In this apocalyptic narrative, the road becomes a locus for an accident waiting to happen, an always imminent crash and burn overdetermined by the road itself, and it owes a great deal to an earlier Australian flm for this sentiment, Peter Weir’s second feature, Te Cars that Ate Paris (1974).24 In Weir’s odd narrative, a tiny, rural, ironically-named Australian community bases their identity and economy on scavenging parts from cars that crash on a dangerous curve near the town, using this as a synecdoche for Australian society.25 Te enterprising citizens of Paris sell these parts to fx vehicles and repurpose them for other uses, even ornamental; interior sets in the flm contain many works of art made from such automotive technology. Tis scheme involves setting up car lights at this treacherous curve which they use to blind oncoming trafc, thereby causing the accidents that fuel their economy, troubling the diference between accidental and agential. Te flm ends apocalyptically as the youth of the town destroy it with their custom-made scrap vehicles covered in armor and spikes, looking quite similar to the custom vehicles used in the later Max flms, especially the most recent.26 Like this town,

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the MFP in Mad Max are also in the business of creating accidents by running down the mad and reckless men who fout the rules of the road through their performance of hypermasculine brutality. Vehicles are in this narrative both signs of freedom and policing of freedom and serve as simultaneous tools of anarchy and governance. Te frst sequence of Mad Max is a truncated quotation of another flm from 1974, Dirty Mary Crazy Larry ( John Hough), the road equivalent of single combat in which a race car driver, Larry (Peter Fonda), who was expelled from legitimate racing due to his drinking habit, commits a robbery with his friend and mechanic, Deke (Adam Roarke), but their homosocial bond and smooth getaway is threatened by the inclusion of Mary (Susan George), Larry’s new girlfriend. Te flm relies for its drama on the masculine hysteria of this situation as Larry keeps failing to prove his free agency by way of driving, and the car, like him, needs constant repair.27 Like in Vanishing Point, the majority of screen time involves car stunts, and the audience is encouraged to identify with the criminal as he defes authority and proves his manhood by eluding his pursuers. Proof of masculinity becomes fugitivity in these flms. Also like that flm, Larry, Mary, and Deke all die in a blaze of glory at the end when their powerful car collides with an oncoming train, becoming martyrs for the illusion of free agency. In the chase sequence that begins Mad Max, the fugitive Nightrider (Vincent Gil) seems to be literally insane, rather than just reckless like “Crazy Larry,” and his mad chase in a stolen police interceptor, replete with Biblical epithets shouted over the radio, after causing mayhem and threatening the lives of civilians, ends with a crash and freball made even more spectacular by Miller and Kennedy attaching a military rocket to the stunt vehicle.28 “Nightrider” is an ironic choice for a name when one is a fugitive since the historical meaning of the term defned road agents who roamed at night in search of fugitives. As such, his crash renders him forever fugitive from the social order; unable to be free of social constraint, he enacts the ultimate escape. He refers to his vehicle as a “fuel-injected suicide machine” and uses it to prove his agency by causing his own death. Te rest of the flm will posit vehicles as murder machines. Roslyn Weaver notes that “fuel is the ultimate prize [in Miller’s flms] and those who have access to it have freedom and power; those who do not either perish or struggle for it” (92).29 Tis same fuel that enables the freedom the car represents also enables the freball it becomes when it crashes. It is a dangerous means of agency. Tis hyperbolic car crash that ends the frst chase sequence in Mad Max showcases the spectacle of acceptable road violence in this world not very far removed from our own, and the appeal of these flms relies as much on the explosive acts of destruction as the spectacular vehicles and stunts. Te audience

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wants to see these sleek machines smashed to pieces and bodies fy through the air, even though it breathes a sigh of relief when the child threatened by the chase is saved by its mother at the last second. Te flm “targets” the family, and the sense of inevitable doom in the narrative leads to a mother being critically wounded and child dying, a fatalism often seen in Australian flms, what Morris calls a “routine assimilation of male violence and vision” into a naturalized destruction (116). Te audience wants to see the spectacular limit to this highway game, relishing the consequences of failure as much for the purposes of schadenfreude as masochism; it wants to see the protagonist punished as well and feel his failures with him, for, as Morris asserts, “if its apocalyptic elimination of the wife-and-child was, by our standards, ‘natural,’ Mad Max was unusual in presenting its hero as having been happy as a husband and father” (117).30 Max does not begin as a fugitive, but the road makes him one. In this flm, the cars are treated as characters much like the infernal truck from Duel. Kieran Tranter observes that “it is through … car identity that the characters are known and ordered” in this narrative (70). Te identities of the characters are fgured through the vehicles that they drive, and this practice becomes more explicit as the series develops, with the most recent flm personalizing cars with names and signs that link them to their drivers.31 Miller’s and Kennedy’s intention making the flm involved breaking into the international action movie market, but more importantly they wanted to appeal to the target American market of young men that they knew would be attracted to the display of vehicles and stunts (not to mention spectacular crashes).32 Since they lacked the funds to flm at the location frst written into the script, the city streets of Melbourne, Miller and Kennedy were forced to place the flm’s action on the rural roads outside of the city. Tis move aligns the flm with an apocalyptic tradition in Australian fction that depicts the “wilderness” of the interior as “a place of testing and judgment” (Weaver 11).33 Michel Foucault, in his fnal lectures, published as Te Hermeneutics of the Subject, traces the ways in which Western subjectivity became, by way of Stoic philosophy and the Catholic Church, a life-long test, to the point where testing becomes “a general attitude toward reality” (431).34 Tis idea of life as test, as elaborated earlier, is also a masculinist rhetoric of subjectivity in need of proof, and it leads to the practice of manhood as a game that men are supposed to win if they want to be men. Te test in this flm relies on the mastery of motor vehicles. Although he at frst fails, Max ultimately passes his road test by enduring punishment and executing the gang members who have wronged him, becoming by flm’s end a mass murderer who kills far more people than any of the antagonists, a fact not lost on Mel Gibson when interviewed about the flm; during the narrative, Max transforms from antihero into

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psychopath, from privileged ofcer of the law to fugitive angry white man, much like Nightrider.35 Te following flms of the series attempt to assuage this monstrosity somewhat by giving him others to save since he failed to protect his family. Te change in setting to a barren landscape instead of urban blight also begins a trend in the rest of the flms which “ultimately reject the promise of a new world by suggesting that the only reality is the desert wilderness while the coastal perfection is a false illusion” (Weaver 101).36 Before going fully mad, Max spends much of the frst flm “trying to put sense to it,” but this cannot be done. Te narrative structure of a man pushed past his limit becoming a murderer became its own genre in the 1970s, a series of rampage flms inaugurated by the aforementioned Dirty Harry (1971, Don Siegel) in which, as Susan Jefords articulates, “a larger-than-life superhuman hero battles alone against an increasingly deteriorating society in which the only recourse from crime, violence, and corruption is the determined individual who acts” (16). Although he is not a superhuman hero (which is articulated by such things as infnite ammunition) like Harry Callahan in his series of flms, Max “solves” crime through murder, leaving the social structures and corruption that led to the crime intact ( Jefords 18), treating a social symptom with the pharmakon of violence, a cure that poisons the body politic. Vehicles in this near-future pre-apocalypse are the ultimate symbol of power, and, as Gilles Deleuze reminds us in his book about Foucault, power “is less a property than a strategy, and its efects cannot be attributed to an appropriation” (25). A subject does not “have” power so much as they employ it, and in the Mad Max flms this power is measured in both the “horsepower” of vehicles and a man’s propensity to violate others’ bodies and property.37 Several times in the flm, Max forces others of of the road by driving directly at them in a game of “chicken,” never wavering in his resolve, proving his superior mastery of the road through suicidal self-control, ultimately chasing Toecutter (Hugh Keays-Byrne), the gang’s leader, into a deadly collision with a huge truck in a direct quotation from the end of Duel. Although, instead of the hyperreal slow-motion crash in Spielberg’s flm, Miller uses a frantic montage of quick shots that includes an extreme close-up of bulging eyeballs like a cartoon character which culminates in the truck demolishing and running-over the assemblage of motorcycle and rider, causing his spectacular demise, in which not only is Toecutter’s body mangled, but his precious motorcycle is smashed to bits of scrap metal by the awesome power of oncoming trafc. Te opening sequence of Nightrider’s chase not only sets Max apart from the other ofcers of the highway because he is more efective and maintains a stoic calm, it also displays the incompetence of these lesser men as well as their lack

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of concern for the public they are ostensibly supposed to protect. Te frst ofcer that we see voyeuristically watches a nude couple copulate in a feld through the telescopic sight of his rife instead of watching the road. We are shown this point of view to implicate the audience in the act. We are also easily distracted by prurient acts; this is why we watch a flm like Mad Max. After being called into the chase, this man and his partner are shown to bicker and not cooperate; they clearly do not like each other. Tis contrasts with the close and loyal bond between Toecutter’s gang later in the flm and Max’s relationship with his best friend, Jim, “the Goose” (Steve Bisley). Indeed, Nightrider’s insane driving, called “terminal psychotic” in the flm’s diegesis, is performed solely as a tribute to and display for Toecutter; he repeatedly shouts, “Can you see me man?” A man must be seen proving his manhood for that performance to be proof. Nightrider’s audience appears to consist only of his girlfriend and the Bronze, so his gesture can be read as an act against authority as proof to both Toecutter and the fgures of that authority that he decides his fate, no matter how disastrous that may be. It is a matter of honor, which Braudy describes as

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the willingness to behave openly, immediately, and decisively on the basis of a moral belief that is felt internally as part of a general code. Tus there can be no honor that is ever untested. And no test is defnitive, for honor must be proved again and again.… [meaning that] all violence can … justify itself as being connected to some issue of male honor, just as every issue of honor is rooted in some question of individual and social identity. (Braudy 52–53)

As Morris asserts, “Te men in this flm are not just ‘driven,’ they are volatile” because of this sense of honor and individual identity (129). Max, on the other hand, is calm and controlled at all times, even when avenging the honor of his family and friend. Max is depicted as separate from the others, exceptional like a knight in shining armor. His superior ofcer tells him, “You’re a winner, Max.”38 Te montage that introduces him, intercut with the chase sequence, links him visually to his vehicle. Te frst long shot shows a fgure in black pants and white shirt bent over a car engine, cutting to an extreme close shot of a hand tightening something in the apparatus. Max cares for his car and is not distracted by his surroundings like the other ofcers. Tis links the car intimately with Max’s identity since, as Foucault puts it, the Western individual subject is “fashioned by himself as the object of his own care” (Hermeneutics 119). Max and car are an assemblage that he maintains. We then see him as a pair of black leather motorcycle boots in a low, close tracking shot that follows them walking past the black tire of the car, visually equating boot with wheel.39 Ten we see him in close shots calmly don his black leather jacket, still without revealing a face, and, seated behind the wheel, putting on black leather

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gloves. Only when he places black sunglasses on his face, completing the ensemble with eye protection, do we see Mel Gibson’s boyish face, and this only in the refection of a side mirror, again linking him to the vehicle while alluding to the narcissism of his bond with his machine, his technology of masculinity. Tis sequence makes the car into a suit of armor that he dons like his uniform, even a direct extension of his body, a second skin, but it also places him in service to the machine, beholden to its need for fuel.40 He will lose this protective shell and the privileges that it provides in the second flm, impelling him to help a group of people he previously only considers a resource for his continued survival via fuel for his car. Braudy examines the spectacular quality of the knight’s second skin: “Encased in the polished and hardened exterior of his armor, the warrior in battle epitomized what I would call a ‘bounded masculinity,’ focused on short-term and immediate advantage” (60). Such logic applies to all of the road warriors in Miller’s flms. During the 12th to 14th centuries, “the armored fgure on horseback appeared as a grand individual hero” even though he was in actuality enabled by the vast economic infrastructure of feudal culture (Braudy 58). Tis fgure remains in popular culture in the genre of Westerns with the armor reduced to a sherif ’s badge, and Miller links his flms to this genre, drawing on a long history of epic antiheroes from Lancelot to Clint Eastwood’s gunslinger in Sergio Leone’s cycle of “spaghetti Westerns.” In the case of Max, his car acts as both armor and mount. Central to this fguration of masculine prowess and honor, the knight needs an audience to view his grand performance of masculinity (Braudy 56). We, the viewers of the flm, bear witness to Max’s individual prowess, but the flm continually troubles the aspect of heroism in his actions while repeatedly demonstrating the permeability of this armor and Max’s body, disrupting his “bounded masculinity,” and revealing that, as Mark Seltzer puts it, “the notion of the ‘self ’ as a delimited agent, immune to foreign bodies and ‘bounded by the skin,’ is simply nonsense” (90). Max is not “himself ” without his car and his leather uniform. Not only do such technologies fail to protect him from being violated on and by the road, they also signifcantly fail his wife and child, as when their family vacation van stalls during their fatal chase sequence. Te highway is fgured as a space of danger with the police admonishing the public to “stay of the roads” and posting signs depicting some spaces as a “prohibited area.”41 Like in America, the road in Australia enables a sense of individualism, but, as Shari Roberts asserts, in road flms it “tends to reveal the illusory nature” of such concepts (52). In contrast to this liminal space, Max’s domestic place on the coast is idyllic and safe, but this safety is an illusion shattered when his family is attacked at another idyllic coastal location, launching him into the role of “the road hero, whose journey is often motivated by death, and who never

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reaches any goal or satisfaction, and instead remains on a road that never ends” (Roberts 55). In this safe quotidian space, we see him clad only in a bath towel, his body on erotic display, but also exposed and vulnerable as he reclines while his wife, Jessie ( Joanne Samuel), dries his hair. We will never see him thus again. Miller introduces the threat of violence into this safe space with a medium shot of Max’s child, Sprog (Brendan Heath), playing with Max’s frearm like a toy, showing how violence invades the domestic space via the game of manhood. Although he wants to stay there with his family, he has obligations to his homosocial life-partner, Jim. Max is just as much married to this man and the job as he is to his wife, and losing these signs and properties of his manhood leads to his going mad as much as, if not more than, the loss of his wife and child.42 Without the job or the family, he lacks a stable masculine identity, becoming what the narrator of the second flm calls “a shell of a man.” He becomes the armor he wears, losing even his name in the third flm. Seemingly closer to his best friend than his wife, he begins his spiral into madness when his Goose gets cooked, burned alive in a wrecked truck by Toecutter’s gang as vengeance for the death of Nightrider in another demonstration of the permeability of this armored surface and bounded masculinity. Te sequence is tense as the camera intercuts between close shots of Goose struggling to escape in his up-ended vehicle while we hear gasoline pour from his tank, and Toecutter urges Johnny the Boy (Tim Burns) to light his cigarette with a match and throw it at the fuel, an action which Johnny is reluctant to perform. Tis scene is about men failing the test, both Goose and Johnny the Boy, who cannot bring himself to light the fre. We can pity both of them, trapped in an apparatus causing them pain and sufering, both the car Goose cannot escape, a technology of manhood, and the system of restraints and rules making up masculinity as a technology of force that requires Johnny to prove that he is a man, and not just a boy, by hurting another man. Te car that Max ultimately uses to track down the gang is a deliberate analogue of that driven by Nightrider at the beginning of the narrative, only more black somehow, and he drives it into the next flm, but it cannot be the means of his escape. Unlike the “suicide machine” driven by Nightrider, Max makes his car into a murder machine. Te scene where Max is introduced to it in an underground garage, a medium three-shot of Max, Goose, and the mechanic, showcases its massive engine with cuts to extreme close-ups of machinery in motion with a roaring sound that causes the men to beam with ecstasy, almost drowning out the dialogue. Its features are listed: “last of the V8s,” “600 horsepower,” etc., as if the men are speaking of something mythical, magical, and wondrous. Tis is the “candy” with which they attempt to “seduce” Max into staying on the job after Goose is attacked, but he chooses his family over his symbolic knighthood

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and rejects the admission by his superior ofcer, a spectacularly hard-bodied dandy named “Fif” MacFee (Roger Ward),43 when he quits the job, that he needs to be a hero because no one believes in them anymore, this choice being contrasted with becoming one of the “nomad trash” on the road. In a shot-reverse-shot exchange where he stands at the bottom of a fight of stairs looking up at his former boss, subordinated, Max responds that this is the very reason he must stop; he is afraid of how much pleasure the job brings and that he will indeed become one of the nomads if he continues. He must stop playing the game because the only way to win is to become one of them. When Max then leaves on an extended road trip with his family, he does become nomadic, never to return home because he no longer has any place like home to which he may return; it loses any meaning without his family, just like the police force loses its meaning for him without his fraternal connection to Goose and his belief in justice. Max spends the following flms feeing from social entanglement of any kind; the world does not need another hero and he does not intend to be one. Tese narratives remain ambivalent about the value of male bodies as reproductive agents and agents of dominance and posit that one cannot be one while being the other. With the amount of road carnage depicted, a viewer is left wondering why the road becomes such a place of violence and retribution; perhaps because the freedom ofered by the open road is really a trap. With no civilized space left, it becomes a place of constant contest rather than a means of travel between locations. It becomes the only location that matters. Faludi notes that, “while violence uses all the visible aspects of male utility—strength, decisiveness, courage, even skill—its purpose is only to dismantle and destroy. Violence stands in for action but is also an act of concealment, a threatening mask that hides a lack of purpose” (37). When it becomes a road to nowhere, the open highway ofers only oblivion with no line of fight. Taken as an allegory for social mobility, it demonstrates the illusion of movement in a milieu that does not register change. Te road and landscape zooming past ultimately look like the same empty landscape wherever Max goes. When there is no destination, the road becomes all that there is, and mastery over it the only dominant position for a man to take. Speed and the possibility of impact become the new proof of manhood, and violence determines the order of subjects while masking the lack of purpose for any of this competition. All resources are diverted to this death race with no end, a race one can only win by surviving to continue racing.44 In this schema, women, typically portrayed in Hollywood narrative flm as performing the afective labor of “pacifying” men, become only obstacles or momentary objects of sexual gratifcation to be discarded after the man has “scored”; reproduction and production have been replaced by rape and pillage, the future and history by an ever-present now that cannot be

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escaped. With no destination, there is no future. With no home, no history. In this economy of violence, speed signifes directly, visually, and viscerally, the power and virility of a man, indicating mastery over the road as his destiny. When Max chains Johnny the Boy to a car wreck at the flm’s end and rigs the vehicle to explode, he enacts this logic on Johnny. Live by the technology of manhood, die by it. Max fnally joins in the game and “goes mad” after these vehicles have broken his body on the road he used to master, his posture, with outstretched hands as he reaches for his shotgun, resembling a crucifxion on the tarmac. Te road breaks and remakes him into one of its agents. Supplemented by “the last of the V8s,” he corrects the balance of power and restores his priority as ultimate road warrior, becoming another agent of the road’s vengeance, thereby accepting the vanishing point of no destination and the end of endings as his lot. Te last shot of the flm alludes to this subjectivity as it shows from his point of view an endless progress down a lost highway. Just like the men investigated by Faludi,

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the frontier, the enemy, the institutions of brotherhood, the women in need of protection—all of the elements of the old formula for attaining manhood … vanished in short order. Te boy who had been told he was going to be the master of the universe and all that was in it found himself master of nothing. (30)

Max can only drive on as the whims of fate determine his course. Tis flm articulates anxiety that men will no longer be necessary in a post-industrial future and instead become a menace. How can man as producer be useful when nothing is made anymore? Faludi notes this in her book, as during the 1970s and into the 1980s the economy shifted from industrial manufacture to a service industry, and working men were forced to abandon the masculine-coded labor of building things and learn the feminine-coded labor of “aid and assistance” (34). Faludi’s narrative in her book acts as a kind of apocalyptic speculation which she imagines as the advent of an “ornamental” culture of surface and appearance which is anathema to traditional “useful” and physical masculine dominance (35).45 What she calls ornamental culture is largely the logic of neoliberalism that treats labor as a marketplace in which men rent their potential labor power to the highest bidder, on display like Carson in Te Ultimate Warrior. Like the man set adrift in Faludi’s explanation, Max is left without context or social system in which to prove his value. Te next flm provides him with such, but only by way of narration; Max resists the context that would make of his actions the heroic saving of the future even while this status is thrust upon him by the narrator from the position of a remembered childhood. Max’s only activity after he enacts vengeance on Toecutter’s gang is survival in a meaningless world he cannot escape as he progresses towards oblivion. Instead of positioning him as a

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mythic epic hero who sacrifces himself for others, the flms’ logic of dispossession continually strip him of the endowments of white manhood as he loses not only his property, but any agency over his fate, impelling him to perform heroic acts because he has no other choice. Before moving on to the sequel, however, we need to spend some time with the characters who actually get the most screen time in the flm: Toecutter’s Acolytes.

Wild Boys and Road Pranksters: Voluntary Exile and Fugitive Masculinity

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Gender is a performance with clearly punitive consequences. (Butler 178)

Trough the aforementioned vehicular designation used by the flm, Max’s happy family is identifed by and with their vacation van, a domestic vehicle, but one stylized by an air-brushed mural on the side depicting a sleek spacecraft in a science-fctional setting. Tis alludes to the family’s attempted escape from the violence of the world as fantasy as it also makes a cynical comment on science-fctional speculation about the future, the very kind of speculation that Mad Max undertakes, but with a decidedly cynical, pessimistic, or even nihilistic vision. Metin Bosnak’s analysis of the flm notes that “the van … is an important symbol [representing]… the only period when the family is happily united. Unlike Max’s car which appears to be an ego-building and self-fulflling vehicle, the van contains the family members altogether” (117, italics mine). It is a unifying space, presence, and sign. Te safe domestic bonded space of the van is problematized through foreshadowing by the spectacle of the demolished mobile home trailer in the frst chase sequence analyzed above. Its safety and the unity it represents for the family is vulnerable to disintegration on the anarchy of the road. It is by way of this vehicle and the freedom it ofers as a vacation from society and its problems that Max is able to open up to Jessie and tell her about his troubled relationship with his father, an anecdote about trying to walk beside the big man in his big boots, bringing closure to the breech he feels between himself and authority, his inability to “keep up” with the “long strides” of his father in his magisterial boots. Tis vehicle of family harmony then breaks down when needed the most, failing to keep the family together when Jessie attempts to use it to fee the Acolytes and the engine overheats. On the other hand, as in Te Omega Man, there is an alternative “family”: the violent, anarchic antagonists of the narrative, Toecutter’s Acolytes. Tese men show afection for each other openly, embracing and kissing in a playful performative

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faunting of social norms, unlike the way that Max has to explain to his wife his love for her that he is unable to express via an oblique story about his father. Te Acolytes model a less repressed masculinity. Te flm suggests that the nuclear family with a father, mother, and children is becoming a marginal subject position, thereby tapping into anxiety about reproductive futurism and the role of fatherhood. Tese men who feel responsible only for others in their homosocial group are the new normal of this future. Tis is fgured not only by the gang and its activities, but also in Max’s transformation into one of them; it also involves the shift of setting from city’s edge and rural roads in the frst flm to desert landscape in the later flms.46 Te desert operates as a space to explore nihilism and fugitivity. When the gang frst appears on screen, arriving at a small rural town, we watch them from a bird’s-eye view as they line up their bikes and roar their engines like a discordant choir until Toecutter motions for them to cut the engines with a grand gesture. He calls them to disorder and embraces the performativity of his identity and the masculine masquerade it requires while abandoning or lampooning social mores about such obvious performance as feminizing. Tis contrasts with the stoic manhood of Max with his professed emotional repression and inability to express himself. After conducting his orchestra of motorcycles, the camera tracks Toecutter in a medium shot as he takes of his helmet and strides across town in search of his dead friend Nightrider’s body, and Johnny the Boy follows him as a lackey, primping his hair even though it is wild and unkempt, making of the gesture a mockery of customs of grooming. Meanwhile, in long shots and the background of the scene, two of the gang members begin dancing a Tango after playing a shoving game like children. Te carnivalesque atmosphere of this scene equates apocalyptic masculinity with apocalyptic boyhood, men who treat everything as play. Names such as Johnny’s carry great signifcance in this world; his moniker alludes to another important aspect of the gang: the sense of perpetual boyhood coupled with a constant proving of manhood. Toecutter acts as the leader of a band of “lost boys” who seek fun and pleasure with no thought of future consequence (or no thought of the future as such). When they subsequently attack a young couple who attempt to leave the town in a fashy, custom-painted, fery red classic car, the gang, although also violating the bodies of its occupants, seems to gain more pleasure from disfguring and demolishing the once beautiful vehicle, and the camera records its destruction with great detail in one of Miller’s signature montages of close-up action shots while Brian May’s score shrieks over the mayhem. Tey destroy for the sake of proving their mastery over this road and in reaction to the conspicuous consumption signifed by the car as a sign of its driver’s Playboy masculinity, but the audience watches the destruction because we want to see the car pulverized as much as the Acolytes do. A popular working-class pastime

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during this period was called a “demolition derby,” where drivers used their cars to smash other vehicles in an arena until only one remained mobile (Kowalski from Vanishing Point drove in such competitions). Tese rebels without a cause articulate a class aggravation against a consumerist professional-managerial class that also motivates their atavism towards the police, a populist current of anti-authority and anti-government sentiment that, although it can be seen in the counter-cultures of the 1960s, was exacerbated by the historical conditions of the 1970s, with the Watergate scandal only the tip of a very large iceberg of corruption, and a distrust of authority tapped by Ronald Reagan for his presidential campaign in 1980. Wherever they go, the gang is in control, even though they appear to be out of control, and they add to each situation a sense of menace and danger as well as farce. Tis is evinced in the motorcycles that each rides: large Kawasaki road bikes that were signifcantly modifed to look more interesting on camera and to customize each for its rider so that they emblematize that character. Tese modifcations consequently made them more dangerous to operate on the road, adding to the thrill of riding them. Furthermore, the gang on camera is the spectacular enactment of the movie crew itself as a road gang. Tey had no permits to flm on the locations that they used, merely arriving, redirecting trafc, flming, and leaving before any authorities could stop them. Te crew performed “real” criminal and dangerous acts to get the flm about fctional criminal, dangerous acts made, and George Miller acted as the ring-leader, like Toecutter, conducting the madness. Toecutter’s wrath is piqued when, upon randomly encountering Jessie and Sprog as they get ice cream in a seaside town, he harasses her in a close two-shot by erotically licking her confectionary cone, resulting in her kneeing him in the groin and smashing the sticky mess into his face before driving quickly away. Tis humiliating emasculation is met with by the death of her progeny and the breaking of her body by motorcycles, the vehicles of fugitive masulinity; Toecutter cannot be bested in front of his men without retribution. He must win the game and defend his honor. Te gang hunts them down like a pack of wild animals, complete with grunted and whistled noises in imitation of predators as they later stalk Jessie through a wooded area, evoking the aesthetic of slasher flms. Te need for proof of mastery over the road, the territorializing of this space, pervades the gang’s antics, and Johnny the Boy can never quite measure up to the test. Apparently “weak” because of a drug addiction that makes him “useless” (of no masculine utility), he is arrested after the attack on the couple in the car but never serves time because of the failing system at the Halls of Justice. Intent on proving his place in the gang, Johnny later acts out and shoots a shotgun at a mannequin that two other members are molesting, a performance of violence proven to be an empty gesture by the empty status of the fgure that he shoots.47 Like his symbolic

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victim, Johnny is only akin to a man; he is not ft for the road and does not ft in the gang. Tis scene occurs on a beach, and Toecutter leads him out to wade in the water because he is not sure that Johnny is “what he seems.” He only seems like a man. Te camera records this scene uncomfortably close to them. In an act of oral rape, Toecutter thrusts the shotgun barrel into Johnny’s mouth, demonstrating the penetrability of his unmanly body while advising, “Keep your sweet, sweet mouth shut.” Perhaps his mouth is too sweet, his body too feminine, leading him to talk too much? His frst transgression was the inability to “fnish of ” the girl from the car after the other members left, instead taking narcotics. After this shotgun test, they walk out of frame into the sun and into the water as Toecutter fnishes his strange baptismal rite. Johnny has difculty “taking it like a man,” and this is exploited by Max at flm’s end when he gives Johnny the option of hacking of his own foot with a saw to save himself, knowing that he will fail this last test as well. Max threatens Johnny in the last scene with his shotgun, featured in much of the flm’s marketing, but he rarely fres it during the flm. In fact, although frearms are used throughout all of the Mad Max flms, they are largely inefectual as a means of violence, and even fail as a means of intimidation when in the hands of an old woman in the frst flm. When May (Sheila Florance) points a shotgun at Toecutter in this sequence, the flm cuts to a close shot of his face while he overacts being frightened. In fact, Max’s worst wound, a gunshot to his knee that causes him to limp in all subsequent flms, comes from a frearm used against him, making guns in this flm more dangerous for the protagonist than any of the other road warriors. Tey prove to be likewise in the sequel, Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior, with shells for his shotgun often sputtering and misfring when needed most. Indeed, the climactic sequence involves the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) crawling across the hood of a moving truck in order to retrieve shells that have spilled out of the shattered windshield, placing him in grave danger in the pursuit of frepower. Te inefectiveness of the gun does not prevent Max from using it as a tool of intimidation, threatening the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence) with an unloaded weapon at the beginning of the flm. Belief in power is more important than its demonstration, and this is another moment of the flm revealing and reveling in the masculine masquerade. Unlike the urban apocalypse flms analyzed in the frst chapter that locate safety and the possibility of civilization outside of the urban blight, in this flm the countryside is just as, if not more, dangerous and barbaric. Apocalyptic flms make obvious Walter Benjamin’s remark that “there is no document of culture which is not at the same time a document of barbarism” (“Concept” 392). Instead of a restoration or justifcation of the status quo, these flms indicate the harrowing status of this quo.

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Mad Max accomplishes this revelation better than the previous road flms canvassed above because of the narrative style and montage structure used by Miller. He keeps his camera as close to the tarmac as possible, to the point of endangering the cinematographer, David Eggby (Buckmaster 88). Tese cinematic techniques, combined with the amazing stunt work orchestrated by Grant Page, produces an exciting ride for viewers, and the viewer is assaulted by the rapid violence produced on and by the road. Adrian Marin points out in his slim book on Miller’s apocalyptic flms, Te Mad Max Movies, that “any flm that hails from the B-exploitation genre corral is invariably a challenge—if not afront—to middlebrow aesthetic values,” and I would add to this confrontation of class taste a challenge to political, gendered, and raced values as well (16) Although it would appear at the end of Mad Max that civilization as such is a thing of history, in the next flm, Max is given the opportunity to save a community of survivors who represent a remnant of “civilization” if only because they raise livestock, engage in resource extraction, and are committed to reproductive futurism, a post-apocalyptic kin-group that needs a good driver to escape the hellish wasteland in search of coastal paradise in which to “breed,” as an old man in the community puts it. But this does not necessarily make him a hero.

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The Reluctant Savior: The Impossibility of Max’s Redemption In Mad Max a car is the union of a speeding chassis and a pilot who swings his look forward and backward. Te driver’s seat is all that matters.… In Mad Max 2, however, vehicles are more classically microcosms of social space that allow evolving relationships, power plays, and decisive gestures of interpersonal allegiance. (Martin 38)

If we were to consider Max as an archetypal hero on one of Campbell’s heroic journeys, as posited by other critics of these flms, I would have to wonder about the purpose of his quest and whether his travels and travails can be considered anything more than aimless wandering. Towards what does he journey? Oblivion, non-existence or perhaps an absurd existential ennui. He becomes myth and memory as he loses his agency. In the course of the frst flm of the series, Max’s body is broken and violated. But Max was already a broken man before losing his family since he keeps “trying to put some sense” into the fate of his best friend, Goose, horribly burned in revenge for the death of Nightrider. He admits to Fif, in the scene in which he quits the job and decides to go on vacation, that he is “scared” because he is “beginning to enjoy” the game they play and is afraid he will become one of the mad men that he chases. He is afraid

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of losing his heroic identity and its link to hegemonic modes of masculinity like fatherhood and instead becoming a monster, abusing the associated agency of his position and disregarding the lives of others. With this in mind, how are we to interpret his description by the narrator of the sequel?

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In this maelstrom of decay, ordinary men were battered and smashed. Men like Max, the warrior Max. In the roar of an engine, he lost everything and became a shell of a man, a burnt-out, desolate man, a man haunted by the demons of his past, a man who wandered out into the wasteland. And it was here, in this blighted place, that he learned to live again.

Described as “battered and smashed,” Max is also called a “warrior,” but what kind of battles has he fought? He fghts duels more than wars. In what way does running others of of the road in a high-speed, postmodern form of joust make one a warrior? His status as wounded man attests to his warrior status; his are the scars of a battle lost in the frst flm, including the mental scar called trauma over the loss of his wife, child, and best friend. Te loss of these as well as his role as police ofcer displaces him from a fxed position in society, forces him into exile even while it frees him of responsibility to society or other people. In the frst flm, Max loses some of the properties of manhood, and now “desolate” of such items as a family and social position, he scavenges what he can on the road. He is not a monomyth because his activities during the second flm do not redeem him from the status of murderer that he ended the frst flm with, and the spectacular, long chase sequence that culminates the second flm only demonstrates that his model of masculinity is more a distraction than an act of heroism, a ploy in a game he cannot possibly win. In Mad Max he loses the endowments of his white professional masculinity except his vehicle and uniform, and the car, the “last of the V8s,” will be taken from him in the following flm. Max begins Mad Max II/Te Road Warrior (hereafter Road Warrior) a “wasted” man, an obsolescent and excess laboring body, and he is a fguration of the end of Western civilization as this vast, “thundering machine sputtered and stopped.” Now he is “ready to wage war for a tank of juice.” He begins the flm being chased by yet another bike gang, as if this is a normal part of life for him now, and these motorcycles are even more outlandishly customized than those of the frst flm, accompanied by custom-built cars, one made of an open frame adorned with skulls; a death machine obviously not built for the safety of its exposed driver (the stunt drivers expressed this sentiment) but instead as a display of individual agency and to demonstrate the driver’s ability to face danger and death. Another vehicle is a dune-buggy-like car made of only frame and chassis adorned with animal hides, making it a modern primitive vessel, a document of civilization and barbarism

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intertwined. Te vehicles in this second flm look made from salvage, scrap, and detritus from road collisions. Like the members of the gang itself, there is a sense of bricolage, an assemblage without predetermined form, an on-going process of self-making. As the sequel commences, Max is running out of gas, and he ends the flm in even worse shape. Delia Falconer analyzes the voice-over narration that provides the flm’s prologue and epilogue which “describe[s]‌its action from the standpoint of a peaceful future after the confict” (261). Tis direct address to the flm audience makes the flm more personal. Te old man’s voice explains the oil wars as warring tribes that occurred long before the events of the flm, which places the narrative within “the framework of ‘imperial history’ which, as Paul Carter has argued, narrates historical events as if they were inevitable, rather than the results of local negotiations” (Falconer 261). Voice-over discourse often provides useful exposition and commentary, and in this framing and explanation of the 20th century oil crisis it is relegated to myth and reduced to nationalism rather than the logic of capitalism. Max is later ofered a “future” with the “Great Northern Tribe” or the oblivion of the road. However, it is never made clear whether the “paradise” to which the others fee is anything more than a fantasy about a picture on a postcard.48 Indeed, in the third flm, the escaped children saved by Max fy all the way to Sidney only to fnd it a dusty, wasted place. We can only imagine their life there as harsh as that depicted in the flm Ravagers, but without the roaming bands of men. Te future may be peaceful and perhaps hopeful for those Max saves, but it also remains harsh, impacted by the consequences of nationalism and capitalism. Te Road Warrior duplicates the plot structure of Te Ultimate Warrior, but Max not only saves more of the community than Carson, unlike the former warrior, he does not give up his warrior ways to become a surrogate father at flm’s end, thereby nurturing the future and living interrelationally with and for others. Te last shot of Road Warrior emphasizes this point with a dolly away from a battered Max stoically standing alone, taking his injuries like a man as the people drive away, never to see him again. He remains dispossessed but autonomous. Te issue has never been one of whether Max can “learn to live” again, he is a proven survivor, but rather one of community and whether he can ever belong to or with others again, not a question of his ftness as a man but whether his manhood fts in the society of the future. He is ft for the horrors of the road but does not ft in a communal milieu anymore. Tis sense of being beyond saving is alluded to in the flm’s opening shots of Max driving his car in the midst of being chased down for his all-important “juice.” As Kieran Tranter remarks, his is

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a highly modifed police pursuit vehicle. It is a ‘piece of history,’ yet it has been modifed for its current role as a high-speed marauder with booby-trapped, long-range fuel tanks and a huge ‘bug catcher’ supercharger. Max, the ex-policeman, is similarly a piece of history. Just like the car, he is modifed …[and] only after the destruction of the Interceptor, when his identity as a road warrior is challenged [does Max choose to help the survivor community]. (70)

Contradicting the notion of Max’s rehabilitation and heroism, he helps the people in this narrative not because he wants to be part of a new community and kingroup, but because, after the loss of his vehicle and dog, he has nothing left to lose except his ability to keep moving. Driving the tanker truck provides him with such. Helping the community is his only choice. His volunteering to drive the big rig in their mad dash away from the compound is driven not by altruism, but his need to reafrm his manhood after having been emasculated by the loss of his vehicle as the primary sign of his agency, autonomy, and power. It gives him not so much a purpose as the opportunity to act, to be in the driver’s seat. Te new vehicle that he operates is signifcantly larger and more powerful than his V-8, not to mention phallic in both appearance and symbolic weight. In a reiteration of Toecutter’s demise and as proof of this point, the chase climaxes when Wez (Vernon Wells), introduced in the frst chase sequence as Max’s rival, having just revealed himself to somehow still be alive and clinging to the grill of the truck, suddenly attacks the Feral Kid in one of cinema’s most efective jump-scares, and is then smashed to bits along with Lord Humungus (Kjell Nilsson), leader of the marauders, when the latter collides head-on with the big rig in another game of “chicken” lost by the smaller vehicle. Te fact that this tanker turns out to be only transporting sand and not the all-important “juice” demonstrates that this was all just performance, the entire chase sequence a scene in a hyperviolent masculine masquerade. Te sand and the petroleum it replaced are what Alfred Hitchcock would call a MacGufn, like the Maltese Falcon in the flm and novel by that name, “a pure nothing which is nonetheless efcient … a pure void which functions as the object-cause of desire” but turns out to be worthless (Žižek 163). Max smiles when he discovers that he has been transporting and fghting to the death over nothing because he recognizes his own position as “nothing” and faces the pointlessness of the whole endeavor like Sisyphus in Albert Camus’s existential philosophy, taking up his absurd burden and shouldering on. Te third flm explicates Max’s progress toward oblivion in the name of the desert he traverses as “the Nothing,” his nameless status as the “raggedy man,” and his refusal to be the savior fgure Savannah Nix (Helen Buday) (another nothing) wants him to be. As noted above, Miller’s flms draw on the iconography of indigenous people in such guises as Nix and the Feral Kid and the cargo culture of the surviving

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children in the third flm, thereby drawing attention to the disappearance or absent presence of them as a structuring principle.49 In Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome, Max’s whiteness is foregrounded by his relationship with Auntie Entity, played by Tina Turner, cast as much for her personal history as an African American woman who survived spousal abuse as her fame as a singer. Ann Kaplan reminds us that “whiteness is not just one category among many; it is the category through which all other diferences are produced as Other” (192, italics hers). Instead of standard, it is determined in relation to blackness and the non-white, much as masculinity is not a standard but determined in relation to femininity and the non-manly. Although racialized bodies do not appear in the frst two of the Mad Max flms, they both use and require blackness for their attraction and meaning, represented in the uniforms and the car Max drives. Tomas DiPiero argues that “whiteness has this in common with masculinity, that it constructs for itself its own internal inconsistency” because it relies on the bounded subjectivity required for agency, a fantasy of totality no subject can achieve (226). Max’s Interceptor, last of the V-8s, was nicknamed “black on black” by the flm crew because they thought that such a black vehicle commanded attention. When wearing his black leather uniform, Max is then a fgure of white in black in black on black. He puts on blackness to produce his identity, but he must remain in motion toward that elusive goal of controlling his own destiny. We will address this in the next chapter, which examines the costumes used in the flms as gendered, racialized, and sexualized signs further revealing the performativity of the masculine masquerade and showing that the vehicles are just props used in the melodrama.

Notes 1. John Fiske asserts that “property rights appear to be so deeply ingrained in capitalism’s legal, economic, and discursive systems that the only words referring to the transfer of property to the weak from the strong without payment are ones that put this transaction into the discourse of crime” (169). 2. Tis is essentially the argument of the enormously popular masculinist text Iron John, Robert Bly’s jeremiad of masculine crisis. 3. Tis sentiment of a “return” to a simpler agrarian masculinity is in keeping with the fact that in the dominant narrative of America, as Lynne Segal notes, “Te working class is understood as a reservoir of masculinity” (201). Sometimes this 1970s apocalyptic crisis impacts the workingman outside of urban life. Te Canadian flm Deadly Harvest (1978) features farmers who already live out in the rural space even though they can no longer grow anything as they attempt to hold onto what food they have after a blight and bad weather lead to mass starvation in the cities. Tey have to fght of agents of organized crime from the city who operate a black market (a threat from the

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8. 9.

10. 11.

12. 13. 14.

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urban upper-class coded as parasites on society), ultimately using their massive farm machinery to defeat their foes; in this rather populist flm, the silent majority wins over the urban elite. Tis despite studies cited by Sally Robinson which show that “alienated” working men who were becoming radicalized in the 1970s were “united by racial, rather than class, concerns” (Marked 30). It may be a Canadian flm, but it still has only white people in it. Tis is further elaborated by Judy Wajcman, in her chapter “Technology as Masculine Culture,” in Feminism Confronts Technology. Joe Wlodarz goes so far as to call such penetration of a male body “masculine suicide” because it shatters the illusion of bounded subjectivity ideologically and physically produced through the technology of masculinity (73). Alvin Tofer, writing at the end of the 1960s, noted at the time that “young girls in the United States, when asked what they regard as important about a boy, immediately list a car” (84). Metin Bosnak observes, “Te road in MMI, as opposed to Turner’s ‘open road,’ does not represent any progression, freedom, and hope of future any longer; it leads, not to the American Dream, but to the American Nightmare. It only brings about death, destruction, and unhappiness. Tough the characters seem to be constantly moving on wheels, there is no progression, geographical or spiritual, for the better. A vicious circle, corporeal and incorporeal, surrounds the characters” (105). An actual road sign in the area in which they flmed. Claire Corbett analyzes Max this way:  “Tough he reluctantly ends up helping others, he remains atomized, he does not represent authority though he was once a cop. Far from being an insurgent or revolutionary leader like John Connor in the Terminator flms, Max does his best to reject being enlisted as a savior, for example, by the children in Beyond Tunderdome. His separation from the state he used to represent is one reason why Max is ‘Mad.’ He is ‘Mad’ because he is atomized, rendered feral and alone not just by the breakdown and disappearance of the sate whose legitimate authority he once embodied but through his exclusion from personal relations by the murder of his wife and child. Tus at the beginning of each of the last three Mad Max flms, Max is shown operating in a world with no meaning beyond bare existence” (346). Max loses any sense of agency along with the proof of his masculinity ofered by his family, and only operates out of a need to survive and keep moving. Tis fugitive necessity of motion becomes the fnal proof of his manhood. Brian McFarlane observes that this attitude was a necessity for successful Australian directors, especially in the 1970s (26). He goes on to remark, “Mad Max created a new respect for Australian technical achievement, especially for its photography” (McFarlane 28). She argues that such “images of and references to Indigenous people in the Mad Max world are so evanescent as to be dreamlike, and yet they’re unmistakably and critically present. What is disturbing is how their traces simultaneously evoke, within such a clearly Australian setting, Indigenous presence and absence at the same time” (Corbett 338). Corbett argues that these flms represent a compulsive reliving of such trauma as a way of disavowing such history, a repetition used to both master and dismiss the trauma (332). McFarlane argues that “the dramatic efect” of these flms “lies in the contrast of the landscape with the violence and terror of the human behavior, barely masked by the apparent ordinariness” (79). Lynne Segal argues that one of the most profound lasting efects of Gay Pride may be the way that it frees male sexuality and allows men to openly express “the pleasures of the body” (156). But when this liberation is not also freed from the constraints of patriarchal heterosexuality and

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15. 16.

17.

18.

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19.

20. 21. 22. 23.

its objectifying of women, it only reduces women to a sexual commodity; this was a key problem with the sexual revolution of the 1960s only exacerbated in the 1970s. Like the “free love” practiced in the 1960s, women usually pay for this freedom. Also note how we speak of being afected by a flm as being “moved.” Te populist appeal of such flms can be seen as articulating popular resentments and anxieties: “Populisms are always contradictory because populism is more an emotion than it is an ideology. And that emotion is anger.… Maybe actually having to play evenly matched, on a level playing feld, is too frightening for a gender that stakes its entire identity on making sure it wins every time” (Kimmel Angry 8–10). During the 1970s, such discourse expressed the anxieties of the “silent majority” which “worked to recenter white men as subjects-in-crisis, in a culture that was proving itself to be ever more interested in such subjects” (Robinson Marked 27). Tis discourse was not meant to solve the crisis, only articulate it as such “since it is through dwelling on crisis that the threats to the normativity of white masculinity get managed” (27). Segal argues, using the work of the social psychologist Joseph Pleck, that men are trapped in a double-bind due to “the constraining, inconsistent and unrealistic or dysfunctional nature of the sex-role expectations themselves. Men who violate these unrealistic or inconsistent demands experience social condemnation—in particular from other men- and in consequence experience a self-devaluation which leads them to overconform to their roles” (68–69). Motor vehicles are one of the modes of overconforming. Aside from skilled editing and pacing, the visceral danger represented by the game played by a homicidal trucker in Spielberg’s frst feature flm, Duel, made as a “movie of the week” for CBS, owes much to the use of camera rigs that he was able to acquire from a cinematographer who invented them to flm races. He then cleverly flmed against a backdrop of a rock face on a mountain highway, causing shots flmed at slow speed to appear much faster as the background streams past. Derek Nystrom notes that this class is amorphous and difcult to defne, but two factors remain steady: a profession requires specialized training and as such its class status must be “relearned by each new generation,” and managers by defnition control labor (12). Although both positions ofer a sense of autonomy and authority, they are still both employed by another and therefore laborers themselves. Much of the class antagonism traced by Nystrom can be explained by the disavowal of the middle-class as part of the working-class due to the nature of the work and supposed autonomy it ofers while also desiring the physicality of the working-class position as somehow more manly and virile because it produces things and has a direct efect on the world. Tis fgure again comes from the genre of the Western. Shari Roberts argues that the primary link between the genres of Western and road flm “is this ideal of masculinity inherent in certain underlying conceptualizations of American national identity” (45). Hence, McFarlane notes that Max’s wife “has to die to become signifcant, in providing Max with a motive for action” (52). Such young men in Australian flms are usually “presented in visual compositions that stress youthful vigor and innocence against romantically conceived backgrounds” (McFarlane 49). Max is presented in a decidedly unromantic background. Faludi argues that “a categorical shift” occurred in the decade of the 1960s, which “threatened bedrock concepts of American manhood. A social pact between the nation’s men and its institutions was collapsing, most prominently but not exclusively within the institutions of work” (43). Additionally, the recession of the late 1970s “cost 11.5 million workers their jobs in plant shutdowns and relocations” (Faludi 51). “A quarter million manufacturing jobs and a total of

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25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

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31. 32.

33.

34. 35. 36.

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more than a half million jobs were lost in the country” (Faludi 52). Australia also felt the recession and was facing a crisis for working men, informing Miller’s flms, and I am arguing that the circumstances in America account for much of the popularity of his flms during the 1980s. Te American Dream of hard work and dedication proved to be a fantasy, and “there was nothing to be said, only to be feared” (Faludi 70). Roslyn Weaver connects apocalyptic fction with speculative fction since “apocalyptic writing essentially is speculation,” taking a recognizable world that viewers already know and using it “to disclose something new” (7). Tis is another way of describing anamorphic estrangement and apocalyptic thinking. Kieran Tranter observes that “the car maintains a sense of Australian community through an elaborate myth of future prosperity and possession.… Te emergence of a national sense of Australia in the 1920s corresponded with the arrival of the car” (74). McFarlane notes that the flm was marketed with this automotive fgure; when the flm was premiered at the Cannes flm festival, “they dressed up a Volkswagen with spikes and drove it round the streets” (28). Te flm was still too quirky for audiences and did not fare well in the market. Žižek notes, “What is hysteria if not precisely the efect and testimony of a failed interpellation,” a failure to meet the “symbolic mandate” of hegemonic identity, the feeling of powerlessness in the face of a totalizing subject position (113). All of the facts about the flming come from the recent documentary Te Madness of Max (2015) and the interviews with flm crew therein unless noted otherwise. Tis rocket car is detailed in Luke Buckmaster’s Miller and Max (2017). “Te architects of the American Century had drummed it in that manhood was all about the score … [and] you could not score without an opponent” (Faludi 331). Indeed, his mistake is in treating his family as something he was responsible for rather than to, thereby doing them a disservice by assuming the agential role in the relationship (Morgenstern 102). Christopher Sharret notes that “the black leather uniforms and souped-up cars refect the cult of style, male beauty, and what is ‘cool’ about the function of the male group discovered in Te Wild One” (85). More on this in the next chapter. Te flm succeeded in the international market; having been made for a mere 400,000 US dollars, it netted over 100 million worldwide, but its release in the US was marred by the distributor’s choice to over-dub all of the dialogue and poor marketing. It held the world record for the biggest turn on investment made by any flm until this century. She elaborates about these flms specifcally: “Te fat and empty landscape confronts viewers and ofers characters no respite or escape from the violence of the villains, whose power reaches from town to outback via roads. Te land becomes another enemy, enclosing those who seek it as refuge or attempt to leave it, ofering only punishment for its inhabitants” (Weaver 88). I am attempting to draw attention to this use of the road as a place of punishment for men who attempt to be “independent” of society. Film also acts as a constant test, hence the use of many takes to fnd the best one to use in the fnal product and the ultimate test of success in the box-ofce. Te flm foreshadows these events with its introductory montage of “A few years from now …” as it displays the entrance to the Halls of Justice behind a stop sign, indicating exclusion of the public from justice. McFarlane calls this setting “a terrifying sterility which reinforces the progress of the dehumanization process at work in its protagonist” (79).

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37. Mark Seltzer argues that “the spectacular public representation of violated bodies has come to function as a way of imagining and situating, albeit in violently pathologized form, the very idea of ‘the public’ and, more exactly, the relations of bodies and persons to public spaces” as always violent and dangerous (35). 38. Braudy remarks that “action flms are at root about questions of personal honor—the violence of righteous revenge that is beyond the law, like the justifcation of dueling that began in the sixteenth century, when the state was assuming the monopoly of violence” (551). 39. Seltzer calls this modernity’s “double-logic of making men prosthesis” because Taylorism/ Fordism as a way of not only managing labor but producing laboring men “projects a violent dismemberment of the natural body and an emptying out of human agency … [but also] a transcendence of the natural body and the extension of human agency through the forms of technology that represent it” (146). In this sense, Max is as much a prosthesis of his car as the car is his prosthetic extension. 40. Seltzer argues that the subject gains an individual ego only through the fantasy of an armored body that promises, but does not supply, a total person and individual agency, which is only a social efect. Men often respond to threat to this armored identity by defending the boundaries of this fantasy body through violence (Seltzer 50). He also argues that the Taylorization of the Fordist assembly-line defeats human agency by transcending the individual body via a technological supplement that renders it into part of a larger apparatus (Seltzer 69). 41. Roberts observes that all narratives utilize the “theme of the road” as they detail a journey, but “the road does not constitute a genre until a body of flms” represent this genre (50). 42. Roberts argues that “the road does not provide, or even allow for, a female space for escape or revitalization because of the cultural codes that make up the masculinist road flm, which reinscribes women into regressive social prescriptions of femininity” (66). 43. Tis fgure is akin to the hypermasculine gay clone that proliferated in urban spaces during the 1970s, a model of manhood that takes the masculinist macho forceful posture and eroticizes it, turning it from tyranny and pain into pleasure and revolt (Faludi 505). 44. Clearly this flm owes a great deal to Roger Corman’s production Death Race 2000 (1975), not only for the road violence but also the bondage uniform worn by David Carradine. 45. She elaborates: “Ornamental culture … is a ceremonial gateway to nowhere. Its essence is not just the selling act but the act of selling the self, and in this quest every man is essentially on his own.… In an age of celebrity, the father has no body of knowledge or authority to transmit to the son” (35). 46. Delia Falconer explains this progression well: “In Mad Max (1979), set a ‘few years in the future’ on the outskirts of a decaying city, the policeman Max (Mel Gibson) battles biker gangs on Anarchie Road. In Mad Max 2 (1982), which takes place after a devastating oil war, these asphalt roads have been replaced by dirt tracks as Max, now an embittered wanderer, comes unwillingly to the aid of a commune of desert dwellers. In the third flm of the trilogy, Mad Max Beyond Tunderdome (1985), in which Max helps a group of feral children fnd their way home, even these dirt roads have disappeared into a trackless landscape of desert dunes, fertile gorges, and post-nuclear dust” (249). Since this article was written, Miller has released a fourth flm, Mad Max: Fury Road (2015), and in its post-apocalyptic social structure brought back the dirt roads of the second flm, but the bleak desert landscape remains. 47. Benjamin says that “the mannequin incarnates nothing but the hideous, cunning mediation between costume and viscera” (Arcades 409).

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48. Tis is further problematized by the way that Pappagallo’s people are positioned as “civilized” because of their “naturalized exploitation of resources for a better future,” a “clean” rationalization of the very practice blamed in the flm’s prologue for causing the devastation that is the future (Falconer 261). 49. As Martinot argues, colorblindness or the doctrine that “race” does not exist “is disrespectful to those people who, having been racialized, have constructed a sense of identity and resistance as a group out of the terms and conditions of that racialization” (24). By drawing attention to the absence of indigenous bodies in the flms, the flms reveal the erasure of their presence and history in the Australian landscape.

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References Ascher, Ivan. Portfolio Society:  On the Capitalist Mode of Prediction. Cambridge, MA:  MIT P, 2018. Benjamin, Walter. Te Arcades Project. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1999. ———. “On the Concept of History.” Selected Writings. Vol.  4 1938–1940. Eds. Howard Eiland and Michael W. Jennings. Trans. Edward Jephcot and Howard Eiland. Cambridge, MA: Belknap P, 2003. 389–400. Boşnak, Metin. “Cinematizing Dystopia: Mad Max I.” Alternatives Vol. 3, No. 4, Winter 2004. 92–119. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Braudy, Leo and Marshall Cohen. “Genre:  Te Conventions of Connection.” Film Teory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 535–551. ———. Film Teory and Criticism:  Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Buckmaster, Luke. Miller and Max:  George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend. Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2017. Burrill, Derek A. Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture. New York, DC, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, and Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008. Camus, Albert. Te Myth of Sisyphus. Trans. Justin O’Brien. New  York:  Vintage, 2018 [1955, original French version 1942]. Te Cars that Ate Paris. Dir. Peter Weir. Perf. Terry Camilleri, John Meillon, Kevin Miles. British Empire Films Australia, 1974. Christine. Dir. John Carpenter. Perf. Keith Gordon, John Stockwell, Alexandra Paul. Columbia, 1983. Cohan, Steven and Ina Rae Hark, Eds. Te Road Movie Book. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.

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Corbett, Claire. “Nowhere to Run: Repetition Compulsion and Heterotopia in Australian PostApocalypse—From ‘Crabs’ to Beyond Tunderdome.” Science Fiction Film and Television Vol. 13, Autumn 2017. 329–351. Davies, Jude. “Against the Los Angeles Symbolic: Unpacking the Racialized Discourse of the Automobile in 1980s and 1990s Cinema.” Screening the City. Eds. Mark Shiel and Tony Fitzmaurice. London and New York: Verso, 2003. 216–238. Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault. Trans. and Ed. Sean Hund. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988. DiPiero, Tomas. White Men Aren’t. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2002. Dirty Harry. Dir. Don Siegal. Perf. Clint Eastwood, Andrew Robinson, Harry Guardino. Warner Bros., 1971. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry. Dir. John Hough. Perf. Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke. Twentieth Century Fox, 1974. Duel. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone. CBS, 1971. Falconer, Delia. “ ‘We Don’t Need to Know the Way Home’: Te Disappearance of the Road in the Mad Max Trilogy.” Te Road Movie Book. Eds. Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark. London and New York: Routledge, 1997.. 249–270. Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Fiske, John. Media Matters: Everyday Culture and Political Change. London and Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994. Gunning, Tom. “An Aesthetic of Astonishment: Early Film and the (In)Credulous Spectation.” Film Teory and Criticism: Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 736–750. Grant, Barry Keith. Film Genre:  From Iconography to Ideology. London and New York: Wallfower, 2007. Jameson, Frederic. Signatures of the Visible. New York and London: Routledge, 1990. Jefords, Susan. Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1994. Kaplan, E. Ann. “Te ‘Dark Continent’ of Film Noir: Race, Displacement, and Metaphor in Tourneur’s Cat People (1942) and Welles’ Te Lady from Shanghai (1948).” Women in Film Noir. Ed. E. Ann Kaplan. London: BFI, 1998. 183–201. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. New York: Nation Books, 2013. ———. Manhood in America. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore: Te Free P, 1996. Lockhurst, Roger. “ ‘Going Postal’: Rage, Science Fiction, and the Ends of the American Subject.” Edging into the Future:  Science Fiction and Contemporary Cultural Transformation. Eds. Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002. 142–156. MacCabe, Colin. “Teory and Film:  Principles of Realism and Pleasure.” Film Teory and Criticism:  Introductory Readings, 7th Edition. Eds. Leo Braudy and Marshall Cohen. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. 179–197.

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Mad Max. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne. Roadshow Entertainment, 1979. Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston. Warner Bros., 1981. Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome. Dir. George Miller, George Ogilvie. Perf. Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence. Warner Bros., 1985. Mad Max: Fury Road. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Tom Hardy, Charlize Teron, Nicholas Holt. Warner Bros., 2015. Martin, Adrian. Te Mad Max Movies. Strawberry Hills and Canberra, Australia:  Currency Press and SoundScreen Australia, 2003. McFarlane, Brian. Australian Cinema. New York: Columbia UP, 1988. Morgenstern, Naomi. Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 2018. Morris, Meaghan. “Fate and the Family Sedan.” East-West Film Journal Vol. 4, No. 1, Dec. 1999. 113–134. Newitz, Annalee. Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2006. Nystrom, Derek. Hard Hats, Red Necks, and Macho Men: Class in 1970s America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Peary, Danny. “Directing Mad Max and Te Road Warrior.” Omni’s Screen Flights/Screen Fantasies: Te Future According to Science Fiction Cinema. Ed. Danny Peary. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1984. 279–286. Rebel Without a Cause. Dir. Nicholas Ray. Perf. James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo. Warner Bros., 1955. Robinson, Sally. “ ‘Emotional Constipation’ and the Power of Damned Masculinity: Deliverance and the Paradoxes of Male Liberation.” Masculinity: Bodies, Movies, Culture. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. 133–147. ———. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Ross, Andrew. Strange Weather: Culture, Science, and Technology in the Age of Limits. London and New York: Verso, 1991. Schaber, Bennett. “ ‘Hitler Can’t Keep’em that Long’ the Road, the People.” Te Road Movie Book. Ed. Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 17–44. Segal, Lynne. Slow Motion:  Changing Masculinities Changing Men. New Brunswick:  Rutgers UP, 1990. Seltzer, Mark. Serial Killers:  Death and Life in America’s Wound Culture. New  York and London: Routledge, 1998. Sharrett, Christopher. Crisis Cinema:  Te Apocalyptic Idea in Postmodern Narrative Film. Ed. Christopher Sharrett. Washington, DC: Maisonneuve P, 1993. Tasker, Yvonne. Spectacular Bodies:  Gender, Genre and “the Action Cinema.” London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Tellotte, Jay P. Science Fiction Film. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2001.

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Tofer, Alvin. Future Shock. New York: Bantam, 1971. Tranter, Kieran. “Mad Max: Te Car and Australian Governance.” National Identities, Vol. 5, No. 1, 2003. 67–81. Te Ultimate Warrior. Dir. Robert Clouse. Perf. Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow, Joanna Miles. Warner Bros., 1975. Vanishing Point. Dir. Richard Sarafan. Perf. Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Charlotte Rampling. Twentieth Century Fox, 1971. Varga, Darrell. “Te Deleuzean Experience of Cronenberg’s Crash and Wender’s Te End of Violence.” Screening the City. Eds. Mark Shiel and Tony Fitzmaurice. London and New York: Verso, 2003. 262–283. Weaver, Roslyn. Apocalypse in Australian Fiction and Film. Jeferson, NC and London: McFarland, 2011. Te Wild One. Dir. Laszlo Benedek. Perf. Marlon Brando, Mary Murphy, Robert Keith. Columbia, 1953. Wlodarz, Joe. “Rape Fantasies:  Hollywood and Homophobia.” Masculinity:  Bodies, Movies, Culture. Ed. Peter Lehman. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. 67–80. Žižek, Slavoj. Te Sublime Object of Ideology. New York and London: Verso, 1989.

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chapter three

The Clothes that Make the Man Costumes and the Sartorial Performance of Manhood

Fashion is a forceful purveyor of cultural norms and symbols that can shape and express gender diferences. (Aspers and Godart 184)

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Fashions are a collective medicament for the ravages of oblivion. Te more short-lived a period, the more susceptible it is to fashion. (Benjamin 80) Te relation between a garment and a meaning is completely arbitrary. (Svendsen 42) Tere is much confusion about what fashion actually is. (Aspers and Godart 172)

As these epigraphs indicate, the meanings attached to sartorial performance are often contradictory and confusing. In fashion studies, clothing is seen as an indication of identity, and sartorial trends are often forms of self-fashioning in defance of social codes for dress as one of the various ways a culture marks a subject by classifying, such as gender designation. Te discourses of fashion are only recently becoming an accepted area of academic study, and this applies more so to the study of cinematic costuming.1 Tis chapter draws from this nascent body of research to examine how the costumes used in the Mad Max flms exemplify and display the masculine masquerade. Tis clothing expresses apocalyptic masculinity and the hysteria of raggedy men. Te evolution of men’s fashion as a mark of manhood that vacillates between the modes of ornament and utility has fuctuated throughout history, just as

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discourses of white manhood change over time.2 As a semiotic system of masculine performance, sartorial style shifts with variations in social milieu and values. Fashion styles became more ambiguous, refexive, and referential throughout the 20th century in the United States as American culture became more mediated by television and flms and consumption a way of life; new subcultures subsequently began to identify their diference from the norm through a dress code that appropriates normative styles in sometimes counterhegemonic or even situationist ways. Additionally, many fashion trends of the postwar period owe their popularity to the use of such garments as costumes in Hollywood flms, giving mass media a privileged role in setting clothing trends, such as the use of the now ubiquitous leather jacket.3 Style of dress indicates individuality and membership in a group simultaneously, status through conformity and rebellion via personal artifce and “style.” Fashion codes can be seen to take away individuality and disrupting these codes an assertion of selfhood. For example, the fgure of white masculine crisis in the 1950s is often called the “man in a gray fannel suit,” the costume a metonymic object emblematizing the imagined emasculation of ofce work with its suppression of individuality, emphasis on mental work over physical labor, and its orientation of labor to one of service rather than producing things.4 Dress in flm is, of course, not a self-fashioning, but is instead determined by choices made by flmmakers such as the director, producer, production designer, and costume designer for specifc symbolic reasons and to produce efects and afects in a viewer. Sarah Street argues that flm costumes … occupy a shifting place within flm narratives. Tey can advance the plot, suggest character and provide an authenticating discourse for flms which are set in the past … [and] they can ‘exceed’ the demands of the narrative by suggesting intertextual connections and allude to star identities which have been forged outside the narrative system of that particular flm. (32)

Costumes are one of the ways that flms set the protagonist apart from both antagonists and society (Tasker 62). Consequently, they not only ascribe gender, they demarcate diferences within gender performance, applying value to these diferences. Tey are also always already intertextual, referring to trends outside of the flm’s diegesis, especially in genre flms, which we have to consider as what Yvonne Tasker calls a “total feld” that includes other markets and media forms such as video games (68). Tasker emphasizes the necessity for genre flms to produce certain kinds of “atmosphere and tone,” one of the implied contracts they have with viewers, and costumes work with the setting to provide this mood along with other aspects of the mise-en-scène, like camera work and lighting (60).

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In Hollywood flms, costumes are often designed to increase the desirability of the actor as a sexualized object for the audience’s gaze, and this applies across gender defnitions. Colin McDowell, in Dressed to Kill, argues that our idea of sexuality and what counts as sex appeal “is a twentieth-century invention” shaped by the commercial exploitation of sexual desire in a variety of media, frmly afxing sexuality to sartorial codes:

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Whereas love and lust can be quite separate from dress—although they rarely are—sex and clothing are inextricably linked. Clothes are not just the armor of the class war; they are the uniform for the battle of the sexes [but] our dress must always speak in a standard tongue, respecting that which is allowed to be shown and that which must be hidden. (11)

Sexuality performed by clothing plays with the norms of bodily exposure, and these norms are gendered. With national standards like the Hays Code and the subsequent rating system of the MPAA, Hollywood producers are keenly aware of this sartorial language and its rules of decorum.5 McDowell’s book explicates the ways that power and sexuality are expressed through and by clothing. He wrote this study during a period when lingerie and fetish fashions were becoming mainstream in American and European style, worn outside of the boudoir and sex club, an openness that owes its shift in social mores, in no small part, to flms released during the 1980s that featured such attire, not the least of which was Te Road Warrior. Fashion has always been a site of struggle over gender discourses, and, as John Fiske observes, “discourse is the continuous process of making sense and of circulating it socially. Unlike a simulacrum, discourse is both a noun and a verb, it is ever on the move” (6). Te following analyses of the costuming in these flms addresses the ways in which these flms attempt to imagine the white masculine subject as an independent, autonomous agent in a world that is fgured as threatening this agency at every turn. Violent reactions to this threat to masculine autonomy are founded on the assumption, noted by Sally Robinson, that “male sexuality [is] naturally resistant to repression or control [which is] the foundation of the idea that men are ‘damaged’ by the cultural or social suppression of emotions and expressivity” (“Emotional” 139, italics hers). Tis masculine paradox places men in a situation where they are damned both ways; either they are repressed “wimps” who have their agency usurped, or they are abject, violent predators exhibiting their agency by dominating others. David Savran argues that the fgure of the masochistic white male victim helps to answer several pressing historical questions: How can masculinity be reinvented to go beyond the polarizing logic of Cold War politics? How can it authenticate itself in a world grown increasingly suspicious of

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direct military intervention and the violent subjugation of native populations?… How can it adjust to irrevocable economic decline? (194)

He notes that the professional-managerial class increased its size so rapidly during the postwar period

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that by the early 1970s the United States had become “the only country to employ more people in services than in the production of tangible goods” [making it] all the more urgent that the masculine fantasmatic be reconstructed to bear the unmistakable traces of a robust, independent, and entrepreneurial masculinity. (Savran 194)6

As Robinson asserts, this logic, similar to that subtending Susan Faludi’s argument about productive manhood usurped by a new “ornamental” masculinity, assumes a “stable and secure” manhood in the past that never really existed. Also, many men have now actively taken on the mantle of the “oppressed,” using such liberationist discourse not “to reclaim lost entitlements” but instead join in what they see as a system of empowerment through victimhood, a status often imagined as caused by other oppressed groups, such as women and melanated people who used to be invisible marginal subjects before they were promoted to a subject of civil discourse as social victims in the 1950s and 1960s (Robinson Marked 195).7 Along with Robinson, I part with Faludi’s model of masculine “decline” and crisis as a recent historical development because it assumes that masculinity was not always already threatened, ornamental, performative, and unstable, thereby requiring constant proof. Historical studies such as Braudy’s From Chivalry to Terrorism demonstrate that historically dominant warrior masculinity was always involved with display and pageantry as proof of superiority, agency, and manhood imagined as righteous and honorable. One cannot perform heroic acts without an audience. Tere has always been a tension in hegemonic masculinities between the functionality of violent dominance and the display of dominance as intimidation and a mark of respect and authority, between acting like a man and looking like a man. Hegemonic masculinity must be seen doing the things that increase male value in the eyes of a culture but in a way that does not reduce its subject to an object for a mastering gaze that is not itself invested with authority, such as the church, a patron, or a liege (and in Chivalric romances, an untouchable Lady). In this way, the wounding of white men in the flms examined here becomes a visible register of both their resolute manhood, their ability to withstand pain, showing how they can “take it like a man,” but also their attempt to make up for an imagined marginal status as other groups are included in the imagination of American identity by joining with them in a fguration of victimhood.8 Te wound born by these white men comes from the scrutiny that they now receive, which is not like the adoring of an ideal, such as witnessing when a knight competes in the lists, but

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instead serves to unmask the “universality” of white male subjectivity by showing it as an arbitrary standard marked by privilege while also revealing the violence that subtends its dominance and hegemony. Before delving into the punk and bondage fashions of Miller’s flms, however, we will, as before, canvass the previous flms of the genre to show how costumes function as codes that vacillate between the functional utility of manhood and the spectacle of sexualized ornamentation; a man of action who does things or a man whose primary function is to be looked at, a poser. Max performs the dialectics of this fraught position, and this performance becomes an increasingly necessary part of the narrative as the series progresses, with Fury Road ultimately rendering him into both a functional part of a War Boy’s rig as a blood bank for the driver and a living hood ornament much like the captured men crucifed on the grills of vehicles in Te Road Warrior.

1970s: The Sharp-Dressed Man and the Fear of a Black Planet

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Researchers that attempt to uncover the “hidden meaning” of garments … often forget that the clothes by themselves, out of their social context, have no meaning. Tey acquire meaning because they are embedded in social relations and contexts. In this sense, clothing is, at best, a code characterized by “undercoding.” (Aspers and Godart 182) What Richard Dyer calls “the Playboy discourse,” with its presumption that “sex is for the man,” with women serving simply as the vehicle for male sexuality … functioned to prevent unsympathetic readers [of Playboy Magazine] from asking why the bachelor didn’t want to get married. (Cohan 269) Te action narrative relies on an equation between blackness and marginality, blackness and criminality. (Tasker 4)

Costumes in genre flm often serve as iconic shorthand for a certain character type common to the genre, such as the mad scientist’s ubiquitous white lab coat in SF flms.9 Tis visual shorthand also operates in flms that are outside of established genres. Costume accents and hides parts of an actor’s body. Tasker asserts that, in action flms, “the body of the hero is the sole space that is safe, and … even this space is constantly under attack” (65). Tese bodies are sites of melodramatic crisis, and costuming accentuates this. Steven Cohan likens screen acting to “transvestism” because it displays the performance of gender as an “impersonation” of cultural norms (186). Te masculinity of a screen actor must be manufactured as an image for a camera using costume, thereby revealing its inherent performativity. But the man being looked at must never assume a pose like a pin-up model or be

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threatened with passivity and be coded feminine and not a “real” man; he must display his body in action (Tasker 77). Charlton Heston often played military characters or police ofcers and subsequently became a famous spokesperson and president of the National Rife Association. As Neville, he combines this steely, resolute manhood with that of the Playboy bachelor who dominates economically rather than physically, often considered the opposite of a “real” family man, the “breadwinner” who served a central function in the reproduction of heteronormative masculinity in postwar years (Cohan 267). Neville’s body is both practical and ornamental, but also trapped in a cycle of violence and besieged by racialized others who dress uniformly in black, eschewing ornamental individuality for the “marks” of the Family. In Te Omega Man, Robert Neville dresses in the fashionable clothing of a man of leisure, treating the city as his place of unfettered consumption.10 Although a military doctor, we only see him in uniform in a brief fashback. In his penthouse apartment, he wears a green velour smoking jacket. When hunting, he dresses in khaki jacket and trousers, typical of a great white hunter, another type of leisure for the moneyed elite. His apartment’s décor, kitchen tools, and electronic gadgets, added to his clothing, looks to have been acquired by reference to the lifestyle section of Playboy Magazine. Bill Osgerby argues that, contrary to how the magazine is typically viewed, the inclusion of pin-up pornography operated as a mask for the interest the readers actually had in the accoutrements on display, the furniture and technological gadgets, so that a consumer lifestyle could be masculinized by treating nubile young women as another commodity on ofer (5). Te Omega Man contrasts Neville’s style of dress with that of the 1960s counter-culture in the scene at a movie theater wherein he watches the documentary, Woodstock, and his sneer indicates what he thinks of the men on screen with their abnormal clothing and hair. Te counter-culture represented by these men was an embrace of a purely consumptive lifestyle and a rejection of a producerist ethic, and the free concert documented in the flm within the flm is an emblematic example of this practice. Faludi notes that diference in clothing after Vietnam was one of the many indicators of “the divide between the good sons and the prodigal sons” which was “depicted as a gulf between the patriotic, duty-bound, under-appreciated working-class sons of the Silent Majority [in their military garb] and the privileged, hippie fouters of authority whose long hair challenged gender conventions” (298).11 Heston sides with this imagined “silent majority” with his derisive sneer and mode of dress, an angry white man victimized by the counter-culture and besieged in his home by a group that hates him for who he is as much as what he does. Te costumes of the infected mob in this flm allude to not just the

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generational confict informing protests of the Vietnam War, but also the unrest in cities across the country with yearly summer uprisings in their segregated ghettos. As mentioned in the frst chapter, Heston’s hairy torso acts as a sign of his virility, and the flm presents his part-time love interest as another commodity for his bachelor pad, another sign of his hegemonic masculinity and class status. Te changes in Lisa’s costume suggest how her role as woman in the narrative changes when confronted with a dominant white man. White patriarchal authority consolidates power by using women as an object of exchange between men; women act as a “sign of value,” propping up masculinity (Butler 49). Tis flm is ambiguous about the “value” that Lisa represents to both Neville and the narrative itself. In the frst scenes in which we see her, she is dressed in close-ftting clothing that mixes signs of feminine and masculine apparel, making her sexually attractive but also ready for action. Te second of these outfts, which she wears when she and Dutch save Neville from being burned at the stake by the Family, is a brown leather bodysuit that positions her as both spectacular sex object and action hero, a “badass” black militant woman with a gun and also a visual stimulant for the flm audience, a market of consumers largely consisting of young men. Tis costume positions her with power in the scene. She keeps Neville at gunpoint and is in charge, issuing orders and speaking to him in a street lingo that places her in the camp of Black Power activism, along with hair styled as a large “natural” that makes her look like Angela Davis.12 Trough these costume choices, the flm raises the subject of racial revolt and it explicitly marks her diference from Neville. Tus the flm creates ambivalence around what counts in this future as norm or deviance, but it does this in the mode of an exploitation flm that sexualizes and exoticizes Lisa as a spectacle, and her power in the narrative is both limited and temporal. After she becomes Neville’s girlfriend and appears in a nude scene post-ofcamera-coitus, she wears rather more “feminine” attire, like skirts, that position her primarily as an object of the gaze, pacifying her compared to the militant defant look of her previous action sequences. She takes a subordinate position and ultimately becomes a victim that must be saved by Neville after donning the garb of the Family. Te transformation from active part of the story to marginal victim is indicated by her costume changes. Before examining the medieval-style hooded cloaks worn by Family members, we require a brief digression to summarize the history of the use of the color black in European fashion as it pertains to the denotations and connotations of this costume choice by Segal and production designer Art Loel. As outlined in Michel Pastoureau’s Black:  Te History of a Color, this hue has a history that is sometimes contradictory, but always implicated in issues of morality, spirituality, and social standing. In chivalric romance, for example, the color of white skin acts

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as index of nobility, in both the class and moral senses, making whiteness the color of purity and divine grace, while evil is imagined as a factor of divergence from this purity, darkness contrasted with light (Pastoureau 80).13 However, throughout the medieval period, the color black shifted from an association with malice to one of devotion and upright duty, indicating the “austere and virtuous” when it was used by monks and clergy (Pastoureau 95). It became a color of sacred authority, demonstrating the abdication of personal identity for a higher cause. Importantly, “this was not a matter of a uniform or even a required color, worn in all circumstances; rather, black was the distinctive sign of a particular status and a certain civic moral code” (Pastoureau 95). One chose to wear black to indicate an ascetic status and adherence to an ethical code and community of believers.14 It is a color of choice for judges, indicating their devotion to justice and the legal code. Black is a fashion choice that displays social and spiritual value. Te style caught on. It became an outward sign of “an honest, pious life” (Pastoureau 96).15 Black gained new signifcance with the advent of print culture (Pastoureau 115). With the stark contrast set by ink imprinted on white paper, black-dyed clothing became even blacker and more distinct.16 Te strict morality of Protestants solidifed black’s association with moral behavior for the modern world. Once black was no longer considered a color by modern science, it cemented its association with asceticism. By rejecting color, one could indicate devotion to spiritual matters rather than “worldly” concerns (Pastoureau 124). However, harking back to its use to connote evil, this link of immaterial devotion to material sign carried with it the connotations of black as indicating the sins of the fesh; it marked one as a humble fallen sinner striving for righteousness through atonement. It acted as anti-fashion, giving “Protestant dress in general an image not only dark and austere but also backward-looking, almost reactionary, hostile to fashions, novelty, and change” (Pastoureau 132). It has a similar anti-fashion connotation when used in punk garb. Meanwhile, cultural practice perpetuated black’s sinister connotations, its association with death and witchcraft, but also its use in the legal system, associating it with crime (Pastoureau 139). Te latter half of the 1960s saw the rise of Black Power and the Black Arts movement, with its slogan that “Black is Beautiful” attempting to shift the negative discourse on the color and its association with African Americans as subhuman and prone to crime and violence. Te Black Panthers adopted a uniform of black leather jackets, sunglasses, and berets, and, as noted in the frst chapter, the Family wears black sunglasses in Te Omega Man, evoking this militant attitude.17 Te Family’s black cloaks combine all of the associations canvassed above into a mélange of reactionary, religious, selfess defance. Te religious aspect in particular is emphasized by this costume choice, combined with the way that Neville’s

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execution scene is modeled on an auto de fé. Unlike the monsters of the previous versions of I Am Legend, vampire-like, enraged dead people, these black-hooded mobs articulate specifc social and political problems prevalent in American culture in the early 1970s. Militant blackness in this flm is equated with a disease of both mind and body, a sickness in the body politic producing violent extremists even while the flm positions Neville as its opposite: a violent, white extremist.18 Te later urban apocalypse flms of the decade did away with such monstrous mutated others, replacing them with gangs of white, hypermasculine, violent, and, as the decade closed, queer men who ravage whatever they encounter and take what they want with no regard for any values above survival and instant gratifcation. Tese men wear what looks like contemporary clothing that has seen wear and tear, and they are visually diferentiated from the “good” people by a lack of hygiene and grooming. In these flms, angry white men coded as working class through their clothing are shown to be dangerous to themselves and those around them; Carrot’s gang in Te Ultimate Warrior destroys the peaceful community to get access to water and in so doing destroys its garden and a sustainable source of food; the ravagers in their eponymous flm ultimately die a fery death along with many of the community they invade when they blow up the derelict ship in which these people live. Tese men are the epitome of the embrace of no future, an apocalyptic thinking that leads to their own demise. Te road warriors of Miller’s flms operate under the same apocalyptic logic. Tese flms also expose the protagonists’ chests, but in diferent ways. In Ravagers, Richard Harris only disrobes for a sexual encounter with a prostitute, not to demonstrate his virile dominant sexual masculinity, but instead his tenderness and vulnerability. As the above analysis of Te Ultimate Warrior has shown, Yul Brynner’s career of masculine performance relied on demonstrating his sleek athletic masculinity from the very beginning of the narrative as he stands for all the world to see with his muscular shaven chest (and shaven head) exposed, dressed by costume designer Ann McCarthy in tight black jeans. Examining his performance in Te Ten Commandments, Cohan notes, Brynner’s baldness obviously gave him a look that jarred with American notions about the relation between a full head of hair and virility, and his mythical Eurasian heritage then ensured that his unorthodox physical appearance connoted not the intellectualism of the American egghead, but the exoticism of the foreigner.… What we now might call the camp style of Brynner’s performance … served only to accentuate the transgressive edge of his screen presence at the same time. (154)

Clearly, Te Ultimate Warrior is cashing in on this exotic and ambiguous star persona with its introduction of his character shirtless and on display. Te hypermasculine exoticism of his body overcodes the “feminized” passive position in which

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this posing would place him. An object of the gaze he may be, but he is also a unique, ideal, and virile sex symbol as well.

George Miller and S/M Subculture: From Mad Max to Road Warrior by Way of Cruising

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Most societies use clothing to defne class- and occupation-based identities. Social groups such as subcultures have been identifed as being a highly relevant site for the exploration of fashion and its relationship to lifestyles and identity. (Aspers and Godart 185)

Many flm reviewers comment on the paucity of speech from the character of Max, this extreme vision of manhood at the end of the world. His role is to be seen more than heard. Paolo Virno argues that “language is ‘without end product.’ Every utterance is a virtuosic performance. And this is so … because, obviously, utterance is connected (directly or indirectly) to the presence of others” or an audience (55). As a fgure of the ultimate “loner,” Max has no one to whom he could or would speak except his dog. Often this silence is chalked up to the economy of survival, only saying what needs to be said. Furthermore, since the second flm has a voice-over narrator at beginning and end, Max does not tell his own story in the original trilogy, although Miller allowed him to provide the framing voice-over that begins the frst flm of the new trilogy, Fury Road. Te tagline on movie posters marketing Mad Max calls him “the maximum force of the future,” punning on his name. Tis fguration of embodied force explains his lack of voice, especially when one attends to his largest speech in the frst flm, in which he tries to explain to Jessie why he fnds it so difcult to say how he feels. Tasker observes in action flms of the 1980s the “silence of the heroes, the primacy of the body over the voice in the telling of these stories” (5–6), and in the case of the flms wherein Max performs his silent acts of anti-heroism, this primacy extends to the bodies of cars and motorcycles moving at a fast rate down the road, these high-speed motorized vehicles of masculine agency and force. In the frst flm, the MFP wear full-body leather outfts that act as a second skin, armoring them, but also serve the function of a uniform indicating their status as masters of the road.19 Te uniform is both ornamental and functional.20 Te blackness of the outfts expresses all of the connotations noted in the previous section of this chapter, such as their duty to the job and each other and the ostensible mission of maintaining law and order, and the use of leather acts as character armor for this masculine performance, especially the use of the cinematic trope of the black leather jacket with its genealogy of connotations.21 Tese outfts set the

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MFP apart from not only the motorcycle gangs they chase, but also the citizens victimized by road violence. Te leather jacket has a long history of use during the 20th century. Originally worn by airmen during both World Wars, its use by bikers (many of whom were ex-airmen), served the same functional purpose of protecting its wearer from the elements; it was worn as a second thicker skin appropriated from a cow and equates to a suit of armor protecting its wearer as examined in the last chapter. Leather is bovine skin that has been stressed to make it tougher, and this connotation confates this extra strength with the body of its wearer as similarly stressed and tough. It also makes the body look larger, enhancing especially the shoulders, making the wearer look more menacing. Tis menace is even more pronounced in the MFP jackets designed by Claire Grifn for Mad Max through the inclusion of plates of rigid material to further reinforce and armor the jacket’s shoulders. In the following flms, Max has lost one of these, and the remaining shoulder armor is even larger and more pronounced, adding to his lop-sided appearance caused by the injured leg. Tis visual register of his outer appearance as askew indicates the “madness” of his inner turmoil after the losses of the frst flm. Te fact that Max drives a car and is already protected by a shell of steel makes the protective purpose for his outft moot, foregrounding even more how it looks on him, its symbolic purpose, what it connotes, emphasizes, and covers over, its ornamentation over its functionality, and its role in this masculine masquerade. Max becomes in the frst flm an outsider, exiled from civil society. Te leather-clad “male rider, with his bike and black leather jacket, became a symbol of rebellion and individualism” in the postwar years (DeLong, et al. 1).22 Te garment serves this purpose in Mad Max for the Acolytes, marking them as a cautionary fgure of class rebellion. Te jacket similarly provides such connotation for the character of Dutch in Omega Man, reinforced by the defant image on its back that links him to the confrontational ethos of the new punk subculture. For Max, the leather jacket indicates his belonging to a group of men devoted to the same purpose and not necessarily individualism, but later becomes a mark of his difference from others and exclusion from future society, an individuation taken to its extreme.23 A group of sociologists tracked the use of this jacket by motorcycle enthusiasts from the 1950s to the current day, surveying consumers for the social values of this piece of clothing. Teir research found that, since the garment was used by Germans and Italians in WWII, it often connotes fascism and conjures images of the Gestapo (Delong, et al. 2). Men wear it to align themselves with this martial power, and this is the intended association when worn by the MFP and the gangs of lawless nomads. McDowell argues that fascists “used [it] to instill fear,” which is clearly one of its functions for it in the costumes of both MFP outlaws

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(30). Te jacket’s popularity and cultural signifcance, however, mostly comes from its use in mass media, especially flm. Tanks mostly to its appearance in Hollywood flms such as Te Wild One (production design by Walter Holscher), which used ex-GIs and depicted Marlon Brando wearing both the jacket and a military cap, and Rebel Without a Cause (costumes by Moss Mabry), the motorcycle jacket projects stoic hypermasculine individuality, a macho coolness typifed by the nostalgic “greaser” character of “the Fonz” (Henry Winkler) on the beloved television show Happy Days (1974–1984); it makes a man “feel empowered” (DeLong, et al. 2). Tese earlier flms not only certifed the leather jacket as a cinematic trope, they also provided Miller with the vital themes I have already noted of rugged individualism, vehicular agency, and the game of “chicken” as a ritual proof of manhood. As Eunjeong Jeon argues, “the protective function of clothing is not restricted to physical protection in certain climatic and environmental conditions. It extends to protecting the wearer against both physical harm and psychological dangers, whether under attack or sufering feelings of insecurity” (146). Tus, the jacket acts as protection against masculine insecurity as well as physical danger. When Max dons this outft at the beginning of the series of flms in which he will wear iterations of it, it leaves no skin exposed; it should enclose him in a second skin that protects him from psychic as well as physical damage, but it fails this role as it is penetrated by gunfre, run over by a motorcycle, and does not prevent the loss of his family nor this event’s efect on his emotional welfare. It also fails to empower Max’s individuality, as he, due to the transformation of his character in the frst flm, “is not fully human, but only a servo-mechanism to supply gas to the car he lives in” (Dilworth 150). His transformation after his family is attacked is rendered as a montage much like the one that introduces his character in the frst chase, one that depicts his donning of the leather uniform as his armor before mounting his mechanical steed. In Te Road Warrior, Pappagallo (Mike Preston) calls him “a maggot.” He is fgured as a parasite, suggesting a dependent status rather than individual agency. His jacket, designed by Norma Moriceau for the sequel, takes on the malicious connotations of blackness, as it became the emblem of his vigilantism during the frst flm’s fnal act, connoting his transformation into part of the vehicular apparatus he will then lose during the turmoil of the sequel. In the second flm, the leather outft sets him apart from the survivors’ lighter-colored garments (dubbed “Gucci Arabs” by the flm crew) and aligns him with the leather-clad antagonists while also becoming more functional with the addition of a belt of tools (Tranter 70). Te agonistic attributes of black leather reach back to the historical uses of it during the 20th century noted above. During the 1950s and 1960s, the black

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leather jacket “became part of the look of the emerging cultural hero/antihero teenage archetype and a visual expression of revolt against the standardized social norm of the day” (DeLong, et al. 2). Tis linkage between jacket and rebel has earlier historical precedent. As Andrea Denny-Brown notes in her book on medieval British fashion, the clothing we call a jacket evolved from the “jack” which was used by peasants and artisans (152). It was worn by the “galaunt,” “a largely home-grown character of divisiveness and disorder who emerges at the most critical moment of cultural discord in England’s history” (Denny-Brown 153). Her description of these “jacks” intersects with the way that Max’s jacket is designed: “these clothes are said not only to create unnatural girth, making skinny men broad, but also to reshape and contort the human body altogether, creating lumps where they shouldn’t be” like the large shoulder pad attached to Max’s left shoulder in the sequels (Denny-Brown 157). Like the nomad gangs who roam the roads, Max no longer “fts” in society, and as a result is not ft for the future. Like these nomads, his character emblematizes the punk ethic of embracing no future. Te use of black leather in punk and fetish fashions sets the sequel apart from previous flms that used such costumes with the exceptions of Death Race 2000 (Paul Bartel, production design by Beala Neel and Robin Royce), Cruising (costume design by Robert deMora), and the underground flms of Kenneth Anger.24 Miller and Moriceau borrow this look from Corman’s and Friedkin’s flms as a way to also transport the homoerotic sadomasochism of the S/M subculture into this post-apocalyptic mise-en-scène, a desire and practice that Cruising suggests subtends the masculine performance of uniformed police ofcers as much as the men who frequent leather bars.25 In many ways, Te Road Warrior duplicates the narrative topos of Cruising, which reveals how the two supposedly distinct “boys’ clubs” of leathermen and policemen are more similar than diferent, a comparison Miller also achieves in Mad Max between the MFP and their adversaries, Toecutter’s gang of Acolytes. Derek Nystrom argues that the leather bars that appeared during the 1970s were more than just a place for deviant sexual practices, but were political, and “articulated gender and sexual identity through ‘an elaborate form of transvestism that involved putting on the bogeyman costumes of a new social threat to the bourgeois world’ ” (141, citing Daniel Harris). Te carnivalesque performance of this subculture foregrounds the masquerade of masculinity by lampooning and taking pleasure in its most egregious forms of domination.26 Tus, the rebellion personifed by Marlon Brando appropriating military garb as a biker in the 1950s was re-appropriated by queer men who turned the tropes of oppression and fear represented by the fascist costume into pleasure and changed the connotations of black leather into less a protective and aggressive garment and more a sign of

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the willingness to penetrate and be penetrated, to take it like a man because you are a man and because you are interested in men, to express the possible power of passivity.27 Tis public and visible performance demands recognition from a world that would deny such manhood and would label such acts as shameful.28 In like manner, members of Lord Humungus’s gang satirize the uniforms of authority in a carnivalesque performance. One of the groups is called the “Gay Boy Berserkers,” and a memorable victim to the famethrower protecting the compound is a man with pink hair, including beard, driving a pink Cadillac who perishes soon after we are given a brief glimpse of his fabulous outft and vehicle. Some of them wear the full uniform of the MFP, suggesting that they may indeed be former members of the police force, but also, like the scene in Cruising when Al Pacino’s undercover agent is ejected from a gay bar because he is not wearing a police uniform on a night designated for such drag, they foreground the masculine performativity of the uniform as masquerade. Tis “transvestism,” like the bearing of chests in Hollywood flms noted earlier, becomes another revealing of the masquerade of masculine dominance and the insecurity this mask covers. Although not as overtly deviant as the costumes in the sequel, the Acolytes in Mad Max also participate in a performance of masculine drag that covers over the latent anxiety expressed by Toecutter in a speech that “the Bronze wants to take our freedom and our pride.” He wears a leather jacket made to look “primitive,” equipped with furry epaulets that lampoon the ornamental quality of the police ofcer’s shoulder armor and their authority. His second-in command, Bubba Zaneti (Geof Parry), wears a V-neck black women’s shirt (or no shirt at all) with a black leather jacket. Te Acolytes all wear eye make-up, an activity coded as feminine in modern Western culture, but one that highlights the masquerade of their hypermasculine performance. At many points, the gang members perform ad-libbed skits or dances like performers in a drag vaudeville show on stage, such as when two of them dance an impromptu tango. But this transgressive performativity can also be seen in the police ofcers, most notably their leader Fif (Roger Ward). When Max visits him at home in order to quit the force, we fnd him wearing the tight leather pants of their uniform with a bare torso and only a black kerchief tied around his neck like a dandy. He is watering his house plants while listening to music and pufng on a huge cigar.

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Road Warriors and the Punk Aesthetic: Sartorial Transgression as the New Normal

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Te punk sensibility shares another afnity with Haraway’s unique social criticism, her notion of a new oppositional human/cyborg politics that recognizes our unavoidable connection with machines as well as with nature in the necessary struggle against the all-tooperfect, controlled and controlling communicational systems of phallogocentrism.… Like her proposed mutant cyborg bodies, punk was not afraid to embrace the face of the ‘monstrous’-celebrating instead what the mainstream fed, trying to interject the face of the unacceptable Other into the normalcy required by the sterile business-as-usual culture of late capitalism. (Goshorn 71)

Te frst scene of Te Road Warrior duplicates the fnal shot of Max in Mad Max with a medium shot from the front of his car that depicts his emotionless resolute face framed by the windshield of the roaring vehicle. He begins the flm as he left the last, a warrior on a road disappearing into the horizon, a fugitive from his past and the “civilization” it represents.29 Tasker notes that the often undesignated location of action flms allows them the pretense of myth and universality, allowing such flms to articulate ahistorically and apolitically that “power and potency are constitutive discourses of masculinity” (94). Admittedly, Miller attempted such with his use of Joseph Campbell in writing the second flm with Terry Hayes. Although this is one of the reasons the flms appeal to an international audience, allowing it to enjoy the flm without an understanding of an Australian context to comprehend the narrative, the previous discussion of the use of vehicles in Chapter Two of this study historicizes and particularizes the flms, placing them into a cycle of 1960s and 1970s road flms set in the chronotope of “the road.” Miller’s series of flms come out of this tradition, but, as Delia Falconer observes, the road gradually disappears as a setting as the flms continue, from the asphalt roadways of the frst, to the dirt roads of the second, and to a desert landscape without paths in the third, from the road as a contested space to “a landscape of mythic ‘sights’ ” (249). Indeed, the newest flm, which mentions “road” in its title, has very little in the way of roads in its mise-en-scène. Te Road Warrior was originally titled Mad Max 2, but they changed the name for the American release because the frst flm had had such limited viewing in the United States. In a sense, this newer name is redundant. Te word “road” evolved from the same root as “raid.” Te OED includes a defnition used until the 17th century of “riding with hostile intent.” To ride the road, then, is to always already be a road warrior. Te only thing left to fght over in a post-industrial apocalypse is no longer land, creed, nation, or family since, as the prologue of Te Road Warrior indicates, these “tribes” are no longer relevant, and there is no place like home to return to; only the

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all-important “juice” matters, the fuel that perpetuates and originates the confict, the necessary energy for these vehicles of masculine agency in a world without hope or future, a road to nowhere. Te Road Warrior begins, just like the frst flm, with a high-speed chase sequence, but this time Max has taken the role of Nightrider and is being pursued by the new dominant gang of men who now “own” the road, those who are willing to “wage war for a tank of the juice.”30 However, while Nightrider was driving to display his defant mastery of the road for Toecutter as audience and with the goal of “death by cop,” Max in the sequel is only trying to survive and keep moving; this survival requires constant motion to scavenge more juice to fuel the search for more fuel. Both flms position mobility as the ultimate sign of freedom and agency that becomes a double-bind trap from which these men cannot escape. A close-up of the dashboard shows us that Max is running dangerously low on fuel as he begins his new story. Not only is the car beat up and running on empty, but, since Max and interceptor are an assemblage, he is also damaged and running out of fuel.31 He now has a swatch of white in his longer, unkempt hair. Te newer functionality of his uniform defnes his survival by necessity, and the missing pieces set him on the path to becoming the “raggedy man” he is dubbed by Auntie Entity (Tina Turner) in the next flm, Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome.32 Signifcantly, he will look much worse by this flm’s end; Pappagallo calls him “a mess.” Replacing the dog ruthlessly butchered in the frst flm, he has a new canine companion who will be similarly murdered in this flm, an indication of his need for some form of companionship and an allusion to A Boy and His Dog (1975, L.Q. Jones), a flm examined at length in the next chapter. Te leader of the bike gang chasing Max during this frst chase sequence, Wez (Vernon Wells), stands out even among the other nomads with a red “Mohawk” haircut and bare muscular torso fortifed by black shoulder pads and black leather chaps, iconic links to the flm genre of the Western (especially the black feathers jutting out of the shoulders), but also 1970s punk fashion and the leather attire of the S/M subculture. Te link to this fetish group is further reinforced when, during the scene, Wez is accidentally shot by one of the gang’s crossbow bolts in the arm. Te camera lingers in close-up on his face as he slowly pulls it out and places it back with the others in his quiver, appearing to take almost orgasmic pleasure in the pain, taking it like a man and liking it.33 He and Max are paired as enemies in this sequence, but also as doubles and rivals for our attention since Max is also clad in black leather and is forced to take it like a man. Tey both lose their companions during the narrative, and neither says much during the flm. Max looks more like one of the members of Lord Humungus’s horde than one of Pappagallo’s people, and this identifes him as “nomad trash” like Wez and not part of the community.

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Te black feathers projecting from Wez’s shoulders also evoke the spectacular fashion of glam rock, especially when combined with his bare midrif, arms, and buttocks. His display of the nude male body thus difers from that of those protagonists examined above. Glam rock was a subculture of empowerment through individual style and personal expression that transgressed gender boundaries.34 Wez not only displays these glamorous feathers, he also performs more than any other character besides the Feral Kid, hissing, growling, leaping, swinging through the air, doing back fips, etc. Glam rock emphasized theatrical gestures that the “serious” counter-culture of the 1970s dismissed as mere performance (Auslander 10).35 Glam rock emphasized the gender masquerade to the point of satire and parody. Tere was a bias at that time against visual spectacle in rock concerts associated with masculine performance (Auslander 15).36 Te audience was supposed to witness the masculine virtuosity of the musicians as they demonstrated their mastery over their instruments not be confused about this performance. Rebelling against this ethic, glam rock engaged “publicly in nonnormative performance of gender and sexuality” (Auslander 228). Auslander argues that “glam rock’s central social innovation was to open a safe cultural space in which to experiment with versions of masculinity that clearly fouted social norms” (228). Wez’s performance draws on this history of costume and performative masculinity to position him as Max’s chief rival and antagonist who also serves as a mirror for Max’s masculine drag, exposing his performance of manhood. Tis doubling also troubles the distinction between civilization and savagery that Max already destabilizes. Max is positioned as more “civilized” due to his “manly self-control,” while Wez must be restrained by Lord Humungus to the point of being chained (Robinson “Emotional” 163). In the following movies, it will be Max who is chained, bound, and restrained, treated as feral nomad trash. Indeed, since he performs more daring stunts in the flm than Max and is given signifcant amounts of close-up screen time to display his emotional turmoil from losing his blonde lover, the Golden Youth ( Jimmy Brown aka Jerry O’Sullivan),37 sitting behind him on his motorcycle in the flm’s frst chase sequence, Wez becomes the action antihero of this flm and deserves our sympathy at least as much as Max. Unlike the queer murders in Ravagers, Wez’s apparent homosexuality is passed over as normal in this apocalyptic world. Miller recognized that this new world would change social mores and efectively end the dominance of normative heterosexuality (Buckmaster 107). His tenacity seems to have no bounds in the fnal harrowing chase sequence as he continues to bedevil Max even when clutching precariously to the grill of a moving truck. He only fails because he comes between Max and Humungus in their fnal climactic embrace of vehicles, the logical conclusion to the road game.38

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Wez’s chaps, which leave his buttocks exposed, also position him as a member of the S/M subculture, as does the leash and collar on the Golden Youth, later to be used on him. Leather has been used by deviant sexual subcultures, both heteroand homosexual, since the 19th century. Tis is due largely to its afective value as a second skin, noted above in the examination of the leather jacket. In Fetish, her examination of such fashion, Valerie Steele argues that “certain materials have a powerful erotic appeal by virtue of their tactile, olfactory, and visual characteristics” in addition to their semiotic cultural associations (143). Rubber and leather both provide a sense of enclosure and protection, but they also induce a tactile afective sensation, have a distinct smell, and even a pleasing creaking sound (Steele 149–151).39 We hear such when Max moves around during quiet scenes in all of the Mad Max flms.40 Max’s relationship to this cultural practice through his leather outft is complicated and problematic. He is not Max without the costume, indicated in the two scenes of his donning it before driving in the frst flm and recognized by the Feral Kid when he returns it to Max after he recovers from crashing his car. His leather is a psychic armor that keeps him detached from the brutality of the road and connection or commitment to other people, allowing for his stoic, pragmatic attitude towards an eternal present with no future, a survival with no destination. His one human connection in the flm is with the Feral Kid, also dressed in a second animal skin out of practical need. In distinction to the nomadic road warriors, the community of survivors living around an oil well whom Max saves represent “civilization” in this scenario, a socius like that in Te Ultimate Warrior, with an ersatz democracy but also a patriarchal leader, a shepherd for the fock like Richard Harris becomes at the end of Ravagers. Like these other post-apocalyptic communities, the members act as an extended family for each other, a postmodern kin-group maintaining a practice of altruism in this bleak landscape. For example, Pappagallo dies trying to rescue the Feral Kid and Warrior Woman (Virginia Hay) likewise trying to save someone selfessly. Tis is important if the Great Northern Tribe is to have any kind of future other than just the idea of a destination on the coast, for children learn justice and the ethical treatment of others from their caretakers and kin. As political philosopher Susann Okin argues, one cannot have a just society without a just family structure unless the frst and most formative example of adult interaction usually experienced by children is one of justice and reciprocity, rather than one of domination and manipulation or of unequal altruism and one-sided self-sacrifce, and unless they themselves are treated with concern and respect, they are likely to be considerably hindered in becoming people who are guided by principles of justice. (17)

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Te lack of a water well like that in Te Ultimate Warrior, a flm with essentially the same plot structure as Te Road Warrior, was not an oversight on the part of the flmmakers, but instead indicates the geopolitical values at the time of its release, a time we now call “peak oil” because the global powers were realizing that the exponential use of fossil fuels was coming to an end and, with it, the Fordist industrial capitalism it fueled as well as the unjust family structure that it required to reproduce exploitable labor. As Helen Hester proclaims, “a truly emancipatory gender politics needs to think beyond biological reproduction and extend more thoroughly towards social reproduction (a point that activists of color have been careful to stress)” (118). Now that, in the 21st century, access to clean water has become a global crisis, the recent installment to the series, Fury Road, has its Citadel built around a water well, but there is still a “Gas Town” that pumps and refnes petroleum to fuel the War Boys’ vehicles, and the primary, most vital resource of the flm for the men is fertile women. Te oil refnery in Road Warrior associates these people with industrial society and resource extraction, even though their compound, full of chickens, seems more like a medieval walled town or a wagon train in a classic Western, continuously circled by vehicles “like angry ants mad with the smell of gasoline.” Te “Gucci Arab” costumes evoke this sense of past simplicity with the use of tunics, and their warriors wearing large shoulder padding to make them look armored and largerthan-life. Te community dresses in light colors, wears jewelry, and their leader, Pappagallo, wears white and light tan; only the mechanic wears black. Unlike the leather worn by Max and the other nomads, their clothing is soft fabric, alluding to how they are “soft” and vulnerable, easy prey compared to the hard “savages” clamoring at their gate. Tis is also reinforced by the nomad’s punk-styled hair and dress, a gesture that draws attention to the conventions of costuming savages in Hollywood; this mode of primitivism is a genre convention and a way to “other” a group of people by equating white supremacy and Western expansion with civilization and progress, cleanliness, and “respectable” clothing. Complicating the easy dichotomy, however, Lord Humungus’s horde acts like a colonizing force, taking on the mode of Western expansion, manifest destiny, and pretense of civilizing order. Tis is all depicted through a structuring absence of actual indigenous people, which serves to foreground their displacement from, not only the land, but history.41 A brief overview of the signifcance of punk style will help elucidate its use in this flm as anti-fashion and anti-aesthetic that destabilizes the diference between civilization and barbarism, masculine power and performativity of a masquerade. Monica Sklar, in her book, Punk Style, notes that much of it “can be traced back to its use in gay culture after World War II” (36). Te S/M subculture and punk

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subculture both evolved a style of dress from the gay subculture of the 1950s and 1960s, with punk becoming such an exemplary subculture that it was the object of study for the frst monograph on the subject of subculture and style, Subculture: Te Meaning of Style, by Dick Hebdige. Punk style acts as a self-fashioning through transgressive performance that indicates a disenfranchised or outcast status, a gesture “that is analytical and critical of the art, politics, popular culture, consumerism, and sexual and social mores of its era” (Sklar 137).42 Like glam rock fashion, punk foregrounds the masculine masquerade, but instead of queering it with signs of the “feminine,” it does so by overcoding the masculine. However, as Johan Kugelberg argues, it is also the performance of the “unfltered nihilism of romanticism” that enacts the embrace of no future (44).43 It is a mode of apocalyptic thinking and a way to dress up apocalyptic manhood. In defance of a lack of agency, it says “fuck you” to the very idea of trying to “succeed” in society. It serves as an anti-aesthetic espousing the loss of idealism after the failures of the counter-culture.44 Kugelberg depicts punk as a situationist theater of the ridiculous and ugly. Tus, the adoption of the leather jacket in punk, with its addition of spikes foregrounding it as a sign of violence, detourned the macho Brando and Dean aesthetic of stoic masculinity while embracing its use in underground gay culture as a deviant act of defance (Kugelberg 45). Moreover, wearing punk or glam style in the 1970s and 1980s not only brought on the threat of physical violence from those who would police the boundaries of normality as if we still operated under sumptuary laws,45 it also “carried an inherent demand for a reaction from everyday strangers and became a potent means to the end of experiencing life as authentic” (Kugelberg 46). Not just a rejection of a future of progress, it was also an embrace of an irredeemable now, an Existentialist authentic life with no intrinsic meaning. It hailed a subject as defantly diferent while also positioning the wearer in a recognizable subculture, providing belonging to a group of like-minded people and the safety that comes with community. Miller’s series of flms convey these messages of bleak nihilism in a situationist mode, and the use of punk fashion alludes to the antagonist horde as more nuanced than just the “bad guys,” but instead as an oppressed group of marginal identities vying for recognition and authenticity in a world radically changed so that the margin has shifted. Unlike Max and his stoic lack of afect, these men feel intensely and act out their rage against the world.46 Jon Savage argues that punk was always “very science fction … informed by J. G. Ballard, and by Te Man Who Fell to Earth [1976, Nicholas Roeg], among other things” (345). William Gibson, father of cyberpunk, argues that “punk was the last crusade of [a 60’s counterculture] millenarian moment, very much like the children’s crusades in France and

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Germany, springing out of the manifest corruption and mercenary sensibilities of the previous crusades” (342). Tis costuming choice lends the flms an outsider status while typifying the theme of defance that runs through the narratives, one found in many Australian flms, but made appealing to an international audience through the use of subcultural signifers that present such defance as “authentic” while also part of a brutal drag show that proves the virility of men through facing danger and pain. Te style of subversive subcultures are appropriated by Te Road Warrior and placed on a newly dominant class who live the logic of punk’s “no future” to its extremity, espoused by punks as a reaction to the neoliberal capitalist realism of a newly dominant consumer culture, a lack of futurity that informs apocalyptic manhood.

Max’s Agency and Victimhood: Taking It Like a Man and Pain as a Means to Feeling

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Inscribed within contradictory histories, queer S/M remains a deeply conficted phenomenon in American culture. On the one hand, it attests to the violent social and political oppression of lesbians and gay men and to the inevitability that desire (that most apparently individualized of drives) is always socially produced and always marked by a history of oppression. On the other hand, it also testifes to the relative economic and cultural empowerment of lesbians and gay men as a class.… It also bears witness to the vexed relation between the political and the sexual in American culture and the fact that queer identities at once disrupt the binary opposition between the public and private and reinforce the belief that the private is the central determinant feature, not just of subjectivity, but of the social as well. (Savran 238) Where Savran suggests that white men’s sense of their own victimization causes the crisis in hegemonic masculinity, I am arguing that the recourse to victimization attempts to solve that crisis. Not only did the sixties and seventies produce a new ideal of ‘soft’ masculinity—which, in Savran’s reading, later required remasculinization—but these decades also witnessed the marking of white masculinity precisely as the embodiment of the sadistic, traditionally masculine force that Savran reads as having lost its dominance. (Robinson 197) If the male body is to be a point of security, the hero a fgure who can be relied on, then bodily integrity and heterosexuality in particular need to be maintained. (Tasker 15–16)

Does Max conform to Tasker’s stipulation made above that a masculine action hero be heterosexual and inviolate? Te action protagonist outlined in her work codes the heroic as belonging to white men, a heroism “often articulated as ‘rugged individualism’ and self-reliance. In this narrative, social contradictions are displaced onto personal ills, with the consequence that larger social and historical forces are rendered irrelevant” (Robinson Marked 40). Te action hero depoliticizes the plight of white men in America and makes changing social systems and norms

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a personal problem for individual white men. But does this apply to Max? Unlike the rapacious men in Lord Humungus’s horde and the Gyro Captain (Bruce Spence), Max seems to be asexual after losing his wife. He has no desire beyond survival and fight into the wasteland. However, in the action sequences, some women can be seen among the men, dressed in similar masculine drag, punk, and S/M fashions. Like Warrior Woman in Papagallo’s camp, they perform a female masculinity to ft in a world of apocalyptic manhood. Spence’s character performs the only heterosexuality, and his relationship with a young girl (Arki Whitely) is engineered by her father with the intention of saving her. She acts as an object exchanged between older men, but asserts her own agency when she refuses to leave her people with him. She prefers to remain with her new kin-group rather than fugitivity. Max does not act out of altruistic or heroic motivation to save the threatened innocents. Not only is he no typical action hero “who can be relied on,” his “bodily integrity” is not maintained in this or any of the flms in the series. He sets the mold for punishment that an action hero must endure which would inform such popular flms of the decade as Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan) and Rambo: First Blood Part II (1985, George Cosmatos), a fguration of taking it like a man taken to hyperbolic lengths in the action movie satire Darkman (1990, Sam Raimi). More than performing heroic acts, these action heroes sufer and endure gratuitous punishment. Max is not looking for companionship or a group to which he can belong, as his rejection of the Gyro Captain’s idea of partnership indicates. Helping the camp of besieged people is merely one more way for him to continue surviving on his road to oblivion, to continue the sufering. His agency is predicated on a lonely, fugitive existence with no hope, a “white line nightmare” from which he cannot awake. When he rescues one of the victims caught trying to escape in search of a truck to haul their fuel and brings him back to the refnery compound, he does so only to treat the wounded man as currency with which he will buy some of the juice. He makes no pretense of heroism, responding to the thanks of the people after retrieving the truck with, “Save it. I’m just here for the gasoline.” In this way, he is not that diferent from the marauders who attempt to take the fuel by force; they operate by the same road warrior logic. Max is accused of “trading in human fesh,” and this theme of human trafcking frames the later narrative of Fury Road. Unlike the frst flm, the sequel to Mad Max is less concerned with his personal identity crisis and more interested in further punishing his body as a spectacle of his taking it like a man. Te flm registers two modes of male victimization. Te queer barbarians at the gate represent the performance of victimization as an empowering “mastery of subjection,” as Savran argues (236–237), the act of

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voluntary bondage or pain becomes a way of controlling the subject’s own subjugation, even if only fantasmatically. In this way, the practice of S/M and its sartorial gestures become “an imaginary and privileged escape from and transcendence of a hateful and murderously homophobic culture” (Savran 237). On the other hand, Max’s victimization is more melodramatic, using his status as victim “to reimagine a new conceptualization of masculinity, and one that just might evade the passive-feminine-masochist, active-masculine-sadistic binaries” represented in the brutal gang and the civilians behind their walls (Robinson Marked 197). However, it imagines this evasion as a form of apocalyptic masculinity, one that cannot survive in a social setting, demonstrating it as problematic for the future. Max is a fgure of a doomed subject position. As noted, Max does not act out of heroic motivation, and this fact is foregrounded by his initial rejection by Warrior Woman, the masculine woman who “mans” the ramparts with her bow, wearing the armor of her people and who subsequently volunteers to help Max by guarding the big rig in the fnal chase. Her death in the last chase sequence is due largely to her attempt to aid one of her friends in an act of sacrifcial altruism. She dies because she cares for the welfare of others. As I will discuss in the next chapter, the only person Max evinces concern for is the Feral Kid. When he volunteers to drive the big rig for the flm’s climax, he does so only because he no longer has any other option after his own vehicle has been destroyed (along with his only companion, his dog). Pappagallo, with his plan to make Max into the diversion that allows the others to escape with the fuel, takes advantage of this state of afairs, using Max as a valuable prize much like Max uses the dying man to gain access to the compound. Pappagallo also trades in human fesh. Tese men only have value when of use to others, and the meaning of their labor relies on the technology they use to prove this worth.47 Tey are a means of producing violence. Tis willingness to use others as disposable tools would seem to be what separates the people of the compound from the gang as when Pappagallo tells Max, “We’re still human beings with dignity, but you, you’re out there with the garbage.” Te fact that Pappagallo uses Max as a decoy, treating him with no dignity, would seem to contradict this clear diference between “civilized” and barbarian. After the man that he has saved dies, becoming useless as currency, Max is bound to the place with hand cufs, a fguration of him in bondage that will become a recurring motif for the rest of the flms in the series. Max’s free agency is always in question. I want to draw attention to the device that is used in this particular bondage scene, one that he himself used in his formal life as a police ofcer to restrain violent criminals and ultimately to devise a death trap for Johnny the Boy, indicating that he is now equated with this criminal and victim status and is

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in need of restraint, but the cufs fail in this regard as he easily frees himself and aids in the subsequent action sequence to repel another attack from the gang, taking over the operation of the famethrower after Pappagallo is wounded, showing that he is “quick” like Wez and better equipped to fght of the marauders than the “soft,” slow men and women in the compound. Having lost all hope, the community wants to give in to the demands and be dominated, but Max ofers them a way out, a line of fight only available through his driving alacrity. Taking part in a discourse popularized during the 1970s in a series of exploitation flms about heroic truck drivers, the flm validates the working-class masculinity of the truck driver through Max and demonstrates his worth to the survival of democratic community even though it is all a clever ruse. Te Road Warrior indicates in this gesture how disposable working-class men are to society. Max represents hope for the future even though personally he has none. He is not the hero who gets the girl in the end; the Gyro Captain does.

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Masculine Extremes and Apocalyptic Dandies: Humungus’ Hypermasculinity and the Gyro Captain’s Hypomasculinity Hegemonic masculinity is “the confguration of gender practice which embodies the currently accepted answer to the problem of the legitimacy of patriarchy, which guarantees (or is taken to guarantee) the dominant position of men and the subordination of women.”… As it underwrites positions of power and wealth, a culture’s hegemonic masculinity has to appear to accommodate competing masculinities, too, if for no other reason than to defne itself in opposition to these other models. (Cohan 35, quoting sociologist Bob Connell)

Lord Humungus also trades in human fesh, but as a threat of violence and extortion that he blames on the survivors because they will not act “reasonably” and conform to this road warrior logic. Like Toecutter, he is ringmaster to a performance of force and cruelty with the addition of a loudspeaker adding to his fascistic persona (reinforced by an Eastern-European accent). To the men in his horde, violence is not only a means to an end, but has become their only entertainment, laughing raucously when Te Toadie (Max Phipps), one of their own, loses his fngers to the Feral Kid’s razor-sharp boomerang. Violence has become a roadside attraction with no consequence or accountability since nothing matters anymore but the juice. Tese men treat violence and the war of the road as a game.48 Te Humungus, on the other hand, is all business and never laughs. He fatly states, “No more games. We are here for a purpose.” He employs a rhetoric of manifest destiny, which, as Michael Kimmel points out in Angry White Men, was considered

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by Americans during western expansion to be “regenerative” and “creative, restorative, even healing” for both men and the nation fgured as a masculine subject (178).49 In this way, the violence done to those who halt the progress of this destiny is legitimated as retaliatory. As Kimmel argues, “you have to feel entitled to use violence” (Angry 181). Tese men feel entitled to rape, torture, and take what they want because they can; they act like they own the road. Lord Humungus wears probably the most outlandish costume in the flm, one that covers his genitals but leaves most of his huge muscular body exposed, covered with scars and bulging veins. Tus, unlike the hard-bodied heroism of Sylvester Stallone, his hypermasculine physique is pathologized as monstrous. Tis combination of a tightly-clothed hip area with metal studs, resembling a codpiece, combined with straps of black studded leather over the shoulders, is a copy of not only a look popular in S/M leather bars, but also previously used in another post-apocalyptic flm, Zardoz (1974), a John Boorman production wherein Sean Connery wears a red version of this outft that visibly distinguishes his muscular hirsute body and bulging groin from the efete bodies of the immortal, privileged people cloistered in the Zone who wear diaphanous, translucent, silky cloth draped over their soft bodies.50 In Te Road Warrior, this harness and exposed muscular fesh, although hairless,51 accent the grotesque physicality of this character, and his mask, which looks like something forged during the days of the Holy Inquisition, extends this hypermasculinity into a monstrous demonstration of violent dominance.52 Faludi argues that men act out in defensive aggression after “being caught out, exposed as weak and insufcient” (144).53 Violence then conceals the vulnerability that was always already there, but has been made visible. Savran argues that, during the decade of the 1970s, men used refexive sadomasochism as an empowering strategy: “No longer having others on whom to infict his power and his pain with impunity, the male subject began to turn against himself and to prove his mettle by gritting his teeth and taking his punishment like a man” (176). As the epigraph above shows, Robinson extends this logic to argue that white men imagine the new scrutiny they are under as a marked subjectivity as a wounding, thereby using victim status as a form of empowerment. Te performance of victimhood articulates the melodrama of a hysterical identity crisis. Uniforms like leather outfts act as props in this melodrama. In an observation that explicates the use of MFP uniforms in the frst two Mad Max flms, especially by Max, Faludi notes that men obsessed with uniforms are similar to drag queens, referring to them as “male illusionists” (149). Tey partake in the masculine masquerade in a similar way that drag queens perform the feminine masquerade. Humungus’s codpiece is emblematic of this self-fashioning and posturing to cover over any sign of weakness or vulnerability. In early modern England, this

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garment brought attention to the masculine masquerade. Even when writers criticized its inclusion in British fashion of the time, they still linked it to manhood. Will Fisher argues that “it was an item through which male bodies and masculinity were culturally constructed.… It was in reality as much a model for the genitalia as a model of them” (68). It went out of fashion because it ultimately failed as a sign of manhood, perhaps because it could be taken of, thereby showing that masculinity was detachable from male bodies (Fisher 75). Humungus’s garment is linked as well to the rise of body-building in the 1970s and 1980s, which required men to wear as little as possible to showcase their oiled musculature, a cultural practice that also required a hairless body. It also partakes in the discourse on the penis that occurred in the 1970s, a time Robinson argues “witness[ed] a hyper-visibility of the penis, as radical feminists, men’s liberationists, and the chroniclers of human sexuality all turn[ed] their attention to the penis and its (dys)functions” (Marked 159). Tis discourse, which began by positioning “male sexuality as dangerous and predatory in the early days of the feminist movement has given way to a much more conficted view of the penis as both powerful ‘weapon’ and vulnerable organ,” thus perpetuating a masculine crisis of embodiment (Robinson 159, italics hers). Hence, in addition to the codpiece, Humungus has a hard “armored” body that itself, especially with its lack of hair and bulging veins, resembles an erect penis, a metonym of masculine potency.54 Tis same discourse informs the scene where the men laugh at Te Toadie’s dismemberment. He is clearly positioned as less of a “man” than his Lord, not only by this act and his name, but also his need of glasses, and these signs position him as one of the efete “soft” intellectuals lampooned in Boorman’s flm, so his symbolic castration is farcical. Tus, the carnivalesque theatricality55 of the members of Lord Humungus’s horde acts as a drag show of male illusionists, demonstrating the vulnerability of masculinity while linking it to authoritarianism through hyperbole, and Max attempts to shore up his own vulnerability and lack of agency by saving the community of survivors who just want to travel to the tropical north “and breed.”56 His hegemonic heterosexual white masculine position from the frst flm was lost with his family, and he does not ft in the new future of this burgeoning Great Northern Tribe.57 Michael Kimmel notes that hegemonic white masculinity “is just right” compared to the hypomasculinity of women and wimps and the hypermasculinity of black men and savages; the “wrong” kinds of masculinities are often depicted as uncivilized or over-civilized, efeminate or animalistic (Angry 258). Tus, Max stands between the hypermasculinity of Lord Humungus and the hypomasculinity of the Gyro Captain, but curiously the one who will continue the species and society as such is the “weaker” man; the Gyro Captain becomes the leader of the

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people with the demise of Pappagallo and ostensibly a father fgure for the Feral Kid, our narrator and the tribal leader who follows the Gyro Captain. Indeed, Max, Pappagallo, Wez, and Humungus are all shown to be problematic patriarchs while the Gyro Captain, even though used for comic relief, is resourceful without having to dominate, skilled without having to be a master, and able to literally leave the cycle of road violence by leaving the road itself with his ability to fy. Te thing that sets this man apart from the other men, and what makes him a good choice for a mate for his new girlfriend, is his ability to diverge from the destiny of these other men. His footwear, soft shoes compared to the leather boots worn by Max, indicates this vertical privilege. He is not bound to the road like they are, but fies above it untethered but still reliant on the juice. His is not a physical, warrior, working-class masculinity, but one more like that of the professional-managerial class; as he says, he has “brains.” Spence’s lanky body serves as comic relief when juxtaposed to Mel Gibson’s for the frst half of the flm, dressed in aviator’s goggles and long underwear with a tan codpiece, covered by a brown duster adorned with a lavender scarf and yellow cloth fower in his pocket; he is a post-apocalyptic dandy. He proves resourceful, frst by saving Max, airlifting him to safety after he is run of the road and loses everything (a visual reference to the fgure of a soldier wounded in Vietnam and the flm Apocalypse Now [1979, Francis Ford Coppola]), then by strategically dropping his poisonous snake and frebombs during the fnal chase sequence. His is the masculinity of the future, not Max’s, which is “nothing.” In the last shot of the flm, the camera dollies away, leaving Max standing alone in the desert from which he emerged at flm’s beginning, a desert that, in the next flm, will be called “the nothing” and equated with the identity of this “raggedy man.” Max uses the Gyro Captain as another tool, a means to an end, but the Captain thinks of this as a partnership. He wants to work with Max, coupling his mental masculinity and skill with machines to the physicality of Max, much like the fgure of Master Blaster in the next flm, but Max has no partners, rejecting the companionship of the Feral Kid as well. He carries his wound, the loss of his family, best friend, and identity, like a badge; without this victim status he is just a murderer like Lord Humungus. But, as he is reminded by Pappagallo, and Humungus explains to Wez, everyone lost something when the world ended, and he only seems to be feeling sorry for himself, an indication of the narcissism that subtends white male victimhood and the anger it produces. Being nothing and on a trajectory towards oblivion, he denies human contact and the role of father that embracing the Kid would entail. He has left behind such roles and embraced instead the bare life of surviving on the road to nowhere. But rather than indicate Max’s maintenance of individual autonomy with such gestures, it instead demonstrates his abdication of

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agency and the ethical consideration that choice entails. Te following two flms depict his eventual learning and embrace of such intersubjectivity, a post-humanist ethics of care. He makes choices in this flm out of necessity and contingency; in Beyond Tunderdome he becomes a fgure motivated by the winds of fate, but makes two important moral choices. In a quotation of David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia (1962), in which he captured on flm the derailment of a train engine as a flm stunt (an echo of an even more spectacular train crash staged by Buster Keaton in Te General [1926]), Miller ends his ground-breaking, longest-ever (at the time) chase sequence with the spectacular crash of the big rig, but not in slow motion as Spielberg treats the crash at the end of Duel. Miller frustrates the fnality of this sequence by undercutting its drama and tragic closure when we see a close-up of sand pouring out of the tanker. Te camera slowly details the crash as the dust settles, equating this destroyed vehicle with the broken body of Max as he crawls from the second vehicular disaster he has sufered in the same day. Te difusion of heroism with the pouring sand dilutes the proof of his masculinity this punishment should mark. Instead, it indicates that he was an expendable resource and only served in this last action-packed scene as a distraction from the real story and what really matters. Te flm urges us to understand this and smile along with Max at the joke while seeing the futility of Max’s fantastic form of masculine agency. Tus, Te Road Warrior demonstrates the ways in which masculinity as a technology that enables male domination is linked to masculine technologies like vehicles, and thereby problematizes the ascendancy of this model of dominant vehicular masculinity even while it revels in the spectacle created by high-speed stunts and the inevitable crash and burn. Te glamorizing of working-class vehicular masculinity that occurred in the 1960s and 1970s is turned on its head and shown to be a road to nowhere, a violent mode of masculinity that proves its worth and free agency through mastery of mobility as such, performing it in a high-speed masculine masquerade. We are to hope that the story’s narrator, the Feral Kid, who explains in voice-over that he became leader of his people after having grown “into the fullness of manhood,” does not practice the competitive masculinity on display, and tells us this story to narrate the way that he was able to escape the cycle of violence and learn to be part of a community instead of autonomous from it, to live for others and not just himself, for men are not born but made, and all begin as boys who learn the expectations their society attributes to manhood. In this way, the flm aligns with Omega Man and its depiction of Dutch, but this “feral” boy is not a privileged white man who was training to be a doctor, he is more of a tabula rasa, and I read this as more hopeful than the ending of that previous flm. Te next

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chapter will more thoroughly examine the problem of apocalyptic boyhood in this supposedly feral fgure.

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Notes 1. Sarah Street attributes this to gender bias and the attribution of anything relating to fashion as “feminine” (1). 2. As Sally Robinson makes clear, the language used by Kimmel in his history of manhood in America tends to “unmark white masculinity” through its attempt to “generalize by gender and specify by race,” which assumes white masculinity as the standard even if only by implication (Marked 193). For this reason, I  often use the term “white masculinity” in this study to particularize and decenter it in gender discourse. Tis chapter hopefully serves to mark up this unmarked masculinity further. 3. Documented by Monica Sklar, Valerie Steele, Colin McDowell, Juyeon Park, Kelly Gage, and Marilyn DeLong among others. Street notes that “as far as Hollywood was concerned, audiences frequently adapted what they saw on screen for their own wardrobe. Sometimes this was a deliberate commercial strategy” in which the fashion is product placement (8). 4. Te use of this fgure in discourse on postwar masculinity is pervasive. I  am indebted to the chapter by this name in Cohan’s Masked Men. 5. Fiske, in Understanding Popular Culture, posits culture as “dynamic, ‘always in process, never achieved’… created anew through each social transaction” (xxv). Tus, these rules of decorum have changed over time, with the Hays Code being abandoned and replaced by the ambiguous and amorphous MPAA rating system. 6. He elaborates on the period: “For many social theorists of the late 1970s, the political disasters of the 1970s coupled with the triumph of mass-mediated culture became symptomatic of a precipitous moral decline in the United States and an ominous disintegration of American civil society. Birthrates plummeted during the decade (reaching an all-time low), divorce rates climbed dizzyingly” (Savran 166). 7. Robinson elaborates: “Rather than confronting the gap between the personal and the political, the men’s liberationists instead draw on a rhetoric of personal injury and pain and, thus, enter the feld of ‘liberation’ both acknowledging and disavowing the political” (“Emotional” 138). Te victim status operates to assuage this wounding through the very disavowal of the social causes of this trauma. 8. Robinson explains the important diferences in “invisibility” between racialized and marginalized subjects, those excluded from history, and that more elusive “invisibility of those who can be said to inhabit the center of cultural and political power … invisible behind a mask of universality” (Marked 194). 9. Tis also applies to choice of actor: “Typecasting in the genre flm is a bonus, not a debit. It is just one more way of establishing character quickly and efciently” (Sobchack 107). 10. Osgerby notes that “until the early twentieth century, production rather than consumption was considered, for the most part, the legitimate focus of middle-class men’s energies. [i.e. the ideal model of the ‘self-made man’]… Yet from the beginning of the twentieth century there arose alternative models of middle-class masculinity that laid greater stress on the pleasures

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12. 13.

14. 15.

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17.

18.

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of consumerism” (9). Conspicuous consumption became a class-conscious way of performing dominant manhood. Robinson argues that “identity politics is best understood as a strategy for combating perceived losses of power, a strategy for healing the wounds that mark the individual as the carrier of racial and gender ‘particularity.’ Te focus on ‘victims’ makes it possible for white men to claim injury without claiming to be oppressed systematically by white supremacist patriarchy. To speak of victims, as opposed to oppressions, and of identities, as opposed to institutions, lifts ‘diference’ out of the realm of the institutional and places it in the realm of the individual” (Marked 68). Tis is part of the neoliberal move to depoliticize social problems, to shift from the political to the personal, a problem of the individual instead of society. Tat being said, Neville still calls her “baby”; his sexism resists even a gun to the head. Tis use of the color informed the institution of racism that followed during colonialism. Martinot asserts that “race exists because one group, the European colonists in the Americas, conceptualized a purity condition for themselves within certain practical problems encountered administratively with respect to the colonial conquest and, by inferiorizing and excluding all those who did not meet the purity condition, defned themselves as white” (32). In other words, “white identity (as a racialized identity) defnes the idea of being nonwhite for itself in order to bring itself into existence as white” (Martinot 35). In a similar fashion, as Savran documents, many white men in the counter-culture put on blackness or “act black” as a way of putting on the victim status associated with this identity (33). Charles V is a good example of the contradictory values represented by this color. “A man of great piety, he saw black as a majestic color worthy of his rank and power, but also a virtuous color, a symbol of humility and temperance” (Pastoureau 103). It is both majestic and humble, powerful, yet mild. Black really does go with anything. Te practice and discourse of science changed everything. White and black were removed from the color spectrum altogether, thought of less as colors themselves and more as the absence of color (Pastoureau 119). Tis applies more to black than to white, as white is really the colorless all color that includes the others, demonstrated with prisms and the rainbow (Pastoureau 148). But this scientifc discourse also indicated the arbitrary quality of color classifcation itself, as color was shown to be a continuum, and tints blur into each other so that there can never truly be any “pure” shade. Martinot cites Bourdieu to articulate the regulative function of institutions (such as fashion) that give subjects identities and “discourage permanently any attempt to cross the line, to transgress, desert, or quit” this ascribed identity and its associated behaviors (40). Te Black Panthers transgressed by taking on the stereotypes attributed to them and wearing them hyperbolically. Neville’s status as victim is an articulation of the long-standing practice in America of racial melodrama. In this he partakes of a narrative of white victimhood that goes back to the original settlers of the colonies and the later settlers of western expansion who were menaced by indigenous people and fgured this violence as “racial victimization.” As Linda Williams writes, “the white settlers are not just victims in this scenario; they are racially beset victims who acquire moral legitimacy through the public spectacle of their sufering.… Racial melodrama is the popular form that gives permission to these racially constituted groups to carry out actions that they could not carry out in the name of bald self-interest” (44). Cohan, citing Kaja Silverman, notes that masculine ideology defnes the male body as “whole and inviolate,” and that “this ‘dominant fction’ allows the male ego to function as a kind of armor,

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22. 23.

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‘predicated upon the illusion of coherence and control’ ” (104). Te vehicles and leather uniforms reinforce this illusion. Much like the German Freikorps documented by Klaus Teweleit, these men “fortify” themselves with leather both physically and psychologically (Bukatman 306). Te fact that they could only aford one outft made of actual leather, worn by Gibson, and instead dressed the other men in vinyl does not detract from my argument as, diegetically, through the magic of movie-making, these vinyl outfts are read as leather, just like Max’s. Te appearance of a second skin that armors and encloses the body is what is important here. Of course, they could also just as easily be made of latex or rubber for my discussion of the S/M styles of the sequel. Savran remarks that “this ostensibly free, male individual is posited as the basic social unit, his sovereignty founded upon the inviolability of private property and the unrestricted market” (25) In the recent addition to the series, Fury Road (2015, costume design by Jenny Beavan), Max (Tom Hardy) signifcantly loses his jacket at the beginning of the flm, and then re-appropriates it from Nux (Nicholas Hoult) later, signifying his transformation from victim to action hero in the narrative. Furiosa (Charlize Teron) also wears a leather jacket that, along with her job driving a big rig, mark her as a masculine female who performs working-class physical labor while simultaneously indicating her rebel status. She is aligned with the GynePunk movement, a “project [that] espouses a positive ethos of corporeal self-experimentation. It views the body as ‘a technology to be hacked, from the established ideas of gender and sex, to exploring the capacity to start researching ourselves’ ” (Hester 141). Steele argues that, “not only does a leather jacket ‘disguise’ the body’s ‘inadequacies’ and provide a sense of ‘heightened sexual awareness,’ but it also functions as an icon of butch, raunchy, even brutal, masculinity—and raw power” (160). In this way, the flm denaturalizes the heteronormativity of the police department, foregrounding the discourse of “natural” sexuality as always already queer, for, as Braudy relates, “although Kinsey’s reports expanded the sphere of what was considered natural in sexuality, the lure of the natural as a mode of explanation continued to lead to a stigmatizing of the unnatural. And there was enough fear of a debilitated or excessive masculinity emerging from the war to make the stigma as general as possible” (505). Although the war he mentions was WWII, the same sentiments apply to soldiers returning from Vietnam, perhaps even more so. Tomas remarks on this political necessity: “One cannot historicize and denaturalize the visibility of feminine masquerade, the proliferation in this culture of images of women’s bodies as fetishized and dominated objects, without also attempting to historicize and denaturalize the invisibility of masculine masquerade, the disappearance of male bodies in the construction of men as fetishizing and dominating subjects. In fact, the visibility of the former may be a condition of possibility for the invisibility of the latter” (50, italics his). Elaborated by David Savran in Taking it Like a Man, especially the chapter “Queer Masculinities.” Tomas, noting that Lacan suggests the revelation of the penis is a shaming of the phallus, compares this notion to the work of Sandra Bartky which argues that the Western social order links shame to femininity (50). In both cases the shame results from proof that a subject does not “have” the phallus, the penis never being able to live up to the demands of the phallus as signifer. Paul Williams explains the use of this amorphous concept called “civilization” in post-apocalyptic texts succinctly, observing that it actually denotes two concepts: “frst, the achievements of Europe and North America, and second, the history of human development, in whose name the West speaks, since its endeavors are self-promoted as exemplary.… Te term appears to be frst used in the eighteenth century and is built into the root ‘civilize,’ which originates in the

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early seventeenth century. Tis idea of an advanced stage in the development of human society should be set in the context of the contemporaneous making of the modern world: ‘civilization’ legitimized why non-Europeans profted from being exposed to the European culture” (15). Civilization is an excuse for conquest, or as Benjamin puts it, barbarism. It is a fantasy that assumes white Europeans to be the standard of humanity and that the exploitations of colonialism are a gift to the less “civilized” parts of the world. Max operates in a state of perpetual fugitivity, defned by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney as a refusal to settle and an embrace of dispossession (Halberstam 11). Robinson remarks on what she calls a “victim-function” of embodiment which implies “that embodiment is only forced upon our attentions through the apprehension of the body as problematic. Women’s bodies, and the bodies of people of color, have always been apprehended as problematic.… Te marking of white men as specifcally embodied, gendered, and racialized subjects, functions as an objectifcation that … produces responses ranging from acceptance of material vulnerability to defant reassertions of abstraction” (Marked 126). In an interview, Miller laments that they should have made Max dirtier, setting him even further apart from the white- and beige- wearing “Gucci Arabs” with their conspicuous cleanliness. Tis refexive sadomasochism is what Savran argues “reproduces a tough male subject who proves his toughness by subjugating and battering his (feminized) other.” Citing Silverman, he explains that “the male subject can indulge his appetite for pain without at the same time calling into question … his virility” (190). In Performing Glam Rock, Philip Auslander posits that the music genre was a reaction and opposition to the psychedelic rock of the late-1960s and early 1970s: “If psychedelic rock addressed its audience as a collective whose actions could ultimately transform global politics, glam rock addressed its audience as individuals with the power to transform only themselves” (7). It was music for self-fashioning. As Savran observes, “rock may have been the most popular and infuential art form during the late ‘60s, ‘the deepest means of communication and expression’ that negotiated the incompatibility of the postmodern with the pre-industrial by attempting to unite ‘a mass culture’ with ‘a genuine folk culture’ ” (138, citing Reich). Glam Rock exposed this contradiction, embracing the postmodern culture of identity. Analyzing the performances of Marc Bolan, transvestite guitarist, vocalist, and front-man for the band T-Rex, one of the frst famous glam rock ensembles, Auslander notes the continual gender reversals that Bolan employs, remarking that “this performance illustrates what Judith Butler calls the ‘proliferation’ of gender identities that has the efect of destabilizing gender norms” (103). David Bowie took this even further: “If Marc Bolan brought an implicitly theatrical sensibility to bear on the performance of rock music, David Bowie sought explicitly to perform rock as theater. Bowie achieved the synthesis of rock and theater toward which he had worked since the mid-1960s with his creation of glam icon Ziggy Stardust, the bisexual space alien, in 1972… Bowie sang in many voices and from many subject positions without identifying clearly with any of them. By asserting the performativity of gender and sexuality through the queer Ziggy Stardust persona, Bowie challenged both the conventional sexuality of rock culture and the concept of a foundational sexual identity more fully and directly than Bolan” (Auslander 106). Tis is one of the many ways that this action flm uses melodrama, not the least of which is the treatment of Max’s body. As Linda Williams explains, “even happy-ending melodramas are heavily interested in displays of bodily sufering as the means to the recognition of virtue.…

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Virtue can be recognized through sufering alone, or in the action variants of melodrama by the sufering that calls for deeds” (29). I am indebted to Katherine Kinney for introducing me to this line of thought. Steele’s research found that, “whereas latex is ‘introverted’ and ‘auto-erotic,’ leather … is more ‘symbolic,’ a ‘statement to society,’ ‘like being tattooed and pierced’ ” (153). After noting the Nazi and biker connections I  have already mentioned, Steele remarks that “black leather has also long been associated with sadomasochistic sex. In the 1920s and 1930s, many pornographic photographs showed people dressed in black leather and engaged in SM activities” (154). David Teo Goldberg writes, “Erased in the name of a universality that has no place for them, the subjects of real political economy are denied and silenced, ontologically and epistemologically and morally evicted” (156). “Chunky, oversized boots have universal appeal because in addition to comfort, they give an air of intimidation, symbolically solidifying footing in this world as valid, not treading lightly but making a real stand that cannot be messed with” (Sklar 41). Tis flm is full of close-ups of just such footwear and recall the importance of boots to Max’s memory of his father. Jon Savage argues that punk “alerted the culture to the terrors and dangers in its midst. Tis is what your future could be: no future, a nightmare” (149). Kugelberg goes on to argue that “the history of the punk aesthetic cannot be told, only shown, and if the envelope needs to shift its placement further, remember the immortal words of Marco Pirroni, who with maximum hindsight came to exclaim that punk never did happen” (45). Gibson disagrees with the idea that there even is a punk aesthetic: “Te way I see it operating is that it was just a rolling ball of code, and the people who were using the code wouldn’t have been able to defne it or describe it” (341). Auslander notes: “Robert Palmer argues that one can see ‘punk’ as a recurrent sensibility in rock rather than a style confned to a specifc moment in the 1970s” (231). He extends this logic to observe that there is also a recurring glam sensibility. Goshorn notes that, “at a time when it was becoming harder for cops to vent frustrations on Blacks and Latinos in the traditional local manner, the multi-racial and androgynous –looking punk crowds became known as the ‘new niggers’ for the L.A.P.D.” (43). In Angry White Men, Kimmel notes that “being numb … is a response to what happens to us, the tragic mismatch between who we think we’re supposed to be and what our society allows us to become” (218). Max uses the Gyro Captain as manual labor, for example, then as transportation when the gyrocopter is refueled, reversing their class dynamic. Tis raises a question asked by Braudy: “Which then comes frst—war or masculinity?… Would war, aggressive if not defensive, become outmoded as the defnition of masculinity expanded, or would it become the occupation solely of professionals?… Wars consume resources, but they also consume men, and they feed especially on the idea that men naturally go to war—an idea that enshrines a masculine heroism that will inspire men to go to future wars” (521). Te duel of “chicken” so often used in these flms is another form of restoration because the practice of dueling, according to Braudy, “purports to muster an ideal warrior energy to help reinvigorate a defunct or defcient civil sphere … the public social world furnished an arena in which male honor was either gained or lost” (353). Tis public arena in these flms is the road. Boorman’s flm, like much of his oeuvre, dwells on a crisis of masculine agency and the problem of men “losing” their masculinity and becoming “soft.” As in that flm, the Gucci Arabs in Road Warrior are depicted as decadent, soft, childish victims compared to the rugged, brutal

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masculinity of Lord Humungus. Unlike that flm, the rhetoric of Humgungus aligns him with civilization, not barbarity. Te Road Warrior positions the confict as between family and business, altruism and the social contract, the common good and social hierarchy. Te diference in body hair indicates that Lord Humungus is “civilized” as opposed to the barbarous “brutals” in Boorman’s flm. Miller doesn’t stop there; the character also uses the largest pistol invented, one that fres rife rounds used in big-game hunting. Te big game that he uses it against is mechanical. Kimmel argues that men experience masculinity as powerlessness, “painfully aware of the power they don’t have and that other men do” as well as the power that women have over them to make them feel vulnerable (Angry 185). Te patriarchal structure of society makes them feel entitled to the power they do not have, causing the frustration and anger that makes them lash out. In early drafts of the screenplay, Miller planned for this character to be Max’s old friend Goose, and his horribly scarred face remains as testament to this idea of former friends becoming enemies. Hence, he is equated with Max as having the same origin with diferent outcomes. Tis can be seen most clearly in the montage sequence of horrifc torture as they burn captives alive while Humungus pontifcates at his microphone while fexing like a bodybuilder in a competition. I should note that the character saying this line, who owns the racy postcard on which they all place their hope (called the Curmudgeon in the credits and played by Syd Heylen), is dressed in the garb of a military ofcer, one whose authority as military masculinity is shown to be as obsolete and unreliable as the swords that he wears, a sign of the impotence of his aged and outmoded military masculinity. Tus, his expectation that Humungus is an “honorable man” and that he can negotiate is shown to be a fantasy based on historical precedent that no longer holds. A Tribe that nurtures its members, and it is this aspect of being a nurturer that is so important to a just society (Okin 18). Max cannot fulfll this role, even though it is urged on him in the third flm.

References Apocalypse Now. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall. United Artists, 1979. Aspers, Patrik and Frédéric Godart. “Sociology of Fashion: Order and Change.” Annual Review of Sociology 39, 2013. 171–192. Auslander, Philip. Performing Glam Rock:  Gender and Teatricality in Popular Music. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 2006. Benjamin, Walter. Te Arcades Project. Ed. Rolf Tiedemann. Trans. Howard Eiland and Kevin McLaughlin. Cambridge, MA and London: Harvard UP, 1999. A Boy and His Dog. Dir. L.Q. Jones. Perf. Don Johnson, Jason Robards, Susanne Benton. LQ/ JAF Productions, 1973. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Bukatman, Scott. Terminal Identity: Te Virtual Subject in Post-Modern Science Fiction. Durham and London: Duke UP, 1993.

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Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble:  Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. New  York and London: Routledge, 1999. Cohan, Steven. Masked Men:  Masculinity and the Movies in the Fifties. Bloomington and Indianapolis: Indiana UP, 1997. Crenshaw, Kimberlé Williams. “Race, Reform, and Retrenchment:  Transformation and Legitimation in Antidiscrimination Law.” Teories of Race and Racism. Eds. Les Black and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 549–560. Cruising. Dir. William Friedkin. Perf. Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Karen Allen. United Artists, 1980. Darkman. Dir. Sam Raimi. Perf. Liam Neeson, Frances McDormand, Colin Friels. Universal, 1990. Death Race 2000. Dir. Paul Bartel. Perf. David Carradine, Sylvester Stallone, Simone Grifeth. New World Pictures, 1975. DeLong, Marilyn, Kelly Gage, Juyeon Park, and Monica Sklar. “From Renegade to Regular Joe: Te Black Leather Jacket’s Values for Bikers.” International Journal of Motorcycle Studies Vol. 6, No. 2, 2010. 1–16. Denny-Brown, Andrea. Fashioning Change: Te Trope of Clothing in High- and Late-Medieval England. Columbus: Ohio State UP, 2012. Die Hard. Dir. John McTiernan. Perf. Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia. Twentieth Century Fox, 1988. Dilworth, Tomas. “Te Road Warrior and the Fall of Troy.” Literature/Film Quarterly Vol. 15, No. 3, 1987. 146–150. Duel. Dir. Steven Spielberg. Perf. Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone. CBS, 1971. Falconer, Delia. “ ‘We Don’t Need to Know the Way Home’: Te Disappearance of the Road in the Mad Max Trilogy.” Te Road Movie Book. Eds. Steven Cohan and Ina Rae Hark. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. 249–270. Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Fisher, Will. Materializing Gender in Early Modern English Literature and Culture. New York, Cambridge, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, Sao Paulo: Cambridge UP, 2006. Fiske, John. Understanding Popular Culture. 2nd Edition. London and New York: Routledge,  2010. Te General. Dir. Clyde Bruckman and Buster Keaton. Perf. Buster Keaton, Marion Mack, Glen Cavender. United Artists, 1926. Goldberg, David Teo. “Racial Knowledge.” Teories of Race and Racism. Eds. Les Back and John Solomos. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 154–180. Goshorn, A. Keith. “Repoman and the Punk Anti-Aesthetic: Postmodernity as a Permanent ‘Bad Area.’ ” Crisis Cinema: Te Apocalyptic Idea in Postmodern Narrative Film. Ed. Christopher Sharrett. Washington, DC: Maisonneuve P, 1993. 37–76. Halberstam, Jack. “Te Wild Beyond:  With and for the Undercommons.” Introduction to Stefano Harney and Fred Moten. Te Undercommons: Fugitive Planning and Black Study. New York: Minor Compositions, 2013. 2–13. Happy Days. ABC, 1974–1984. Television.

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Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: Te Meaning of Style. New York and London: Routledge, 1988[1979]. Hester, Helen. Xenofeminism. Cambridge: Polity P, 2018. Jeon, Eunjeong. “Form Empowered by Touch and Movement.” Fashion Design for Living. Ed. Alison Gwilt. London and New York: Routledge, 2015. 134–150. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. New York: Nation Books, 2013. Kugelberg, Johan. “On Punk: An Aesthetic.” Punk: An Aesthetic. Eds. Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage. New York, Paris, London, and Milan: Rizzoli, 2012. 43–46. ———. “Te Last Macro Tribe.” Conversation with William Gibson and Jon Savage. Punk: An Aesthetic. Eds. Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage. New York, Paris, London, and Milan: Rizzoli, 2012. 340–347. ———. Punk: An Aesthetic. Eds. Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage. New York, Paris, London, and Milan: Rizzoli, 2012. Lawrence of Arabia. Dir. David Lean. Perf. Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn. Columbia, 1962. Mad Max. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne. Roadshow Entertainment, 1979. Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston. Warner Bros., 1981. Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome. Dir. George Miller, George Ogilvie. Perf. Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence. Warner Bros., 1985. Mad Max: Fury Road. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Tom Hardy, Charlize Teron, Nicholas Hoult. Warner Bros., 2015. Te Man Who Fell to Earth. Dir:  Nicholas Roeg. Perf:  David Bowie, Rip Torn, Candy Clark. Cinema 5, 1976. Martinot, Steve. Te Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2003. Matheson, Richard. I Am Legend. London and New York: Berkley Books, 1971 [1954]. McDowell, Colin. Dressed to Kill: Sex Power & Clothes. London: Hutchinson, 1992. Nystrom, Derek. Hard Hats, Red Necks, and Macho Men: Class in 1970s America. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2009. Okin, Susan Moller. Justice, Gender, and the Family. New York: Basic Books, 1989. Te Omega Man. Dir. Boris Sagal. Perf. Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash. Warner Bros., 1971. Osgerby, Bill. Playboys in Paradise:  Masculinity, Youth and Leisure-Style in Modern America. Oxford and New York: Berg, 2001. Pastoureau, Michel. Black: Te History of a Color. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2008. Rambo: First Blood Part II. Dir. George P. Cosmatos. Perf. Sylvester Stallone, Richard Crenna, Charles Napier. Carolco, 1985. Ravagers. Dir. Richard Compton. Perf. Richard Harris, Ernest Borgnine, Ann Turkel. Columbia, 1979.

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Robinson, Sally. “ ‘Emotional Constipation’ and the Power of Damned Masculinity: Deliverance and the Paradoxes of Male Liberation.” Masculinity:  Bodies, Movies, Culture. Ed. Peter Lehman. New York and London: Routledge, 2001. 133–147. ———. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Savage, Jon. “A Punk Aesthetic.” Punk:  An Aesthetic. Eds. Johan Kugelberg and Jon Savage. New York, Paris, London, and Milan: Rizzoli, 2012. 146–149. Savran, David. Taking It Like a Man:  Masculinity, Masochism, and Contemporary American Culture. Princeton, NJ: Princeton UP, 1998. Sklar, Monica. Punk Style. London, New Delhi, New York, and Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2013. Sobchack, Tomas. “Genre Film: A Classical Experience.” Film Genre Reader, 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 103–114. Steele, Valerie. Fetish: Fashion, Sex and Power. New York and Oxford: Oxford UP, 1996. Street, Sarah. Costume and Cinema:  Dress Codes in Popular Film. London and New York: Wallfower, 2001. Svendsen, Lars. Fashion: A Philosophy. Trans. John Irons. London: Reaktion Books, 2006. Tasker, Yvonne. Spectacular Bodies:  Gender, Genre and “the Action Cinema.” London and New York: Routledge, 1993. Tomas, Calvin. Male Matters: Masculinity, Anxiety, and the Male Body on the Line. Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1996. Tranter, Kieran. “Mad Max:  Te Car and Australian Governance.” National Identities Vol.  5, No. 1, 2003. 67–81. Te Ultimate Warrior. Dir. Robert Clouse. Perf. Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow, Joanna Miles. Warner Bros., 1975. Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude. Trans. Isabella Bertoletti, James Cascaito, Andrea Casson. New York and Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2004. Williams, Linda. Playing the Race Card: Melodramas of Black and White from Uncle Tom to O.J. Simpson. Princeton and Oxford: Princeton UP, 2001. Williams, Paul. “Beyond Mad Max III:  Race, Empire, and Heroism on Post-Apocalyptic Terrain.” Science Fiction Studies Vol. 32, No. 2, Jul. 2005. 301–315. ———. Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War: Representations of Nuclear Weapons and Post-Apocalyptic Worlds. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2011. Zardoz. Dir. John Boorman. Perf. Sean Connery, Charlotte Rampling, Sara Kestelman. Twentieth Century-Fox, 1974.

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chapter four

Apocalyptic Boyhood Perpetual Boyhood as Fugitive Masculinity

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I regard these phenomena not as givens, but as part of the existential ‘problem of order’ that all societies must solve by encouraging people to act in certain ways, ways that facilitate both individual development and group adaptation. Gender roles represent one of these problem-solving behaviors. (Gilmore 3) Like her antecedents, the child as resource is freighted with expectations and anxieties about the future. Unlike them, however, she is tethered to a future that can no longer be taken for granted.… Te child exited the nineteenth century as the nexus point coordinating life, species, and reproduction with history, race, and nation. (Sheldon 2–3)

As these epigraphs indicate, the fgure of the boy in apocalyptic flms acts as both a stage “preceding” manhood or a stage of masculine development and a stage on which boys learn to perform manhood, and this manhood, as argued previously in this study, is imbricated with racialization and the history and future of nations like the United States of America. David Gilmore’s cross-cultural ethnographic analysis, Manhood in the Making, traces such “tendencies or parallels in male imagery around the world, [that demonstrate] a ubiquity rather than a universality” of manhood, a ubiquity that he uses to explain why so many disparate cultures have rituals and training that boys must undergo to achieve the status of manhood (3). Gilmore’s research documents many cultural variants of masculinist discourse that all position male subjects who do not or refuse to perform appropriate

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“manly” behaviors, like fshing in the case of Mehinaku culture, as feminine and/ or child-like because manhood is often equated with production defned against consumption, another way in which masculinity is defned in opposition to femininity (Gilmore 86). Such logic informs the anxiety over manhood that this book traces in this genre of flms. Apocalyptic manhood consumes rather than producing, requiring hypermasculine behaviors to disavow the feminine position that this places it in. Apocalyptic boyhood articulates anxiety over what happens to boys deprived of social training in hegemonic manhood and more importantly some form of test that allows them to prove their ascendance from the status of boys to that of men. Michael Kimmel asserts that American men have historically defned themselves in opposition to boys as much as women. In this model of masculinity, “a man was independent, self-controlled, responsible; a boy was dependent, irresponsible, and lacked control” (Manhood 18). Apocalyptic boyhood confates these extremes, encouraging independence without responsibility, self-control unbridled by social control, making apocalyptic manhood a continuation of apocalyptic boyhood, a never-never land producing war boys and road warriors trying to perform their agency on the stage of manhood. Gilmore’s work demonstrates that the various tests and rites of passage that boys undergo to prove their manhood to their society do not serve the myth of curbing a “natural” male aggression and putting it to use for a community; the inverse is actually the case. Boys must be coerced into putting their bodies at risk and engaging in toil or violent activity because our natural instinct is to avoid pain and sufering, and masculinist discourses and practices encourage such behavior as the only way to be socially validated as a “real” man. As a work of anthropology that uses psychoanalysis to understand cultural practices comparatively, Gilmore’s book also serves as a repudiation of the primitivist discourse many of these flms espouse which fgures boyhood as in danger of becoming “savage” unless restrained by cultural mores, as if “civilized culture” limits the behavior of men rather than licensing it by naturalizing male violence via patriarchal hegemony. Indeed, many cultures’ models of masculinity encourage brutal behavior for “proper” men, entitling them to violence and domination rather than restraining an “inherent” propensity for harm, an imagined masculine bestiality or wildness. Anthropologist Jack Eller observes that, “once we have learned violence from our models, we become models for others (particularly children), who observe and imitate our behavior. Violence or any other behavior ends up as ‘our way’ of being” (44).1 Men are also encouraged to be sexually active, to “score” with women to prove their manly virility, but the traditional norm of manhood equating masculinity with fatherhood has changed since the rise of consumer society with its Playboy masculinity and the gamifcation of manhood. A  family, and especially

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children, is seen in this model to emasculate a man by taking away his agency with demands on his time and resources.2 Fitness is redefned from serving a community, even one as small as the family unit, to one that proves itself by rejecting the needs of others and the need for others in a display of individual, autonomous agency. A crisis of boyhood equates to a crisis of future manhood if a society no longer produces the proper kind of man. Te fguration of children as primary symbol of the future, a capitalist resource, and a market for consumer culture is complicated and expanded into an examination of environmentalism in Rebekah Sheldon’s Te Child to Come, the signifcance of the child becoming a speculative tool of biopower that fgures a managed future which always portends catastrophe.3 Sheldon’s book examines the fguration of childhood

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as cipher for the future of the adult and the child as cipher for the future of the species intertwined … [which] engender[s]‌the vulnerable, innocent child whose rescue from harm appears tantamount to the future safety of us all—a future that is in any case already irremediably harmed [due to biological degradation brought on by the advent of capitalist industry]. (Sheldon 4)

In this logic, apocalyptic boyhood represents the ambivalent subjectivity of boys who are not “men” but also not “women” or “not-man” by the terms of the gender binary and are in danger of remaining perpetually thus, in a state of limbo. As Bill Nichols puts it, “He may be not-woman to some extent, and yet he does not capture the full power of the negation of woman that is man” (32). Apocalyptic boyhood overcompensates for this liminal position. Tis ambivalence structures the performance and narrative importance of the Feral Kid in Te Road Warrior. Lee Edelman’s book, No Future, is key to Sheldon’s argument because of his insight about the discourse of reproductive futurism that “the Child” signifes, although she remains skeptical about the masculinist fguration of the Child in Edelman’s book. Indeed, since the species would have a logical imperative to continue, appeals to reproductive futurism seem “impossible to refuse” (Edelman 2).4 Tus, the logic of reproductive futurism mandates transmission of an “authentic” social structure into the future through the fgure of the Child in need of protection and enculturation (Edelman 3). By this logic, children must be interpellated into the binary system of gender to ensure the immanence of the future as such fgured as the continuation of the species, and boys must be taught how to be men through a never-ending test of this status that proves they are neither women nor children. Tis imagining of the rhetorical appeal of the fgures of the child and childhood as a problem of futurity is complicated by Naomi Morgenstern’s concept of the “wild child,” not a “natural” state of childhood, but a subjectivity

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resulting from the parent-child bond, one in which a parent is forced to interact with their child as a person who is a “stranger” and realize that “our children are not us,” and if this wild child stands in for the future, the “future … is beyond our own narcissistic projections” (16, citing Andrew Solomon).5 Children signify both social responsibility, the duty to respond to their needs, and the fraught nature of human relationality, far from being signs of innocence removed from social and political problems. Te following analyses synthesize these arguments about the fgure of the child with the sense of masculine crisis so far traced in this book and the ways that a crisis of boyhood, since it implies a crisis of manhood, is also imagined as a national crisis. As Kimmel documents in Manhood in America, the history of the nation has been punctuated not only by crises of masculinity that take the form of national crises, the nation being imagined as masculine in a rhetoric of strength and white in a rhetoric of purity, but its history has also been one of worry over the production of proper, ft men from a generation of boys imagined as emasculated by a variety of social practices such as school, mothering, masturbation, or even diet, these threats later becoming comic books, television, and popular music or mass media as such.6 America has been using apocalyptic thinking about boyhood since at least the 19th century.7 Te creation of the Boy Scouts of America was a remedy for this masculinist anxiety over boyhood. Leo Braudy observes that the organization was “a central part of an early-twentieth-century focus on the ‘boy’ that brought earlier preoccupations with national degeneration into a pragmatic scheme of moral, physical, and intellectual training that might undo its worst efects” (364). Te use of the above analytical structures will aid in understanding the increasingly fraught discourses of “juvenile delinquency,” wayward youth not fully interpellated into hegemonic identities, which, for boys, takes the form of hypermasculine violence or hypomasculine passivity, fgures that populated flms during the latter half of the 20th century. As the century closed, however, the subject of anxiety in post-apocalyptic flms shifted from boys to girls while they became reifed into a necessary resource for future prosperity as possible mothers. Like possible motherhood, as a sign of futurity the boy becomes a site of concern over the potential he represents, a dynamic potential like that of labor power defned by Paolo Virno; as potential it can never be present but always immanent, and it subtends the logic of capitalist exchange that acts as a wager on this potential (82). Tis potentiality does not have a clear telos, however; it is a potency with no direction, as Nichols asserts by noting that the performance principle may loom as the measure of man [for a boy], but it is not yet internalized as the son’s own imaginary credo. Te son is eligible for full manhood and

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a place within the patriarchal order, but it is a place reserved more than occupied and a temptation more than a compelling desire. (33, emphasis mine)

Te narratives of post-apocalyptic flms evolve from a concern over disciplining young male subjects who are either not masculine enough or too masculine, articulating anxiety about the production of a population of ft men who ft in a future society, into narratives about disciplining girls to produce docile subjects reifed into a technology of reproduction, narratives in which the female protagonists revolt, and Miller’s flms trace the arc of this development.8 Tis chapter will look at flms that portray such lost boys in danger of never maturing, of never living up to their potential as “real men,” a waste of biopower which has less to do with a lack of fatherhood as a role model than that of a community to which the boy can belong, supplying him with and certifying his usefulness as a man and something in which to invest his interest and time. Tese boys represent the on-going anxiety articulated in the decade of the 1950s by flms like Rebel Without a Cause and Blackboard Jungle, boys who are having difculty conforming to the masculine dictate that a man rejects boyhood by mastering his world rather than depending on others and being responsible to them (Kimmel Manhood 18).

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Boys Being Boys: Apocalyptic Boyhood in 1950s Terms Science fction as a genre does not claim to actually predict the future. Rather, it works to extrapolate elements of the present, to consider what these elements might lead to if allowed to reach their full potential. Tat is to say, science fction is not about the actual future but about the futurity that haunts the present. (Shaviro 2) Law frst locates itself squarely within the family, and the issue facing the son is whether he will militate for or against the law of the father. (Nichols 35, citing Hayden White)

Susan Faludi observes that two visions of America competed after WWII: a future for the “common man” or the “American Century,” in other words, care/nurture of the people versus national dominance (21). Tese are binary gendered choices, and the country chose masculine dominance. Tis engendered not only the “baby boomer” generation, “but truly it was the era of the boy. It was the culture of Father Knows Best and Leave it to Beaver” (Faludi 24). However, Brian Baker, in Masculinity in Fiction and Film, notes that, “while Faludi locates the crisis in contemporary masculinity in a failure of fatherhood … the postwar American life constructed for the GIs’ return was, in fact, a major factor in their own alienation

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and dislocation,” not just their ascribed roles as fathers (1). He contends this was due to how “the returning soldiers were corralled by a new economic and cultural system designed to enforce their domesticity” often seen as taking away autonomous individual agency (Baker 1). Note how Baker, by using the verb “corralled,” equates domesticity with being fenced in and limited in movement. Tus, there were two major “anxieties surrounding masculinity in the immediate postwar era” (Baker 1). He identifes these as the threat of hypermasculinity, a propensity for violence that men may bring back from the war, an inability to switch from military masculinity to domestic masculinity, opposed to suspicion of the homosocial bonds produced in the trauma of the war that threatened the family structure and heteronormativity, the queer fgure of Edelman’s theory that rejects heterosexual relations and fatherhood made monstrous in flms like Mad Max. Some of this masculinist anxiety transferred to the sons born from new enforced domesticity in the baby boom. However, although “the war years saw the radical disruption of the culture’s understanding of male youth’s normal transition into manhood, the referential feld named by the category of ‘boy’ was by no means unique to a postwar mentality” (Cohan 237). Indeed, as Gilmore’s work documents, concern with boyhood occurs in many cultures as well as throughout history. It follows logically from the production of masculinity as a fragile identity in need of visible proof. As Derek Burrill asserts, “boyhood is more a position that can be accessed throughout the subject’s youth and maturity” than a stage of development (15).9 Boyhood is not an age-group so much as an imagining of licensed wildness and play a man must unlearn; it indicates a lack of discipline, and, by the end of the 19th century, there was a growing obsession with adolescence and the continuity between boyhood and manhood. Te two categories converged, masculinizing boys earlier so that boyhood was no longer equated with femininity against manhood, the fgure of the homosexual assuming this position in the masculine hierarchy instead. A fgure like the Feral Kid in Te Road Warrior reveals and troubles the gender masquerade in a similar fashion to the post-apocalyptic dandies discussed in the last chapter by playing the game of manhood while not being a “real” man, like the “wild” road warriors treating violence as play as they act out never-ending fugitive masculinity.10 Anxiety about adolescent boys has been articulated in many American flms since WWII. Te immediate postwar decade produced flms like Rebel Without a Cause as well as lower-budget exploitation flms by producers such as Roger Corman and Russ Meyer and short pseudo-documentaries (now called “shockumentaries” for their intended efect) made for teens to instruct them in proper behavior by showing cases of venereal disease, unwanted pregnancy, or drug and alcohol use.11 Tese flms often articulate what Eller calls “protest masculinity,”

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which “arises when males feel the urge to forcefully express their sex- or gender-identity and importance, especially when that identity or importance has been somehow threatened by social circumstances” (Eller 25–26).12 Peter Biskind observes that, in earlier flms with teen crime, the delinquents “came from slums on the wrong side of the tracks” and were created by social conditions of poverty (198). By the 1950s, this had changed signifcantly. Rather than criminals with a bad upbringing, they were fgured as “sick” and came from “degenerate families” often middle-classed (Biskind 199). Unlike the fear that returning soldiers might be violent because they were trained to kill, this paranoia of “delinquency” locates the propensity for brutality in masculine youth culture and the failure of the family to properly discipline boys in morality, suggesting that violence has become another entertainment for them, both a participatory and spectator sport. Since play was not properly transformed into work for this generation of boys, their idea of manhood becomes a game they play rather than a job they do. Tis game is often dangerous and violent, and because of masculinist notions of how “boys will be boys,” there often fails to be a “distinction between normal and pathological male fantasies and acts [which makes masculinity] legible in the normalization of violence as part of the psychopathology of male everyday life” (Seltzer 143). Encouraged to be aggressive and competitive, less empathic, violence becomes naturalized and normalized as the game these boymen play to win the masculine competition against other manboys. Youth was not always thought of as dangerous. John F. Kennedy’s youthful vigor was used by his campaign for President in 1960 as a rhetoric of manhood ascendant and virile. He was not a symbol of domesticity, but performed Playboy masculinity, even having an alleged afair with Marilyn Monroe. His campaign targeted the youth market. In a speech at the Democratic National Convention, “he spoke not of the populace at large, but principally of ‘young men’… What Kennedy implicitly presented was not so much a political platform as a new rite of passage for an untested male generation,” and in this rhetoric the space race became “a government-backed program of man-making, of federal masculinity insurance” (Faludi 25). Kennedy supplied a new frontier to conquer and a place to test and prove manhood. But what of the fathers still fenced in by their family lives and the sons who were never given a chance to conquer this frontier?

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Boys in a Man’s World: 1970s Articulations of Youth as Counter-Cultural Threat to Reproductive Futurity and the Possibility of Post-patriarchal Manhood Te child’s defnitional emptiness—her lack of sexual knowledge and adult rationality—makes the child the perfect fgure for fguration as such.… Te child is made of narrative. (Sheldon 10)

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Men in contemporary North American society are never forced to complete the rites of passage. Instead, they attempt to skate the edge of boyhood and maturity, securing a foothold in each realm to ensure psychic and social leeway in response to peer pressure. (Burrill 29)

Te Omega Man imagines futurity in a variety of racially marked children, like the Asian boy we frst encounter behind a huge machine gun pointed at Neville. Neville becomes the savior of humanity because he saves these children from both the Family and the disease, but he must also die to let them inherit the world. Adulthood is fgured in this flm as a problem for the young, much like in the Star Trek episode “Miri,” as a sickness both physical and psychological. Te children fear growing old enough to “cross-over” and become one of the fanatical night dwellers. Tey are left at flm’s end in the hands of Dutch, who exists in the liminal state between boyhood, represented by his treating the action in the flm as play and his rebellious leather jacket, and manhood, represented by his former status as medical student and role as provider and protector for the children. Rejecting his former life of bioscience, he does not want to become “Te Man” like Neville anymore, even though he used to idolize his work, reciting it to an astonished Neville as a rebuke of an episteme that turns knowledge of healing into a weapon of mass destruction. Dutch acts as an icon of 1960s counter-cultural youth rebellion in this narrative, just as Lisa acts as an icon of Black Power. Te question the flm leaves open is, if he has rejected Neville as role model, what will be his model of masculinity now? Will he and Lisa start a new community no longer based on hierarchical distinctions and power asymmetry? Will he defer to her age and experience? As indicated in the frst chapter of this study, I fear that he will only reproduce the same model of angry white masculinity represented by Neville because he seems to have so much fun riding his motorcycle and throwing bombs. Tat being said, Dutch’s acts of violence in the flm have a diferent reasoning than that of Neville’s. Dutch is not trying to protect his property, and, unlike Neville, he does not consider the Family inherently “bad”; he recommends Neville move out of his apartment and is not trying to eliminate the Family like Neville. A hopeful reading of the flm can register this diference as indicating that he will likewise not treat this new group as his property either, for they do not form a new family, in the sense of father-mother-children, so much as a new kin structure with

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the possibility of a woman being in charge. Tis new post-patriarchal, post-white society invites a reimagining of what it means to be American, since, as Michael Billig writes, “if nationalism is an ideology of the frst person plural, which tells ‘us’ who ‘we’ are, then it is also an ideology of the third person. Tere can be no ‘us’ without a ‘them’ ” (78). What kind of society will these survivors have without a “them”? Neville’s death is not a sacrifce for his nation, which his status as ofcer in the military would suggest, but one that is necessary to imagine a world beyond the patriarchal family and nationalism that he represents.13 Dutch is not one of the reckless boys who take whatever they want that populate flms like Ravagers; their lack of accountability stems from a rejection of future consequence and responsibility to others, and Dutch is still concerned with the future consequences of his actions. He does, however, seem to embrace a form of military masculinity necessary in a violent future which he also seems to enjoy. Can he stop trying to win this game? Some of the other children also seem skilled in the use of military technology. We hope that they can leave such behavior behind them after escaping the city and its territorial violence, much like the transformation of the warrior, Carson, in Te Ultimate Warrior. Environment is key for determining norms, and Dutch can cease playing the game now that he has left the game board and its pieces behind him.

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Dangerous Boys and Repressive Regimes: Homosociality and Domestication What we see then is a cultural contradiction or irony. Gisu literally create a kind of man that they do not particularly value or want and that they sufer from. At the very least, they accept the negative consequences of creating such brave and angry men, who will be a potential problem for society later on. Tey, apparently, do not perceive the irony in their own behavior, and it is difcult to imagine what they might think about it if they did. (Eller 92) As [Playboy’s] title intimated, American men experienced their manhood most profoundly when they were boys at play, not men at work. (Kimmel Manhood 255)

Nostalgia for traditional small-town America and the innocence it evokes takes a rather sinister turn in A Boy and His Dog, a flm marketed with a tagline that called it “kinky,” adapted from the novella Vic and Blood (1969) by Harlan Ellison. Te flm begins, as many other post-apocalyptic flms from this decade, with the bombs dropping, signifcantly labelling this as WWIV, WWIII being assigned to the smaller postcolonial proxy wars fought between WWII and this one, including those waged in Korea and Vietnam, while predicting the on-going confict that would erupt in Afghanistan during this decade. Te flm appeals to the men who

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returned from such failed military exercises, especially Vietnam, which was coming to a close as the flm was being released. Te America that survives aboveground in the flm, which, in Ellison’s novella, consists of the ruins of Los Angeles, but has been displaced to a mountainous desert area in the flm adaptation, perhaps Phoenix, has been so utterly destroyed and buried that no structures stand. It is imagined as inhabited by bands of rapists, as if those depicted in Te Ultimate Warrior and Ravagers inherited the Earth. Tey fnd food in a mode of resource extraction from the ruins buried beneath them, mining the past for its consumer plenty. Producing nothing new, they violently loot the canned foods of the previous consumer culture through excavation using explosives. Tis world has neither future nor family, imagined as a masculinist space of immediate gratifcation, an eternal present denying a hopeless future. Fathers in this narrative reside underground in a vast bunker, protected from the depravity of the surface world in a self-contained society called Topeka which is a micro-managed land of plenty structured around social ritual which maintains the façade of an ideal pre-war, small, mid-western town partaking in constant picnics, replete with marching bands and pie contests. Te normality of such banal displays is defamiliarized and made monstrous, demonstrating that normality is only ever a case of believing what you see without question and that norms are defned by those in power. Tis supposedly safe refuge is shown to be no better than the wilderness above and vulnerable to penetration and contamination from outside as well as dissent from within. It is a tribute to the death of the rage and struggle that brought the wasteland into being. In the newest edition of the novella on which the flm is based, Ellison added epigraphs from “the wit and wisdom of Blood,” the telepathic dog referenced by the flm’s title (voiced by Tim McIntire). One of these witticisms critiques the illusion of order and safety represented by this artifce of normality:  “It’s probably not productive to codify civilization in terms of how many fre hydrants it has” (Ellison preface). Tis clever allusion indicates the danger a fre hydrant exists to guard against and contain, hence the more of them, the more danger. Te hydrant represents civil defense while at the same time indicating the threat of fre, which works as an allusion to nuclear weapons. As a dog, however, Blood is also referring to the cliché of canines urinating on such landmarks to mark their territory, thus also indicating the defense of borders. In Ellison’s version, Topeka is stuck in the frst or second decade of the 20th century, before the trauma of WWI, but the flm adaptation’s costumes present a pastiche that mixes the end of the Great Depression and 1950s, especially in the attire of the young men; it nostalgically imagines the American Dream spread over the frst half of the century before the country was embroiled in conficts in Asia that resulted in the disillusion of that fantasy.

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Te wasteland aboveground is populated by men wearing whatever rags they can fnd since the only thing produced anymore is violence, but Vic (Don Johnson), the boy of the flm’s title, is dressed in a conspicuous costume that was not described in the novella. When seen in one of the many long shots of him and Blood walking through the wasteland, his attire resembles that of a Civil War soldier, especially with the inclusion of the rife that he carries. Tis historical link to previous national disaster depends on gender coding.14 Vic, a teenager in the novella, but played by a decidedly older actor in the flm version, is equated through costume to one of the boys who lost their life or boyhood innocence in the crucible of the Civil War, emerging as a man or not at all. But Vic can never become a “man” in this postwar world if manhood is understood as masculine responsibility, agency, and mastery. Sally Robinson remarks, Te tragically defeated Rebel evinces the failure of chivalry and, indeed, a failure of masculinity that will haunt southern men far into the twentieth century. Because the Reb is the fgure for an independent white masculinity idealized as defeated, he becomes a reservoir from which other white men can draw when seeking to image a victimized but still heroically fghting white masculinity. (Marked 164)

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Tis evocation of boyhood lost to battle, occurring after the last, bitterest years of a lost war in Southeast Asia, alludes to the status of returning veterans from Vietnam, a war which, according to Susan Faludi, would become a defning event of American masculinity, the bridge that collapsed just as the nation’s sons thought they were crossing to manhood. Conventional wisdom holds that this collapse was triggered not by the decisions of the fathers but the choices the sons made. (298)

Vic is an allegory for one of these sons who has been failed by patriarchy but suffers the blame for this failure, a defeated masculinity that continues to fght and prove its value through victimhood. Te flm soon present long shots of the wasted denizens of this world. Survival in this space comes to those entitled to violence, as we see in a sequence with a large post-apocalyptic dandy, wearing bright fowing robes and a huge moustache, commanding a group of slaves excavating a cache of food from which Vic recklessly steals a meal. Tis warlord is transported by these slaves in a wagon fashioned from an old vehicle and is wealthy enough to have a slave whose sole purpose is entertainment, playing a damaged guitar for his amusement. Gangs like this are called Rover packs. Another Rover pack encountered by Vic captures one of the few remaining females, and the boy and his dog track them to a building buried by the war. Vic provides sustenance for the duo, and Blood provides him with a sexual outlet by

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identifying and tracking sexual objects. Vic is little better than any of the other rapists on the surface. When he discovers that the Rovers whom Blood has tracked have killed the woman, shown bloodied and nude in a quick medium shot meant to shock and titillate the audience simultaneously, he is outraged not by the violation of her body, but rather the way the other men have rendered her useless for his carnal intentions. She was used and thrown away. Tis is a disposable world. It is a world of detritus. Tere is no sense of futurity, just an eternal present that takes the form of a search for either food or sex. Following Edelman’s theory, it is a queer world without the heteronormative structure of family and the reproductive futurity it promises. History, likewise, is disappearing, even though Blood tries to teach it to Vic in comic voice-over while the two trod from place to place, but the boy fnds such stories tedious, frustrating, and useless. Te boy refuses to be disciplined in the ways of man. Te duo decide to go see a movie after they have stolen cans of food, using some to barter. Te flm shown at this open-air theater is a grainy no-budget pornographic story flled with violence, much like many flms supplying the grindhouse circuit in the 1970s that would come to be labelled “exploitation flms” and equally resembling the flm in which it is embedded. A Boy and His Dog, by making such a reference, ironically comments on the way that it also participates in this genre of independent flmmaking while indicating that the audience for A Boy and His Dog is little diferent from that watching the flm in the diegesis of post-apocalypse, raggedy men with nowhere to go and nothing to do. Men are dangerous in this world, to each other as well as women. Tere is no sense of accountability to others; without a community one has no person for whom or to whom one is responsible, one to whom one must respond. Given too much liberty and agency in a world with no law above survival of the “fttest,” they continue the destruction which began with the war on a smaller scale. Te only communities we see aboveground are the entrepreneurs who run the movie enclave, the Rover pack who attacks Vic and Blood, and the slaves driven by their brutal master, a man who ultimately takes over the whole territory. Tese groups are sustained with a homosocial bond maintained by violence, either that of the slave master over his abject subjects or that directed at other Rovers and women. Competitive homosocial behavior allows men to disavow the “afective, let alone erotic, component in their interactions” (Cohan citing Chauncey xiv). However, in this non-heteronormative space, homosexuality is commonplace and no longer considered an emasculation, a fact alluded to in the flm and directly referenced in the novella (Ellison 27). In contrast, we are shown the ambivalent, afective asexual bond between Vic and Blood, one based on a social contract where each treats the other as a means to an end, but also a real friendship that transcends all other attachments, as the

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flm’s problematic ending attests. Blood goes out of his way to assert his superior intelligence to Vic. He attempts to “civilize” the boy through education, teaching him history and language, but this tends to only enrage Vic rather than pacify him as being civilized is imagined to do. Te novella is a frst-person narrative from Vic’s point of view, but the flm seems to identify more with Blood in this relationship, giving him not only the upper-hand in every conversation, but also signifcant close-up screen time in which the well-trained dog seems to act and emote like one would expect of a human actor.15 For example, in the novella, when the two go to the movies, and Vic must check his weapons at the gate, he notices water dripping and demands that they be moved so as not to rust (24). In the flm, Blood is the one who notices this and tells Vic the weapons need to be moved; the dog has more power in the relationship.16 Tis is a curious reversal of the racial buddy-storys that often appear in American literature. In these narratives, the racialized partner is positioned as “closer to both nature and nurture” and takes care of the white protagonist as a kind of “male mother” in what Kimmel calls “an asexual counter-marriage” that depicts the racialized other as tame because “one must be tame to be primitive and wild to be so tame” (Manhood 66). Blood, in this relationship, is the one who is attempting to tame Vic, to make him less wild and primitive, much like how women have been thought of as civilizing infuences on men, a fgure replaced in 1980s Hollywood flms with a child (Kimmel Angry 60).17 Women and children become a “moral restraint” because men are imagined as unable to restrain themselves (Kimmel Angry 54). “Freedom” is a complex concept in this flm, and restraint is depicted as harmful to men. Tus, the character of Quilla June (Susanne Benton) troubles this traditional idea of women as taming infuence; rather than containing Vic’s brutality, she encourages it. “Down-under,” what the men on the surface call Topeka, contains boys and men who are shown to be too civilized, emasculated and pacifed by the society that nurtures them. Tis division of men into a dichotomy of “soft” and “hard,” like that articulated in flms like Te Road Warrior, fgures a masculine crisis noted by Cohan that began after WWII, when Cold War politics further complicated the picture by projecting contradictory ideals for American manhood, requiring a “hard” masculinity as the standard when defending the nation’s boundaries [and interests], yet insisting upon a “soft” masculinity as the foundation of an orderly, responsible life. (xii)

Tis flm extends these two models to their extreme, but the hard men on the surface no longer defend any boundary beyond that of their own body. Te Committee running Topeka needs Quilla June’s rebellious ability to act, sending her to the surface to lure Vic down, whom they describe in ominous voice-over

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as a “good specimen,” (recall the “good stock” from Ultimate Warrior) while the camera watches him in extreme long shot with sets of legs clad in clean blue-jeans and powder-blue bags over shoes taking up the foreground. We watch with them as they measure his value but are unsure what aspect of him they require, which, in a usual action flm would be his martial prowess, like Carson in Ultimate Warrior. During the flm’s climax, the young men who were going to be part of Quilla June’s revolution stand impotent and allow themselves to have their skulls crushed by the large robotic man name Michael (Hal Baylor) that the Committee uses for its legitimized acts of violence and domination, a tool that allows them to disavow the brutality of the Committee work, a technology that assumes for them the dominance of masculinity.18 Te violent hypermasculine has been tamed here and rendered into a piece of technology to keep social order, pacifed, and the men in the society no longer know how to behave like Michael; they are doubly pacifed. Te state monopolizes violence underground with the same sense of entitlement as the violent men on the surface. Tese young doomed men not only have no agency in the community, they are unable to resist being manipulated into rebelling by the seductive Quilla June. Vic, on the other hand, although at frst seduced underground through her sexual whiles, refuses to aid her in her struggle against authority, choosing instead the lack of such authority or structure aboveground, a homosocial space where men are encouraged to be wild, and he can play like a boy for the rest of his life. Curiously, reproductive futurity is threatened in both spaces. Above, the homosocial queer bond treats women as disposable resource for sexual gratifcation, not mothers. No one is making a family and raising children; such values are now meaningless. Topeka, even though it continues with the practice of heteronormative coupling, including marriage, cannot produce children because its sterile living conditions have sterilized its men; and they are impotent in more ways than one.19 In a critique of the flm published in the frst issue of Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies not long after the flm’s release, Joanna Russ cogently argues that the depiction of Quilla June uses a rhetoric that derides feminism disguised as feminist empowerment. She is forward, liberated, and shows the only agency of any character in the flm besides Vic and Blood, but these qualities are linked to her will to power and her Machiavellian use of people as tools to that end; she is the flm’s villain. It presents a powerful woman as dangerous and inherently selfsh, the feminist as a social problem. She defes the Committee because they refuse to make her a member, granting her the power to which she feels entitled. Unlike actual feminists, she does not want to liberate everyone from patriarchal control, but instead to usurp that power for herself. She performs a female masculinity that includes masculinist values of autonomy, agency, and mastery. Not having

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power like the Committee, she needs a “special kind of man” so that she can take control over Topeka. She ostensibly lures Vic down into the bunker at the behest of the Committee and its program for technologized reproductive futurity, but really wants to use his propensity for violence, to harness his masculine aggression for her own ends. She wants to reproduce his brutality, not his child. Feminism is then equated with a rejection of the future as well as the unmanning of men by controlling them rather than liberating them from the constraints of hegemonic masculinity and its impossible standards. As Robinson argues, this notion of white masculinity “just happening” to be the superordinate subject of history informs a scene in which Vic and Quilla June meet. At frst, he voyeuristically watches her undress out of the masculine drag she was wearing to travel unmolested on the surface as a man, replaced by 1950s-styled feminine undergarments and a frilly dress. We are impelled to identify with Vic as the flm cuts between watching her disrobe from Vic’s point of view to close shots of Vic’s face lustily watching through a hole in the wall, implicating us in voyeurism. When he subsequently attacks her, forcing her at gunpoint to undress once again in preparation for rape, and begins to disrobe himself, he is made uncomfortable by her gaze, snarling, “What are you lookin’ at?” Watching her is one thing, but he refuses to be made such an object of the gaze himself. Tis expression of vulnerability evidences that the evaluative gaze is not inherently male, but can only be wielded by women at their peril. Vic’s “normal” masculinity is made strange, and he becomes a marked subject when placed in the context of Quilla June’s artifcial community and its standards, pacifed to the extremity of being rendered into an object functioning in an apparatus of reproductive futurity in which he becomes mere resource. Vic clearly does not “ft” in this space, even though they require his “ft” sperm for reproducing the next generation of citizens. Te conformity of the populace and the need to repeat forever a form of sameness, to always ft in, is foregrounded by the clownish makeup worn by every member of the town, even the android enforcer, that makes them look comical and hyperwhite. It reads as a minstrel show in whiteface that lampoons the banality of whiteness. Tis is an indication of the fact that, as Steve Martinot puts it, “white entitlement is self-referential” (200). Tis makeup also adds another layer of “feminization” to the society as it reminds the viewer that the sameness of the community is racially coded, indicating that the community exists in a nostalgia for not only a past where patriarchy maintained order, but racial homogeneity contributed as well.20 In the novella, Vic narrates that “the clean, sweet, neat, lovely way they lived was enough to kill a guy. No wonder the men couldn’t get it up and make babies that had balls instead of slots” (56). Vic’s experiences here fgure domestication and fatherhood as a feminizing

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trap from which he must escape to keep his masculinity intact. At frst elated when told by the Committee that he has been chosen to father a new generation of children because the men here are impotent, he soon fnds that he is little more than a tool of reproductive futurity when he is strapped to a table and his semen extracted by a pump, coupled to a technological apparatus instead of sexual intercourse with a woman. He is not only prevented from performing his “superior” masculinity by bedding women, he is utterly robbed of his agency, and his potency becomes just another resource to extract, much like the patriarchal fguration of women as incubators and producers of new national subjects that discourse about reproductive rights and women’s agency opposes. In this scene, Vic is put in a traditionally and historically “feminine” position in the name of reproductive futurity, treated, like the fgures of motherhood analyzed by Sheldon and depicted in Fury Road, as a biopolitical resource. Ultimately, homosocial bonds are more important than heterosexual desire in masculinist texts such as this, and, upon returning to the surface to fnd Blood dying of starvation, Vic feeds his girlfriend to his buddy of-camera.21 Te flm ends with a long shot of the two walking into the sunset like a romantic movie while we hear their voices bantering about the meal, and Blood makes a misogynistic, truly tasteless joke about how she was lacking in taste. Ellison remarked in many interviews how this addition changed his story in tone, and he often dismissed the flm as more misogynistic than his novella. In what could be seen as a response to this adaptation of his work, he wrote a sequel story about what happens to the duo after these events, which is told from Blood’s point of view. Tis frst-person commentary establishes the dog as a ruthless pragmatist who cannot understand why Vic fnds it impossible to get over the demise of his girl, brooding to the point where he ultimately gives up and dies himself. Although unfazed by eating Quilla June, Blood is deeply afected by the loss of his human companion. Ellison ends the saga thus: And I  was never again troubled by the ghosts of little girls in shredded frilly pink dresses. No ghosts of little girls: just one ghost … a ffteen-year-old ghost that stared up at me from a hollow stump with eyes that no longer cared what happened to Man’s Best Friend. (79)

Tis ending reinforces the horror of this post-apocalyptic situation and the choice the boy must make, a trauma brushed of as laughable by the flm. In Ellison’s version, Vic fails this rite of passage. A  woman comes between these men, and it ruins their relationship by interfering with their co-dependency. Te surface world of this post-apocalyptic landscape is no place for women or intersubjective relationships.

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1980s: The (Not Quite) Feral Kid and Warrior Masculinity as a Dead End Minty auditioned with a group of other kids, after which they were told to go home and write about Feral Kid’s backstory. “Te story my dad and I wrote was that we were fying in an airplane, me and my parents,” remembers Minty, We ran out of fuel and landed out there in the desert. Dad went of to fnd fuel. Me and Mum stayed at the plane. A couple of days later, Dad hadn’t come back, so Mum had to go look for him and I was to stay at the plane. Mum never came back either. I was left to defend myself in this wasteland. (Buckmaster 112)

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Many flm critics have noted the trope of the redeeming son in flms produced during Reagan’s America, such as Luke Skywalker in George Lucas’ epic space opera or Marty McFly as teenage time traveler. Does the child in Te Road Warrior perform the same narrative function? Te following analysis of the fgure of the Feral Kid (Emil Minty) will further problematize the ideas of reproductive futurity, civilization, and successful manhood by troubling the boundary between the binary oppositions of wild/civilized, human/animal, and boy/man while also indicating that the individualist autonomy expressed by the fgure of the lone hero is superseded through this fgure by the necessity for social unity and the common good, individual agency replaced by interpersonal relations and actor-networks.22 An examination of this post-apocalyptic wild child will continue queering Max’s masculine melodrama by thinking of him as what Robinson calls a simmering male body whose psychophysical energies are always circulating and recirculating in an efort to avoid both destruction and self-destruction [which] constructs a masculinity that embraces pain as a manly credential even as it threatens to release those natural male energies that cause pain to others. (152)23

Te flm presents the journey of the Kid from an autonomous individual living on the margins of social space to part of a tribe, a member in a larger body politic, self-sufciency to interdependence. Adrian Martin calls the Gyro Captain and the Feral Kid “bundles of diverse associations” (51). Tey are complex narrative fgures, both becoming leaders of the Great Northern Tribe, and this flm acts as their rite of passage to that status; they also both operate on a vertical axis that defes the control over horizontal space represented by the road warriors (Martin 53).24 Martin describes the Feral Kid as somewhat contradictory: androgynous, a child, but with adult abilities, natural, but becoming civilized, Aboriginal, but white (52).25 Tis analysis will take up these ambiguities; however, before discussing this fgure of apocalyptic boyhood

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in detail, we need to establish the context in which he operates, that of boyhood unfettered by society, and I will do so through a discussion of an important intertext for this fguration, Peter Brook’s adaptation of Lord of the Flies (1963). Tis will indicate why this Kid is not really “feral” as much as marginal and racialized as well as why he becomes the focal point of the flm without “redeeming” Max from his lost status, why the Kid can learn to ft into a post-apocalyptic community but Max never will.

Wild Boys: Civilization and Barbarism

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War had brought with it a larger sense of the entire nation as a unit. But for many all that seemed to remain of that wider perspective was the uniformity and the need to not deviate from the norm. (Braudy 507)

Lord of the Flies is a horrifc coming-of-age story. Virtually all cultures have steps that a boy must take to attain manhood, guided by rewards and punishments, which difer mostly in the details of this process (Gilmore 124).26 Rather than passing the test of manhood, in this flm, boys spend their days playing in a tropical paradise, but the rules of the games they play become more violent as they are determined by the dominant group of boys. Te narrative begins with a montage of still shots documenting typical English school discipline, the organized institutional violence that shapes boys into proper English subjects, subservient parts of a “civilized” empire.27 Tis sense of order is disrupted by war, another kind of structural, though more direct, violence, and the flm presents a montage of still photographs of warfare and its consequences. Evacuated from a war zone in the Pacifc area, the schoolboys’ plane crashes on a remote island which the boys will ultimately transform into yet another war zone. Te jungle as a space of nature, a wild space, is at frst a place where the boys can frolic freely away from the strict discipline of their school. Indeed, Brook put together the fnished flm from hours of beautiful black-and-white footage that he took of the boys at play without a script. Tis play becomes more violent the more the boys provide it with rules. Like Morgenstern, I  would like “to privilege the category of aggression … insofar as this conceptual state can be said to constitute the primal or ‘wild’ condition of the subject—the subject not yet in relation” (24). Danger surfaces in the narrative as something “out there” on the island, but it really comes from the boys themselves as they learn how to relate to each other without the strictures of their school. Te flm shows the tragic consequences of the boys’ imagining and personifying this inchoate fear while establishing a hierarchy based on aggression and

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the need for play to mean something, to prove a boy’s emerging manhood, to articulate masculine emergency. Tis raises the ambivalent question once more of whether manhood represents an essential wildness in need of restraint or the taming of a wild boyhood by the responsibilities and expectations of this social status. Furthermore, it problematizes boyhood as a homosocial space in which boys must sublimate any afective relationships they have with other boys or appear “weak” and not ft in, a boyhood oppressed and repressed by manhood. Early in the narrative, the older boys attempt to organize a signal fre for a possible rescue and agree to protect the younger children, establishing a dichotomy between play and work, individual fun against responsibility to the group. Hence, they already begin to act like men by forming a social order, a hierarchy of “ftness” with the smaller children and the bespectacled, intellectual, emotional, and portly Piggy (Hugh Edwards) positioned as “weak” and in need of care. Piggy emphasizes this distinction between play and work, repeatedly not joining in with the other boys in their frolic, stating that “auntie wouldn’t let me.” He defers to an ideological authority based in English “decency” (also indicated by how he cares for his clothing, always wearing shoes for example, when the other boys go barefoot), while the other boys show more agency by rejecting social mores away from the watchful eyes of such “aunties.” Piggy’s middle-class deference to decorum is contrasted with the discipline of the choir boys whose regimentation and privileged status at the school, indicated by their black uniforms and hats, mark them as “above” the others. Tey have a homosocial bond the other boys lack. Tey march and chant in unison, but they reject the interpersonal democratic community that the boys form and instead take over another part of the island and form a “tribe” of their own, having perpetual fun instead of performing the tedious work of keeping a signal fre going or caring for the young. Akin to the nomad gangs depicted in the flms already analyzed, and, like post-apocalyptic gangs, treating life as a game they need to win, their favorite pastime, hunting, marks them as predators and foreshadows their later activity of raiding the other boys’ camp as well as, in the context of the British class system, displaying their status, the fox hunt being a pastime of gentry. Piggy’s only friend is the protagonist and focal point of the flm, Ralph ( James Aubrey), who acts as the most reasonable and responsible boy, one who cares about and for the others and not just himself. Morgenstern observes that, “since at least the end of the eighteenth century, the fgure of ‘the child’ has functioned, in Western thought, to protect and preserve the border between the ‘natural’ world and the world of the rational and independent adult human being for whom Nature is at once reassuringly innocent and frighteningly other” (3). Kant, for example, argues that boys need proper moral training to become fully human, and exist in a liminal

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state before this between animal and human. In this “natural” space of a deserted island, Ralph maintains this divide between human and animal, while Jack (Tom Chapin), the leader of the choir boys, becomes a problem for the community when he loses the popular vote for leadership and chooses instead to reject interpersonal responsibility and humanist morality. Jack knows that his size matters, and he is the only boy with a knife, an indication of his phallic power and propensity to violence that he constantly displays to the other boys. Tis knife later extended to spear encourages an entitlement to violence and “animality,” and Jack becomes a fgure of the “savage primitive” with which the Eurocentric Colonial imagination populated such islands. Sheldon notes that the fguration of childhood as innocence “before the inevitable fall into adulthood” creates the potential for becoming other, a wayward subjectivity rather than a hegemonic hetero-patriarchal capitalist subject, that this “innocence is really a queer threat to the status quo” (119). In this way, the rite of passage from boyhood into manhood, which involves taking on the responsibilities of interpersonal community norms, is equated with becoming human, or at least more properly human, and boys who do not “fall into adulthood” remain threats to social order. Te boys were on an airplane trying to escape war, but, as Piggy reminds us, they “never got there,” to a place of refuge, and instead reproduce the war among themselves. Te island acts as an analogy for their arrested development; the boys cannot arrive at the destination of manhood equated with civilization and a Western humanist notion of full humanity, so this space teaches them fatal moral lessons and serves as a liminal zone where they can never mature “properly.” Tis morality learned the hard way is fgured as responsibility to others and toil for a common good opposed to free play and limitless agency, and this communal commitment centers around the signal fre over which the boys soon fght, ultimately setting the whole island ablaze in an allusion to nuclear war and planetary confagration, for the world’s civilizations also have not evidently learned the moral lessons the flm posits. Jack argues that the hunt is more necessary than the fre, but they do not really need either for food. Rather, they both serve a symbolic purpose. He and the other boys treat the hunt as play, and it acts as a game that Jack wins to prove his dominance, whereas the boys tending the fre are serious and devoted to the task as necessary for a greater end. One group of boys exist in a present that refuses the future while the others work towards producing the future through a rescue. Te mythical Beast that Jack sacrifces his kills to, the personifcation of the danger “out there” in the Jungle that all the boys fear, cannot be slain because Jack is the beast.28 “Maybe it’s only us,” says Ralph at one point, while the camera lingers in a close

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shot of his face contemplating their situation as a “rational” and civilized British citizen wondering why the world is at war. Ralph learns a lesson through this ordeal that Jack never does, marking him as ft to reproduce a future more peaceful than the present. As Gilmore argues,

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it is important to note that … stressful male rites are not always associated with conditions of male dominance and gender opposition or hierarchy, but always with fecundity, service to kin, or collective defense. More signifcantly, they also occur in many societies where men are physically gentle and where the sexes exist in relative equality. (167, emphasis added)

Te rite of passage to manhood ensures that the “real” man wants to devote his energy to reproducing the future of his community, whether by making war, making things, or making babies. In the end, violent strength and the will to dominate become more important to the other boys than the communal rules and thought of rescue. Tey give up hope for the future to live in an eternal present, much like the road warriors who populate the Mad Max flms or the urban gangs in the urban apocalypse flms, and like them, the flm positions this as monstrous. Piggy, the group’s storyteller and primary civilizing infuence, is killed when one of the boys rolls a boulder onto him, drowning him in the sea to prevent him from telling the truth about “the Beast” (which is just the sound of wind rushing through the fuselage of a downed fghter jet containing the corpse of its pilot, an allusion to the bestiality of warfare) and dispelling the necessity for warriors on the island. Instead of renouncing confict and working together to escape, life for the boys becomes never-ending war games to prove who is ft, and they run amok; Ralph can do nothing to stop them. Without “personal dependence,” the boys lives become “an unchecked proliferation of hierarchies” leading to confict (Virno 41, italics his). At the beginning of the flm, Piggy and Ralph fnd a huge conch shell that they use as a signal horn to unite the boys; it becomes a sign of community and commonality, a phenomenon of shared thinking that Virno calls a “public intellect” needed for democratic freedom to unite the people (41). Tis is replaced by flm’s end with the spear as a sign of individual power over life and death; personal dependency and a sign of coming-together becomes independence and personal ability at great cost. Te tribe of dominant boys, echoing their boarding-school training, use corporal punishment for discipline and to maintain hierarchy as we are shown scenes of boys being spanked for transgressions. Te camera captures both the pain of the punishment and the pleasure on the faces of those performing it. A child is being beaten by another child. Tis is not an instance of “civilization” “decaying” into a “primitive” state, but rather what happens when the boys use the dominance and hierarchies that structure civilization in a liminal space without

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supervision. Taking poetic license with Benjamin’s aphorism, this flm demonstrates that every document of barbarism is always also a document of civilization. Te practice of punishment is not an instinctual act but one the boys learned at boarding school, and the flm demonstrates through this and the game of the hunt that society encourages boys to be violent and to punish one another rather than restraining such impulses. Social mores only determine who is to be punisher and whom punished rather than limiting this violence. Morgenstern notes the emergence of the fgure of the child in modernity as “an ontological ‘problem’—as a ‘wild child’ ” that, in the 19th century, attracted great amounts of “disciplinary attention” and “was the subject of a constitutive ‘freedom’ that, for the frst time, could be lost (and, therefore, nostalgically or romantically idealized) or that had to be carefully contained and managed” (4). Tis flm presents precisely this dilemma and contradiction, an ontological problem that focuses on boyhood and the production of a ft manhood that fts in a peaceful democratic society. Te idyllic long shots of boys playing on the beach indicate an idealized nostalgia for innocent play and the freedom from social constraint it requires while boyhood is also depicted as a dangerous problem where play can get out of hand and cause harm, but the discipline of manhood is a complicated and contradictory answer to this dilemma. Te flm ends with the surviving boys rescued by men in white naval uniforms whose faces are never shown, as if they represent the generic idea of masculine authority and discipline, of restrained and directed violence, but we do not know if they are taking the boys to safety or just a new violent situation coded as civilized, if the boys will now be subject once again to a regime of discipline to curb their proclivity to play and instead become responsible men who dominate others as proof of their manhood. Te fact that the rescuers are military men suggests that the boys are bound to reproduce a patriarchal system and become warriors themselves and that Ralph, like Piggy, will not prevail over the Jacks of this world.

Feral Kid: Ambiguity and Relation Te posthumanist wild child often appears in a physical or ideological space in which the easy distinction between the wild and the civilized or rational has collapsed. [Tis fgure] appears at the center of an ethical or ontological wilderness that allegorizes the relationship between parents and children and registers, in displaced fashion, particular forms of cultural anxiety about reproduction and futurity and about the relationship between the human and what has traditionally been quarantined as ‘the animal.’ (Morgenstern 2)

Te Feral Kid is in a liminal state of playful boyhood before being disciplined into an adult male subject through his encounter with Max, but he does not become

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a warrior like Max with his fugitive masculinity, and is rather “ ‘at home after the end of “the world,” ’ which is also to say, after the end of the patriarchal-humanist ‘end of the world’… the form of a future [fathers] cannot command” (Morgenstern 28). His lack of name and language allude to his not being subject to the law of the father and familial interpellation. Morgenstern observes that “the child is … constituted performatively by the parental address,” a nominal word which they can never quite fully understand; “one’s name … is a parental message; we spend our lives reading and becoming our names” (118). Te Feral Kid, on the other hand, rather than just “reading” a signifer assigned to him, can instead craft his own form of signifcation beyond traditional familial ties and his role in this system. Tis is signifcant when one considers his role as storyteller for the flm and that “all cultures need some kind of Tell, a story that sustains them in their conduct” (Combs 34). He does not need to be spoken for or authorized by parental authority but does so himself, authorizing Max as a way of authorizing himself. Tis places him in a unique position to determine new and better social norms for his people by providing them with narrative.29 Tere are two other reasons that this Kid is not really “feral”:  his clothing and use of an Aboriginal tool and the fact that he becomes the focal point of the narrative, replacing Max. Tis Kid focalizes an ambiguity that not only challenges the line between human and animal, wild and civilized, but also the idea of moral action at the end of the world with its endless deferral of accountability. Following Morgenstern, it is instructive to think through this “wild” ambiguity in such a way that, rather than designating the space of exteriority with respect to the civilized, the educated, the law-abiding, ‘wildness’… will come to designate a space of ethical and ontological undecidability that helps bring beings into relation and that is inseparable from any attempt to render justice or protect the possibility of a future. (29)30

Te wild child then fgures the unpredictability of the future as well as the possibility of coming into relation with others while remaining a threat to a humanist idea of totalized subjectivity and agency. Children need others to care for them, and they need to learn how to care for others.31 Te flm depicts the Feral Kid’s spectacular coming-of-age story, one in which he learns not manhood so much as interpersonal relation and how to be part of a community while developing an expressive selfhood through signifcation, one in which he learns to reject Max’s model of masculinity because it is dangerous and harmful to the common good.32 Most importantly, he learns that violence is not fun and that he does not need to “win” or take it like a man; he instead needs to be cared for and care for others. Unlike what the narrator says during the flm’s

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prologue, Max does not “learn to live again” in this story, if this means living with others, but the Kid, the narrator of the story, does. As a fgure of the child, he does not represent the sameness of reproductive futurity fgured by Edelman’s Child but rather the possibility of producing something else. As a fguration of Sheldon’s child as sign of future ecological disaster and miracle, he is a fgure of the child in danger, but he is also indication that the story continues. Rather than passing from boyhood to manhood, from an imagined animality or primitive state to humanity, he suggests a reimagining of manhood and the human away from masculinist values of autonomy and agency and towards interpersonal responsibility, away from mastery and towards cooperation. As argued in this study’s second chapter, there is always an aspect of play in the death race life has become for the road warriors. Borrowing from Burrill, life has become a game they either win or “die trying.” Rather than producing anything, these men only consume through scavenge and theft; they have no thought of the future, only present gratifcation. Te flm judges them for this rejection of futurity when, at the end of the chase that opens Te Road Warrior’s narrative in which Max fnds the truck he will later drive in the chase that concludes the flm, the derelict vehicle has a message painted across it in large yellow letters: “Te vermin have inherited the Earth.” Reproductive futurity and its logic of sameness has been abandoned for a logic of no future and radical diference. Max is later derided as one of these “vermin” by Pappagallo, and we are introduced to the Feral Kid as he crawls out of a hole in the ground in a literalization of this message since he seems to have been produced by the earth, an autochthonous child with no parental heritage. Tis frst shot of the Kid is framed with a fence in the foreground to mimic the frst time we see the boy protagonist, Joey (Brandon De Wilde), of the flm Shane (1953, George Stevens). Te plot of the flm mimics this classic Western, with the signifcant diference that, in contrast to the ending of the Western, in which the gunslinger, Shane (Alan Ladd), rides away from the town his gun has saved from corruption while the boy Joey shouts his name and professes his love, Te Road Warrior shows the boy leaving Max behind, and by doing so, he leaves behind this stage of his life and the road, this violent stage on which manhood is proven with lethal consequences. We are reminded by the narrator that this story comes from his fading memory of the event. Tus, the flm places the Kid at the center of the narrative like Shane does with Joey, and also posits the story from his point of view by making him its storyteller. It narrates his passage from boy to man, which can only occur after he is removed from this milieu and learns an invaluable lesson about manhood and the need for the right kind of stories to structure life. Whereas the warriors of the road operate over horizontal space, and Max’s superiority is marked by his vaunted perspective on events from his mountain

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perch, only two characters operate exclusively in a vertical way in this flm, the Gyro Captain with his privilege of fying, and the Feral Kid with his surreptitious movement underground. He is shown to be part of the desert and equated with one of its animal denizens through mise-en-scène, costuming, and performance.33 He dresses in what looks like rabbit or wallaby hides (actually made from the hides of dogs). When he is introduced to us, the Kid is becoming animal, and his fascination with Max may be a continuance of this becoming less human. Max, similarly clad in animal hide, is also becoming animal, indicated by his similar lack of speech. Tey both live alone, on the margins of social groups, and choose to shun human interaction until they meet each other. Te Kid may lack articulate speech, but he communicates afective states with growls and reacts to Max’s gift of a music box that plays “Happy Birthday” with a smile and laugh, indicating an interest in music and his entry into a symbolic world in which he will ultimately learn speech, another aspect of his character that keeps him from being considered feral. He also not only uses a tool, he is visibly fascinated by technology and must be shooed away from the Gyrocopter in his desire to touch and understand it. As a fgure that operates intertexually with Joey in Shane, the Kid also comments on the Western genre and its imbrication with settler colonialism. Te Road Warrior dispels the pastoral illusion of colonial expansion as manifest destiny and pioneer spirit to reveal that this process of enclosure was always about resource extraction and the expanse of capitalism. Brian McFarlane, in Australian Cinema 1970–1985, observes that, in flms produced in Australia, “if the prevailing image is of a man’s world, it is also that of a white man’s world. Representations of the country’s Aboriginal population have been few in number and their absence testifes to white neglect—and worse—of Aboriginals” (53, italics his). Te Kid’s weapon, one he must have been taught how to use by an indigenous person versed in the use of a boomerang, positions this character less as an animal and more a racialized subject, marginalized and endangered by the struggle around him over oil. Te Kid, therefore, draws attention to the absence of indigenous people, a displacement and replacement, even as his animality acts as a derogation of indigeneity as “uncivilized.” As such, his role as storyteller becomes more signifcant. Indigenous Australians consider stories sacred; the storytellers are “clever” with privileged knowledge and magical ability. Te erasure of the indigenous people from this story shows that they do not populate the future; they do not get to tell the story, especially their own. Stories are another way that the future is reproduced by humans, and the erasure of these people from the story erases them from both past and future. Storytelling is magic in as much as it involves action at a distance in its afective efects on others. As storyteller for his people, the flm’s narrator helps to

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defne their collective fctions and serves an ideological function.34 He begins the flm by attacking Wez with his boomerang, treating the action as a game in which he laughs and smiles, but ends it in a face-to-face confrontation with Wez in fear of his life; the zero-sum game of masculinity is shown to be a race no man can ultimately win, and he relates his story as a cautionary tale.35 After retrieving the truck in order to fulfll his contract with Pappagallo, Max tries to escape this narrative about others to continue his lonely wandering on his own, but he instead becomes a character in the Kid’s story when, while convalescing after being chased down by Wez, causing his car crash and nearly killing him (his dog is not so lucky), the Kid brings Max his uniform, restoring his knightly armor if not his honor, covering over his broken, vulnerable body and giving him back his identity.36 But this is not a case of paternal redemption like so many other flms produced in the 1980s. When Max emerges to volunteer to drive the big rig, he can barely stand and must use the Kid for support. Te Kid wants Max to be a hero, but learns that such empty heroism is only a fool’s errand. Max is just a decoy, a distraction. Even while things become dire in the following chase sequence, the Kid continues to smile and laugh, treating it all as a big game. Tis changes when he becomes a potential victim. Pappagallo loses his life trying to rescue him; then, after Max has lifted him into the truck’s cab, a close-up shows the fascination he has for Max’s shotgun, registered on his face as he tries to operate it. When Max sends him out onto the hood of the vehicle to retrieve its shells, and Wez suddenly reaches up to grab his hand, he fnally shows fear and recognizes the danger of this game.37 Tis event shows him “the violence and the self-undoing of patriarchy” (Morgenstern 44).38 Our protagonists seem doomed. After the spectacular crash that ends the fnal chase, and Max has crawled from the wreckage clutching the Kid, both having miraculously escaped serious injury and death in the collision, the camera pans over sand pouring out of the tanker, and ends in a medium shot of Max holding the unconscious, limp Kid. Tis moment shows what the real precious cargo in this sequence actually was, not the imaginary oil, but a living, breathing person. Morgenstern argues that adults “need children, and we need them like a hostage taker. Tis is the wilderness of the social. We take each other hostage in order to come into being and survive—to continue to reproduce (our) being” (67–68). Max refuses the Kid’s companionship because he refuses to be taken hostage in such an afective way. Instead, the Great Northern Tribe takes him on, and he takes them hostage as they provide and care for him. Te Kid is the future, not oil, and not Max, but he represents more than just reproductive futurity and a heteronormative standard. As Kimmel remarks, “boys learn that violence is not only an acceptable form of confict resolution, but one

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that is admired” (Angry 75).39 Te Kid tells us in voice-over that he “grew to the ‘fullness’ of manhood” and became the leader following the leadership of the Gyro Captain, but Max lives only in his memory, and, since he learned interpersonal responsibility, we can infer Max acts not as a role model, but as a kind of man the Kid learned never to become.

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Te real crime of feminism and multiculturalism [in the anti-feminist model] is not that they make truth relative, but that they make white masculinity relative, by placing white men within the feld of identity politics, by marking them as the embodiment of a particularity that ‘just happens’ to coincide with the normative, and putatively, unmarked self. (Robinson Marked 86)

Like the girl who refuses to escape with the Gyro Captain because she now feels connected to this kin group and does not want to abandon them when they need her, the Kid learns to be part of the group and rejects the independence and “freedom” represented by Max and all that it costs. Tis is not family belonging; he does not belong to any father, but rather to the community. Tey escape at flm’s end from the cycle of violence centered on the production and use of oil and instead, we can hope, embrace a new social logic and structure that produces art like this story and men who do not need to prove their manhood on the road or anywhere else, but rather live to care for, and be cared for by others. Te Feral Kid challenges the gender binary and assumptions about boys that essentialize masculinist values and behaviors. His story points towards the narratives of the next flms in the franchise and the ways in which they challenge the role and value of women in society, suggesting that boys can grow up to be just as other-directed and empathic as women are imagined to be. Susan Okin writes, If the inequalities that [Unger] attributes to liberal capitalism need to be confronted, then surely it is even more necessary that he challenge the division of labor between the sexes, centered in family life, which is a peculiarly preliberal anomaly in modern society. Te gender structure, based as it is on an accident of birth, is far closer to feudalism or to a caste system than to most institutions fostered by or tolerated within liberal societies. (122)

Silvia Federici documents how women were an important part of the anti-feudal movement, and argues that witch-hunts were a tactic of disempowering them and an instance of capitalist enclosure that “destroyed the possibilities” that this early struggle created for a more egalitarian socius (21). Te post-apocalypse narrative creates a space for this possibility again. Okin suggests that “a just future would be one without gender” (171).40 According to Gilmore, many rituals and trials that transform boys to men represent a “critical threshold represent[ing] the point at which the boy produces more than he consumes and gives more than he takes”

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(226). In this model, the road warriors that the survivors escape have yet to attain such manhood; like the digital boyhood theorized by Burrill, they remain boys playing a game in which they prove their manhood or die trying as a way to avoid the responsibility and psychic danger of interpersonal relationship.41 Te Great Northern Tribe does not need another hero, and this becomes a central motif in the next flm, exemplifed by the theme song produced by the actor playing its primary antagonist, Tina Turner. We turn to this flm in the fnal chapter of this study, an investigation of apocalyptic femininity and the fraught role of women in a post-apocalyptic space, a topic that has increasingly become central to such flms since 1984.

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Notes 1. Likewise, Nancy Chodorow argues that “aggression … is not an innate drive needing expression and gratifcation” but is actually connected to “selfhood and object status”; in her model, it is an expression of agency panic and a defense of an illusory bounded subject afraid of being treated as an object (243). 2. Tis self-directed masculinity diverges from the selfess sacrifcial masculinity documented by Gilmore. Susan Okin observes that the family structure is where children frst learn about “fairness” or its lack, an empathic ability to think from the position of the other (98). If boys are supposed to gain some kind of autonomy to prove their manhood, then they have no need to learn such behavior and any notion of emotions as important for moral reasoning is discarded. 3. Using Foucault’s investigation of discourses of sexuality, she notes that, since sexuality as such is so important to the production of biopower, this makes sexuality biopower’s “principle technology,” and that, “through the child, concerns over reproduction merge with and emerge through the social reproduction of norms” (Sheldon 4). Tis notion of gender as a function of regulatory sexuality in service of biopower echoes Gilmore’s fguring of gender as tool for organizing social relations and group solidarity. 4. So much so that it is imbricated in every social discourse since, according to Edelman’s model, “the image of the Child invariably shapes the logic within which the political itself must be thought” (2). Politics is then defned by the image of the Child as “an ideological limit on political discourse as such, preserving in the process the absolute privilege of heteronormativity by rendering unthinkable, by casting outside the political domain, the possibility of a queer resistance to this organizing principle of communal relations” (2). 5. Te wild child fgures the problematic ethical situation of precarious “relation and responsibility” (Morgenstern 16). Morgenstern, responding to the theories of Edelman, argues that, “if contemporary critics are rightfully wary of the sentimental, idealized, or essentialized child that anchors heteronormativity (if ever there were an efect posing as an origin by posing as an efect!), such a child … has also been invoked to help secure the very idea of the human—the human of orthodox human rights theory and of much neo-Kantian philosophy” through association with innocence and purity (17). 6. Leo Braudy notes that this concern over national manhood was a modern production occurring in the 19th century, a period in which propaganda about national superiority became

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7.

8.

9. 10.

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11.

12.

13.

14.

commonplace in America, “when loyalty to the nation and its manhood became a shibboleth compounded of race, language, and an often partially manufactured national history” (318). Te assumed manhood of nations he explains as being tied to the notion of European culture as “civilization” that “naturally” conquered the world, a civilizing conquest imagined as masculine entitlement. Nichols iterates the ambiguousness of sons that contributes to this anxiety: “In a culture that assigns the qualities of logic, rationality, deductive skills to men and subjectivity, gnostic or tacit knowledge, relationality, and analog (a continuum of conditional, contextually qualifed) decision making to women, the son often embodies many more of the latter qualities than an adult male can manage without being marked as marginal, outsider, pervert, or deviant” (33). Calvin Tomas argues that, “although it may seem an ahistoricizing gesture to gather the objectifying tendencies of infancy, patriarchy, and capitalism under the rubric of ‘reifcation,’ one can nonetheless argue that these three instances seem, on a specifc level of political intervention, to have a single element in common: the passivization of women into objects of exchange and the denial of their status as active, speaking, desiring subjects” (95). Steven Cohan cites Marjorie Garber’s notion of boyhood as a “category crisis” due to its liminality, which puts the opposition of the gender binary into question with its border-crossing (259–260). Burrill notes how obsessed boys tend to be with rules when they play their games, noting that “boyhood, like games, is an enactment or mimesis of social and psychic rules, rules that appear to be naturalized and normalized by external cultural forces” (44). Peter Biskind notes that, “in 1954, while the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency … was holding hearings, sociologist Negely Teeters wrote that ‘no social problem has wrought deeper concern in the United States’ than juvenile delinquency.… Te infation of the problem into a national obsession refected more than a social reality; it refected a mood—the frst wave of conservative backlash against what William Whyte called the ‘fliarchy’ and what Ehrenreich and English, in their book For Her Own Good, later called ‘the century of the child.’… A number of factors had conspired to create the new youth culture, ranging from World War II, which sent parents of to war or factory jobs, leaving the kids to their own devices; to postwar afuence; the baby boom; the erosion of the authority of the father; and last, but by no means least, recognition by business that teen-agers … constituted, in short, a market” (197–198). Gilmore locates this anxiety in the defning and defending of territory: “Machismo, seen as the willingness to respond to a challenge, and as found in Truk, Mexico, or the American West, is in my opinion only an exaggerated version of a much more widespread male defensiveness in dangerous contexts.… Beneath the posturing and the self-promotion lies a residue of practical expectations that men everywhere shoulder to some extent. Te histrionic displays should not blind us to the deeper structure of a stressed manhood with similar ends: the need to establish and defend boundaries” (76–77). As this study has iterated, these boundaries are both physical properties, like the body and home, as well as imaginary properties like autonomous agency and self-mastery. Billig illuminates the logic that subtends Neville’s and Mathias’s rivalry:  “When competing visions of homelands draw diferent boundaries around the same places, the rivals can dream of cleansing each other’s vision, and each other’s very being, from the geography of their own imagined homeland. Ten, semantic and material ‘cleansing’ become fatally united” (78). Kimmel notes that the “Civil War was also a gendered war in which the meanings of manhood were bitterly contested” in the national imaginary (Manhood 72). For example, he argues that it

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20.

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22.

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marked the end to a validated masculinity performed by southern gentry he labels the “Genteel Patriarch,” replaced by the fgure of the “Heroic Artisan.” Ellison extends this superiority and centrality in the prequel and sequel stories that he later wrote to fesh out the novella, which are both frst-person narratives from Blood’s point of view wherein he sardonically comments on events in a way that constantly denigrates the boy. As in the other flms in this study, frearms are an important commodity in the struggle for dominance. Kimmel observes that this rhetoric impels men to be “exiled from the home, unable to return without fear of feminization” by this taming infuence, thereby impelling men into homosocial spaces that exclude women (Angry 58). Tis dissembling is also refected in their use of euphemisms. When a citizen is found to be unable to conform, they are shipped to the “farm,” which, of course, in this underground space does not exist, and are in fact executed, presumably to be composted and used in growing food. Braudy, studying the 19th-century obsession with norms, calls this “an odd but perhaps companionable combination of tyranny and freedom. Tyranny was the assumption that the norm was the only way to be, from which there could not or should not be any deviation; freedom was the substitution of a wide array of human possibilities for absolute distinctions between the normal and the abnormal, the acceptable and the eccentric, the standard and the freakish” (313). Martinot argues that “white people cannot individually abandon whiteness in order to abjure their white skin privilege, because they do not produce that whiteness; it is bestowed by the social institutions in white society. It will be continually reimposed by social institutions that preserve and reconstitute it, as well as by all others one encounters in society.… Tat is, to abandon being white will also mean to stop imposing a white-defned concept of blackness on black people, or Nativeness on Native Americans” (or femininity on women in the masculinist paradigm) (201). Ellison likes to remind interviewers that Vic never eats any of her. He is not a cannibal, and this is not a case of cannibalism since Blood is another species. Earlier in the flm, Vic feeds him popcorn, and one of my students was understandingly upset that the flm thus equates Quilla June with popcorn, which brought up a discussion of the way that women are a commodity to be consumed in Hollywood flms that cater to a masculine gaze by sexualizing them and making them victims. Tis will also trouble the distinction of the Feral Kid as “deviant,” just as the flm disturbs an easy reading of a character like Wez as such. Tese are social labels: “Edwin Lemert (1951) and Howard Becker (1963) advanced the theory of social labeling. Lemert emphasized the ‘societal reaction’ to deviant behavior, which tags a particular behavior and its perpetrators as deviant; this behavior and the reaction to it are termed ‘primary deviance.’ However, in a next step, called ‘secondary deviance,’ the perpetrators accept the identity of a deviant and commit themselves to deviance or violence as an adaptation to or defense against society’s response to them. Tus, the reaction of society not only defnes but encourages such conduct” (Eller 56). Normality produces deviance. She goes on to say that this model of manhood posits that “men must restrain their dangerous impulses, but men cannot restrain them; men must restrain their blocked emotions, but men cannot release them. It is in the space between the ‘must’ and the ‘cannot’ that the physically and psychically wounded man emerges, not as a pathological, or even ‘failed’ man, but as the norm of a masculinity that can only attempt to be ‘healthy’ ” (Robinson 152, italics hers). Often, women and children are called upon to aid in this path to health, like the boys mentioned above in their

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24.

25. 26.

27.

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blockbuster science fction flms, but the Feral Kid does not perform this role for Max, and he further troubles the idea of manly restraint. Tis identifes them as problem-solvers, perhaps the reason they become leaders. “Te theme of solving collective problems fgures in most mythologies of the world as the basis of the myth of the culture hero ( J. Campbell 1968). But it is not only among workers or primitives that such ideas rule gender attitudes and ideals. Among scholars, literary critics, and poets, this connection between heroic resourcefulness and manhood is also often celebrated, if only in hypothetical terms” (Gilmore 113). Minty later discovered in adult life, having been adopted, that he was in fact related to the indigenous people of Australia (Buckmaster 157). Gilmore explains that women also are impelled through discipline to become proper female subjects in society, however, “Because men usually exercise political or legal authority, and because they are bigger and stronger, they can usually coerce women into compliance by force or by the threat of force, that is, if conventional morality fails to do the job. Men, however, especially in atomistic social contexts, are not always under the domination of others and are therefore harder to control socially. It may be because of this diference that a special moral system (‘real manhood’) is required to ensure a voluntary acceptance of appropriate behavior in men” (Gilmore 221). Sheldon notes that, “once upon a time, perhaps, the fgure of the child served as a link between the domestic interior and the national domestic, thus centralizing sexuality and reproduction as the basis for economic vitality and designating the vigor of the household as the mechanism by which the nation rises and falls” (116). But these boys need to be domesticated, and the flm imagines what they do without such discipline and devotion to work. Sacrifce is “a phenomenon precisely about violence—not just doing violence to the victim but communicating something about, and controlling or channeling violence in, society.… We misinterpret sacrifce as a cultural act when we view it as a ‘theological’ act, that is, as one ordered by the gods or one that placates the gods or mediates with the gods. Sacrifce is not about the anger of the gods but rather the anger of humans in social groups” (Eller, citing Rene Girard 171). As Morgenstern puts it, “every child … is a wild child responding to the ruse of personhood. Every adult (everyone) is responsible for all those others whom they frst and continuously call into being as if they were persons” (206, italics hers). “All language speaks the desire that there be language, all language articulates a hope for or promise of language, and thus all language, as irreducibly phatic, includes an irreducible meaninglessness. Tis is the wildness of language that the animal and the child are mobilized to contain either by confrming an unbridgeable divide or by performing the recapitulation of an evolutionary advance from primitive to rational communication” (203). As Okin argues, a just society begins at the family structure, and any just family would divest gender from family roles:  “Gender, with its ascriptive designation of positions and expectations of behavior in accordance with the inborn characteristic of sex, [would have to] no longer form a legitimate part of the social structure, whether inside or outside the family.… [A truly egalitarian society would] not assign family responsibilities in a way that makes women into a marginal sector of the paid work force … render[ing] likely their economic dependence upon men” (103–104). She goes on to argue that “our current gender structure is incompatible with the attainment of social justice, but also that the disappearance of gender is a prerequisite for the complete development of a nonsexist, fully human theory of justice” (Okin 105). Tis problematic system of injustice is the subject of the last chapter in this study.

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31. Helen Hester writes, “Tis is not, to my mind, because of any special status to be awarded to the very young, but simply one expression of a generalized investment in, as far as possible, reconstituting refuge for the precarious and the oppressed. Tere is reason to hope, perhaps, that a reorientation away from reproductive futurity and towards various models of kinship and xeno-solidarity might actually encourage a deeper hospitality towards the Other, and that a generalized cultural rejection of the absolute privilege of the family line might be framed less as the dismissal of parents and guardians, and more as an act of solidarity with new arrivals of all kinds (from migrants to new caregivers, to the very young)” (61–62). 32. Morgenstern remarks, “Responsibility is not an obligation that the subject chooses but rather an incarnate relation that precedes the intentionality of consciousness. Responsibility is not a calculation to be performed. It is a relation always already integral to the world’s ongoing intra-active becoming and not-becoming” (citing Barad 29). 33. Paul Williams notes that “a recurrent motif of post-nuclear-war fction is the use of Australia and the South Pacifc as the location of human survivors.… On the level of visual representation, there are profound continuities between the colonial past, speculated post-apocalyptic futures and certain (supposedly) barren and featureless geographical areas of the world, of which the Australian desert is a paradigmatic example” (17). It is treated often as a generic wasteland. 34. Kaja Silverman notes that the “dominant fction” is opposed … neither to an ultimately recoverable reality, nor to the condition of “true” consciousness. “Fiction” underscores the imaginary rather than the delusory nature of ideology, while “dominant” isolates from the whole repertoire of a culture’s images, sounds, and narrative elaboration through which the conventional subject is psychically aligned with the symbolic order (54). 35. Wez is linked to the Kid not only through the animosity of revenge after his lover is killed, but also through performance. His constant hissing and growling bears remarkable similarity to that of the Kid. He is what the Kid might become if he continues down this road. 36. Morgenstern observes that “one can’t be both ‘free’ and responsible … because one would then be responsible as oneself and therefore, in a sense, only to oneself.… Te ethical, as opposed to what I’ll call the contractual, relation … profoundly disrupts selfhood … even as it might also be said to give selfhood in the frst place … the very conditions for being in relation with another” (41). 37. Miller had difculty getting Minty to portray the proper afect for this shot, since it was a process shot where the child actor sat on a stationary vehicle being rocked back and forth and treated the whole experience as great fun. He ultimately captured the shot we see in the flm by secretly giving Vernon Wells a blood squib to hold in his hand which burst when he reached up, shocking Minty into the state we see in the momentary shot in the flm. 38. Tis loss of innocence motif as a coming-of-age for boys is common in Australian flms. As McFarlane puts it, they often combine images of “youthful innocence with incipient heroic achievement,” presenting “young men … on the brink of manhood, a status they can achieve only by grappling with heroic challenges,” making them analogous to Australian nationalistic subjectivity and the taming of a wild frontier (50). He lists “among the most commonly recurring images projected by Australian flms of the last dozen or so years are those denoting (a) a man’s country, (b) mateship, (c) anti-authoritarianism, (d) a wide, open land, the Aussie battler, and (f ) the competitive instinct” (McFarlane 47). Te Mad Max flms play with all of these elements. 39. Post-apocalyptic narratives are as concerned with the reproduction of the social as the reproduction of the species, demonstrating that the two are indeed separable. As Hester writes, “neither the genetic inheritances nor the carefully orchestrated upbringing of the embodied child can guarantee smooth generational continuity or exact duplicability,” leading to the fraught interest

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of our times in the fgure of the child, the subject of the next chapter (67). Te apocalypse is a space where the imagining of a newer society becomes possible. 40. Te message of the need to abandon violent masculinity and autonomous agency that the flm makes was not heeded, as Kimmel documents in Angry White Men. Indeed, in the late 1980s and early 1990s school shootings shifted from gang-related violence perpetrated by melanated boys to white suburban boys with military hardware who, rather than killing another boy out of revenge, shot at random to attack “them” and prove to the “world” their manliness. It became a way of becoming famous through acts of violence that proved the worth of the boy belittled by the culture of their school (Kimmel Angry 73). 4 1. It is no coincidence that, increasingly, the imaginary digital space in which this takes place is a post-apocalyptic one in games such as the series Fallout (1997-present), Wasteland (1989, 2014), Mad Max (2014), Metro 2033 (2010) and the like.

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References Baker, Brian. Masculinity in Fiction and Film: Representing Men in Popular Genres 1945–2000. London and New York: Continuum, 2006. Billig, Michael. Banal Nationalism. London, Tousand Oaks, and New Delhi: Sage, 1995. Biskind, Peter. Seeing Is Believing: How Hollywood Taught Us to Stop Worrying and Love the Fifties. New York: Pantheon, 1983. Blackboard Jungle. Dir. Richard Brooks. Perf. Glenn Ford, Anne Francis, Louis Calhern. MGM, 1955. A Boy and His Dog. Dir. L.Q. Jones. Perf. Don Johnson, Jason Robards, Susanne Benton. LQ/ JAF Productions, 1973. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Buckmaster, Luke. Miller and Max:  George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend. Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2017. Burrill, Derek A. Die Tryin’: Videogames, Masculinity, Culture. New York, DC, Bern, Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Brussels, Vienna, and Oxford: Peter Lang, 2008. Chodorow, Nancy J.  “Te Enemy Outside:  Toughts on the Psychodynamics of Extreme Violence with Special Attention to Men and Masculinity.” Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions. Ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner. New  York:  Columbia UP, 2002. 235–260. Combs, James. “Pox-Eclipse Now:  Te Dystopian Imagination in Contemporary Popular Movies.” Crisis Cinema: Te Apocalyptic Idea in Postmodern Narrative Film. Ed. Christopher Sharrett. Washington, DC: Maisonneuve P, 1993. 17–36. Edelman, Lee. No Future:  Queer Teory and the Death Drive. Durham and London:  Duke UP, 2004. Eller, Jack David. Violence and Culture. New York: Tomson Wadsworth, 2006. Ellison, Harlan. Vic and Blood. New York: Open Road, 2014.

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Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Federici, Silvia. Caliban and the Witch:  Women, the Body and Primitive Accumulation. New York: Autonomedia, 2004. Gilmore, David D. Manhood in the Making: Cultural Concepts of Masculinity. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 1990. Hester, Helen. Xenofeminism. Cambridge: Polity P, 2018. Kimmel, Michael. Angry White Men: American Masculinity at the End of an Era. New York: Nation Books, 2013. ———. Manhood in America. New York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore: Te Free P, 1996. Lord of the Flies. Dir. Peter Brook. Perf. James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards. Continental Distributing, 1963. Mad Max. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne. Roadshow Entertainment, 1979. Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston. Warner Bros., 1981. Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome. Dir. George Miller, George Ogilvie. Perf. Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence. Warner Bros., 1985. Mad Max: Fury Road. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Tom Hardy, Charlize Teron, Nicholas Hoult. Warner Bros., 2015. Martin, Adrian. Te Mad Max Movies. Strawberry Hills and Canberra, Australia:  Currency Press and SoundScreen Australia, 2003. Martinot, Steve. Te Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2003. McFarlane, Brian. Australian Cinema. New York: Columbia UP, 1988. “Miri.” Star Trek. CBS, Oct. 27, 1966. Television. Morgenstern, Naomi. Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 2018. Nichols, Bill. “Sons at the Brink of Manhood.” East-West Film Journal Vol.  4, No. 1, Dec. 1989. 27–43. Okin, Susan Moller. Justice, Gender, and the Family. New York: Basic Books, 1989. Te Omega Man. Dir. Boris Sagal. Perf. Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash. Warner Bros., 1971. Rebel Without a Cause. Dir. Nicholas Ray. Perf. James Dean, Natalie Wood, Sal Mineo. Warner Bros., 1955. Robinson, Sally. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Seltzer, Mark. Serial Killers:  Death and Life in America’s Wound Culture. New  York and London: Routledge, 1998. Shane. Dir. George Stevens. Perf. Alan Ladd, Jean Arthur, Van Hefin. Paramount, 1953.

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Shaviro, Steven. No Speed Limit: Tree Essays on Accelerationism. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 2015. Sheldon, Rebekah. Te Child to Come:  Life after the Human Catastrophe. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 2016. Silverman, Kaja. Male Subjectivity at the Margins. New York and London: Routledge, 1992. Tomas, Calvin. Male Matters: Masculinity, Anxiety, and the Male Body on the Line. Urbana and Chicago: U of Illinois P, 1996. Te Ultimate Warrior. Dir. Robert Clouse. Perf. Yul Brynner, Max von Sydow, Joanna Miles. Warner Bros., 1975. Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude. Trans. Isabella Bertoletti, James Cascaito, Andrea Casson. New York and Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2004. Williams, Paul. Race, Ethnicity and Nuclear War:  Representations of Nuclear Weapons and PostApocalyptic Worlds. Liverpool: Liverpool UP, 2011.

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chapter five

Apocalyptic Women

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Survival in the Hypermasculine World of Apocalyptic Manhood

Defning “masculinity” and “femininity” as exemplary standards by which to measure normal human experience have … been crucial ways for cultures to express their basic values. Masculinity particularly has occupied a position of special privilege because, in most such male-female distinctions, women are characterized as the victims of their biological nature as childbearers. Men, in supposed contrast, are free to escape from (or to express) biology, often in elaborate rituals of competition.… In this way, male violence, and the “masculinity” it suggests, is both regulated within a society and sanctioned against that society’s enemies. (Braudy xv) Hormones, the structure of masculine personality, and/or the social and political organization of gender, male bonding, and male dominance, all lead many men to react to threats with violence and aggression in a way that most women do not.… Perhaps they get pleasure from extreme violence and aggression. (Chodorow 252)

1980 marked a change from the malaise of the 1970s in the United States. Popular rhetoric depicted it as a “new dawn” thanks to speeches made by the new popular President. In Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era, Susan Jefords calls Ronald Reagan the frst “Hollywood President.” His election and the success of his presidency relied on his star persona as an actor, much like the later career that Charlton Heston had in the National Rife Association.1 He presented a strong but smiling face for military-industrial-corporate capitalism, making it seem like a friendly neighbor rather than an amoral money-making machine producing death. In his speeches, Reagan often borrowed not only from classic

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cinema, quoting flms as if they were history, but also from current flms, even using the enemy from George Lucas’s Star Wars as an icon of the Soviet Union by calling it an “Evil Empire” ( Jefords 4).2 His presidency often blurred the line between politics as state policy and politics as intertextual rhetoric and spectacular media event relying for its impact on the audience’s knowledge of flm narratives. Tis was the period when the “action movie” became one of the most reliable box-ofce genres, launching the role of the action hero into a primary place that it still holds in popular cinema to this day. As Jefords argues, the action hero in the 1980s is a fgure who saves the status quo of white patriarchy from the threat of racialized, classed, and gendered “others,” and these narratives argue for the necessity of aggressive white masculine hegemony for the future of the nation often coded as humanity itself ( Jefords 12).3 Tis was a period of re-virilization of hegemonic American masculinity after the changes and troubles of the previous two decades. According to Jefords, Reagan’s “imaginary” rewrote the past of the country just like Marty McFly does for his family and own past in Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis), redeeming fathers by returning the nation symbolically to a time before the troubling 1960s when white American men were ascending, on their way to conquer space itself (70). Fathers must be redeemed in 1980s flms to assuage the discontent of the 1970s because “what is good for the father is good for the family and the community as a whole” in a social system structured by patriarchy ( Jefords 73). Contrary to this reparative rhetoric and following the trend of apocalyptic masculinity traced in this study, the future is broken in the post-apocalyptic flms of the 1980s because hegemonic military masculinity has failed, bringing about the end by using violence to solve problems that are about relationships, and this equates to a failure of “civilization.” Tese flms express an anxiety about the erasure of white men from history even as they posit this as inevitable. Reagan’s Presidency, as an act of fction and media event, portrayed him in a global drama in which America was a benevolent white messiah, saving the “third world” from self-destruction and invasion by the “Evil Empire” with our superior technology and “democratic” ideals when the reality of the situation involved the ongoing accumulation of resources and enclosure of common property in the spread of global capital, forcing such states into perpetual poverty and dependence on the United States. Tis was nationalist theater that utilized Reagan’s flm persona as a heroic cowboy and as the face of industry to promote the image of national strength, industrial vigor, and the illusion of unity.4 1980s flms continued articulating the crisis concerning the reproduction of proper national subjects that this study has been investigating as a crisis of paternity, hence a crisis of patriarchy and masculinity as well as white masculinist agency

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panic. As Tomas DiPiero asserts “we need to analyze [white masculinity] as a symptomatic reply to cultural demands, not as a self-generating ahistorical entity somehow able to endlessly reproduce itself ” (3). One of these demands investigated by this study, the requirement of individualism expressing autonomous agency, produces anxiety when this supposed agency is lacking. Andrew Feenberg examines how this fguration of individuality as autonomy imagines that society and the individual are separate, rather than “abstractions from a more concrete unity … structured [by a] process of human relations.… No individual exists outside … systems of human interdependencies. In our society, these relations are asymmetrical and position a few leaders to ‘manage’ the others” (85). Tis asymmetry is justifed and produced by a masculinist emphasis on individual autonomous agency which is expressed through power over others. Post-apocalyptic flms attempt to work out who will use such power to “manage” the future by controlling others or whether we can alter cultural demands in such a way that such management is no longer deemed necessary. Te decade of the 1980s in America was a period when management became sacrosanct, and the common business vernacular used the modifer “power” ubiquitously in such examples as the “power tie,” “power lunch,” and even a “power nap.” Reagan won the presidency in 1980 by appearing “manlier” and more powerful than Jimmy Carter.5 Reagan’s campaign used pictures of the cowboy candidate on horseback at his ranch to equate his masculinity with the characters he once played on screen ( Jefords 12). Conversely, Carter wore a sweater and took advice from his wife.6 Jefords argues that the “hard body” that visibly represents this aggressive posturing with its muscled, armored appearance of potential violence which populates action movies acts as a “lynchpin of the Reagan imaginary,” informing all of his policies (25). “Reaganomics” was imagined as “Rambonomics.” As the analyses in previous chapters show, post-apocalyptic flms often demonstrate this hard body to be a fragile façade and the aggressive masculinity it represents as a masquerade covering insecurity and a fragile identity. Tus, the investigation of costuming reveals that the garments which signify masculinity serve as “masks,” and “that there is no ‘authentic’ or unitary identity presupposed by this metaphor; there is nothing underlying the mask. Te masquerade is subjectivity, constantly performed” (Baker 70, emphasis his). Te hypermasculine subjectivity of this genre makes the masquerade deadly, foregrounding the punitive aspect of a patriarchal gender binary. Apocalyptic masculinity reveals that this supposedly self-perpetuating performance that engenders a cycle of violence without end is produced by a symptomatic response to social changes, the same social turmoil that Reagan’s America attempted to disavow.7

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Tis study has traced the evolution of an imagining of apocalyptic masculinity as indicative of both an on-going crisis in defnitions of hegemonic manhood in the latter half of the 20th century and also a revelation of the logics that lead to such apocalyptic gendered thinking, explaining the violence to which this reasoning logically leads. Rebekah Sheldon notes that the urtext of apocalypse narratives (although I would argue that previous Flood narratives are also urtexts), the book of Revelation in the Christian Bible, is a story of masculine violence meted out on women in which redemption is fgured as a repudiation of the feminine personifed by the Whore of Babylon (87). As this study has been elucidating, such apocalyptic thinking relies on the essentialist investment of masculinist discourses in the idea of individual autonomy and masculine agency fgured as mastery over people and space. As the genre of post-apocalypse flms evolves, this fguration of apocalyptic masculinity becomes more fraught, less celebratory and more cautionary, and it takes a signifcant turn in the 1980s as the focus of such flms shifts from the plight of an individual man to that of children and women. Te genre becomes interested not just in the threat of wayward reproduction and reproductive futurity, but also begins to focus on what Naomi Morgenstern calls narratives of “adults and children at the social limit or on the edge of disaster” (15).8 Tis chapter examines the shift to interest in the role of apocalyptic womanhood and the plight of what Morgenstern nominates as “the posthumanist wild child,” a person who fgures or personifes the philosophical wildness of a human being (and being-in-relation) to come—but not the future in a teleological, modernizing sense … a child of the border between a liberal-humanist “world” that might be coming to an end (a world that usually imagines itself doing so in apocalyptic terms—as the end of the world) and a posthumanist, democratic future that not only might, in a certain way, come back to us from what we had always fgured was an evolutionary or historical past [indigenous others, see the analysis of the Feral Kid above], but also might not even arrive as a “world” in the sense in which we have often relied on that concept. (15)

Tis wild child is an answer to the fgure of the Child that Edelman elects as representing the ideology of reproductive futurity. It replaces the guarantee of the future as the same as the past carried by the Child with wildness and uncertainty, and it leaves open the potential for change rather than the reproduction of the status quo. Te shift of gender focus in post-apocalyptic flm coincides with a change in the value attributed to the individual as an ideal since humans are shown to need one another, and interdependence becomes more important to survival than autonomous agency. Te free agent, in this scenario, becomes a lost cause or a monstrous danger to community as such. Common-sense notions of human agency often, as Susan Okin explains,

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take for granted that whole vast sphere of life in which persons (mostly women) take care of others, often at considerable cost to their own advancement as individuals … ignor[ing] the crucial fact that much of human labor, energy, and skill is not devoted to the production of things that can then belong to their producers [because it instead reproduces persons]. (88, emphasis hers)

Tese flms continue the reimagining of kinship away from a patriarchal family structure and its division of labor defned by gender roles. Te shift begins in 1984 with Night of the Comet (Tom Eberhardt) and Te Terminator ( James Cameron) and includes B-flms such as Te Sisterhood (1988, Cirio H.  Santiago), blockbusters like Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome, Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron), Waterworld (1995, Kevin Reynolds), and continuing into the current century in the proliferation of young adult fction adapted to flm such as the Hunger Games (2012–2015) and Divergent (2014–2016) franchises. Michael Kimmel asserts that, if society needs to make sense of anatomical diference in gendered terms, we require a defnition of manhood “capable of embracing diferences among men and enabling other men to feel secure and confdent rather than excluding them.… We need a democratic manhood” (Manhood 333). However, if manhood is to be as democratic as Kimmel suggests, then women should have as much say in its defnitions as men. Tis chapter begins with a look at women as survivors in the flms Night of the Comet and Te Terminator, and then examines Beyond Tunderdome (hereafter Tunderdome). Following this, the analysis examines women as warriors in the fgure of Aunty Entity in Tunderdome. Te conclusion of the study acts as coda to this discussion and examines Imperator Furiosa and the warrior Mothers in Fury Road, a discussion of apocalyptic motherhood as this trope has changed valence in the flms from Mad Max to Fury Road and a continuation of Warrior Women as survivors in a bleak hypermasculine future.

Apocalyptic Women as Survivors: Danger and Solidarity Te mantra of “no future” too easily parallels the neoliberal dogma that there is no alternative. (Hester 50) We desperately need to qualify this rallying call not to make babies, however. When Edelman discusses what it means to “resist the appeal of futurity, to refuse the temptation to reproduce,” he appears to rather sidestep the fact that biological procreation is not always an expressly planned or deliberately sought for process. (Hester 58)

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After the success of Te Road Warrior,9 the decade of the 1980s was inundated with lower-budget flms that mimicked the tropes used by Miller, but without the acting that brought the characters in Miller’s work to life and lacking the virtuosity of montage editing that energizes his flms. Tese flms capitalize on the fgure of the lone action hero who saves innocent people from barbarians, decked out in medievalized punk fashion and American football shoulder pads, making use of customized vehicles as postmodern mounts for these battling warriors.10 Tese copies of the Mad Max milieu appeal to the fantasies of white men feeling apocalyptic masculinity, using the same tropes in more obvious and less aesthetic ways than Miller’s work. Emblematic of how these exploitation post-apocalypse flms appealed to the fantasies and anxieties of white men in the 1980s, and similar to many flms released by New Line Cinema at the time, Hell Comes to Frogtown (1988, Donald G. Jackson and R.J. Kizer) is full of scenes that contrive for a buxom woman to remove her top, appealing to the prurient interest of its audience as softcore pornography in addition to the action. Te narrative uses a post-apocalyptic fertility crisis, where “pure” human women (depicted as white) are producing less children; as a result, frog-like mutants are becoming the dominant population due to their ability to reproduce frequently (a racialized threat made more obvious by the latex frog masks that employ stereotypes of black people with oversized lips and wide noses). Pro-wrestler “Rowdy” Roddy Piper plays the protagonist, Sam Hell, one of the last fertile men, whose usually shirtless hard body resembles a turgid penis throughout the narrative.11 In this toxic and dystopian future, women run the government, but not as matriarchs due to infertility and instead as sexually powerful, and they coerce Hell into rescuing the last fertile women from Frogtown, where they are being held captive, threatening a future of miscegenation for their ofspring and the spread of “mutation.” He agrees only because the women in power promise that he can mate with the fertile women after rescuing them. To make sure that he keeps his word, they equip him with an electronic chastity belt, so the turgidity of his body stands for the repression of his sexual urges as well as his armored masculinity. Tis fguration of fertile women as breeding resource, reifed into a technology of reproductive futurity and purity, is more monstrously depicted by Miller in Fury Road. Te mutants have kidnapped the women as part of their revolution against a racist, oppressive government, but this revolt is thwarted by Sam Hell as he saves the women and ensures a pure reproductive future. Even though the flm ostensibly gives women power in this future where they run the government, every one of those managing the mission and controlling Sam is sexualized and displayed nude during the narrative, reducing them to sex objects for both him and the audience,

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diluting their political power and making them props in a masculine masquerade with no real agency besides their use as desired objects. As the previous investigations have shown, women have limited roles in post-apocalyptic flms, either serving the function of victim, often of sexual violence, or vehicle of reproductive futurity, used as a symbol of hope for the future and something worth fghting for. Tey are rarely granted narrative agency, and are not often the focus of the diegesis. Tis changed in 1984. Two flms were released that year which shifted the focus of the apocalyptic narrative onto the problems of apocalyptic women:  Night of the Comet and Te Terminator. Although the latter flm takes place before the apocalypse and only includes short scenes depicting the apocalyptic boyhood of the warrior from the post-apocalypse future, Kyle Reese (Michael Biehn), as an action horror movie it focuses on a threatened woman, Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton), rather than this action hero, the mother of the future. Te franchise that it spawned, after spending two flms attempting to avert the end of the world through the agency of this woman, then became set in a post-apocalyptic landscape and focused on the agency of her son, only to be rebooted using time travel in Terminator:  Genisys (2015, Alan Taylor) and again in Terminator: Dark Fate (2019, Tim Miller), rewriting the events of the frst flm and then putting them back, only further centering Sarah as action hero instead of victim and less the mother of the future than the arbiter of her own fate as she learns how to perform military masculinity. Te Terminator poses the time-travel version of reproductive crisis by putting the mother of the future in danger from that very future. Beginning as a server at a diner, dressed in a pink “feminine” uniform, over the course of the frst two flms Sarah learns how to use masculine technologies like vehicles and guns. She then passes this training on to her son, who will lead the resistance against the robot uprising in the future as a useful, hypermasculine, hard-bodied action hero. Humanity is saved by violence, and peace is sought through strength of arms, but this is accomplished not to prove the value of a masculine protagonist’s manhood and rather becomes a mode of survival for a woman threatened by a hypermasculine future that becomes her present in the form of Arnold Swarzenegger followed by others, lately becoming hypermasculine women, killing machines with no empathy. Night of the Comet uses the tropes of the urban apocalypse outlined in the frst chapter of this study, but, instead of a last man on Earth, the two survivors of a toxic comet are suburban, white, middle class, teenage girls. Like other urban apocalypse narratives, a third person is introduced for confict, a Latino man (Robert Beltran) who reluctantly becomes their protector as they try to escape the city to fnd shelter from gangs of violent men and zombies. Te sisters escape the city to fnd the secret government laboratory where their father works, only to discover that this

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refuge is a trap and they cannot trust the patriarch of their family. Instead, they are left to fend for themselves and learn how to survive in a changed world with the aid of their racialized helper, a man who is not afraid to kill but also seems to care about the welfare of others. Mad Max depicts women as vulnerable and liable to be victims, especially Jessie.12 Te Road Warrior portrays an anonymous female victim raped and murdered, but one of its central characters is Warrior Woman (Virginia Hey), even though she has little agency and dies a pointless death trying to save her friend. She is also ignored when the community discusses what action to take as the rest of the people defer to the authority of Papagallo. She has no narrative agency. Diverging from these fgurations, Tunderdome depicts an organized post-apocalyptic community as its central setting, a liminal space called Bartertown managed by a black woman. With the use of Tina Turner as Aunty Entity, Miller’s vision of the post-apocalypse reaches a turning point while Max becomes obsolete, left to oblivion, but with the hope that one day he may choose to emerge from the desert of nothingness of apocalyptic manhood and live among others again.

Beyond Apocalyptic Masculinity: Absurd Contingency and Max as Existential Antihero

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As the subject can never be aligned with the agent, so, too, identity and identifcation never quite meet. All identifcations are inevitably failed identifcations, a continual passing as a coherent and stable social identity. (Eng 26)

Te shift from an interest in apocalyptic manhood to the role of women and their possible agency after the end of the world, alluded to through the fgure of Warrior Woman in Te Road Warrior,13 is elaborated in the third flm that George Miller made for the Mad Max franchise, codirected by Miller, who oversaw the action sequences, and George Ogilvie, who directed the relationship-building, talking scenes. Adopting the name change forced on Mad Max 2 as a subtitle, starting with this flm, Miller provides these as tag lines to indicate the new location of the flm but also subtle hints of the narrative’s subtext as framing device. In this case, as in the most recent flm of the franchise, the narrative dwells on how to get beyond the spectacle of the cycle of violence that is the masculine masquerade of apocalyptic manhood while simultaneously entertaining its audience with this performance. Miller and his co-writers deliberately “humanized” this iteration of Max’s journey (not coincidentally, to disguise its production, during preproduction, flming, and post-production the flm was called Te Journey instead of

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Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome) (Buckmaster 148–149). In this story Max fnally makes a moral choice, requiring that he remain behind and let others escape the wasteland. Although the flm still ostensibly focuses on Max, in this narrative he has reached the end of the road, both fguratively and literally. He begins the story riding on the old chassis of an automobile retroftted into a camel-drawn wagon across a desert with no roads, and his property is immediately stolen from him, leaving him with nothing but his frayed costume, following the tracks of his stolen life through a place the people in the flm call “Te Nothing.” Within the frst fve minutes of the flm, Max becomes nothing and no one in search of his lost identity. Te woman named Aunty Entity (a something who used to be a nothing), who founded the last vestige of “civilization” where his quest to retrieve his belongings (but not his sense of belonging) leads, generically named Bartertown, played by Tina Turner in chain mail, calls Max “raggedy man,” and this description refers to his tattered clothing as well as his sense of male identity. Te apocalypse disenfranchised him while providing her with opportunity for social infuence never available in the previous “civilization.” He has no agency in the flm while she leads other warriors with her charisma and rhetorical skill, getting her way with most men. Led by the whims of fate to a group of castaway children who have been surviving in an oasis in the middle of the desert, awaiting the coming of a mythical messiah, Max refuses to be their hero and leader, preferring the nothing he has become. His refusal to be their savior impels a young woman, a tracker and storyteller in the tribe (the one who fnds Max and rescues him from Te Nothing, making him something), called Savannah Nix (a name that references nothing and the desert, played by Helen Buday), to lead some of the children through the desert in search of a better future. Performing his frst act of altruism in any of the flms, Max pursues them and they escape this nihilistic mise-en-scène, but he must stay in Te Nothing with Auntie Entity as the children fy away to a life where they can make something new, even if it is only a diferent story. Continuing the juxtaposition of horizontal and vertical planes used in the mise-en-scène of Road Warrior, Tunderdome employs verticality to present and examine social hierarchy directly since only the elite can rise above those mired in the horizontal plane. Te frst shot of the flm, unlike that of the previous two with their low-angle emphasis on vehicle and road, linear motion towards a vanishing point on the horizon, begins in the air as a helicopter shot that documents the vast landscape frst and seems to accidentally fnd Max as a small moving fgure in this tableau, approaching him from above at an oblique angle. Max is introduced as a mere element in a feld of brown and grey, a miniscule part of a larger picture. We soon learn that the god-like perspective of the camera, like the aerial shots of Road

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Warrior, is actually the point of view of an aircraft in the flm’s diegesis, fown again by Bruce Spence, but this is not the same character as the Gyro Captain from the previous narrative. Although a name is never used to identify him in the flm, the credits list his character as Jedediah, and he has a son (Adam Cockburn) who aids him as they commit acts of banditry; we watch them knock Max from his wagon from above and commandeer it. Te satirical thrust of Spence’s character is amplifed in this flm; this patriarchal pilot is costumed in an early-to-mid-20th-century British hunter’s uniform: khaki shirt, shorts, and pith helmet, highlighting class status reinforced by the ability to fy and its implied freedom of movement. We later learn that they live hidden in a system of caves, much like the Feral Kid. Tey make use of vertical space to survive as both predator and prey, defying those who battle over the road and its horizontal surface. Te spatial dichotomy between underground and aboveground is also present in the layout of Bartertown. Paul Williams calls this place “a form of post-apocalyptic imperialism” (303). Williams and Claire Corbett both observe that this space has become a heterotopia, a mixed socius with no cultural dominant, a place where radical alterity is the norm (Williams 305). Aunty Entity lives in a structure far above the mob, and Master (Angelo Rossitto) Blaster (Paul Larsson) runs the pig farm below that powers the whole enterprise using slave labor, equating the pigs to slaves. Tis fgure, who shows that the real power comes from below when he orders an energy embargo and shuts of the supply of methane and electricity to the town, acts as synecdoche of the paradoxical relationship and reliance between top and bottom in modern society. Master is a little person who uses the advantage of his engineering knowledge for power, but his size makes him prey for the physical, violent, apocalyptic men who now populate the planet’s surface, so he has an alliance with Blaster, the huge, muscular, developmentally disabled man on whose shoulders he sits, giving his commands. Tey have a mutually benefcial division of labor, much like the relationship between Master and Aunty Entity, but without the struggle for power between top and bottom. Entity is usually flmed from a low angle to emphasize this vertical hierarchy, especially in the Tunderdome combat scene during which she leaps down from her elevated place into the arena to assert her authority through physical presence and voice, precisely the qualities for which Tina Turner was cast for the role. Her costume emphasizes the vertical: hair blown into a high wave from her forehead, huge earrings, high-heeled shoes, and a chain mail dress cut high up her thighs to display Turner’s signature legs; it also has exaggerated, raised shoulder pads almost in mockery of those on the MFP uniform or used by the punk-styled road warriors and employed by Warrior Woman in the previous flm. She looks down on Max throughout the flm. Tis costuming creates a spectacular form of what Griselda

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Pollock calls “the excessive and fetishistically fabricated carapace called femininity” (84). She wears femininity as armor and displays it as a militant glam-rock performance in this post-apocalyptic masculine masquerade.14 When Max is brought before her, she sees him as an opportunity to change the balance of power and strikes a bargain with him to defeat Blaster in the Tunderdome. Such negotiations are the defning ethic of Bartertown, whose motto is: “Bust a deal, face the Wheel.” Entity explains to Max that she created this place by defning such rules, providing organization to chaos, and controlling violence by containing it within the strictures and confnes of Tunderdome.15 Tunderdome not only regulates hypermasculine violence, it supplies it with a stage, and this central staging acts as a civilizing presence, as it has in Western society since at least the Greeks, the polity gaining unity through theater, supplying them with an imagined community (Foucault 72). Monique Wittig notes that, in a patriarchal society like ours, women are visible as sexual but invisible as social (8). Aunty Entity defes that standard by portraying both. She is a warrior and survivor, and the use of Turner, a woman who survived a publicly abusive relationship with her ex-husband Ike, makes of this survival a defance in the face of a hypermasculine world that would control and exploit her. Her use of Max as agent in a bid for power defes the traditional role of women as “a use-value for man, an exchange value among men” (Irigaray 31).16 Robin Wood once lamented that feminism in Hollywood flms underplays the politics of feminism by emphasizing the personal battles of the heroines, who “are only individual women who feel personally constrained” rather than emblematic of a system of constraint (180). Te use of Turner in this role prevents this from being only about Entity’s personal story of being nothing before the apocalypse and rising to power in the vacuum left by anarchy, not only because of the star persona she brings to the role, but also her status as a black woman, the frst to appear in the Mad Max flms. Turner articulates in this character the systemic limits placed on African American women by white capitalist society by overcoming them after that society has ended.17 Tis unmasks systemic racism as well as how the maintenance of an oppositional binary gender system conceals “the fact that social diferences always belong to an economic, political, ideological order” and not biology or morphology (Wittig 2). Steve Martinot notes how race in the United States is a preferred political category to a discussion of class because racial consciousness acts as a Marxist false consciousness that obscures class confict (95). Te reference to Entity’s previous status as nothing explains to the flm viewer that, if you are not a white male in this society you are “reduced to the parameter of non-Being. For Being is being good, male, straight, [and white]… in other words, godlike, while non-Being is being anything else” (Wittig 51). Tina Turner politicizes the flm as much

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as her presence promotes it through her star power. She operates as a popular cultural icon, a “low” cultural agent disrespectful of the white cultural elite and in opposition to it.18 Likewise, she refutes naturalized classifcations of race and gender “as invariant human qualities residing in determinate morphological features” (DiPiero 139).19 As civilizing force in the post-apocalypse, she demonstrates that “race exists only as socially produced by … a process of racialization … through which white society has constructed and coopted diferences in bodily characteristics and made them marks of hierarchical social categorizations” (Martinot 180).20 Te fgure of Aunty Entity also lampoons Ronald Reagan’s “macho Presidential style,” which required being “competitive in politics and life … decisive, never wavering … strong and aggressive, not weak or passive” ( Jefords 35). She employs hard-bodied men dressed in punk leather attire, the road warriors of the previous flm, to maintain order, and, as Susan Bordo remarks, “a culture that idealizes, fetishizes, is addicted to the hard and impenetrable, is a cold and unforgiving place to be” (59).21 Aunty Entity complexly articulates the necessity for such violence to maintain economic exchange as a form of sublimated violence and operation of power. Te Tunderdome also plays with the vertical plane as weapons for the spectacle of mortal combat are suspended from the dome’s structure, which resembles a cage, alluding to the cycle of violence in which these men are trapped, caged by the competition between men (the people chant: “Two men enter; one man leaves!”), and the men are suspended by bungee cables so they can leap around the dome, using the ground only as another place from which to launch themselves into a contested vertical space. Te caged dome provides the illusion of mobility and agency, but Max soon discovers that there is no agency, not even that of Aunty Entity, only contingency, when he tries to make a moral choice and spare Blaster’s life after defeating him, the large man’s child-like appearance placing him in the category of those Max has lost rather than those he feels entitled to destroy. Tis morality places Max in further danger as he thereby breaks the contract he had made with Entity and must face the arbitrary judgment of Te Wheel. Tere is no moral choice in Bartertown, only exchange and contract. Max is then humiliated by being placed backwards on a donkey with a huge mask over his head, emphasizing his loss of identity, and sent into Te Nothing to die alone and forgotten. Like his agency, he loses his name in this flm, once being asked what it is and responding, but this is the only use of the word “Max” for the entire flm. Likewise, he will use it only once in Fury Road, which begins with him as nothing once more. Te forgotten children in Tunderdome mistake him for someone else, and Entity calls him Raggedy Man, far from the “Maximum Force” he was described as in the frst flm. He is rescued and redeemed by a young

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woman wearing animal skins, but she does not act like the Feral Kid, instead proving to be the agency that drives liberation and change in the narrative, becoming its focal point and storyteller. Tese cargo kids to whom she takes Max to recover from his ordeal in the desert use language, but their syntax and grammar seem diferent from ours. Williams argues that they “refect the cultural associations between convict and Aborigine” through appearance and use of language, a sentiment that refers to the common occurrence in Australian history of convicts escaping their indentured servitude in a colony to fee to the Outback, thereafter living with the indigenous people (311). Te survivors of a crashed aircraft attempting to fee the apocalypse (like the children in Lord of the Flies and the background Minty wrote for the Feral Kid), they have a tenuous relationship to history and the former technologized past. Te character Mr. Skyfsh (Mark Spain) uses a record album spinning on a stick as an augur and wears a circuit board on his chest as ornament. Nix has a belt made from an airplane seatbelt. Divested of their original use, these have become fashion accessories and mystical connections to the past. Tey mistake Max for their prophesized savior, Captain Walker (an honest mistake since he literally walks out of the desert), but he quickly disabuses them of this idea by telling them he is no one, not anyone’s messiah, having failed to save his own family. Nix has groomed him and cut his hair while he recovered, trying to give him back an identity, but they think that he can fy and will take them with him. He instead remains attached to the horizontal plane as he always has. Nix’s discovery of Max changes the organization of their tribe. Te oldest and most traditionally masculine young man, their First Tracker, Eddie (Shane Tickner), who usually does Te Tell, reciting their story and prophecy for future salvation, hands the Tell stick to her to perform instead. Tis Tell begins with the command to listen and retell it to others. It impels repetition to keep the story going. While reciting this tale, Nix dons a garment fashioned from a vulture, suggesting the possibility of fight (there is also a bird attached to the Captain’s hat that they place on Max’s head) but also a fgure of impending death, alluding to the description of Max in the previous flm as a “maggot” feeding of of the old world. Teir fabled Tomorrow-morrow Land, indicating the possibility of a future, like the destination of the feeing community in the previous flm, is documented by promotional photographs for vacationing in Sydney, referring to the fantasy of escape from the predicament of a post-apocalyptic world. Max tries to explain to them that there is no future anymore, just as there is no longer any history, it was nullifed by the apocalypse. Eddie believes him and agrees that they should just continue living as they are in this oasis, but Nix refuses to lose faith because Max is proof to her that there must be something else besides Te Nothing. Rejecting

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the myth of Captain Walker as savior, she leads several children into the desert; they become walkers instead, evoking the indigenous Australian practice of the Walkabout through which young people fnd their adult identity. When she is not cowed by Max’s use of a rife as an attempt to assert authority through intimidation and scare her into staying, responding with a projectile of her own by throwing a spear between his legs (demonstrating that he is not the only one who knows how to use force and also alluding that she does not need what he has between his legs to do so), emphasized by a low-angle shot, looking down on Max just like Entity does; he resorts to punching her, bodily taking away her agency, making her captive of her own people. Max is forced into the role of hero again when Nix slips of in the night with her followers into the desert, a place where verticality threatens from below, the sand swallowing one of them when Max is unable to save the child. Needing supplies, they have no choice but to raid Bartertown, which is no place for children. Using surreptitious verticality again, like the Feral Kid, they sneak inside Underworld, where the pigs make energy, through sewer pipes, fnding that, in the absence of Blaster, Master has been enslaved in his domain. Max wants to liberate him so that he can use his mind, but ends up being just a distraction while the children cause mayhem on their own. Tis scene makes it clear that this flm, unlike its predecessors, was made with a diferent audience in mind, one that includes children like the ones depicted. Te violence is rendered as fun for the kids, who do not seem to be in any real danger, and this is emphasized by Maurice Jarre’s score, which departs dramatically from the serious thriller music that Brian May composed for the frst two flms. Using the trope of the big rig that Road Warrior employed, this flm changes the road from blacktop to rails, emphasizing even more the lack of agency or choice involved with riding on it. Even less does this space lend itself to fugitivity since the railroad line ends and goes nowhere. When Bartertown erupts into chaos after the children’s misdeeds, Entity shouts the mob down and organizes them by asking, “Where you gonna run?” Tere is nowhere to go when it is all Nothing. Bartertown represents the only future these men have available. A  sign in the town proudly and ironically says, “Helping build a better tomorrow.” Futurity is not represented by the children for this town, but resides instead in the mind of the Master, the one who knows how to make fuel. Tey chase Max for this human resource, and the flm makes explicit what Te Road Warrior implied with the fgure of the Feral Kid, that the only really precious cargo is people. Te children, as representatives of reproductive futurity, escape this deadly economy, fying away from it in Jedediah’s airplane. When they fnd a French language album among the Master’s belongings in the back of the truck/railcar that

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acted as his domicile until utilized as escape vehicle, he shows them how to play it, and it keeps skipping on the line, “I am going home.” But for these children, there is no place like home to which they can return as the fnal shots of a ruined Sydney make clear. Te fnal chase sequence, although shorter than the grandiose one that concludes Road Warrior, has its own outlandish fourishes. Tanks to a signifcantly larger budget, the vehicles are even more fetishized as fashion statements (making them even more dangerous for the stunt drivers to operate) (Buckmaster 193). Aunty Entity’s vehicle is a huge phallic rocket, and Turner insisted that she operate it when stunts were not required (Buckmaster 192). Te chase involves more movement between the moving vehicles than the previous chase sequence, a practice continued even more in the recent Fury Road, making for fantastic stunt work and suggesting a continuum between vehicles as if they are just another horizontal surface on which the men operate, an incredibly dangerous stage on which they prove themselves with these reckless acts. Te machines in the chase sequence act as an amorphous, moving, unstable assemblage of vehicular masculinity. Max performs his most moral act at the climax of the chase. When the fugitives try to fy away, they cannot take of because the aircraft is overloaded. Tey drop excess baggage, but still weigh too much. At the last moment, Max enables their escape by sacrifcing himself, leaving the plane and using a vehicle in another ubiquitous game of chicken with the oncoming road warriors. Ending as the frst two flms did with the trope of a head-on collision that Max miraculously survives, he has one last encounter with his double, Aunty Entity. She famously says, “Ain’t we a pair, Raggedy Man.” She lets him live, extending the same mercy he showed in Tunderdome, and the camera again tracks away from him, leaving him a nothing in Te Nothing, but his act of sacrifce has redeemed his hero status and saved the children and future. However, the lyrics of Turner’s theme song that plays over the closing credit sequence indicates that he has become obsolete. Gilles Deleuze remarks, “Either ethics makes no sense at all, or this is what it means and has nothing else to say: not to be unworthy of what happens to us” (78–79). In a meaningless world where contingency replaces agency, the only real choices are ethical. Max, after losing his sense of empathy and ethics in the frst flm, becomes worthy of being called a hero after willingly sacrifcing himself for the sake of others and by accepting the contingency of his life. Te ending of this flm is ambiguous. Tomas Schatz argues that “the most signifcant feature of any generic narrative may be its resolution” (572). Williams wonders if this flm vilifes a black leader while justifying white masculine violence as heroism (307). Te tribe of cargo kids gain meaning in the narrative through a rhetoric of primitivism that imagines indigenous people as child-like and in

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need of saving by a white messiah. Indeed, Aunty Entity could be read as another “Africanist character … used to limn out and enforce the invention and implications of whiteness” for Max (Morrison 52). Although valid points, and the use of racialized others to enable and prop up white protagonists has been part of American narratives since its inception, Entity is more complex than that. As Williams intimates, her invention of Bartertown does more than just continue “civilization” because it also acts as “self-defnition and realization for someone marginalized by her race and gender” (307). She represents the existentialist, self-defning ethic of a post-apocalyptic world. She recognizes kinship with Max, seeing them both as a binary pair that needs each other for their identity (Williams 308). Aunty Entity can also be read as Anti-Entity, “a fgure opposed to essential identities, refusing to be governed by any destiny embodied in physical essence” (Williams 307). Jean-Paul Sartre argues that, “by defnition, existence is not necessity. To exist is simply to be there” (64, italics his).22 He goes on to remark that “existence is without memory; of the vanished it retains nothing—not even memory” (Sartre 66). Te only reason Max is remembered is through storytelling among the tribes that he saved along the way. Entity is determined to make her own story. Te flm concludes with Nix doing the Tell in voice-over while we see aerial views of a dusty, ruined Sydney, identifable by its opera house. She says that this is the Tell of “us all” and again compels the listener to repeat the Tell, to keep the story going, but now they have a new story to tell, not just their origins in disaster, and the story becomes one of a journey into the unknown, history being just “where we came from.” Te camera fnds the tribe with a crane-shot circled around Nix as she relates that the many torches and candles we see lit are signs so that Max and all the other lost last men can fnd their way home. Corbett notes, “Te children may not have escaped the wasteland or their predicament, but they have been freed from their artifcial micro-paradise, the heterotopia made up of descendants of air crash survivors, and are also freed from the static repetition of messianic myth-making” (349). Tey no longer need a hero or the aggressive, vehicular, fugitive, apocalyptic masculinity that drives him. Although considered by many fans the lesser Mad Max flm in the trilogy, Beyond Tunderdome was successful like its predecessors, even though it made less money in Australia. Miller considers it the best of the trilogy (Buckmaster 199– 201). Regardless, the flm’s efect on American popular culture remains indelible. Te terms Mad Max and Tunderdome are part of the vernacular and used in a variety of contexts in a variety of media. Tirty years later, Miller transcended the frst trilogy with the frst of a planned new trilogy of Mad Max flms, combining parts of the frst trilogy and fully shifting the focus of the flm from Max to the

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plight of a group of women and the warrior women who save them. Tis study concludes with a look at this flm and the proliferation of post-apocalyptic flms that occurred after the success of Miller’s trilogy.

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Notes 1. “He was usually cast as a trustworthy, likeable, and good-hearted leading man, and that eventually landed him the General Electric Teatre job that launched him on a national speaking tour of GE factories,” making him a national household name before he became Governor of California ( Jefords 4). Susan Faludi asserts that Reagan felt unmanned by Hollywood and only found his manhood as a corporate front-man after the war. He was already working for the interests of capital while an actor, informing to the FBI on union members and working with the studios to disrupt union power (Faludi 361). 2. Faludi observes that this was “more than a fanciful retelling of military history, Reagan’s was a full-blown remake of postwar masculine history” that attempted to erase what had been done in Vietnam (360, emphasis hers). 3. Sally Robinson argues that action flms are demonstrations of the hysterical male body and the enduring lack of closure on the problem of “wounded” masculinity that must repress its “nature” of supposedly innate violence (141). 4. Tis manufactured unity stands in distinction to actual democratic political unity, what Paolo Virno calls “the multitude,” which he defnes as “plurality—literally; being many—as a lasting form of social and political existence, as opposed to the cohesive unity of the people. Tus, the multitude consists of a network of individuals; the many are a singularity. Te crucial point is to consider these singularities as a point of arrival, not as a starting point; as the ultimate result of a process of individuation, not as solipsistic atoms” (76). Tis theory of unity leaves intact the idea of the individual without positing that this individuality necessarily depends on autonomy from a group. 5. In his book, Te Real War, Richard Nixon attacked Carter’s policies and laid out what would become the Reagan Doctrine; the 1970s, according to him, were “a failure of will” ( Jefords 7). In the book, Nixon depicts Carter as lacking “strength” and “resolve”; he asks whether the U. S. “is a nation of ‘steel or mush’ ” ( Jefords 8). 6. Te fear of becoming enslaved to an “Evil Empire,” according to Richard Nixon, came from Carter not standing up like a man. Reaganism posited a leader who appeared “decisive, tough, aggressive, strong, and domineering” ( Jefords 11). 7. Tis may be one of the primary reasons that most post-apocalyptic flms are action movies, for, as Frederic Jameson remarks, an action flm “must never slow down at its own generic peril” (“End” 715). 8. She notes that “parental narratives, organized around the frighteningly intense relationship between an adult and a child, have, to an increasing extent, displaced marriage plots in North American fction and have become one of the dominant forms in which novelists and flm and television writers theorize personal and social relations” (Morgenstern 15). 9. Te flm grossed over ten million dollars at home in Australia and over twenty million in the United States (Buckmaster 142–143).

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10. Rather than list these flms here, I refer the reader to the list appended to this chapter. A cursory glance at the titles of the flms will indicate the masculine fantasies that they articulate, often by appeal to fugitive vehicular masculinity. Most of these movies are “exploitation” flms made away from the larger flm industry, which does not describe how the cast and crew were treated, as if mainstream Hollywood is not the most efcient machine of exploitation devised, but instead alludes to the way that the flms exploit the audience by ofering it a fulfllment of fantasies of power. For example, in the 1970s, there were Blaxpoitation flms that supplied their target African American audience the fantasy of black power, of a black man winning against Te Man through individual agency and violence. 11. Te flm owes some debt to John Boorman’s Zardoz for its framing of hypermasculine brutality as virility and fertility. 12. Edwin Page published fan-fction that imagines what happened to Max’s wife after being hospitalized and abandoned by her husband wherein she acts as a survivor, but lives with the delusion that Sprog, their child, is still alive and that she cares for him still. 13. Warrior Woman was originally a more titillating character, with a costume that emphasized her status as sex object, but evolved into the more masculine-coded armor and tunic of the flm due to the actual cold environment in which Virginia Hey had to act (Buckmaster 115). 14. Sandra Bartky calls femininity “an artifce, an achievement” that produces a body rendered as object for the gaze (65). 15. Michel Foucault notes that Germanic law, when it was codifed, “assumed that law was a special regulated way of conducting war between individuals and controlling acts of revenge” (35). 16. Wittig argues, “For what makes a woman is a specifc social relation to a man, a relation that we have previously called servitude” (20). 17. Toni Morrison observes that “images of blackness can be evil and protective, rebellious and forgiving, fearful and desirable … whiteness, alone, is mute, meaningless” (59). 18. African Americans were fully aware, early in the 20th century, “that the mass media was a system of knowledge and power reproducing and maintaining white supremacy” (hooks 199). Martinot argues that, “rather than the class nature of race, it is the racialized nature of class that needs to be understood” (70). 19. Martinot writes, “To become a race, whiteness must frst produce a particular structure of gender domination that reifes a purity concept and an assumption of prohibited impurity in [white] women.… It is, in efect, a circular lamination of fctions, each fction being used to disguise another” (71). 20. Racialization needs to be disarticulated from mere racism, which is a complex and loaded term that means less because it relies too much on the notion of “hate.” “If it refers to a structure of power whose foundations are a violence that socially categorizes, then ‘racism’ is a misnomer, since that violent and hierarchical social categorization is what produces race in the frst place.… It hides behind the assumption that the concept of race … is real” and not socially produced (Martinot 176). 21. She also observes that “stif, engorged Schwarzenegger bodies … seem to be surrogate penises with nowhere to go and nothing to do but stand there looking massive” (Bordo 171). Rather than a sign of virility, they instead signify impotence. 22. Sartre elaborates that people replace this radical contingency with a fctitious “self-cause” but this still does not explain why self-causation is necessary. Agency is not a necessary part of existence.

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References Back to the Future. Dir. Robert Zemeckis. Perf. Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Tompson. Universal, 1985. Baker, Brian. Masculinity in Fiction and Film: Representing Men in Popular Genres 1945–2000. London and New York: Continuum, 2006. Bartky, Sandra Lee. Femininity and Domination:  Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York and London: Routledge, 1990. Bordo, Susan. Te Male Body: A New Look at Men in Public and in Private. New  York:  Farra, Straus, and Giroux, 1999. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Buckmaster, Luke. Miller and Max:  George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend. Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2017. Chodorow, Nancy J.  “Te Enemy Outside:  Toughts on the Psychodynamics of Extreme Violence with Special Attention to Men and Masculinity.” Masculinity Studies and Feminist Teory:  New Directions. Ed. Judith Kegan Gardiner. New  York:  Columbia UP, 2002. 235–260. Corbett, Claire. “Nowhere to Run:  Repetition Compulsion and Heterotopia in Australian Post-Apocalypse—from ‘Crabs’ to Beyond Tunderdome.” Science Fiction Film and Television Vol. 13, Autumn 2017. 329–351. Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault. Trans. and Ed. Sean Hund. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988. DiPiero, Tomas. White Men Aren’t. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2002. Divergent. Dir. Neil Burger. Perf. Shailene Woodley, Teo James, Kate Winslet. Lionsgate, 2014. Edelman, Lee. No Future:  Queer Teory and the Death Drive. Durham and London:  Duke UP, 2004. Eng, David. Racial Castration:  Managing Masculinity in Asian America. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2001. Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Feenberg, Andrew. Transforming Technology:  A Critical Teory Revisited. Oxford:  Oxford UP, 2002. Foucault, Michel. “Truth and Juridical Forms.” Power. Ed. James D.  Faubion. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: Te New York P, 2000. 1–87. Hell Comes to Frogtown. Dir. Donald G.  Jackson. Perf. Roddy Piper, Sandahl Bergman, Cec Verrell. New World, 1988. Hester, Helen. Xenofeminism. Cambridge: Polity P, 2018. hooks, bell. Reel to Real: Race Sex and Class at the Movies. New York: Routledge, 1996. Te Hunger Games. Dir. Gary Ross. Perf. Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, Liam Hemsworthy. Lionsgate, 2012.

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Irigaray, Luce. Tis Sex Which Is Not One. Trans. Catherine Porter and Carolyne Burke. Ithaca, NY: Cornell UP, 1985. Jameson, Frederic. “Te End of Temporality.” Critical Inquiry Vol.  29, No.  4, Summer 2003. 695–718. Jefords, Susan. Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1994. Kimmel, Michael. Manhood in America. New  York, London, Toronto, Sydney, Tokyo, and Singapore: Te Free P, 1996. Lord of the Flies. Dir. Peter Brook. Perf. James Aubrey, Tom Chapin, Hugh Edwards. Continental Distributing, 1963. Mad Max. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne. Roadshow Entertainment, 1979. Mad Max 2/Te Road Warrior. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Mel Gibson, Bruce Spence, Michael Preston. Warner Bros., 1981. Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome. Dir. George Miller, George Ogilvie. Perf. Mel Gibson, Tina Turner, Bruce Spence. Warner Bros., 1985. Mad Max: Fury Road. Dir. George Miller. Perf. Tom Hardy, Charlize Teron, Nicholas Hoult. Warner Bros., 2015. Martinot, Steve. Te Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2003. Morgenstern, Naomi. Wild Child: Intensive Parenting and Posthumanist Ethics. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 2018. Morrison, Toni. Playing in the Dark:  Whiteness and the Literary Imagination. New York: Vintage, 1993. Night of the Comet. Dir. Tom Eberhardt. Perf. Catherine Mary Stewart, Kelli Maroney, Robert Beltran. Atlantic Releasing, 1984. Okin, Susan Moller. Justice, Gender, and the Family. New York: Basic Books, 1989. Page, Edwin. Mad Max: Movies of Apocalyptic Mayhem. Scotss Valley, CA: CreateSpace/Curved Brick, 2015. Pollock, Griselda. “Killing Men and Dying Women: Gesture and Sexual Diference.” Te Practice of Cultural Analysis:  Exposing Interdisciplinary Interpretation. Ed. Mieke Bal. Stanford, CA: Stanford UP, 1999. 75–101. Robinson, Sally. Marked Men: White Masculinity in Crisis. New York: Columbia UP, 2000. Sartre, Jean-Paul. Te Philosophy of Sean-Paul Sartre. Ed. Robert Denoon Cumming. Trans. LloydAlexander. New York: Random House, 1981. Schatz, Tomas. “Film Genre and the Genre Film.” Film Genre Reader. 3rd Edition. Ed. Barry Keith Grant. Austin: U of Texas P, 2003. 565–576. Sheldon, Rebekah. Te Child to Come:  Life after the Human Catastrophe. Minneapolis and London: U of Minnesota P, 2016. Te Sisterhood. Cirio H. Santiago. Perf. Rebecca Holden, Chuck Wagner, Lynn-Holly Johnson. Concorde, 1988.

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Star Wars. Dir. George Lucas. Perf. Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher. Twentieth Century Fox, 1977. Te Terminator Dir. James Cameron. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, and Michael Biehn. Orion, 1984. Terminator 2:  Judgment Day. Dir. James Cameron. Perf. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Linda Hamilton, Edward Furlong. Carolco, 1991. Virno, Paolo. A Grammar of the Multitude. Trans. Isabella Bertoletti, James Cascaito, Andrea Casson. New York and Los Angeles: Semiotext(e), 2004. Waterworld. Dir. Kevin Reynolds. Perf. Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Hopper. Universal, 1995. Williams, Paul. “Beyond Mad Max III:  Race, Empire, and Heroism on Post-Apocalyptic Terrain.” Science Fiction Studies Vol. 32, No. 2, Jul. 2005. 301–315. Wittig, Monique. Te Straight Mind and Other Essays. Boston, MA: Beacon, 1992. Wood, Robin. Hollywood from Vietnam to Reagan. New York: Columbia UP, 1986.

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Partial List of Films Derived from Mad Max in the 1980s in Chronological Order Firebird 2015 AD. Dir. David M. Robertson. Perf. Darren McGavin, George Touliatos, Doug McClure. Embassy, 1981. Battletruck. Dir. Harley Cokeliss, Perf. Michael Beck, Annie McEnroe, James Wainwright. New World, 1982. 2020 Texas Gladiators. Dir. Joe D’Amato, George Eastman. Perf. Al Cliver, Harrison Muller, Daniel Stephen. Continental, 1983. Stryker. Dir. Cirio H.  Santiago. Perf. Steve Sandor, Andrea Savio, William Ostrander. New World, 1983. Survival Zone. Dir. Percival Rubens. Perf. Gary Lockwood, Camilla Sparv, Morgan Stevens. Prism, 1983. City Limits. Dir. Aaron Lipstadt. Perf. John Stockwell, Darrell Larson, Rae Dawn Chong. Atlantic, 1984. Le Dernier Combat (Te Last Battle). Dir. Luc Besson. Perf. Pierre Jolivet, Jean Bouise, Jean Reno. Triumph, 1984. Warriors of the Wasteland/Te New Barbarians. Dir. Enzo G.  Castellari. Perf. Giancarlo Prete, Fred Williamson, George Eastman. New Line, 1984. Exterminators of the Year 3000. Dir. Giuliano Carnimeo. Perf. Robert Iannucci, Alicia Moro, Luciano Pigozzi. New Line, 1985. She. Dir. Avi Nesher. Perf. Sandahl Bergman, David Goss, Quin Kessler. American National,  1985. Warrior of the Lost World. Dir. David Worth. Perf. Robert Ginty, Persis Khambatta, Donald Pleasence. Visto, 1985. Wheels of Fire. Dir. Cirio H.  Santiago. Perf. Gary Watkins, Laura Banks, Lynda Wiesmeier. Concorde, 1985.

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America 3000. Dir. David Engelbach. Perf. Chuck Wagner, Laurene Landon, William Wallace. Te Cannon-Group, 1986. Hands of Steel. Dir. Sergio Martino. Perf. Daniel Greene, Janet Agren, Claudio Cassinelli. Almi, 1986. Radioactive Dreams. Dir. Albert Pyun. Perf. John Stockwell, Michael Dudikof, Michelle Little. DEG, 1986. Cherry 2000. Dir. Steve De Jarnatt. Perf. Melanie Grifth, David Andrews, Pamela Gidley. Orion, 1987. Steel Dawn. Dir. Lance Hool. Perf. Patrick Swayze, Lisa Niemi, Anthony Zerbe. Lionsgate, 1987. Equalizer 2000. Dir. Cirio H. Santiago. Perf. Richard Norton, Corinne Wahl, Robert Patrick. Concorde, 1988. Phoenix the Warrior. Dir. Robert Hayes. Perf. Persis Khambatta, Kathleen Kinmont, Peggy McIntaggart. AIP, 1988. Warlords. Dir. Fred Olen Ray. Perf. David Carradine, Dawn Wildsmith, Sid Haig. Cinevision International, 1988. World Gone Wild. Dir. Lee H. Katzin. Perf. Bruce Dern, Michael Paré, Catherine Mary, Stewart Lorimar, 1988. Deadly Reactor. Dir. David Heavener. Perf. Stuart Whitman, David Heavener, Darwyn Swalve. AIP, 1989.

Coda The Cycle Continues

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The Future of the End of the World Te Road Warrior’s infuence was especially wide and deep, particularly in the U.S., where it occasioned a veritable Mad Max mania. Te flm’s post-apocalyptic aesthetics—an instantly recognizable combination of dust, diesel, chrome and leather—spread far beyond cinematic remakes and homages; they infuenced the production design of theatrical and television shows, music videos, video games, comic books, novels and short stories in its wake. (Hay 308)1

Beginning in the late-1980s, post-apocalyptic flms increasingly began to focus on an apocalyptic womanhood which must deal with the dangerous presence of apocalyptic manhood and often navigate an escape from masculinist dominant space to communal freedom elsewhere. Te terms of the end of the world change when that end is no longer imagined as an end for white masculine agency and its centrality in the national narrative but instead is fgured as the possibility for a new relational society with no centralized, totalized, dominant authority, a world informed by feminism and a post-humanist ethics of care. As was demonstrated earlier in the century in countless flms noir, focus on the agency of women throws masculinist anxiety into stark relief, revealing its hysteria and queering its performance by demonstrating the limitations of the fction of dominant military manhood and the patriarchal system that structures

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it, a social system enabled by masculinist rhetoric. Tis trend in post-apocalyptic flms includes such examples as: Te Blood of Heroes (1989, David Webb Peoples), wherein Joan Chen proves her right to play a violent game with men while learning the value of other-directed teamwork; Hardware (1990, Richard Stanley), a flm that depicts a woman living in her artist’s loft menaced by a piece of cybernetic military machinery left over from the war, a post-apocalypse horror flm; Mindwarp (1992, Steve Barnett), another horror flm using copious amounts of gore efects to depict a wasteland ruled by mutants that menaces a young woman thrust into it from an underground refuge; Waterworld (1995, Kevin Reynolds), a preposterous action flm where the wasteland is water rather than desert, equally lethal due to the lack of drinkable liquid, in which the hope for the future, a map to the only land left, lies in a little girl and the woman who protects her, and Kevin Costner’s antihero must learn to live with others and the value of mutual aid; as well as more recent additions to the genre, especially Mad Max: Fury Road. Te post-apocalyptic setting continues to be a space in which the intersecting defnitions of gender, class, race, and sexuality are worked out in the popular imagination of narrative flm as a life or death struggle to determine who will populate the future, and Hollywood continues to articulate expressions of apocalyptic masculinity but often with a critical eye. We will fnish this study of a franchise that has yet to be fnished with a look at this flm, Miller’s most recent, most successful, and most daring entry into gender discourse.

The Journey to Valhalla: Warfare and Violence as Normalized Behavior In the case of disciplinary societies, we should say: to allocate, to classify, to compose, to normalize. (Deleuze 28) Power “produces reality” before it represses. Equally it produces truth before it ideologizes, abstracts, or masks it. (Deleuze 29) When Mad Max: Fury Road … hit theaters in May 2015, it generated a furor. Film critics and bloggers debated whether the flm was feminist and whether the flm’s feminism, or lack thereof, made the flm better or worse.… Eileen Jones of In Tese Times states several reasons for why the flm is not actually feminist. Te frst reason, echoed by other bloggers, including Ramona Depares of What Culture, includes the hegemonic beauty standard of the Five Wives. (Yates 353) Te triumph of Mad Max:  Fury Road doesn’t necessarily lie in its championing of women— it is, ultimately, hardly bringing any revolutionary ideas to contemporary gender politics—but rather in the packaging of these ideas. Miller has succeeded in making a multi-layered statement regarding the socially transmitted expectations placed on women by men—and, for that matter, those that men place on themselves—in a way that integrates seamlessly into an already well-established universe. (Gallagher 55)

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Te diferently embodied subjects in SF narratives have the capacity to destabilize the matrix of gender relations even while being fully implicated in it, which suggests that monstrosity can become, as [ Jack] Halberstam puts it, “almost a queer category that defnes the subject as at least partially monstrous.” (Wolmark 79)

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More than any of its predecessors, Fury Road foregrounds the monstrosity of not only the antagonists, but the world they live in, one that they have created (realized beautifully by production designer Colin Gibson and costume designer Jenny Beavan). Emphasizing the horrifc qualities latent in the earlier flms further reveals the masculine masquerade and continues the problematizing that the previous flms began. Max ends Tunderdome as dead weight, a burden and hindrance to the liberation of the next generation, and his sacrifce to the Nothing is necessary for its survival. He begins this next flm as a raggedy man even more removed from sociality than he was in Tunderdome. No longer infuenced by the star persona of Mel Gibson, this new flm presents an even more monstrous version of Max embodied with ferocity by Tom Hardy. As Cavan Gallagher notes, in “Old Hands, New Breed: Mad Max: Fury Road and Evolving Gender Roles,” the flm’s feminism takes the form of a critique of hegemonic, dominant masculinity. It generated a great deal of controversy not only among feminists, but also men’s rights masculinists. Alexis de Coning notes, for example, that the “manosphere” erupted in May 2015 just before the flm’s initial release. At the misogynist website Return of Kings, Aaron Clarey (2015) denounced the flm as “a feminist piece of propaganda posing as a guy fick.” After watching only the trailer, he urged readers to boycott the flm.… What many MRAs [Men’s Rights Activists] and news outlets did not discuss, however, was the flm’s portrayal of a masculinity uncommon in action flms. Whilst Max does display some qualities of the “traumatized male subject” prevalent in contemporary Western cinema (Baker 2015, 2), his masculinity is rarely played up in the flm, and is hardly in crisis. He exhibits traditional masculinity insofar as he is strong and determined, but so too does Furiosa—arguably the flm’s real protagonist. In an inversion of the typical male action hero, Max features as a sidekick to the female characters who drive the action. (174–175)

She notes a particularly telling scene in which Max is not able to shoot an oncoming vehicle in the dark and instead ofers the rife to Furiosa (Charlize Teron), allowing her to use him to brace the weapon, propping up her more skilled use of masculine technology and acting in solidarity with another person. Guns are far more prevalent in this flm than its predecessors with the inclusion to the setting of a “Bullet Farm” where we must assume they are manufactured, but they are not necessarily more efective than before. Te antagonist whom Furiosa dispatches in this scene is the lord of this farm (Richard Carter), and he has already been blinded by a frearm earlier (more on the theme of looking later). As she shoots him, we

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see him in intercut medium shots blindly shooting two automatic weapons at his opponents as an image of oblivious enmity that she kills with a single bullet. She drives better than the men as well. Before we are shown anything, the flm begins with a revving engine that sounds like a growling beast. In his frst-ever voice-over for a Mad Max flm, Max tells us his “world is fre and blood.” Te beginning monologue introduces a new audience to his story while foregrounding that his “madness” has shifted from anger towards insanity. When we see him facing away from us in a long shot, his is more raggedy and dirty than ever before, with not only the long hair of Beyond Tunderdome, but also a wild beard. Te flm then becomes a non-stop chase as, in keeping with the beginnings of the frst two flms, Max is pursued by other mad road warriors, crashing spectacularly as usual and captured by Immortan Joe’s (Hugh Keays-Byrne again) War Boys. Max has become “a man reduced to a single instinct: survive.” We are then shown a montage of Max being forcefully groomed and branded by War Boys, labeled a “Terminal Psychotic” among other attributes tattooed on his skin, like the fact that he is a “universal donor” and therefore useful for keeping sickly War Boys alive with his healthy blood. Mixed with this montage of over-clocked, frenetic footage we see fashes of Max’s hallucinations as ghosts from his past regale him for letting them die. Te War Boys epitomize this book’s discussion of apocalyptic, fugitive masculinity with their desire to “Ride Eternal” in Valhalla. Tey are more regulated and organized than the previous warriors, and the pageantry of their masculine masquerade is a rock-and-roll spectacle of vehicular performance and acrobatic daring. Te vehicles of masculinity in this flm become monstrous characters with names like Gigahorse, and the War Boys sometimes act as suicide bombers, enacting the Chivalry of terrorism investigated by Leo Braudy. Te action score for the flm is supplemented by diegetic music played by a blind guitarist with a fame-throwing instrument and six drummers playing massive, booming drums, amplifying their performance across the desert landscape. Te only wish of each War Boy is that they will be “witnessed” performing. Te flm plays with glances and looks in quick close shots masterfully edited so that viewers can easily follow the action while at the same time watch the actors’ performances. Max and Furiosa’s relationship develops as a series of shot/reverse shot sequences during the chase in which they make eye contact. Nux becomes elated when Immortan Joe glances in his direction, but Max and Furiosa witness each other’s status as victim to this system, a moment that informs their later solidarity. Te War Boys want to be witnessed dying spectacularly, especially the suicide bombers as they leap to their demise, but the action and pacing of the flm make it impossible for the gaze to linger on anything. Tere is just too much to

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notice, and their deaths are lost in the chaos. As some of the Boys say in the flm, critiquing one of these explosives suicides, they remain “mediocre.” Tis is the new normal for these men. Annalee Newitz examines why stories about monsters are so central to explorations of economic life, noting that the spectacular “violence ofers an intensely raw expression of what it means to live through fnancial boom and bust, class warfare, postcolonial economic turmoil … even everyday work routines” (5). Jason Colavito argues that traditional SF appeals to our “hopes and aspirations” whereas horror narratives and dystopian new wave SF imagines “our nightmares” (13). Tus, a horrifc post-apocalyptic narrative acts as “a cleansing nightmare that embodies a culture’s fears in order to exorcise them, or at least tuck them safely away between dusty covers” (Colavito 78). As one of these “cleansing nightmares,” the monstrous fguration of the War Boys critiques the military manhood that they perform while also assuaging our cultural fear of angry white men by showing them to be “mad.” Like the Five Wives, they are reduced by this system to things and not persons, functions of a war machine. Tey answer the question posed by the flm: “Who killed the world?” Tey illustrate that “the architects of the American Century [have] drummed it in that manhood [is] all about the score.… [And] you [can]not score without an opponent” (Faludi 331). Tese apocalyptic boys, living out their “half-lives” trying to prove their manhood by scoring against an enemy, demonstrate that the martial model of masculinity fnds fghting and locating opponents more important than protection. As quoted in the introduction of this book, By its emphasis on the physical prowess of men enhanced by their machines, by its distillation of … identity into the abrupt contrast between winning and losing, war enforces an extreme version of male behavior as the ideal model for all such behavior. (Braudy xvi)

Te apocalyptic boyhood of these War Boys maintains this extremity of masculinity as an ideal because life in the wasteland is constant warfare, eternal competition, and this allegorizes the experience of men in our current neoliberal job market as disposable means to the end of proft. Death rules this hellish landscape, indicated by the amount of fre used in the production as well as the flm’s color palate. Additionally, everything Joe owns is emblazoned with his emblem of a screaming skull. Joe pretends to command death, putting on masculinity at the beginning of the flm when he dons, with help from others, his translucent armor, a resin-like carapace shaped to resemble the hard-bodied musculature displayed by Lord Humungous, but underneath this he remains soft and quite mortal. Nux (Nicholas Hoult) faces this futility as an opportunity to play a role in Joe’s masquerade, calling it a “Lovely Day!” Tis

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lovely day includes a radioactive post-apocalyptic storm, depicting the normality of disaster in this world. Nature’s fury destroys Nux’s vehicle, freeing Max from bondage to the vehicle of his destruction, but leaving him chained to Nux, unable to leave behind the burden of his apocalyptic masculinity. His subsequent fght with Furiosa over her frearm serves to disconnect him from this toxic masculinity, freeing Nux at the same time. Max is not immediately redeemed, however. He tries to steal the War Rig for himself but is prevented by Furiosa’s “kill switch.” Max and Furiosa are mirrored by their costuming, once he retrieves his leather jacket from Nux. He has his aforementioned shoulder armor on his right side, she has a similar piece attached to her left shoulder. Most of the flm consists of shots of them in the War Rig, confned by the machinery of war in this small space under siege. Her agency prevents Max’s fugitive masculinity, confning him with fugitive women he is compelled to aid, and he changes, convincing the women that, instead of feeing, they should go back and face their problems, confronting the toxic patriarchy that hounds them. But this threat is also racialized through the hyper-white appearance of the War Boys. We cannot help witnessing their Whiteness. Tis monstrous fguration makes visible a structure of racist privilege made invisible through white supremacy. Steve Martinot observes that white people often cannot see the structural racism that supports them

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because they already consider themselves white, and therefore merely human (meaning normative). Tis pretense to normativity prevents whites from noticing that racism as racialization brings into existence what it is about, namely, normativity in the form of systemic dehumanization and exclusion of others designated chromatically. (177)

Tis is why “white power nonetheless reproduces itself regardless of intention, power diferences and goodwill, and overwhelmingly because it is not seen as whiteness, but as normal.… Whiteness needs to be made strange” (Dyer 10). Tis flms makes whiteness not only strange, but also, like Te Omega Man, monstrous. Martinot explains that “racism is not a division in the working class but the way the social structure, including the working class, has defned itself ” (Martinot 126). White people cannot see the privileges that this system grants them because “the invisibility of these assets is part and parcel of the sense that whiteness is nothing in particular, that white culture and identity have, as it were, no content” (Dyer 9). “White is not a race in the same sense that others are” because the purity condition that subtends it that allows for “the privilege of not seeing, of not having to see, what is being done in small everyday actions and attitudes of derogation” towards non-white subjects excluded from this pure condition (Martinot 197). Te relative fuidity of white as a skin color functions in relation to the notion of whiteness as a coalition, with a border and an internal hierarchy.… Whiteness can

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determine who is to be included and excluded from the category and also discriminate among those deemed to be within it. (Dyer 51)

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White supremacy is a fascist “aestheticization of politics” because recognition of appearance is aesthetic and it makes this action political, but it also “revolves more centrally around the discursive nature of the narrative” of purity and the signifcance of being noticed as diferent (Martinot 190). In this system, “citizenship is based upon a sense of violence” (Martinot 191). “What is truly evil about one’s identifcation with whiteness is the extent to which it leads people into thinking that the violence and criminality upon which whiteness is based and through which it constitutes itself, are really good” (Martinot 136). Te economic hardships facing poor, working-class white men since the 1970s afect their mental and physical health, exposing them to crime in “bad” parts of the city, and, since organized labor was undermined by neoliberalism and no longer ofers them protection from this structural violence, their sense of security comes from fear of “others” (Fiske 32). Trough the monstrous fguration of these hyperwhite, hypermasculine boys, the flm poses the conundrum “for white antiracists, [where] there is only the Manichean choice that racism leaves them with: to be white, thus undermining all eforts to be antiracist, or to be antiracist, and thus perforce to abandon whiteness altogether” (203). Whiteness is a “property” we must disown as not normal to combat racism, much as women are property in a patriarchal social system which must be disowned in order to combat sexism.

Human Cargo: Captive Brides and Reproductive Agency Tey were suited up to participate in the oldest American male myth, the original protection racket—the captivity narrative. (Faludi 419) Te classic McGufn is human. In this case it’s the breeders for an ageing Immortan. Teir champion can’t be a male because that’s a diferent story, about one male stealing the prize stock from another. So it had to be a female Road Warrior, and the rest followed. (Miller in Buckmaster 265–266) On the one hand, unlike traditional Hollywood Edenic recovery narratives, Fury Road adamantly critiques hegemonic white masculinity in its articulation with capitalism ….On the other hand, the fact that there is no room for Max in the Citadel at the flm’s end presents a tension around the role of masculinity in a non-patriarchal world. (Yates 361)

Furiosa was a stolen child, just as the children of the Five Wives are stolen at birth by a patriarchal system. Joe “owns” people just like he “owns” the Citadel and the aquifer it protects. Karl Marx shocked his time because he asserted that property

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was not a natural right but political, and “that proft represented forced labor” (Martinot 124). “Ownership” in Western history, due to the practice of slavery and the Atlantic System, because it was a legal right over another person and not just a piece of land, became a “merging together” of kidnapping, captivity, punishment, and torture (Martinot 45). In this system, “ownership” acts as a “juridical metaphor” that legitimizes these crimes (Martinot 45). In this logic, “ownership … defnes a social status of non-citizen, or alien, whose social being is kept outside political and civil society” making them non-persons, things (Martinot 46). Joe is not the only one concerned with ownership in the flm, however. Max, seeing a modifed version of his own interceptor, the last of the V8s, in the chase, shouts to an oblivious world, “Tat’s mine!” He does the same when he notices that Nux wears his leather jacket, taking it back from him and restoring some of his identity and pride. In reality, no one owns anything in this blighted world of bare life existence because there is no civil contract granting such, but Joe maintains the pretense of ownership via his violent control over the fow of water and his War Boys. Joe requires the women to reproduce and sustain this system. Like the War Boys, women are just another resource to be extracted, used, and discarded. Te frst thing that the escaped wives do when free of Joe is to use bolt cutters (a tool used throughout the flm to free people, like when Max uses it to remove his forked metal mask, and also a deadly weapon to bludgeon with) to remove the grotesque teethed chastity belts that Joe confned them within. Tey follow this with cleaning themselves using a hose, washing of Joe’s infuence and the toxic flth of his patriarchy. Michelle Yates observes, Te Five Wives and the other female “breeders” in the flm are alienated from their bodies, reproductive labor, and even children, who will be raised as War Boys like Immortan Joe’s son Rictus Erectus (Nathan Jones) [a fgure clearly based on Lord Humungous in his huge, hard-bodied monstrosity], to (re)produce the gendered system of power and oppression. (365)

Like Bartertown, power is represented by a vertical hierarchy with the Citadel perched atop a mesa, standing above the vast horizontal plane. Tose people not excluded from it to live abject lives below are reifed into a function of the system, such as those relegated to operate the huge treadmill that raises and lowers people and things into and from the Citadel or the milking mothers who supply a precious resource. A scene likely deleted from the theatrical release due to nudity shows a woman on the ground who barters her way up to the Citadel by baring a breast and suggesting that she will be a good “milker,” emphasizing the alienation of women from their bodies required of patriarchal reproductive labor, ofering it for the use of another.

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Unlike the War Boys, Max and Nux prove to be “reliable” men to the Wives. Tey rely on them for help, but Max warns Furiosa, “Hope is a Mistake.” Apocalyptic masculinity cannot believe in the possibility of a future beyond the cycle of violence. He advises, “If you can’t fx what’s broken, you’ll go insane.” But what is it that is broken in this allegory? If referring to the hegemonic masculinity and nuclear family that Max lost so long ago, then this explains his madness, but it could also mean a society broken and fractured by the patriarchy from which Max was expelled. Instead of trying to mend this broken system, however, the women discard it. Max helps Furiosa, lending his body to the needs of another by donating his “universal” blood to her and saving her life. Unlike the “Anglo-Saxon” blood of Robert Neville, the “purity” of which saves the future of humanity from “barbarism,” Max’s transfusion acts as yet another way that he supports her struggle, an other-directed act and a sharing of resources. Unlike the previous trilogy of Mad Max flms, this newer one does not end with a vehicular duel in a game of chicken and head-on collision, that ultimate act of fugitive masculinity fgured in most of the previous flms canvassed by this book. Instead, Fury Road’s chase ends because Nux purposely crashes the War Rig, blocking the passage of the pursuing vehicles with his self-sacrifce. Rather than earning a place in Valhalla through an act of destruction like the other War Boys, he does so with an act of heroism that destroys the machinery of war, thereby rejecting the use of such martial masculine technology. He ends the race, and the flm emphasizes that the show is over by the slow-motion annihilation of the rockand-roll truck carrying the fame-throwing guitarist, whose guitar, when a viewer sees the 3-D version of the flm, fies out above the audience as the fnal chord of the chase rings out. Te triumphant women at the end of the flm, shown rising towards the Citadel with a low-angle shot that reverses to look down on Max disappearing into the crowd, ofer a new narrative that eschews the death race and its competition for instead what Julia Kristeva calls a “women’s time” not bound to the empty homogenous time of history and its assumption of linear progress, a sense of time based on memory and less concerned with production than reproduction (189). No longer in need of mobility to prove individual agency, they will transform the Citadel from a fortress into a community. As Michelle Yates argues, Te flm’s gender politics are intimately linked to the flm’s environmental politics [reversing] the Edenic recovery narrative [represented in previous flms examined in this book in which the protagonists “go back to nature” at the narrative’s conclusion, a narrative which] traditionally (re)produce[s]‌a binary dichotomy of passive, female nature and active, male culture. In disrupting the traditional Edenic recovery narrative, Fury Road divorces female nature from its assumed passive status. Female nature gains

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agency.… Te flm’s feminism is intimately linked to a powerful environmentalist ethics of home. (355–356)

According to her, the flm “disrupts the traditional Edenic recovery narrative by representing nature as a space of feminist possibility rather than a safe haven for masculine agency” (Yates 358). After all, it is Furiosa “who kills Immortan Joe, the symbol of patriarchal power, by ripping his mask from his face” (Yates 360). She removes the mask from the masculine masquerade but this is not a threat to Max; feminism is not a reversal of patriarchal power structure, and, unlike Sam Hell rescuing breeders from Frogtown, he “is not reduced to a passive object as the women ascend to agency. Importantly, Max’s agency is both inspired by and supports the agency of the feminine” (Yates 360). He rediscovers his identity and voice, gaining redemption, by helping these women, and shows that “being liberated from the patriarchal system … brings personhood and agency as well as more egalitarian social relations” (Yates 361). Te narrative frees Furiosa from this system and cycle of violence as well, allowing her to be something else, no longer beholden to the Fury Road. Tese women are not saved from racialized others like those in Hell Comes to Frogtown. Tey are saved from hegemonic patriarchal whiteness.2 Because of this, “the Citadel becomes not just a space of feminist possibility, but also a space of communal possibility” not organized under a condition of purity but solidarity (Yates 366). By having the rebelling women return to the Citadel to remake it, the flm suggests “the need to seek ‘home’ where we actually make our living to recover [an] environmental sustainability” that requires a feminist restructuring of power relations (Yates 367).3 Tis fguration also suggests that any viable future in which we do not kill the world relies on feminist technologies rather than masculinist technologies. Rather than vehicles and guns, as the writers at Femtechnet remark, “Accountability is a feminist technology. Collaboration is a feminist technology. Collectivity is a feminist technology. Care is a feminist technology” (np). More than any of the other flms, this one imagines an end with the possibility of life beyond Tunderdome. Miller is currently working on another Mad Max flm, but recent news purports his interest in making a flm about Furiosa frst, a prequel to Fury Road which he has begun to cast (Sharf ). Tis flm will focus entirely on her past struggle and what made her into a road warrior. Where Max goes from here remains to be seen, but his journey now seems to be back from the oblivion of his fugitive masculinity towards an other-directed life where he can rely on others again rather than proving his independence by being in the driver’s seat.

conclusi on : t h e c yc l e co n t i n u es  | 209

Notes 1. John Hay continues: “Te peculiar Americanization of Mad Max has been a process so powerful that it has even led to a flm—Bellfower (Glodell US 2011)—that, rather than serving as a derivative appropriation, features middle-class suburbanites who explicitly fantasize about becoming Max.… An even known as ‘Wasteland Weekend,’ held annually in the Southern California desert since 2010 and billed as ‘the world’s largest post-apocalyptic festival,’ allows attendeed to ‘live for four days in a world pulled straight out of the Mad Max movies and other post-apocalyptic flms and games, beyond the grip of so-called civilization’ ” (308, italics his). 2. “Fury Road’s captivity narrative thereby distances itself from the traditional rescue narrative in which white women need to be saved from the non-white, pre-modern, indigenous Other. Rather, the flm’s captivity narrative is rooted in the need to save women from the hegemonic white masculinity and the kind of patriarchal culture that formed around the development of capitalism” (Yates 363). 3. Tat being said, Yates observes that the only wives who are melanated are light-skinned: “Even as the flm recasts nature as a space of feminist possibility, the flm simultaneously marginalizes women of color” (Yates 368).

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References Te Blood of Heroes. Dir. David Webb Peoples. Perf. Rutger Hauer, Joan Chen, Delroy Lindo. New Line, 1990. Braudy, Leo. From Chivalry to Terrorism:  War and the Changing Nature of Masculinity. New York: Knopf, 2003. Buckmaster, Luke. Miller and Max:  George Miller and the Making of a Film Legend. Melbourne: Hardie Grant, 2017. Colavito, Jason. Knowing Fear:  Science, Knowledge, and the Development of the Horror Genre. Jeferson, North Carolina and London: McFarland and Co., 2008. De Coning, Alexis. “Recouping Masculinity:  Men’s Rights Activists’ Responses to Mad Max: Fury Road.” Feminist Media Studies Vol. 16, No. 1, 2016. 174–176. Deleuze, Gilles. Foucault. Trans. and Ed. Sean Hund. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1988. Dyer, Richard. White. London and New York: Routledge, 1997. Faludi, Susan. Stifed:  Te Betrayal of the American Man. New  York:  William Morrow and Co., 1999. Femtechnet. “Feminist Pedagogy in a Time of Coronavirus Pandemic.” http://femtechnet.org/ feminist-pedagogy-in-a-time-of-coronavirus-pandemic/?fbclid=IwAR3acMEDh4N_ Nrr74hqxuHHd4vWwyqQVXXAxxMbR8u75nTR0PAUVMTncf6I. Fiske, John. Media Matters: Everyday Culture and Political Change. London and Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1994. Gallagher, Cavan. “Old Hands, New Breed: Mad Max: Fury Road and Evolving Gender Roles.” Metro Magazine No. 186, 2016. 49–55.

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Hardware. Dir. Richard Stanley. Perf. Dylan McDermott, Stacey Travis, John Lynch. Millimeter, 1990. Hay, John. “Te American Mad Max: Te Road Warrior Versus the Postman.” Science Fiction Film and Television Vol. 10, No. 3, Autumn 2017. 307–327. Kristeva, Julia. “Women’s Time.” Te Kristeva Reader. Ed. Toril Moj. Trans. Alice Jardin and Harry Blake. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1986. 187–213. Martinot, Steve. Te Rule of Racialization: Class, Identity, Governance. Philadelphia, PA: Temple UP, 2003. Mindwarp. Dir. Steve Barnett. Perf. Bruce Campbell, Angus Scrimm, Marta Martin. Fangoria, 1992. Newitz, Annalee. Pretend We’re Dead: Capitalist Monsters in American Pop Culture. Durham and London: Duke UP, 2006. Sharf, Zack. “George Miller Eyes Mad Max Furiosa Film for 2021, Has Met with Anya Taylor-Joy.” IndiWire March 26, 2020. https://www.indiewire.com/2020/03/george-miller-eyes-mad-max-furiosa-spinoff-1202220761/?fbclid=IwAR2otYVW3PtijAKM-SfP8NbAY6E3p8vypIMStFdLTnPbr5AicKFe95QBPMU. Waterworld. Dir. Kevin Reynolds. Perf. Kevin Costner, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Dennis Hopper. Universal, 1995. Wolmark, Jenny. “Staying with the Body: Narratives of the Posthuman Contemporary.” Edging into the Future. Eds. Veronica Hollinger and Joan Gordon. Philadelphia: U of Pennsylvania P, 2002. 75–89. Yates, Michelle. “Re-casting Nature as Feminist Space in Mad Max: Fury Road.” Science Fiction Film and Television Vol. 10, No. 3, Autumn 2017. 353–370.

Index

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A A Boy and His Dog  118, 149, 152 A Brief History of Neoliberalism  56n2 accumulation by dispossession  65 action flms  49 action movie  178 adolescent boys anxiety  145 adult masculinity  11 aestheticization of politics  205 African American woman spousal abuse  93 white capitalist society  187 agrarian masculinity  93n3 Altman, Rick  15 America freedom and personal agency  3 hegemonic models of masculinity  4 postwar national identity crisis  4 America 3000  24n31 American culture  66 S/M subculture  123

American Man  3 American manhood  153 threatened bedrock concepts  95n23 American press class oppression and elite power  15 Americans democracy  3 Dream  19, 150 economy  34 football shoulder pads  182 individualism  30 literature  153 manhood, defned  2 masculinity  32, 151 nationalist discourse  2 rampage flms  76 “real” man  2 road rage flms  71 American society criminalization of black people in  59n31 anamorphic estrangement  16 common sense discourses  14

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Anderson, Benedict imagined communities  3 nationalism  21n3 angry white masculinity  10, 11 Angry White Men  21n2, 23n17, 43, 126, 135n46, 173n40 Angry Woman  50 anti-fashion connotation  110 anxiety  5, 39 adolescent boys  145 Apocalypse Now  129 apocalyptic boyhood  11 perpetual boyhood as fugitive masculinity boys in a man’s world  148–149 Feral Kid: ambiguity and relation 162–168 homosociality and domestication 149–156 in 1950s terms  145–147 in 1980s  157–158 wild boys: civilization and barbarism 158–162 apocalyptic dandies  126–131 and masculine extremes  126–131 apocalyptic flms  19, 88, 141 disaster flms  29 last man standing  18 apocalyptic manhood  18, 65, 184 frearms  54 apocalyptic masculinity  5, 6, 19, 64, 66, 125, 180 clothing  103 model  32 apocalyptic masculinity and national crisis 1–5 “real men” and “last men”  1–5 chapter organization  17–20 flms and genre: meaning and realism 12–17 gender discourses and masculinist rhetoric 6–12 apocalyptic woman  199 survival in the hypermasculine world of apocalyptic manhood

absurd contingency and Max as existential antihero  184–193 danger and solidarity  181–184 artistic production  16 Arts and Crafts Movement  72 Ascher, Ivan  65 Auntie Entity  93 Aunty Entity  185, 191–192 Auslander, Philip  134n34 Australia deserted island by white colonial powers  69 Australian fction apocalyptic tradition  78 Australian flmmaking  68 Australian flms coming-of-age for boys  172n38 revival  75 Australian landscape  98n49 automobile advertisements  70 American and Australian men  71

B “baby boomer” generation  145 Back to the Future  178 Baker, Brian  145 Ballard, J. G.  122 Banal Nationalism  2 Baron democratic commune  51 good stock  48 intellectual masculinity  50 masculinist rhetoric of ftness  48 post-apocalyptic Moses  52 Barthes, Roland  13 Bartky, Sandra  10 an artifce, an achievement (femininity)  194n14 Bazin, Andre  13, 71 Beaumont, Matthew anamorphic estrangement  14

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Benjamin, Walter  40, 88 aphorism  162 Beyond Tunderdome  20, 130, 181, 202 B-flms  181 Billig, Michael  2, 4, 38 Biskind, Peter  147, 169n11 Black Arts movement  110 blackness action narrative  107 evil and protective  194n17 of the outfts  112 malicious connotations  114 white-defned concept  170n20 Black Power  110 activism  109 movement  33 politics  38 Black: Te History of a Color  109 Boorman, John  58n20, 194n11 Bordwell, David  23n29, 134n36 Borlolotti, Gary  24n30 Bosch, Hieronymus  29 Bosnak, Metin  85, 94n7 bounded masculinity  81 Bourdieu, Pierre  6 boyhood  11, 145 Boy Scouts of America  144 boys in a man’s world  148–149 Brando, Marlon  115 Braudy, Leo  3, 72, 144, 168n6, 202 From Chivalry to Terrorism  106 military masculinity  68 breadwinner model “self-made” white American masculinity  32 British fashion  115 Brod, Harry individuality  7 Bronze  70 Brook, Peter  158 Brynner, Yul masculine performance  111 Buchbinder, David  8 Buckmaster, Luke  21n1

Bullet Farm  201 Buroway, Michael  8 Burrill, Derek  22n15, 66, 145 Butler, Judith  10, 22n11, 40

C Caliban and the Witch  48 Callahan, Harry  79 Cameron, James  181 Campbell, Joseph  75 capitalism  91 Captain, Gyro hypomasculinity 126–131 Carpenter, John  55 Carter, Paul  91 Catholic Church  78 children justice and reciprocity  120 representatives of reproductive futurity  190 Chodorow, Nancy  168n1 Christine  72 cinema  12 visual fascination  13 cinematic costuming  103 cinematic hero ideological failures  17 cinematic realism  13 Citadel 206–207 civil discourse  106 civilization  3, 32, 33, 68, 89, 117, 120, 178, 185 and barbarism anti-fashion and anti-aesthetic  121 wild boys  158–162 cinematic narratives  5 civilized culture  142 civil rights legislative reforms  30 Civil War  151 Clarey, Aaron  201 class- and occupation-based identities  112 cleansing nightmares  203

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clothing indication of identity  103 coda future of the end of the world  199–200 human cargo captive brides and reproductive agency 205–208 journey to Valhalla warfare and violence as normalized behavior 200–205 Cohan, Steven  4, 37, 49, 107, 169n9 Colavito, Jason  203 Cold War  7 politics  105, 153 Colonialism and the Emergence of Science Fiction  17 colorblindness  51 Combs, James  17 common man/American Century  145 Corbett, Claire  68, 94n9 trauma of dispossession  69 costumes accents  107 in genre flm  107 Cruising  55, 59n35, 115 cultural capital  39 culture wars  47 cyberpunk  122

D Deadly Harvest  93n3 Death Race 2000  115 Death Wish  19 de Certeau concept of strategy  40 de Coning, Alexis  201 de Lauretis, Teresa  11, 16 Deleuze, Gilles  7, 79, 191 Democratic National Convention  147 demolition derby  87 Denny-Brown, Andrea  115 Die Hard  124

Die Tryin’  66 DiPiero, Tomas  10, 93, 179 Dirty Harry  19, 79 Dirty Mary Crazy Larry  77 dispossession  3 Doane, Mary Anne  13 domestication 149–156 dramatic efect  94n13 Dressed to Kill  105 Duel  73, 75, 78, 79, 130 Dyer, Richard  10, 37, 51, 107

E Eberhardt, Tom  181 economic and cultural system  146 economic masculinity  55 Edelman, Lee  6, 143 Edelman’s theory  146, 152 Edenic recovery narrative  207–208 Eggby, David  89 Eller, Jack  142 Ellison, Harlan  149 empowerment  2 Engelbach, David  24n31 entity  186 Escape from New York  55 escapist  29 European fashion  109 European-style auteurism  56n4 European traditions  41 Evil Empire  178, 193n6 exploitation flms  152

F Falconer, Delia  91, 117 Falling Down  10 Faludi, Susan  2, 9, 106, 145, 151 Family guerilla tactics  41 fashion  103

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codes  104 gender discourses  105 styles  104 Fast and Furious  72 Father Knows Best  145 Federici, Silvia  167 Feenberg, Andrew  8, 40, 179 power and domination  7 feminine and masculine apparel close-ftting clothing  109 femininity  177, 187 feminism  33 and multiculturalism  167 Feral Kid ambiguity and relation  162–168 “Fif” MacFee  83 flm action flms  49 costumes  104 dress in  104 environmental politics  207 formal features  71 freedom  153 gender politics  207 homosexuality  55 post-apocalyptic aesthetics  199 producers and consumers  32 shot/reverse shot sequence  49 skin color  38 terminal psychotic  80 3-D version of  207 upward mobility  52 flm adaptation Hutcheon’s theorization  33 flmmakers  12, 72, 104 flms and genre meaning and realism  12–17 cinematic realism  13 cultural works  14 ephemeral immediacy of sensory  13 gender discourses  12 ideology  14 oppositional gaze  14 “refecting” ideological discourses  16

science fction  14 speculative genres  15 technology of gender  16 “visual pleasures”  13 voyeurism or scopophilia  13 frearms  88 Firebird 2015  24n31 Fiske, John  22n8, 51, 58n16, 65, 93n1, 105 ftness  36, 143 Fordist industrial capitalism  121 fossil fuels  121 Foucault, Michel  78, 194n15 technology of gender  16 theories of power  7, 10 free market  57n9 Friedkin, William  55, 59n35 From Chivalry to Terrorism  3, 106 Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies  154 fuel-injected suicide machine  77 fugitive masculinity perpetual boyhood as boys in a man’s world  148–149 Feral Kid: ambiguity and relation 162–168 homosociality and domestication 149–156 in 1950s terms  145–147 in 1980s  157–158 wild boys: civilization and barbarism 158–162 full-body leather outfts  112 Fury Road  112, 124, 133n23, 209n2

G Gay Boy Berserkers  116 gender designation  103 discourses and masculinist rhetoric agency  8 angry white masculinity  11 apocalyptic masculinity  6 cultural memory  7

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disciplinary practice  10 hegemonic masculinity  6 masculine-coded technologies  8 masculine crisis  9 masculinity  6 national “reality”  12 relation between entity  11 reproductive futurity  6 science fction (SF) flms  6 various forms  16 General Electric Teatre  193n1 generic labeling understanding and contextualizing a text  15 Genesis  36, 55 genre flms  12, 15, 33 genres as blueprint/framework/label/ contract  15 Gibson, William  122 Gilmore, David D.   6, 11, 141 Glam rock  119 Gledhill, Christine  16 Goldberg, David Teo  135n41 Golden Youth  119–120 Grant, Barry Keith  37, 64 Great Depression  150 Grifn, Claire  113 Great Northern Tribe  166, 168 Grossberg, Lawrence  14 Gucci Arabs  134n32, 135n50 Gunning, Tom  71 Gunster, Shane  14

H Halls of Justice  87 Happy Days  114 Hard Bodies: Hollywood Masculinity in the Reagan Era  177 Kimmel’s Manhood in America  9 Harris, Richard  36, 54, 111

Harvey, David  34, 56n2, 57n9 accumulation by dispossession  45 Hay, John  209n1 Hays Code  105 Heath, Stephen  6 Hebdige, Dick  122 hegemonic American masculinity  178 hegemonic manhood  3 defnitions  180 hegemonic masculinist ideology  66 hegemonic masculinity  2, 6, 7, 11, 53, 70, 76, 106, 109 military masculinity  178 white masculinity  71, 128 hegemonic models of late-20th century masculinity  34 of masculinity  4 hegemonic national identity  4 hegemony  11 Hell Comes to Frogtown  82, 208 Hester, Helen  43, 121, 172n31 Heston, Charlton  38 silent majority  108 Hitchcock, Alfred  92 Hollywood antihero  17 apocalyptic masculinity  200 authentic working-class man  31 cinema  73 flms  104, 105, 114 feminism in  187 production  18 fnancial crisis  18 narrative flm  83 producers  105 Hollywood Edenic recovery narratives  205 homosexuality  31 homosociality 149–156 human agency common-sense notions  180 human cargo captive brides and reproductive agency 205–208

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Humungus, Lord  116 hypermasculinity 126–131 self-fashioning and posturing  127 Hutcheon, Linda  33, 56n1 theories of flm adaptation  18 hysterical masculinity  3

I I am Legend  38 ideal postwar man  3 identity politics  30, 167 imagined communities  3 immobility  52 impersonation of cultural norms  107 individual agency  30 individuality style of dress  104 individual liberty  30 international leadership  2 Italian peplum flms  37

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J Jackson, Andrew  11 Jackson, Donald G.   182 Jameson, Frederic  16, 193n7 Jefords, Susan  9, 79, 177 Reagan’s “imaginary”  178 Jeon, Eunjeong  114 journey to Valhalla warfare and violence as normalized behavior 200–205 Julius Caesar  41, 58n17

K Kaplan, Ann  93 Keaton, Buster  130

Kellner, Douglas  19 Kennedy, Byron  68 Kennedy, John F.   147 Kenneth Anger  115 Kid, Feral  20 Kimmel, Michael  2, 6, 21n2, 30, 126– 127, 128 American men  142 Arts and Crafts Movement  72 dual system of oppression  7 Manhood in America  144 King, Stephen  72 King, Steve  3 Kizer, R.J.  182 Kristeva, Julia  207 Kugelberg, Johan  122

L Lacanian psychoanalytic model  12 Landon, Brooks  32 large Kawasaki road bikes  87 “last men,” “real men” and apocalyptic masculinity and national crisis 1–5 chapter organization  17–20 flms and genre: meaning and realism 12–17 gender discourses and masculinist rhetoric 6–12 Lawrence of Arabia  130 leadership  52 Lean, David  130 leather outfts  113 Leave it to Beaver  145 lesbians and gay men economic and cultural empowerment of  123 Lincoln, Abraham  3 Loel, Art  109 Lord of the Flies  158 Lucas, George  178

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M MacCabe, Colin  71 McCarthy, Ann  111 McDowell, Colin  105 McFarlane, Brian  70, 94n10 Mad Max  1, 2, 8, 55, 65, 66, 68, 74, 75, 77, 80, 85, 89, 90, 103, 117, 124, 184 hyperbolic car crash  77 postindustrial landscape  70 Mad Max 2 aka Te Road Warrior  19 Mad Max: Beyond Tunderdome  93, 118 Mad Max: Fury Road  18, 20, 200 Mad Max II/Te Road Warrior  69, 88, 90, 184 male–female distinctions  177 male illusionists  127, 128 Male Matters  45 male rider bike and black leather jacket  113 male victimization  124 man ftness  9, 15 returning from war, winners  3 working-class characters  31 manhood  47 ascendant hegemonic model  2 costumes and the sartorial performance George Miller and S/M Subculture 112–116 masculine extremes and apocalyptic dandies 126–131 Max’s agency and victimhood  123–126 1970s: the sharp-dressed man and the fear of a black planet  107–112 road warriors and the punk aesthetic 117–123 gamifcation of  142 men’s fashion  103 props and properties, as zero-sum game class confict and masculine crisis 71–75 masculinity 65–67

the reluctant savior: the impossibility of Max’s redemption  89–93 road as phantasmagoric freedom and the obsolescence of authority  75– 85 white line nightmare: the postapocalyptic road movie  67–71 wild boys and road pranksters: voluntary exile and fugitive masculinity  85–89 road warrior  2 20th century  2 Manhood in America  2, 6, 41 Manhood in the Making  6, 141 Marked Men  9 martial masculinity  18 Martin, Adrian  157 Martinot, Steve  40 Martyr (witness)  18 Marx, Karl  65, 205 dead labor  39 masculine anxiety  71 masculine-coded technologies  8 masculine crisis  9 masculine extremes  126–131 and apocalyptic dandies  126–131 masculine melodramas  16 Masculinities and Identities  8 masculinity  90, 107, 177 adult masculinity  11 apocalyptic and national crisis  1–5 defned  9 die trying  66 form of technology  66 hegemonic masculinity  2 hegemonic models of  4 hysterical masculinity  3 Masculinity in Fiction and Film  145 Masked Men  4, 49 mass media  30, 104 Matheson, Richard  38, 73 Max agency and victimhood  123–126 as existential antihero  184–193

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battered and smashed  90 free agency  125 future with Great Northern Tribe  91 identity crisis  16 impossibility of redemption  89–93 Interceptor  93 Mad Max II/Te Road Warrior  90 masculine melodrama  157 model of masculinity  163 moral act  191 rehabilitation and heroism  92 V-8s  93 warrior  90 May, Brian  86 media Mad Max  192 Tunderdome  192 Media Matters  51 medievalized punk fashion  182 mediocre  203 Medium Cool (1969)  58n20 melodrama  93 melodramatic flm  33 MFP (Main Force Patrol)  70, 77, 112 middles-class white man  2 military-industrial-corporate capitalism  177 military manhood  199 military masculinity  10, 50 Miller, George  2, 45, 68, 184 apocalyptic masculinity (see apocalyptic masculinity) flms  15 flms patrol and roam  70 frantic montage of quick shots  79 iconography of indigenous people  92 Mad Max  19 Mad Max 2 aka Te Road Warrior (1981)  19 Mad Max to Road Warrior by Way of Cruising 112–116 Mohawk haircuts  69 post-apocalyptic warriors  52 salvage and appropriate  33 use of leather and fur  69

mise-en-scène  165 modern masculinity  73 Monae, Janelle  51 monolithic masculinity  9 Morgenstern, Naomi  180 Morris, Meaghan  68 MPAA rating system  105, 131n5 MRAs (Men’s Rights Activists)  201 Mulvey, Laura  13, 57n7

N naïve theory of flms  16 Nama, Adilifu  15, 38 national authority  2 national crisis apocalyptic masculinity and  1–5 National Rife Association  177 nationalism  4, 38, 91 Neale, Steve  15 near-future pre-apocalypse, vehicles in  79 neoconservatism  34 neoliberalism  34, 84 Neville, Robert  108 end of manhood or military masculinity 38–43 pure Anglo-Saxon blood  42 strategies of power  41 New Hollywood  18, 56n4 New Right  47 Newitz, Annalee  66 Newman, Kim  33, 38 Nichols, Bill  143 Nietzschean fashion  7 Night of the Comet  181, 183 Nightrider  79, 82, 89 1950s and 1960s black leather jacket  114–115 1970s blockbuster flm  31 costumes and the sartorial performance of manhood  107–112 dystopian and apocalyptic flms  19

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post-apocalypse flms in an urban environment  33 post-apocalyptic flms  18, 55 sharp-dressed man and the fear of a black planet 107–112 the end of the world  33–37 manhood or military masculinity (Neville, Robert)  38–43 warrior manhood and transformation of masculine agency  43–53 working-class characters  31 working-class masculinity  50 1970s and 1980s punk or glam style  122 1980s flms national subjects  178 Nixon, Richard  51 war on drugs  33–34 Nixon’s Piano  51 No Future  143 No Respect: Intellectuals and Popular Culture  32 No Speed Limit  39 Nystrom, Derek  56n3–4, 72, 95n19, 115 gender politics  32 muscular masculine crisis  31

O oil refnery in Road Warrior  121 Okin, Susan  58n24, 167, 168n2 human agency common-sense notions  180 Omega Men man’s world contagious toxic masculinity  53–56 1970s: the end of the world  33–37 manhood or military masculinity (Neville, Robert)  38–43 warrior manhood and transformation of masculine agency  43–53

ontological insecurity  5 oppositional gaze  14 O’Reilly, Kenneth  51 “ornamental” masculinity  106 Osgerby, Bill  108

P Page, Edwin fan-fction  194n12 Paris Commune  45 Pastoureau, Michel  109 patriarchal authority  34 Peary, Danny  68 Performing Glam Rock  134n34 perpetual boyhood as fugitive masculinity apocalyptic boyhood boys in a man’s world  148–149 Feral Kid: ambiguity and relation 162–168 homosociality and domestication 149–156 in 1950s terms  145–147 in 1980s  157–158 wild boys: civilization and barbarism 158–162 Pfeil, Fred  49 phallogocentrism  117 Piper, Roddy  182 Playboy Magazine  41, 108 playboy masculinity  72, 142 Polenberg, Richard  57n8 Pollock, Griselda  186–187 popular fction  5, 32 post-apocalypse flm  17, 32, 43, 179, 180, 182 road movie  67 post-apocalyptic culture frearms  54 post-apocalyptic flms  14, 17, 29, 145, 199–200 Miller’s trilogy  193

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postwar period  30 in the 1970s  18 post-apocalyptic narratives  172n39 post-apocalyptic road warrior  68 post-apocalyptic urban action flms  34 post-apocalyptic wild child  157 posthumanist wild child  162, 180 postmodern society  5 postwar American SF  29 postwar manhood  3 postwar masculinity  131n4 postwar period  104 post-World War II  38 Pox-Eclipse Now-Te Dystopian Imagination  17 preceding manhood  141 professional-managerial man  40 Protestants black’s association  110 protest masculinity  146 punk aesthetic road warriors and the  117–123 punk sensibility  117 Punk Style  121 punk subculture  121–122

Q Queer Masculinities  133n27 Quilla June  154–156

R race and nation  3 racialization  51 racism  5 Rambo: First Blood Part II  124 Rambonomics  179 Ransom, Amy  42 Ravagers  35, 54, 70, 91, 111, 119 Ray, Fred Olen  24n31

Reagan, Ronald  87, 177 realist production  16 “real men” and “last men” apocalyptic masculinity and national crisis 1–5 chapter organization  17–20 flms and genre: meaning and realism 12–17 gender discourses and masculinist rhetoric 6–12 Reaganomics  179 rebellion and individualism bike and black leather jacket  113 Rebel without a Cause  71 and Blackboard Jungle  145 Rieder, John  17 Right Wing rhetoric of “family values”  10 road agents  70 road rage flms vehicles and weapons  65 road warriors hegemonic masculinity  66 and the punk aesthetic  117–123 Robertson, David M.   24n31 Roberts, Shari  81 Robinson, Sally  9, 11, 105, 131n2, 151 identity politics  132n11 victim-function of embodiment  134n31 Rockatansky, Max  75 Ross, Andrew  32 Rover packs  151 rugged individualism  123 Ryan, Michael  19

S sacrifce  171n28 Santiago, Cirio H.   24n31 sartorial performance of manhood  103 Savage, Jon  122, 135n43 Savran, David  21n5, 50, 57n6, 105, 133n27

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r aggedy m en : masculin it y in the mad m ax f i l m s

Schaber, Bennet  67 road flms  70 Schatz, Tomas  31 science fction (SF) flms  5, 6, 14, 15, 29, 56n5, 107, 145 disaster fction  29 in 1950s  29 text looks  14 self-fashioning  103 “self-made” white American masculinity breadwinner model  32 Seltzer, Mark  81, 97n37 sex and clothing  105 sexism  5 sexual masculinity  111 Shane (1953)  164 sharp-dressed man and the fear of a black planet  107–112 Sharret, Christopher  96n31 Shaviro, Steven  13, 39, 57n14 Sheldon, Rebekah  143, 180 Silent Majority  108 Silverman, Kaja  11, 12, 22n13, 172n34 Sklar, Monica  121 S/M subculture  121 homoerotic sadomasochism  115 Mad Max to Road Warrior by Way of Cruising 112–116 Sobchack, Tomas  33 Sobchack, Vivian  6 social capital  39 Sontag, Susan  29 spaghetti Westerns  81 spousal abuse african American woman  93 “stable and secure” manhood  106 Star Wars  178 status quo  16 Stifed  9 Stifed: Te Betrayal of the American Man  2 Stoic philosophy  78 storytelling  49, 165 Street, Sarah  131n1 flm costumes  104

Stryker (1983)  24n31 survival in hypermasculine world of apocalyptic manhood apocalyptic women absurd contingency and Max as existential antihero  184–193 danger and solidarity  181–184 survivors apocalyptic women as  181–184

T Tasker, Yvonne genre flms  104 Taylorism/Fordism  97n39 Te Cars that Ate Paris  76 Te Child to Come  143 Te General  130 Te Hermeneutics of the Subject  78 Te Journey  184 Te Mad Max Movies  89 Te Man from Snowy River  75 Te Man Who Fell to Earth  122 Te Omega Man  73, 85, 108, 110, 148 Te Road Warrior  69, 91, 105, 107, 114, 117–118, 121, 126, 130, 143, 153, 157, 164, 182, 184 Te Ten Commandments  111 Te Terminator  181, 183 Te Toadie  126 Te Ultimate Warrior  84, 91, 111, 149 Te Wild One  71 Tomas, Calvin  169n8 Tunderdome  185, 187, 188, 201 Toecutter’s Acolytes  85 Tofer, Alvin  94n6 Topeka  150 transvestism  107 Tranter, Kieran  78, 91 20th century American culture  104 leather outfts  113 oil crisis  91

i n d e x  | 223

U Ultimate Warrior  154 Understanding Popular Culture  131n5 unfltered nihilism of romanticism  122 U.S. manifest destiny  69 U.S. market  69

V Vanishing Point  77 and Duel  72 vehicles horsepower  79 of masculinity  202 near-future pre-apocalypse  79 Vic 151–153 Vic and Blood  149 video game culture Die Tryin  66 Vietnam War  109 Virno, Paolo  112 voice-over discourse  91

Copyright © 2020. Peter Lang Publishing, Incorporated. All rights reserved.

W Wajcman, Judy  94n4 War Boys  107, 202–203, 206–207 Warrior Woman  125, 184, 186, 194n13 Wasteland Weekend  209n1 Weaver, Roslyn  77, 96n24 Weir, Peter  76 Western civilization  90 Wez 119–120, 172n35 white line nightmare  124 white male subjectivity universality  107 white manhood  104

white masculine agency  199 white masculinity  155 white men hegemonic masculinity  123 Whiteness  204 White supremacy  205 Whore of Babylon  180 wild ambiguity  163 wild boys civilization and barbarism  158–162 wild child  143 relation and responsibility  168n5 Williams, Linda  134n37 Williams, Paul  133n29, 172n33, 186 Wlodarz, Joe  94n5 women anti-feudal movement  167 hypomasculinity  128 Woodstock  108 working-class masculine frustration  72 working-class masculinity  126 vehicular masculinity  130 white masculinity vanishing point  74 World War II (WWII)  5, 121, 145, 149, 153 WWIII  149 WWIV  149

Y Yates, Michelle  206–207

Z Zardoz (1974)  127

MASCULINITY STUDIES Literary and Cultural Representations

Josep M. Armengol

General Editor In line with the latest trends within masculinity scholarship, the books appearing in the Masculinity Studies series deal with representations of masculinities in culture, in general, and literature, in particular. The aim of this series is twofold. On the one hand, it focuses on studies that question traditionally normative representations of masculinities. On the other, it seeks to highlight new alternative representations of manhood, looking for more egalitarian models of manhood in and through literature and culture. Besides literary representations, the series is open to studies of masculinity in cinema, theatre, music, as well as all kinds of artistic and visual representations. For further information about the series and submitting manuscripts, please contact: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. Acquisitions Department 80 Broad Street, 5th floor New York, New York 10004 To order other books in this series, please contact our Customer Service Department: [email protected] (within the U.S.) [email protected] (outside the U.S.) Or browse online by series at: www.peterlang.com