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Why John Wick is a Wuss and Rambo Isn't
Episode 718th June 2021 • ManHearted • Asher Black
00:00:00 00:33:39

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Who's a tough guy?—John Wick, Rambo, or Walt Kowalski (Gran Torino)? Asher makes the argument that the John Wick TYPE, while a fantasy meme for self-appointed warriors in general, is actually a wussified representation of their delicate disposition. These cultural icons are fundamentally different beings with a distinct ethos, and John Wick represents the sociopathic prig among us who is just as likely to participate in a mass shooting or overreact to a mask mandate. Asher also conflates Gran Torino w. El Camino (faux pas!).

Welcome to another episode of man hearted. The show about being a man I'm Asher black, your hosts powered by spunk. And once again, we'll aim to get to the heart of manhood today. I want to explain why I think John wick is a wuss. Now I know many of you probably like that sort of film and like John wick in particular, and you know, it's fine if you do,

That's independent liking the film, liking That genre is independent of whether in fact, John wick is a wuss. And while that may seem a fairly esoteric pursuit to solve that puzzle, I think importantly, we can learn a thing or two for what that was Snus means for the rest of us. Now, first I want to say, don't get me wrong. I like Kiana reefs. And I'm for those who are detractors of counter Reeves and say that he doesn't act, he has no acting skills, I don't buy it. I think he's awesome. I think he's done a lot of great films. I even, I even liked to walk in the clouds film and that a lot of people famously desk and on top of that, you know Kiana was just a decent person. And that counts for a lot, I think in a sometimes jaded industry and jaded world, but his character, John, where can, if you're not familiar with these, this film, basically there's a retired Hitman, a retired Hitman named John wick.

And some stuff gets done to him and he ends up going on a vengeful rampage. So it's about revenge and he just Moes down person after person. I don't have a final body count, but I'm guessing it's gotta be 300 people, at least that get killed in this film. And not, not because they keep doing stuff to him so much. It's just, it's this initial thing. Right. And you know, there's famous lines from the film that people who love it love and it's become a whole franchise, but it's things like, you know when they, when they, you know, you're talking about when you want to get the boogeyman, when you want to scare the boogeyman, who do you call? He called John wick. Right? Well, here's the thing, John, what happens to John wick? John? There's a quote from the film. I lost everything.

That dog was a final gift from my dying wife. Okay. So what do they do? These guys break into his house. Okay. So there's point number one, I get it. That's annoying. I I've had my house broken into, I don't enjoy it. He was beaten up. That's no fun. That happened to me in junior high school. I didn't like it. But all of those people are, if they're not alive, I didn't do it to them. I it's not that I haven't thought about it. Go back and find them now. But what I know is they're probably half of them are probably dead from diabetes and you know, running some car lot and they're overweight and they've got everything from broken marriages to erectile dysfunction. I don't need to make their lives worse. Life has a way of paying you off anyway. So those people are alive, even though they broke in my house, they beat me up, et cetera. Then what did they do? They stole his car. I've had my car stolen.

I had a soup dot Cadillac. He used to drag race around the city for gas money. And I love that car.

And and I put a lot of effort in that car. I had a stereo in there with Jensen quadratic seals and a souped up 120 watt power booster. And I used to drive it around doing Uriah Heep and Ronnie James Dio and stuff like that in the middle of the night, four in the morning, I'm rattling. People's windows and no anybody back then, I didn't own any windows. So I didn't know anybody that kind of helped me understand that. Yeah, that gets annoying when you get older. But

Basically I have had my stuff broken into, I have

My car stolen. I've had I've been beat up, but what did they do? They killed his dog. And that's really the centerpiece right. Killed his puppy.

So they killed the puppy and he says that dog final

Gift from my dying wife. And it's true. His wife died and left the puppy. But, and, and God, you know,

No somebody was standing in front of me and they took out my dog. I'd take them out.

I understand the reaction dogs or people. I get it. We've written about dogs here on the show. And, and I don't disagree with that. We'll do an episode on dogs at, at some point. But if you go to the man hearted website, man,, you'll see an article about the relationship of men and dogs. I understand the bond. And and some of you don't even look at them as people I do. But you know, in terms of famous overreactions,

I think murdering several hundred people because a guy killed your dog and he has friends

And they'd like to protect him is not how I would go about solving and the problem. And I want to first, there's lots of way, you know, you could say, well, he was protected and they had friends. They had a fortress man. You know, how hard is it to catch some guy like that? If he's the kind of guy that steals and murders your dog in and catch him outside of a Kentucky fried chicken anyway, is not a person that's doing the right stuff in general, you can get them alone. But

On top of this, my point is, this is a little bit of an extreme emotional overreaction. I mean, it makes me think of John wick is a little bit precious, a little bit. He's a, he's a guy in need of a S a safe space. He kinda melts down really easily. And he lets his hyperactivity and his AGD and his emotional needs overcome him. And you know, it's not my fault, daddy. I, I know I killed several hundred people, but they did kill my puppy. Look, I get it that killed your puppy. But just go after the one guy let's set aside, the just,

You know, is a puppy. Is life worth, worth more than a human beings and vice versa. Yeah. I'm not going to have that argument. You come out to my dog, I'm gonna come after you, but I'm not

Going to come after everyone you've ever known and are friends with. Right. So

When we're talking about famous overreactions, first, I find this to be just a bit whisky. So back to the topic, you know, if you have that of a meltdown because whatever the inconvenience or the trauma,

You're a wuss, I've had stuff done to me that can't even

Compare. Okay. I mean,

You know, I'm not going to go into it, but let's just say, I didn't exactly

Grow up. So can my hands, and I've, I've read liquid to quote Kramer on Seinfeld. It was a rough life and I'm still here and I haven't overreacted.

So in the news recently, and the only reason

This guy, hasn't got a Lily livered wuss award in L w a is we were already given it to somebody else. And frankly, there's

Just so many of these guys, this is a thing. This is why we're doing the show. This

Guy, Victor Lee Tucker, Jr. He just got through a couple of days ago. He just shot a store clerk and unarmed store clerk because she asked him to pull up his mask. So she asked him to pull up his masky argues a bat. He goes out to his car, he gets his gun. He comes in, pulls it out and shoots her.

This poor lady. That's just feeding their kids, go into work, got a frankly, a job that is soulless. And doesn't

Hand her a lot of joy perhaps has to deal with like this

And this guy, because somebody said, pull up your mask. I'm like, yeah, no. And he goes and gets his gun. And he, you know, and he goes, and then on top of that, he's shooting

The off-duty police officer. That's a security guard that starts trying to defend the

Line. And it, you know what I mean? This is just this kind of thing is happening again. And again, remember the McCluskey, these, these idiots and they are idiots and McCloskey is if you're listening, Sumi, you're morons. These idiots going around on the alt-right nut job, militia Boogaloo,

Moron circuit,

Because a bunch of people walked down their street, clapping and protesting, and they came out with a pistol, which they did and an assault rifle, which you don't even know how to hold correctly. Did you not take courses? Did your gun club not even tell you that there's a way to hold that thing. And first you look kind of whisky doing it in a pink shirt and a pair of khaki

Pleaded slacks, my friend, but

You're out there. Get, get, take a class, take a gun safety class.

I grew up with guns. I've owned more guns than you probably owned. And I got to tell you, you guys are safe. [inaudible]

You don't go get an assault rifle because some people walk down your street, singing and clapping. What were you going to do to Martin? Luther king is probably some relative of yours that did him in. So I, I just find this kind

Of meltdown, this overreaction, this John wick reaction, we, as we might call it to be pretty freaking wissy. So let's back up and talk about a couple of examples outside of the news and outside of current events.

So first classic overreaction, the Trojan war. Why did the Greeks invade the city of

Troy over Helen of Troy? You,

She ran off with one of the Trojans and it's in a civilization gears up and goes to battle massive loss of life. These guys recover

From this and it's all because

My girlfriend went with that guy break up with her. That's the end of it. Gangas Kahn, another classic overreaction. So he sends a messenger. Gangas sends out a message

To a particular city state or someplace to propose a peaceful trade agreement. And they kill the messenger. Not good form. I grant you and there is a, an appropriate and measured

Response, right? But Gangas kills

It. Yeah. Every single man, woman, and child, and burns their city to the ground.

Again, do you think this guy's tantrums, these little fits of petty toddler rage?

You know, I think what we ought to do is when we see these Victor Lee Tuckers and these Martin McCloskey is, and Patty McCloskey is out there. We had to start in John Wayne.

We ought to just say, Hey, Gangas, don't, don't be such a Gangas. Right. All right. How about some examples from literature overreactions? Because a lot of people think this is being tough. This is a message

That they've bought that being tough is about not being able to control your emotions. What about Roman? You and Juliet? Right?

First they decide to do a suicide pact seriously, because you can't go. You

Can't do wait. So you're I get the love was, you know, one of a kind and you felt it strongly, but

There's a reason why these were kids driven by their hormones and emotions. This is why

The story wouldn't work. If they were 45 year old adult that's right. But on top of that, Julie,

One of them wakes up and finds the other one. Thanks. Thanks to that person. Dead kills himself. Then that person wakes up and finds it, kills them, kills herself. It's it's too much. There's you're, you're immediate

First reaction in those moments probably is not the right one king Lear asked his daughters, you know, what do you think of me? And one of all

Of them start praising him and filling his ears with empty garbage. And one of them finally says, you know, it's marketing language. And one of them says I got, because he has the keys to that kingdom. It's their inheritance that, or one of them says, I got no words.

I truly love you. But I, I would be at a loss to try to explain the love I have for my father in a one-off fortune, cookie size Quip that fits on a match cover.

What happens? He disowns, her kicks her out of the house. Disinherits her. And it begins the whole

Process that ends up with, you know, king Lear being blinded in the whole thing. Classic over reactions.

The myth is that this unrestricted male anger is appropriate. It's not what, how do you get away with anything you say I was angry, right? I'm sorry that I punched you in the face, sweetheart, but I was angry. I'm sorry. I got an assault rifle and went and shot somebody that asked me to pull up my mask. But I was angry. You know, this is, this makes manhood out

To be a thing where loud loss of emotional control or lack of emotional balance, the inability to measure your response accordingly is

This standard and it's not, and we all lose our cool. I get mad. I got mad earlier. This is outside my house. There's this truck parked. I can't even record this show because this person is trying to get elected for mayor.

I'm not going to vote for her because she's annoying, but

She parks outside and starts getting on a loudspeaker.

We hear it once, twice, three

Times a lady and it keeps going on. This is annoying. I had to think about it. I, what I want to do is go over there and throw bricks. What

I'm going to do is go over there and ask her how long this is going to go on and tell her I'm trying to record.

So it's a difference in, I may yell at the wall. I may stomp around, but I'm not, not going to do

What you know, the, the McCloskey and the Tucker's of the world and the John wicks do. And the difference between them and those of us who feel those feelings. And don't go all the way is that we feel the feelings. We're not saying don't have them. We're saying that manhood is essentially power under control. It's what you do with it. Not that you don't have the impulse of the temptation to do more, right? So this mythology, I think, is killing us as a culture and frankly, it's misrepresenting men. And so when you hear all this backlash about toxic manhood, and I'm not going into the political correctness of it, it's not

A political show, but I'm going to say that one of the reasons for this, we bring this on ourselves. Generations of fat, old white guys go, and I'm mad and I'm going to throw a tantrum and it involves getting a gun or beatings. Seriously, don't be a John wick. So in the, in the interest of mentioning a couple other films and I'll go somewhere nice

With this, don't worry. We try to end our show. And it ups upstroke of the guitar, if you will. But I love this film lay on. And I've mentioned it before. Lay on the professional, you've got to watch the European version. Don't watch this trim down. American one just called the professional. It's got to have the word lay on the title. The, the arch villain Leon's nemesis is norm Stansfield, this dirty DEA agent and classic overreaction. You know, he needs to take out Leon, he's going to get rid of him. And he's like he's like, bring me, everyone. And the other police officer says, what do you, what do you mean? Everyone is like, yeah. Every

One. Yeah. That's an overreaction kill bill. What's the movie about everybody gets murdered. The two people murder everybody in the room

And everybody that walks into the room. It's just a show where if you, if, if you're not me, you're dead, right. It's an overreaction. But one of the famous ones I think we can all agree on is the shine box scene in Goodfellas.

So what does Joe Peshy do? The guy's like you know, teasing him about being

A little short guy and being a little piddly guys, go get your shine box. And the guy says, I apologize. I don't, I'm not really, I'm not trying to disrespect you. And he says, now go get your shine

Box. And that's it. Joe Pesci has had enough. If

He's been bullied, he's been picked on and he grabs a pen, right. And he starts stabbing a guy with the free companion. And for those that haven't watched the movie, that's not a spoiler, man. That's like in synopsis. So, but go watch the movie. You'll see the rest of what happens. But here's the point is when we act like that guy, that gangster in the movie, we are just as tiny and piddly and pathetic and small and deranged

As that guy, that guy's not a hero. He's not a manly man. The difference is

John wick gets the outfit, right? The all black thing and grows his hair out and you know, is hunched over with his brooding male, you know, I'm, I'm a poet and a, and a quasi rock star kind of thing. Right. And, but, you know, I'm, I'm the lead singer of joy division. But I okay, fine. Inner Paul.

So that is is a artificial scenario.

When you look at the people that actually act like this, they never look like John wick. They always look like either a skinny of a Joe Peshy. Like the little kid, Kyle Rittenhouse that shot up that protest shot a bunch of unarmed people because they were marching went even farther than the military. They always look like the McCloskey. They never look like John wick

Mitts because emotionally

They're Joe Pesci in this scene and I don't get me wrong. I love Joe Pesci. I think it's a great film. It's epic. I'm not going to tease Joe Peshy about it. Cause I think he's a stellar actor. But my point is his character is an insecure, high, strong, high maintenance.

You could call him a wuss. You know, we, we tend to think, oh, he's not a wuss. He was violent. He killed people. That's the point is your toughness defined on how many bodies you stack up? Anybody can kill somebody, man. I can, I can drop something in your coffee and kill you at a cafe. Does that make me that just makes me a coward? It doesn't make me a strong guy. So the point is Peshy is not a strong guy. And so it remember when it was the other way around, we have this whole

Culture. Now this scenario where the guy that slays enough people, and I think it comes from video games, right? I'm a bad-ass because I killed more, you know, aliens or whatever. Then you do. This is I just have horror video games. I know a lot of you disagree with me and whatever, and you'll put words in my mouth and say, I think this or that, and I don't really care. We can take that on if you want in the, in the comment section, but I'll put it this way. I think videos warp our sense of what reality is and what manhood is. And what's valuable as well as burning an incredible

Amount of time. That's just lost a civilization.

Doesn't get used to create good stuff. I think it's just a, there's every justification. Oh, it increases neurons. So does reading a book. But remember when it wasn't this way, remember Rambo first blood, remember the first round Rambo,

He goes into town. He's just walking through, he's walking over the bridge,

The Sheriff's car slows down and the sheriff said, you know, where are you going? And you know, I'm talking to you, boy, it makes him get in the car, turn. It turns him around and takes. It takes him all the way through town to the bridge. It says, keep walking and Rambo doesn't want to do it.

And then when Rambo decides now, you know, I need a place to stop. I need to go get a shower and get

Something to eat. You know, some, some something in my belly,

The, the whole Sheriff's department gets called out. And

Of course, hence the subtitle movie, first blood, they start trying to kill him. And it's ridiculous right? As an overreaction. So in that film, the difference in culture that's being transmitted is the tough

Guy is the guy that says, look, I'm just trying to go to the diner.

He's capable of a lot. He's power under control. I'm just trying to get something to eat, get a warm place to lay my head. I don't mean to cause any trouble. I'm not breaking any rules. That's the tough guy, the sheriff and the Sheriff's deputy, the slobs with the guns are the overreacting whispers that can't...