An all-women “Lord of the Flies” reboot is a contradiction in terms

Two male directors are slated for the all-girl remake and, besides Warner Bros., few are excited

 

An all-women "Lord of the Flies" reboot is a contradiction in terms
“Lord of the Flies”(Credit: Columbia Pictures)

It was announced Wednesday that Warner Bros. will remake “Lord of the Flies” with an all-female cast directed by two men.

Scott McGehee and David Siegel will write and direct the new version, based on the original novel by Noble-prize winning author William Golding, Deadline reported.

“We want to do a very faithful but contemporized adaptation of the book, but our idea was to do it with all girls rather than boys,” Siegel told Deadline. “It is a timeless story that is especially relevant today, with the interpersonal conflicts and bullying, and the idea of children forming a society and replicating the behavior they saw in grownups before they were marooned.”

McGhee added that he hopes the spin will break “away from some of the conventions, the ways we think of boys and aggression. People still talk about the movie and the book from the standpoint of pure storytelling,” he told Deadline. “It is a great adventure story, real entertainment, but it has a lot of meaning embedded in it as well. We’ve gotten to think about this awhile as the rights were worked out, and we’re super eager to put pen to paper.”

People on Twitter were quick to point out why this concept may be inherently flawed:

[flies into frame on a broom]
the thing about lord of the flies is that it’s about systemic male violence + how it replicates
[flies away]

uhm lord of the flies is about the replication of systemic masculine toxicity
every 9th grader knows this
u can read about it on sparknotes https://twitter.com/deadline/status/903002462394527744 

GOOD: A female-centric Lord of the Flies!
BAD: A female-centric Lord of the Flies written by… two men.http://deadline.com/2017/08/lord-of-the-flies-scott-mcgehee-david-siegel-female-cast-warner-bros-william-golding-novel-1202158421/ 

Photo published for Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

Scott McGehee & David Siegel Plan Female-Centric ‘Lord Of The Flies’ At Warner Bros

deadline.com

Lord of the Flies, but with women, and also written and directed by two men! This couldn’t POSSIBLY miss the mark! http://www.vulture.com/2017/08/looks-like-were-getting-a-female-lord-of-the-flies-remake.html 

We’re literally living an all-male “Lord of the Flies” right now, but sure, let’s see two male writers describe how women would be worse.

As Twitter users explained, McGehee and Siegel — the creators behind the quite brilliant, quite enlightened “What Maisie Knew” — might need a refresh on the nuance of the classic novel and how women actually work together before they actually “put pen to paper.”

Yes, people will talk of “Mean Girls,” “Heathers” and the often self-destructive behaviors of women and girls in cliques both in youth and in adulthood when it comes to this remake. Yet, at its core, Golding’s “Lord of the Flies” is an intensely malenarrative rooted in male group dynamics. The vocal turn-taking gambit that requires the passing of the famous “conch” and so many other aspects of the source material constitutes a sharp critique of how men and boys listen to and interact with each other both in personal and political situations. Women, as we have learned, do things very, very differently.

As writer Roxane Gay said, “An all women remake of Lord of the Flies makes no sense because . . . the plot of that book wouldn’t happen with all women.”

The Lords of the Flies: American Collapse’s Lesson for History and the World

My American friend Tucker stays late every night at his highly professional job every night and arrives early every morning. He’s not paid for it. He’s just expected to do it. I ask him, as someone who studies management and leadership, who tells him to. No one, he says. The expectation is just there. Lingering in the air, like an unspoken threat.

We often say that America is an experiment. But what is it an experiment in? Some will say “freedom”, but you can’t really say a country that’s been unsegregated for less than 25% of its history is an experiment in freedom. I think America is an experiment of a different kind. One that reveals a great truth about political economy to history and the world.

It is an experiment in the survival of the fittest.

America is a Darwinian organization. There are many kinds of organizations. Not all are Darwinian. Some are what I’d call Dionysian, like a nightclub. Some are Apollonion, aimed at achievement, like a great university. Only some are Darwinian — devoted to the survival of the fittest.

That phrase describes American history, don’t you think? First blacks and natives were dehumanized — they were “fit” only for hard labour, morally defective. Then immigrant whites of all kinds were too, “fit” only for menial jobs. Wherever you look at American history, you’ll see this idea of the survival of the fittest — all the way down to today, when the poor and weak are expected to simply and quite literally die in the streets, and the strong — the famous, the adored, the powerful — are rewarded by being allowed to take all. Why?

The idea behind all this — when there was a justification, that is — was that the rise of the fittest would somehow benefit everyone. It would yield superpeople: smarter, nicer maybe, stronger, better. Call it a trickle down theory of human potential. But it didn’t (that’s self-evident: every indicator of a good life is falling).

Instead, it yielded something else entirely: superpredators. What does the survival of the fittest yield in nature? It yields better and better predators. Evolution went from bacteria to jellyfish to sharks with giant teeth. The same is true in society. America has bred a new class of people: superpredators. They are congressmen who can throw tens of millions off healthcare without any moral concern. They are the super rich who watch a nation’s life expectancy fall and laugh. I’m not really judging them — OK, maybe a little. But mostly, I’m observing. And here’s what I see.

Remember my friend Tucker? America is a land ruled by little bullies now. Just think about it with me before you react patriotically. Americans are told by screaming bullies on the news what to think. They are hounded by bullying debt collectors owned by bullying banks. Their politicians who don’t represent them bully them into cowed submission, though they live the poorest lives in the rich world. They are bullied by bosses into overwork for little pay and almost no leisure time. It goes on and on and on.

The bullies, in turn, are ruled by bigger and bigger bullies. Until we get to the biggest bullies of them all — and right now, it’s painfully self-evident who they are. The biggest bullies. Superpredators. It’s not a coincidence. The experiment worked. But not in the way its architects intended. It didn’t end in superpeople.

Superpredators are what social survival of the fittest yields. Just as natural evolution yields sharks with bigger teeth. And when we look carefully, America is a society that prizes an evolutionary paradigm above all. People should “adapt” to “changes” in their “environment”. “Innovation”, “change”, “transformation” are all ways that the economy “evolves”. The result is a society that produces stronger, crueller, meaner predators.

But better predators are not people who are better human beings. So a “fitness criterion”, as biologists call it, some measure of selfish success, whether it is profit or baronial titles, isn’t sufficient to evoke human potential. Why not?

Do you remember William Golding’s Lord of the Flies? It’s one of my favourite books. And while you might think it’s about being kids being abandoned, I think there’s more to it. I think it’s a parable about the survival of the fittest. The boys kill Piggy — and that is when they lose their moral souls. Their little society, too, is Darwinian. Yet it doesn’t lead them anywhere but into the abyss.

Golding knew something that we have forgotten. Civilization, a process, a project, must — must — reject the Nietzschean idea of the survival of the fittest. It must prize greater things in human beings. The ability to dream, defy, love, forgive, create, rebel. That is where real human breakthroughs come from, whether in art, literature, science, or politics. That is where peace and prosperity, lie. To genuinely value human potential, life, possibility, is the opposite of the survival of the fittest.

Evolution is not a good answer to the questions of social organization and human potential. It can go in many directions. It can make dinosaurs, sharks, and only sometimes human beings with moral concerns. And even then the moral concerns of human beings must go against their evolutionary prerogatives, their animal spirits. Thus, when a quest for “fitness” makes carnivores of men, then society must be protected from it — not harnessed toit.

To apply the rule of the survival of the fittest to a society, to let evolution blinfly take its course, will naturally end in America. A land ruled by superpredators, where the average life has no hope left of fully living. The sharks, now that they have been bred, feast on the fish.

That is American collapse’s real lesson for history and the world.

Umair
June 2017

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