Meryl Yourish and I had an interesting email exchange a couple of days ago, including a discussion about Asparagirl's post re: the importance of humour to the current war. The exchange also included the following comments from Meryl: "I've decided there is nothing so complex that it can't be narrowed down to 'Hulk smash!' Hm. Gotta write a blog on that one."
And so she did. "The Stan Lee Solution" was widely linked by The Professor and others. Well done, Meryl.
So I got to wondering if her "Stan Lee Solution" was culturally transportable. What would it look like as implemented by other countries, and other cultures? For instance:
L'INCROYABLE 'ULK: 'Ulk, he smash! 'Ulk, e smash puny golden arches! 'Ulk, e smash annoying bald man! 'Ulk hate Jews too! 'Ulk, e smash buildings of worship! 'Ulk stone busses of schoolchildren! 'Ulk not care. 'Ulk smash ALL enemies 'oo not 'ave refined culture like 'Ulk! 'Ulk smash you! Yes, you.... OWWWW! Zat 'urt! Assistance! Assistance!
PALESTINIAN HULK: Hulk smash old man in cafe! Hulk smash little girl in bed! Hulk smash all enemy's old people and children! What? Face enemy instead? You think Hulk stupid? Enemy strong. Enemy kick Hulk's sorry ass and make him eat own head scarf! But Hulk smart. Hulk have answer. Hulk push button on belt! See, work like this! Uh-oh...
RUSSIAN HULK: Hulk well remember days when he could smash you. Back then Hulk lay serious beating on you, believe you me. Ah, eternal tragedy of life. Share vodka shots with Hulk, we play chess and discuss this.
IRISH HULK: Never gets around to smashing. Too busy admiring beautiful green skin, and spending time at pubs. Works his way up to a temper occasionally, then beats self up and passes out.
AUSTRO-GERMAN HULK: Hear me now, believe me later, und recover next week! Hulk vill crush your pitiful head like tube of toothpaste, ja, und 4 out of five dentists vill not recommend you! (Remember ven Hulk say he smash you last? Hulk lied.) Hulk vill smash! Hulk vill crush! Hulk vill stomp all uber inferior enemies. Hulk, uhhh, Hulk be here before. Hulk do that. Hulk not enjoy later experiences. Hulk going back home now.
SAUDI HULK: Hulk smash evil seductresses in tight jeans! Hulk smash woman flight controllers! Hulk... (mmm, you cute - see harem director, third head-scarf from left). Now, where was Hulk... Oh! Hulk pay you to smash too! And you! And you! Hulk pay you to smash bad Jews. Here, more for bad Americans. Hulk not selfish, Hulk share rage! Everyone get mad like Hulk for Allah! Hey, Hulk not pay you to smash those. Uh-oh.
EURO HULK: Hulk smash! Hulk throw red tape! Hulk throw 15 volume regulation set for firing poor employees! (Bet that leave mark.) Hulk throw tantrum! Hulk throw big tantrum! Hulk really hurt you once Hulk pass required resolutions. Not laugh at Hulk! Bad people laugh at Hulk! Hulk smash. You see! No, really. Hulk mean it this time...
CANADIAN HULK: Hulk smash! Hulk crush puny American hockey teams! Hulk hip check puny enemies, then beat you like whole line of Hanson brothers! Hulk teach Americans to drink real beer! Oh, Hulk not mean to be impolite, eh. Did Hulk ever tell you about Canadian Constitutional Crisis?.... (5 hours later) Hey! Wake up! Not fall asleep on Hulk. Falling asleep make Hulk insulted. Make Hulk mad. Hulk smash! Hulk take over your comedy scene! Hulk flood your airwaves with Bryan Adams and Loverboy! Hulk send Celine Dion! Hulk throw in Mariah Carrey too! Hulk accept your total surrender any time now....
Really, though, The Incredible Hulk is American to its core.
Think about it: this mild-mannered geeky scientist guy, right up until you go and make him really mad. At which point he makes you really, really sorry. In a lot of ways, the character fits perfectly with America's self-image post WW2. The connections between the scientist in question being 'gifted' via radioactive means and becoming dangerous when enraged is also a blindingly obvious allegory. Actually, I think this speaks well of our American friends - to truly understand a culture, understand what it fears and why.
I'd be interested in suggestions from my readers for new or alternative national Hulks, and anything that makes the blog will be fully credited (including a blog link if you're a blogger). More Hulka-hulka burnin' looove, coming soon!