Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Age of Horus: Hancock, Part II

Both of Horus' eyes were torn out during a battle with Set

In the first installment of this series we established that Hancock is the literal Horus, now slumming as a superhero. This is entirely consistent with the mythological symbolism, and indeed the word "hero" is derived from "Heru." But are there are other, deeper layers taken from the constellation of Horus symbology encoded into this film?

In The Contendings of Horus and Set, Set invites Horus to his home to, um, bury the hatchet during the endless contests the Ennead force them to undergo. Horus cheerfully agrees, thinking he was in for some light mano a mano action, but is shocked when Set tries to rape him in hopes of proving that the young god was insufficiently masculine to rule Egypt. Which tells us a lot about Egyptian attitudes towards sexuality.

As many scholars have pointed out, the dividing lines in the ancient pagan world were not gay and straight, the issue was whether an adult male were an active or passive sexual partner. "Innies and outies," you might say. Or "prison rules," as the War Nerd put it in his brilliant deconstruction of Frank Miller's ahistorical fascist fantasia, 300.

You can read the rest of the story here (many of you may be familiar with it already), but the gist of the story is the gods of the ancient world were often omnisexual and/or androgynous, as we looked at in "Eleven To Heaven."

And this includes many of the most important gods of Egypt: Atum (the "Great He/She", Lord of All Creation), Huh (god of Infinity), Neith (goddess of war and the "eternal waters of the Void"), Hapi (god of the Nile), and as we looked at, Horus (god of the Sun and of the throne) and Set (god of the desert). And then, of course, there is the androgynous UFO-worshipper, Akhenaten.

Moreover, any novice Jungian will tell you that these issues of duality, of ambiguity, of boundary-crossing often seem to be at the heart of Medieval systems like Alchemy (as with the Rebis) and the Kabbalah (Adam Kadmon), as we've looked at earlier in the year with films like The 40 Year-Old Virgin. You can also toss David "Thomas Ziggy Jerome Stardust Newton" Bowie and Secret Sun siren Anne "Princess Celestia" He/che, and Aleister Crowley's somewhat unique definition of the Eye of Horus all into this semiotic salad when talking about space gods and pop culture.

Now, it's almost impossible to figure what the ancient Egyptians were thinking about when they worked up these old myths. But they certainly continue to have powerful reverberations, right up to this day. Maybe more so today than ever. Because now we have the technology...

Which brings us back to Hancock.

Hancock was a big hit, but it got a lot of bad reviews for reasons I don't fully understand (though, again, I'm very lenient with superhero movies generally). On the face of it, it's a very tight little superhero yarn, with solid performances by Smith, Bateman and Theron. The pacing was brisk and the climax satisfying. Then, of course, there is all the surface Horus symbolism which is fun if you're new to this kind of thing. And then there's a whole other substrata of subtext beneath even that...

Eye yi yi: Hancock flinches after being called an "a**hole"

In Hancock, we hear the term "a**hole" about a hundred-thousand times, in fact it's the very last word in the film. Everyone in the film uses the word to describe Hancock, even a pie-faced little street urchin in the opening scenes of the film. Hancock himself incessantly refers to his own ass, which of course is part of the street vernacular the character shifts in and out of.

Note horizontal "prison" stripes along with prison lingo

In addition to the endless repetitions of the "a-hole" epithet, Hancock repeatedly uses the threat of inserting someone's head in someone else's ass several times, and in fact, that maneuver is explicitly performed in a prison confrontation. Throughout the film there are several somewhat inappropriate verbal references to similar activity ("punking," for example), and in one scene we see Hancock's own barely-concealed backside as he begs an ice cream vendor to give him a "Nutty Buddy."

In this light, it's not too much of a stretch to detect a subtext at work.

There's also an interesting subtext to the conflict between Hancock and Mary. For their confrontation, Mary transforms from bland California housewife to leather-clad Valkyrie, and further transforms herself during their Hollywood-and-Highland battle, where she inexplicably dons some 70s vintage eyewear- the tinted aviator glasses favored by radical feminists in the bra-burning era (speaking of Hollywood-and-Highland, Charlize Theron won an Ausur® for her uncanny portrayal of Aileen Wuornos in the film Monster) Note that this battle is preceded by Hancock's threat to out Mary as his goddess-wife to her liberal, do-gooder husband Ray (Ra, Re).

This is a somewhat anachronistic subtext; the housewife hiding her "radical" past and interracial dalliances from her soft-hearted, vaguely effeminate husband, but there's also a deeper theme here...

The conceit of the film is that Hancock and Mary cannot be together, since the gods begin to lose their superpowers (including their immortality) when they pair up with their "opposites." This is extremely confusing in the narrative of the film since she also tells Hancock that they were created together and spent thousands of years together. Was this confusion the result of two many cooks in the screenplay broth, or is this all an allegory for something else?

Since it's obvious that Hancock is literally Horus and Mary is literally Hathor, it's worth remembering that Hathor lived in Dendera while Horus lived in Edfu. During certain ceremonial occasions, Hathor would travel in her Bark (literally a space-ship) to visit Horus. Since Hancock travels to New York at the end of the film (and sets up shop atop the Empire State Obelisk), is this theme in the film an allegory to this mythology?

Further, Hancock has no obvious chemistry with Mary (neither does Ray, for that matter), but a deep and intimate relationship with Ray to the point that he lets Ray talk him into giving himself up and going to prison. Ray even goes to the trouble of having an tight leather jumpsuit made for Hancock to fight crime in. There's also a scene where Hancock is quite tender with a drunken Ray as he puts him to bed. And at the end of the film, Hancock paints a garagantuan heart on the Moon for Ray as a token of his gratitude.

There are another important bits of symbolism in the keepsakes Hancock carries in a tin box. It's a stick of Double Mint gum and two tickets to the Biograph Theater (the name of the theater in Chicago was where John Dillinger met his end, betrayed by the Lady in Red). to see James Whale's Frankenstein. These are the only clues Hancock has to his previous identity.
  • Whale was the subject of the film Gods and Monsters, concerning the British director's (played by Sir Ian McKellan) infatuation with his studly gardener (played by one-man Synchromystic factory Brendan Fraser).
  • Frankenstein has long been seen by some academics as a gay fantasy, which you see reflected in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as the new X-Files movie.
  • "Double Mint" may refer to the fact that Hancock and and his ancient wife Mary were made together (but not to be together), but I'm a little more interested in the arrows. They go both ways, don't they?
Smith and his real-life wife, Jada

Mary's transformation from housewife to ass-kicking, leather-clad Harpie reminds me not only of Hathor's transformation into war goddess Sekhmet, it also reminds me of Will Smith's wife Jada Pinkett's onstage transformation from wife and mother (their son Jaden is in the new Ki-Anu movie) to muscular, leather-clad androgyne with her metal band, Wicked Wisdom.

Jada onstage with Wicked Wisdom

Will Smith's career is a semiotic goldmine, and it was the UFO/Templar-parable Independence Day and the UFO comedy Men In Black that made him a superstar. But he's also been the subject of persistent gay rumors, just like his Scientologist BFF Tom Cruise.

Or Barack Obama, for that matter. During the campaign, one "Larry Sinclair" pestered the candidate, claiming the two snorted coke and had sex. Given the guy's semiotically-loaded name (or apparent name; "Larry" comes from laurel, resonating Apollo, and the Sinclairs were a Templar family), one can't help but wonder if the whole debacle was some weird occult ritual meant to deepen Obama's already extensive Horus associations...




    "...played by one-man Synchromystic factory Brendan Fraser..."

  2. This is a better gosporn post than I could do. OK, you wanna know what other movie is full of assholes? 'Back to the Future' - Michael J. Fox can't stop calling everyone "asshole".

    I suppose to gay men, an asshole is the divine feminine attached to a man. Submit!

    Glad you found the James Whale fascination with Frankenstein of interest. The "Creation". Whale synchs with Moby Dick - the Sperm whale (ahem).

    Ya know, the other example of Hathor transformed into Sekhmet is via Oliva Newton John in Grease. Put that into your (Scientology) pipe and smoke it. Back in the 90's, I saw a drag queen production of Grease that really WAS divine. Go greased lighting.



  3. Just call this Gosporn East. That's why I put the pix of Jada in, Michael, 'cause I know you like the muscles. ;-)

  4. Smith was gay in 6 Degrees of separation. There was a intercourse scene with Will on the bottom.

    His first acting name was also Hawker(Horus).

    Frankenstein is also known as the modern Prometheus.

  5. HI CK,

    I was thinking about this a few days ago.
    What it is really, with that attitude of all those modern God like guys to always "jamming" something in or out of Asses?

    Remember Jim Carey when he became "Almighty" Bruce God. With the monkey scene.
    What is the Hollywood message? I wonder?
    Good post


    odd-ball planet?

    yahoo bugs me out sometimes

  7. Anal sex is always a sensitive subject for mortals, due to how fragile and anti-hygienic that whole region of our bodies may seem, but I imagine that immortals wouldn't even think twice about it. Gods must be ass-f***ing left and right! ;)

  8. The gods have better medical coverage.

    Jim Carrey's new role
    may illuminate this discussion.

  9. Androgyny abound! Speaking of Wicked Wisdom, back when they were set to play Ozzfest (around 2005, the same one where eggs were thrown at Iron Maiden by Sharon Osbourne), a couple of internet buddies and I spent a whole day "trolling" her fan forum (cluttering it with harsh remarks, none having to do with race). Have you ever listened to them? They rip off like 3 other bands in one song.

    I'll have to watch Han(d)cock now, seems to be less death-y and depressing than some other movies involving this mythology.

  10. Found this online:

    Actor and star of "Hancock", Will Smith has told a UK tabloid Now magazine that he and Jada Pinkett-Smith don't fight their attraction urges, and are down with an open marriage.

    He told the UK's Now magazine, "I'll tell my wife if I need to have sex with someone else."

    Honesty is the cited reason for the couple's approach to their sexual relationship, which may include occasional dalliances with attractive outsiders.

    Will Smith, according to Now magazine, says it is "healthy" to be attracted to other people and is okay telling his wife so.

  11. Great post Chris. I just saw this movie, after reading your first post, and am totally on board.

    My new thoughts about this are that TOM CRUISE in the Scientology distraction, while Will Smith (smith - a metalworker ; Will for William Thuther - ;) is the real power figure in Scientology.

    I'm starting to believe the gods are really returning.

    Could Obama be the reincarnation of Lincoln?


  12. I don't know anything anymore, Thuthie. The more I see the less I believe. My head is too busy spinning for me to advise anyone to do anything but watch and wait.

  13. Don't forget, our synchro-messenger Johnny Depp resonates Horus in Once Upon A Time In Mexico when his eyes were ripped out after being tortured.

  14. AMAZING post!
    Glad I can "pipe in" with this little nugget, my little local synchro-mystic crowd has been discussing.

    The Strange, Unexplored Overlap Between Homosexuality and Fascism

    Many of the leading European fascists of the past thirty years have been gay. Progressive gay people like me shouldn't ignore this

    By Johann Hari
    24 June, 2004

  15. Thanks for that article, Pygmy. I think that is very much a European phenomenon, though perhaps the far right here is a bit more discreet. I definitely think there are a lot of self-hating closet cases among the Christofascist community in this country. But I'll be looking at the cult of hypermasculinity and its implications here in the future.