Allow me to introduce you to a concept that hasn’t gotten the attention it deserves: post-cynicism. Quite simply, it is the acceptance of a bleak reality that nevertheless has an uplifting function. For example, an idealist truly believes that welfare aids the needy. The cynic is disillusioned and jaded – he has met the welfare class. The post-cynic? He acknowledges that welfare placates the proles enough and keeps a lid on unrest…for a while.
Nobody personifies the Noble Lie better than Immortan Joe. For those in the know, he’s the villain in Hollywood’s reboot (sans Gibson) of the Mad Max franchise. Immortan Joe controls an aquifer in a wasteland plagued by drought. His women are soft, untouched by the sun, and healthy. Radiation bathed large swathes of the Earth’s populace in this iteration of Mad Max and mutation is a serious concern. Joe’s bald children are his War Boys. Each one doomed to a brief life before succumbing to malignancies. He’s on a mission to sire a healthy (or as healthy as can be) heir. When his wives betray him, he gathers his War Boys in pursuit…one is pregnant!
To assuage the pain of his War Boys, Joe resurrects the Norse warrior paradise of Valhalla. War Boys spray chrome paint into their mouths and charge headlong into death so that they may ride eternal, shiny and chrome (a reference to chromed car parts, they worship V8 engines and chromed parts). War Boys live, die, and then live again. One War Boy named Nux humiliates himself in front of Joe and is cast into outer darkness. In his agony, he stows away with the rebellious wives. One later mocks him saying that Valhalla is a myth and he fights for the breeding rights of another man. His idealism crushed, he reverts to cynicism before falling for one of Joe’s beautiful redheaded brides. Nux, being an idealist, gladly sacrifices himself for her in a truly beta fashion. Tis better to pedestalize a strong chief than pussy.
Throughout the entire film the War Boys are the happiest, most sincere, and endearing characters. They’re having a rollicking good time of things whilst everyone else sulks about sporting platitudes on war and the nature of man. Even in a nominally feminist film the patriarchy is still riotous fun for the band of brothers. Maybe I’ll never be an idealistic War Boy awaiting paradise. Maybe it’s all a sham. But I’ll have more fun riding with my White Brothers than doing anything else.
RIDE ETERNAL, POST-CYNICAL AND CHROME!