Road Trip Post 1: Iron Man, Metaphysics and 400 miles

As promised, I will be blogging my thoughts on the roadtrip with Will and Ken and later my thoughts on my stay in Minneapolis.

Leaving Middlebury was definitely sad; I had my last meal in Proctor and it was especially stirring to saying goodbye to Thom who I won’t see until I go to France next spring.

But our trip starting magnificently with a Verve/Jay-Z mashup blaring as we drove out of the bubble. We were graced with a rainbow (left) as we crossed Lake Champlain and made good time to Will’s family friends’ house in Saranac Lake.

Then we decided to go see the new movie, Iron Man. Wow. What a movie. If I had known anything about the movie before I had walked into the theater I probably wouldn’t have gone in.

What really interested me about the movie was it addressed ideas of Americanism. In the first half of the movie, this weapons engineer is held captive by muslim terrorists in the mountains of Afghanistan. To simplify the plot, he builds a superhero suit by engineering this new energy source and kicks some “islamofascist” ass.

This was very interesting to me because the Iron Man dominated the terrorists in very primordial ways: the terrorists’ AK47 bullets bounced right off the Iron Man’s suit. He beat them up with his fists. Because of his intellectual prowess and ingenuity, he was able to be more manly and primordial then the terrorists.

It was as if the film-makers were saying that through our technology and braininess we can be more manly than the animalistic terrorists. This is interesting in the context of Mark Steyn (a speaker college Republicans brought in this year)’s affirmation that what our culture lacks manliness.

In many ways, I see a social phenomenon of a Napoleonic complex going on with my wonderful neoconservative fellow citizens. From “Bring it on” to “Dead or Alive” to Mark Steyn’s comments, these men are afraid of losing their manliness to terrorists. They think they can defeat terrorists by out-manning them and starting wars. Admittedly, it sounds farfetched and reactionary of me to say this, but I’ve been thinking a lot recently about how our cultural landscape influences our politics.

Anyway, Iron Man was terrible on every level and Will rightly compared it to Snakes on a Plane.

We slept well and the next day we went on a quick hike and had a great view of the Saranac Lake area:

We then had a pleasant six hour drive to Toronto, where we just got some Pho at a Vietnamese place, enjoyed the drinking age by having some wine with dinner and had a pretty intense metaphysical talk.

Good times. Tomorrow: on to Detroit!

One response to “Road Trip Post 1: Iron Man, Metaphysics and 400 miles”

  1. George! Will! Ken!Glad to hear that your trip started off well.And glad I got a shout out on GiG! I’ll miss you too!As far as manliness goes, I know how we can out-man the terrorists. Everyone needs to read a copy of the Alphabet of Manliness (, which I noticed was consistently in the top sales records internationally during the summer of ’06. I was backpacking in Europe and whenever I caught sight of the news there was a ticker on the bottom that had the top international booksellers. The book is hilarious, though, and I do own a copy. Because I’m a real man.

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