Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Why Rocky Inspires

NPR has a story up titled, "The Rocky Balboa Metal Montage Workout," noting how inspirational the film's theme song is for those who want to hit the gym. The piece isn't intended to be terribly deep, but one might question why the Rocky theme song and filmatic series is so inspirational, and for what demographic?

The entire Rocky series was about making working-class white men minorities who could overcome all obstacles (i.e., black men with more resources) with hard work and a supportive wife. Thus, no matter how talented were the black fighters, no matter how many steroids Russian fighters took, Rocky could take 'em out.

From a macro point of view, governmental programs (e.g., affirmative action) are not needed, and the white race is ultimately superior due to their better work ethic; governmental policies that make up for past discrimination are unnecessary -- if Rocky can rise from poverty strictly through hard work, so can those lazy minorities (sarcasm). And then there's more pointed aspects of race and masculinity.

While Eddie Murphy's standup comedy had its own forms of discrimination, for instance homophobia, his analysis of Rocky with regard to white men's insecure feelings is right on. Though minorities gained power since the Civil Rights Movement, Rocky, reinvigorates their sense of power and entitlement (warning: strong language):

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