Lessons on Geek Anthropology is Hulk out with the Hulk. When was the last time when you said: “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry”? Today? Last week? If you were Bruce Banner, you would probably say it quite often. However, do we have a Hulk inside ourselves? Do we share irrational anger with him? Don’t we all want to break something from time to time just because we’re feeling anxious or plain desperate for whatever reason? Even if we think of the Hulk as a hero today, reality is that he was a little bit of a villain. He was conceived to be a likable monster-hero, and yet, the audience needed time, in a span of years, to come to grips with the Hulk. But what is that scares us and lures us in same amounts of this forever angry monster-hero? Based on the tales of Mr.Jekill and Hyde, and Frankenstein, the Hulk appeared to help us unleash our rage. The intelligent Bruce Banner would become a raging green monster who would smash whatever he found in front of him, without creating human loses (miracle!) The Hulk appeals to us because he destroys whatever he wants, he hulks out, throws a tantrum of sheer proportions! And it happens every time Bruce Banner gets angry. The Hulk is just pure anger!
The Hulk is but a kid who smashes whatever he has in front of him, just because he is angry. He feel anger, he is anger, he shows up all his anger all around him! We cannot do the same, can we? Maybe kids can cry out and break things, but we teach them that that’s not the proper way to behave. And so, when we’re angry, we must contain ourselves. The Hulk offers us a way of sharing his anger and have the fantasy of it. We can destroy and be sure that nothing is broken! Let’s face it: several times a day you’re wanting to smash your boss, that bus driver that is so unpleasant, or even your neighbors because they won’t put down the dang music!
Rage is a primary emotion. It entails irrationality, craziness, loss of control of one’s actions and intensity. If we Hulk out in a bad way, we might even go ape! We become animals without control when anger possesses us, in the same way, the Hulk possesses Bruce Banner. The Hulk is irrational: he functions on instinct. He doesn’t fight crime: he fights for self-preservation. But did the gamma radiation provoke all this rage onto the Hulk?
Nope. It was there to begin with.
Bruce Banner had a horrible childhood: his dad killed his mom. In fact, his father was so much a monster to his mom that Bruce kept all his anger within him, all the frustration of not being able to help. The gamma radiation just unleashed it free. And so it happens to us as well. Sometimes we keep our anger inside for days, months, even years. And one day we might hulk out for no apparent reason, or because an entirely unrelated matter. It seems like aggression comes out from frustration, from building up anger within us.
If we cannot hulk out on a daily basis, the Hulk offers us a way of scaping reality, a fantasy in which we can smash whatever we want through him. We sympathize with the Hulk because we do have a Hulk within us!
Superhero stories are fantasies that empower us: they empower the child making him feel stronger than adults, it empowers the adult making him feel free! Through Superhero stories, we can unleash our best parts and our worst parts in our personalities. We can be a hero today, a villain tomorrow; and we won’t have any consequences. The Hulk allows us to smash without being caught, to through tantrums like when we were kids, and he enables us to be heroes just for hulking out!