Burke on Heffernan on Alias

Thu Jan 6, 2005

Is Timothy Burke being fair to this review of Alias by Virginia Heffernan? No. No, he’s not.

Let’s examine one offending paragraph:

Let’s be honest. Many of us don’t like comic books and have feigned interest in their jumpy bif-bam fighting scenes and the way they redeem loser guys, only to impress and minister to those loser guys. And now we can admit that while the redemption dynamic - little X-Men boys finding in their eccentricity and loneliness a superpower - is touching, there’s nothing duller than listening to someone explain, in all seriousness, the Syndicate and the Shadow Force and the Hard Drive and the Plutonium Lance. And the characters: lame. One is good and the other is evil, and then one is evil pretending to be good, and then one is good pretending to be evil.

I recognize the truth in this. Though I like comics and any number of excessively geeky things, I try to moderate my enthusiasm for them in company that might not share it. Heffernan seems to claim that general cultural trends have mitigated this tendency, to the detriment of dating women everywhere. And I can’t really comment on that, but I do see it as more playful than bilious. Perhaps Prof. Burke is a bit sensitive on the issue. I don’t know.

But Alias, while lovable in some ways, is exceptionally silly.