So apparently superheroes are racist

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-05-11 02:27pm

K. A. Pital wrote:It wasn't just me who noticed that superheroes are a fascist concept, though.
Your first article dumps the credit for the revival of the comic/superhero movie on Spiderman, completely ignoring the impact of both Blade and X-Men. They also both are guilty of the idea that having elements of a thing makes it that thing.

Much like Fox News (sorry, I love to beat this one) claims some PG-13 sideboob and ass-shots in Mass Effect makes something "pornography."

And then all this somehow primed Trump to take over America and lead us into a new world of fascism by.... him losing the popular vote against a politician that was quagmired by e-mails.

Also, the idea that superheroes are inherent to any culture and therefore un-fascist, is not holding up to the reality. There are many collectivist cultures where only mass heroism (or heroism of quite imperfect, physically and mentally, individuals) is given credit, so the desire to have square-jaws, walking muscle mountain white male heroes is not "inherent" to all cultures and nations.
The idea of 1 (or a small group) man or woman affecting considerable change is pretty goddamned prevalent throughout humanity. It ties way more in to our desire to be a special snowflake in a population of millions/billions than authoritarianism. In fact, said special snowflakes are usually railing against a corrupt system (or other supermen, that do not exist in reality).

Batman might have some fucked up morality, but his goal is not to supplant the system with his own version, but to clean up a corrupted one. When and if that goal is completed even the Nolan films hit on how there'd be no need for Batman and Bruce Wayne could live his life. You don't really find this in Fascism because the goal is to continue to hold power through any means necessary, propaganda be damned. The mentality breeds a system that is constantly looking for more fights, more people to hate, more people to fear.

There are Superheros who fit that mold, but they aren't the ones we're talking about. But if Superman wasn't having to punch other Superman every other movie, he'd be much more likely just to settle down and focus on his dayjob. Numerous superheroes fit this mold. Can you think of a real-world fascist leader with this type of mentality? No, they continue to manufacture more (hilariously) fictional enemies that we need to destroy.

And I do see the parallel: Superman can't hang up his cape because NEXT WEEK <new bad guy>, so the cycle continues. But that doesn't make him a fascist icon. If that did, you might as well label any continuing fiction as such because a whole Hell of a lot of them have these same elements.

And on another note, talking about Spiderman: "with great power yada yada." If people with the ability to affect change stand by and do nothing, what good are they? This isn't really about "we're better than you, bend a knee" and much more about "man, if I could help people I damned sure would."

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-11 02:41pm

Not so sure about Spiderman and the more angsty heroes of modern-day stories - I think now there are also heroes who don't fit, because they're physically imperfect, or aren't even proper "heroes" once you think about it. Kinda like the mentally wretched Magneto and the physically crippled Xavier in the X-Men, or other unlikely heroes. Spiderman is too an unlikely hero, one of the few lower-class heroes in the field. His portrayal as a worthless teenager - not as a walking heap of muscle that screams "My actual superhero name should've been Bodybuilding Nightmare" - is not an ideal of "perfection".

So there are heroes which are not celebrating the massive male biceps, and there are probably female heroes which aren't a walking plastic surgery commercial. And these I legitimately accept as something that moves outside the genre canon.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-11 03:16pm

K. A. Pital wrote:It wasn't just me who noticed that superheroes are a fascist concept, though.


Well yea, of course, why do you think we're so very familiar with it as we've pointed out?


The argument comes up often from people who want to make a 'shocking' point and usually have only limited knowledge of their subject matter, often relying on the exterior image of it they have.

It's an old song and dance that normally relies on both a shallow reading of the genre and a watering down of fascism to mean 'anything with a strong elite using violence,' missing wider contexts, ignoring other aspects of the stories (to state the obvious, if you can find one parallel in a story that's also in another thing, that doesn't suddenly make the whole story for that thing if the rest of the story is staunchly against it), and downplaying what makes fascism fascism and using it as a generic boogieman.

Now, some *specific* super stories are fascist, some purposefully and some not (it's not hard at all to make an argument for The Dark Knight Returns, which has things getting bad because people are too soft and a new more violent Batman having to come back to show them the way), but that is not the same as the reductionist argument that they're all fascist, which neatly wipes away a large chunk of comics history in pursuit of trying to make a point.


Also, the idea that superheroes are inherent to any culture and therefore un-fascist, is not holding up to the reality.


Notably not what people said. People are saying superheroes have a wide variety of political statements in them and even authoritarian ones often represent ideologies other than fascism, and many heroes are very blatantly anti-authoritarian to begin with, in either overt and direct ways or by presenting positive messages in conflict with fascist ideology.

There are many collectivist cultures where only mass heroism (or heroism of quite imperfect, physically and mentally, individuals) is given credit, so the desire to have square-jaws, walking muscle mountain white male heroes is not "inherent" to all cultures and nations.


Of course it's not, and... I don't think anyone has argued that. Note also that tons of superheroes don't fit that image, and, well, the entire rest of the thread's counter arguments.

Goodify fascist imagery all you want, it won't change a fucking thing. The square-jawed inhuman muscle mountains belong to the front page of Der Stürmer. Full stop.


In a very shallow, reductionist reading that brushes aside what makes fascism scary.

If that's what makes something fascism to you, then you're presenting a whitewashed version of fascism that overlooks almost every ideological component in favor of focusing purely on one aspect of image, an aspect that both predates them and was literally used by their opposition.

Taking one generic point and saying, 'hey, that's what makes something fascist,' does justice to neither topic.


So there are heroes which are not celebrating the massive male biceps, and there are probably female heroes which aren't a walking plastic surgery commercial. And these I legitimately accept as something that moves outside the genre canon.


You're relying on image over content here as well.

Wonder Woman, for example, I'm guessing you'd fit in the 'walking plastic surgery' commercial, yes? While meanwhile her original writer's points focused heavily on saying anyone could be a 'wonder woman' (initially her powers came from training. That's changed, but she still stands for lifting others up and treating them as equals), the importance of women having power, the strength of compassion and redemption, and later takes have flat-out made her an ambassador. While there's been takes that miss the mark, both her own ideology and the themes she represents don't fit your thesis.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby TheFeniX » 2017-05-11 04:32pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Not so sure about Spiderman and the more angsty heroes of modern-day stories - I think now there are also heroes who don't fit, because they're physically imperfect, or aren't even proper "heroes" once you think about it. Kinda like the mentally wretched Magneto and the physically crippled Xavier in the X-Men, or other unlikely heroes. Spiderman is too an unlikely hero, one of the few lower-class heroes in the field. His portrayal as a worthless teenager - not as a walking heap of muscle that screams "My actual superhero name should've been Bodybuilding Nightmare" - is not an ideal of "perfection".
I find that's more a side-effect of what happens when you "need" peak physical humans. Guys are going to looked jacked to play into "I want to be that" for men and (to a lesser extent since the medium didn't pander to them) "I want to sex that" for women. Same thing with female characters. Yes, preferences of body types DO differ among individuals. I for example would rather look like Spidey, than Superman personally.

However, there are certain "safe" body-types to go with to bring in all kinds. Wide-shoulders, chiseled jaw, etc for men. And large-breasts and wide hips for women. Yea, it's unfair that women are characterized more by their sex characteristics, but thems the breaks: that's not something limited to comics or (other) male dominated media. Even still, movies actually do a bit better here because in reality there are only so many Arnold's and Dwayne Johnsons in the world, but there are plenty of good-looking men of the Chris Evans variety.

That said, I think you're putting way too much emphasis on the physical characteristics here. They only need to be enough to at least hold suspension of disbelief. Michael Keaton was not who people pictured playing Batman, but he pulled it off. However, casting Danny DeVito as Batman as we know him? How exactly would that work out? At some point, you have to give me a character that fits the bill of "fights multiple bad guys for multiple minutes."

But there's examples of peak "heroes" who are fucking trainwrecks: Hercules being a big one. Those types have not been big in the 20th century. We have, generally, gone into the "benevolent superman" era with some exceptions in the "grim dark" department. I don't think faciscm is the reasoning behind this. I believe it had/has a lot more to do with believing in a better man and better world. With heroes that would fight for the little guy because "If I had that kind of power, I would fix all the everything." Sure, that type of mentality leads to shit like Fascism, but I don't find the idea behind a hero like Superman does in of itself. Nor do I believe that's what lead to the popularity.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-11 06:36pm

TheFeniX wrote:But there's examples of peak "heroes" who are fucking trainwrecks: Hercules being a big one. Those types have not been big in the 20th century. We have, generally, gone into the "benevolent superman" era with some exceptions in the "grim dark" department.I don't think faciscm is the reasoning behind this. I believe it had/has a lot more to do with believing in a better man and better world. With heroes that would fight for the little guy because "If I had that kind of power, I would fix all the everything." Sure, that type of mentality leads to shit like Fascism, but I don't find the idea behind a hero like Superman does in of itself. Nor do I believe that's what lead to the popularity.


And I'll note both the difference between "if I had that power, I would..." a reader can think about and the existing stories, and that Fascism is really, really not about fighting for the little guy. It's much more about fighting for supremacy of the chosen group over others, gaining power by focusing anger on perceived enemies (and finding *new* ones when they're gone), and founding a propaganda state.

Why are the other aspects of fascism being erased?

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Gandalf » 2017-05-11 11:34pm

Simon_Jester wrote:It doesn't. Black Widow is replying to a Congressman who's mad at her because she and Captain America just wrecked SHIELD. They didn't just release information on HYDRA, they released information on SHIELD too. Between that and the massive destructive infighting between SHIELD and its own HYDRA infiltration problem, SHIELD winds up being reduced to a rump organization. It is no longer the massively equipped world police force they were in the first Avengers movie.

Thus, after the events of The Winter Soldier the 'superheroes' are no longer trying to justify the nature of SHIELD. They just broke SHIELD.

Black Widow is arguing "You can't throw us in jail for breaking SHIELD to get at HYDRA. Because you need us to defend the world from HYDRA and from other, stranger threats, now that SHIELD is broken."


Weirdly, you make it sound like a coup. "We have destroyed your defenses, now we are your only protection, and can't do so from a prison cell. Arrest us and die."

And you can totally use this as supporting evidence for the idea that Black Widow views herself and others like her as being above the law... But to go back to my original point, that's not the same as being fascists. Not all forms of extra-legal activity are fascist. In Black Widow's case, she is extremely cynical about governments and organizations, and moves away from being a (now-loyal) agent of SHIELD to being a more or less independent agent affiliated with the Avengers, a group that she is tied to by personal loyalties rather than institutional ones.

This is why I describe her as "an anarchist who's friends with the Hulk." That is not a strictly accurate description, I admit, but it's at least as accurate as calling her a fascist ten minutes of movie time after she helps destroy one of the largest components of the MCU's military-industrial-security complex for having become a force for oppressive tyrannical evil. A fascist Black Widow wouldn't have fought HYDRA during The Winter Soldier. She'd have shot Cap in the back, called Rumlow, and asked where she could sign up.


In the first Avengers, Widow (et al) work for a SHIELD which uses Hydra technology to make weapons using the Tesseract, apparently has global surveillance, and decides to nuke NYC. In Winter Soldier it's a SHIELD that is working on floating death platforms, but the problem for them is that Hydra will be the one deciding the targets as opposed to SHIELD. After SHIELD folded (or whatever happened between then and Civil War, because fuck watching that TV show :P ), she joined the super cops with their secret superGitmo for those who misuse their superpowers or will to power. I use "will to power" because non-superpowered people are in there alongside the superpowered, so there must be a reason that they aren't in a regular prison.

Perhaps Widow just likes her friends' secret power cabal over the other ones?
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby The Romulan Republic » 2017-05-11 11:59pm

I think that Black Widow probably has a very cynical view of governments in general. I get the impression that she initially joined SHIELD because it was that or get taken out by SHIELD, and stuck around out of a desire to atone for certain past actions, but her sympathy with SHIELD is more personal loyalties to individuals (specifically Hawkeye, and later Cap.) that happen to be in SHIELD than loyalty to the institution, I think.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Simon_Jester » 2017-05-12 03:06am

Gandalf wrote:Weirdly, you make it sound like a coup. "We have destroyed your defenses, now we are your only protection, and can't do so from a prison cell. Arrest us and die."
It's a little like a coup, but there are two key caveats:

One, they don't want to run anything. They perceived that the state's security organs had become corrupt and massively dangerous, and were about to commit genocide in the literal sense of killing millions within a very short time. The 'coup' they launched was specifically intended to eliminate that literally-genocidal threat. They did not overthrow any government. In fact, they averted the overthrow of all other governments, by destroying a genocidal threat that was plotting said overthrow itself.

Two, the group they overthrow in the 'coup' is a bunch of literal Nazis out to create a de facto Fourth Reich, so good fucking riddance.'

So attributing sinister motives to this is just... kind of ridiculous, I have to say. If an organization like Hydra actually existed, and had actually subverted key security organizations equivalent to SHIELD, I would very much hope someone would do what Black Widow and Cap and Falcon did. The alternative is terrifying and much, much worse in every way.

In the first Avengers, Widow (et al) work for a SHIELD which uses Hydra technology to make weapons using the Tesseract, apparently has global surveillance, and decides to nuke NYC...
No, Widow works for a man whose reaction to "we've decided to nuke NYC" is to march out onto the runway of his own helicarrier and shoot down one of his own planes with a bazooka to stop it from firing a nuclear weapon at NYC.

In Winter Soldier it's a SHIELD that is working on floating death platforms, but the problem for them is that Hydra will be the one deciding the targets as opposed to SHIELD.
No, the problem is that Hydra's idea of 'deciding the targets' is preemptively kill sixteen million people. If you just want to represent it as Black Widow having a problem with one employer as opposed to another, fine... But you're ignoring the context so hard that a Holocaust worth of innocent deaths is slipping through the cracks in your argument.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-12 06:31am

In an effort to bring the topic to handle the claim, I'm going to quote Stuart Hood's Introducing Facism: A Graphic Guide, about the core aspects of racism. It is at least something to compare superhero values against.

Fascist regimes in Italy, Germany, Spain and Japan were superficially varied, drawing on different histories and traditions. But they had some or all of the following in common;

  1. A political philosophy which was a compound of radical ideas and mysticism, of left-wing-sounding slogans and conservative policies.
  2. A strong state with a powerful executive which did not require democratic consultation before acting, combined with a hatred of bourgeois democracy.
  3. Hatred of Communism and Socialism as political movements based on the idea of class differences and class antagonisms. Against this idea, Fascism aimed to substitute a corporative state that denied a divergence of class interests between capital and labour.
  4. The formation of a mass party on paramilitary lines which drew its recruits in part from the discontented and disenfranchised working-class.
  5. Admiration of power and the deed which found expression in the cult of violence. Training for war and violence gave free rein to sadistic and pathological characteristics.
  6. Authoritarian programmes which emhpasized conformity, discipline and submission. Society was militarized and directed by a messianic leader.
  7. The cultivation of irrationality — the impulse was more important than logical thought. Irrationality led to a cult of death — witness the Spanish Fascist slogan: Arriba la Muerte! — Long live Death!
  8. Nostalgia for the legendary past. For instance, in Italy's case, the Roman Empire. In Germany, an appeal to primitive myths of the NibelungenWikipedia's W.svg. The initials SS were written in runic letters from Viking times. Japan resurrected the medieval code of the samurai.
  9. Aversion to intellectuals whom Fascism accused of undermining the old certainties and traditional values.
  10. Fascism claimed to honour the dignity of labour and the role of the pesantry as providers of the staples of life. With this went an idealized picture of rural life - the healthy countryside versus the decadent city.
  11. Machismo. Women were relegated to traditional female roles as housewives, servants, nurses, and as breeders of "racially pure" warriors for the state war machine.
  12. Fascism was frequently subsidized by big industrialists and landowners.
  13. Fascism's electoral support came overwhelmingly from the middle-class — in particular the lower middle-class affected by economic crisis.
  14. Fascism needed scapegoat enemies — "the Other" on whom to focus society's aggressions and hates.


I can't think that the movie version of superheroes would tightly conform to any of these.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-12 07:53am

It is a fascist ideal of man, not the fascist political order, which is being discussed here.

The fascist ideal of man is a thing that is interesting in and of itself (even taking some lazy quotes from Wikipedia will give a good idea):
It was at the beginning of the century that the code of the Superman was embraced in Italy, with the purpose of infusing new life into what ought to be pursued as the New Man (or New Italian), or the masculine ideal, in addition to that of the New Italy, which for Benito Mussolini, signified a fascist government where he was the dictator in full control.[1] He mandated that the New Man be brutal, barbarous, and abandon his romanticism.[1] His conception of the New Futurist Man, building on previous futurist concepts, entailed: disdainful of death and books, in love with virility, violence, and war;[1] a people particularly endowed with 'creative genius, elasticity in improvisation, strength, ability and physical resistance, impetus, violence, fury in the fight".[11]

...

Mussolini purported the eighteenth-century belief that a well-structured mind requires the cultivation of a well-structured body.[1] He believed that the virility of male bodies was essential to reconstruct in a modern context the ancient and warlike 'Italian descent' as the National, then European and finally International model. The New Italian was encouraged to assume the Fascist style, which included canons of male beauty as advocated by the regime. He had to personify 'mens sana in corpore sano', on behalf of the Roman spirit and in the service of the cause.[1] It is evident that, drawing on his beliefs of traditionalism, he is attempting to refine his conception of the ancient Roman empire to the fullest, illustrating the ancient virtues in present-day military discipline of mind, body, and soul


A lot of heroes are physically perfect, while their enemies are hideous, disfigured cripples or otherworldly, "alien" entities. The physically perfect male combats endless hideous enemies - ring a bell?

It got turned on its head in X-Men, where a cripple battles freaks with other freaks, a novel take, but most of the time it is the walking Super Race Male against the supervillain of the day.

Or, worse yet, with Batman - a violent super-rich person lashing out in revenge against the lower classes of society.

Also superheroes are anti-intellectualist. The supervillains are often intelligent (and crippled physically and/or mentally), while the superhero is a laser-eye death machine or a gadget-surrounded rich dude (Batman, Iron Man).

Lex Luthor is a smartass who distrusts a "God" to just walk among others in society, gets his ass handed to him. Joker is a mentally ill person. So these are the iconic enemies of the super hero. Whoops. If I pick other villains, it would only get worse. They usually are outcasts, social freaks. Exactly the kind of people fascists wanted to simply eradicate.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-12 10:16am

Before we go further, I have what I think a reasonable demand: Let's go analyzing specific superheroes rather than just cross-picking from all of them. It is innately fallacious to take a list of characteristic that define an ideology, pick random individuals from a large group that identify with some but not all characteristics and then ascribe that ideology to all of them. To be logical, the m majority these characteristics need to be consistently present and even unifying characteristic of the group, if not an ideology.

The other thing is that superhuman does not automatically equate to adherence to the ideology whose ideal is that superhuman. Just because you are an ideal man of one ideology does not mean that you identify and support that ideology. Nietzsche's übermensch was hijacked by Nazis (and Nazi-supporting relatives of Nietzsche) yet it is debatable whether it actually supports it (or have anything to do with it at all) or that Nietzsche himself would.

It is a fascist ideal of man, not the fascist political order, which is being discussed here.


It DOES tell us whether a particular superhero's ideology does or does not align with what is historically fascist and gives us a guide to what is fascist and what isn't. Something you have neglected to do so until now.

Also, I think an argument can be made that the ideal of a man is not necessarily exclusive to that ideology. The commonly imagined superhuman can easily appeal or even be identified with a specific ideology's superhuman, without that superhuman actually identifying or supporting that ideology. This was the actual point of Captain America: a weak man turned into superhuman who opposes the very culture that would worship him as perfect. It is downright a mockery of it, separating inner strength from physical strength that fascism (as noted by my quote) believes to be interrelated.

But let's take that quote and create a list of specific characteristics that we can check, shall we? Something you should have done from the start, as others have pointed out.

  • masculine (and preferably male)
  • brutal, barbarous
  • without romanticism (and presumably sentimentalism)
  • disdainful of death
  • disdainful of books, anti-intellectual
  • in love with virility
  • in love with violence and war
  • a people particularly endowed with 'creative genius, elasticity in improvisation, strength, ability and physical resistance, impetus, violence, fury in the fight".

Now the last characteristic is true for most superheroes. They are physically superior people that are clever if not brilliant or genius, highly-motivated and very good in a fight. However, it also ascribed to a historically common idea of "smart, strong, tough, clever and good in a fight". How many cultures do not have these characteristics unified in one person as not ideal? Especially in Europe? Hell, in Asia. How about all that anime with ideal, superhuman characters?

But what about the others? Let's stick to Batman for a moment. He is indeed masculine, disdainful of death (he never kills or if he does, it is notable exception or abnormal behaviour) and can be quite brutal to his enemies (of course, this ignores that he may often be forced to as his enemies are not rarely physically superior to him or otherwise have mayor advantages over him). Yet he is anything but anti-intellectual, as he is noted to studying a large array of things to be Batman including forensics, psychology and a great deal of other things. He often combats his enemy's super-science with his own. He does not care much for his virility (he adopts rather than sires children, while he had relationships women it is usually part of his playboy facade or deeper attachment that rarely lasts long). He is very capable of violence (and in some depictions, even of torture) but his love and enjoyment of it is limited, often doing it with a specific purpose in mind rather than for his own sake. Some versions depict him even with a sentimental and/or romantic bone in his otherwise cold personality. His stance on war is generally ambiguous, he is not noted for supporting or being against military.

I would go down the list whether he believes defining fascist ideals but frankly, there are so many variations in depictions and authors that it would be more productive to first ask you to pick a specific Batman and then go analyzing it. Not to mention that comic books, being relatively simplistic power-fantasy escapist stories, rarely dwell into the political ideas of the character.

A lot of heroes are physically perfect, while their enemies are hideous, disfigured cripples or otherworldly, "alien" entities. The physically perfect male combats endless hideous enemies - ring a bell?


You just described most of Western entertainment media of the 20th century and 21st century, as well as possibly before that. Maybe that of other cultures too. Villains are often repulsive and heroes attractive in fiction to gather sympathy of the audience. This is not an inherently fascist characteristic.

Also superheroes are anti-intellectualist.


Except for all the super-scientists characters like Reed Richards, Spiderman to a lesser extent, Batman even who uses modern forensic sciences if not more and a bunch of others I can't name. Or that many origin stories frequently involve origins in super-science. Or have allies that are scientists if not super-scientists (the late Ms. Marvel for instance).

But for them to be truly anti-intellectual they must not only fight against scientist-villains, but acting or denouncing regular scientists and other intellectuals who are not criminals. That they use their powers to silence or argue against intellectual criticizing them. That Batman battles a crazed psychologist does not mean he is anti-psychology (in some depictions he actually studied psychology, particularly criminal psychology).

The supervillains are often intelligent (and crippled physically and/or mentally), while the superhero is a laser-eye death machine or a gadget-surrounded rich dude (Batman, Iron Man).


The superheroes are often intelligent too and it is actually more notable to list those that are not. Also, what about the times that the differences they are fighting often create superhuman physical or even mental abilities? Like a good deal of Batman's villains?

Or, worse yet, with Batman - a violent super-rich person lashing out in revenge against the lower classes of society.


I think you are committing the common fallacy of communists, that of interpreting everything as a class war. For starters, while the classic archenemy of Batman is Joker but one of the characteristic ones is Penguin who is quite clearly high-class or Black Mask who is also a rich, corrupt businessman. Not to mention middle-class enemies that includes intellectuals such as Dr. Freeze, the psychologist and others I can't bother to list. If he is lashing out in revenge, he is doing it across multiple classes at very specific targets (criminals and preferably super-criminals). That is not class-war, that is war against criminals.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Civil War Man » 2017-05-12 10:26am

K. A. Pital wrote:Also superheroes are anti-intellectualist. The supervillains are often intelligent (and crippled physically and/or mentally), while the superhero is a laser-eye death machine or a gadget-surrounded rich dude (Batman, Iron Man).

Lex Luthor is a smartass who distrusts a "God" to just walk among others in society, gets his ass handed to him. Joker is a mentally ill person. So these are the iconic enemies of the super hero. Whoops. If I pick other villains, it would only get worse. They usually are outcasts, social freaks. Exactly the kind of people fascists wanted to simply eradicate.


One of the things though about the gadget-surrounded rich dude hero is that, at least in the case of people like Iron Man and Hank Pym as Ant-Man, they built those gadgets themselves, and made their money by being super genius engineers and/or scientists. And that's not getting into the host of issues both of them have, with Iron Man's obsessions and alcoholic tendencies and Pym just being a complete mental and emotional train wreck. Or Banner (another super genius, with his intellect sometimes even bleeding over to the Hulk side in some storylines) being portrayed as having a pre-existing Disassociative Identity Disorder that gets exacerbated by the whole Hulk thing.

Though regarding the "beautiful hero, hideous villain" cliche, that is one of the reasons why I rather like Beta Ray Bill as a concept. The Asgardians initially assume he's a bad guy because he's a weird looking alien monster, but that gets turned on his head when they discover that Mjolnir considers him to be worthy of the powers of Thor.

I do think DC might be a bit more prone to your criticisms than Marvel. Their most famous heroes seem to be more likely to be portrayed as mythological figures, while Marvel's are more likely to have to struggle with more mundane issues.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby ray245 » 2017-05-12 10:58am

K. A. Pital wrote:It is a fascist ideal of man, not the fascist political order, which is being discussed here.

The fascist ideal of man is a thing that is interesting in and of itself (even taking some lazy quotes from Wikipedia will give a good idea):
It was at the beginning of the century that the code of the Superman was embraced in Italy, with the purpose of infusing new life into what ought to be pursued as the New Man (or New Italian), or the masculine ideal, in addition to that of the New Italy, which for Benito Mussolini, signified a fascist government where he was the dictator in full control.[1] He mandated that the New Man be brutal, barbarous, and abandon his romanticism.[1] His conception of the New Futurist Man, building on previous futurist concepts, entailed: disdainful of death and books, in love with virility, violence, and war;[1] a people particularly endowed with 'creative genius, elasticity in improvisation, strength, ability and physical resistance, impetus, violence, fury in the fight".[11]

...

Mussolini purported the eighteenth-century belief that a well-structured mind requires the cultivation of a well-structured body.[1] He believed that the virility of male bodies was essential to reconstruct in a modern context the ancient and warlike 'Italian descent' as the National, then European and finally International model. The New Italian was encouraged to assume the Fascist style, which included canons of male beauty as advocated by the regime. He had to personify 'mens sana in corpore sano', on behalf of the Roman spirit and in the service of the cause.[1] It is evident that, drawing on his beliefs of traditionalism, he is attempting to refine his conception of the ancient Roman empire to the fullest, illustrating the ancient virtues in present-day military discipline of mind, body, and soul


A lot of heroes are physically perfect, while their enemies are hideous, disfigured cripples or otherworldly, "alien" entities. The physically perfect male combats endless hideous enemies - ring a bell?

It got turned on its head in X-Men, where a cripple battles freaks with other freaks, a novel take, but most of the time it is the walking Super Race Male against the supervillain of the day.

Or, worse yet, with Batman - a violent super-rich person lashing out in revenge against the lower classes of society.

Also superheroes are anti-intellectualist. The supervillains are often intelligent (and crippled physically and/or mentally), while the superhero is a laser-eye death machine or a gadget-surrounded rich dude (Batman, Iron Man).

Lex Luthor is a smartass who distrusts a "God" to just walk among others in society, gets his ass handed to him. Joker is a mentally ill person. So these are the iconic enemies of the super hero. Whoops. If I pick other villains, it would only get worse. They usually are outcasts, social freaks. Exactly the kind of people fascists wanted to simply eradicate.


The idea of physical perfection being equated to "goodness" isn't a new or recent idea. It goes all the way back to ancient times, in which ugliness is associated with evil and etc.

It existed way before fascism. It's just that fascists wanted to take these ideas and use it to justify a racial hierarchy.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby NeoGoomba » 2017-05-12 11:07am

Civil War Man wrote:Though regarding the "beautiful hero, hideous villain" cliche, that is one of the reasons why I rather like Beta Ray Bill as a concept. The Asgardians initially assume he's a bad guy because he's a weird looking alien monster, but that gets turned on his head when they discover that Mjolnir considers him to be worthy of the powers of Thor.


As an aside, Beta Ray Bill is the best version/incarnation/whatever of Thor.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-12 11:44am

ray245 wrote:The idea of physical perfection being equated to "goodness" isn't a new or recent idea. It goes all the way back to ancient times, in which ugliness is associated with evil and etc.

It existed way before fascism. It's just that fascists wanted to take these ideas and use it to justify a racial hierarchy.

Fascism relied heavily on the synthesis of traditionalism (Mussolini's "Roman Empire" bullshit, Franco's alliance with organized religion) with modern industry. It is no surprise that human image from antiquity became the key in the fascist depiction of perfect man. No cripple would be a fascist poster boy.

It is not just racial hierarchy, but national supremacy too (Mussolini claimed nation can transcend race, after all, if my memory serves me right; a difference to the more radical Nazis). And the superhero that punches villains, all while wrapped in the American flag, is a very clear image of national supremacy.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Zixinus » 2017-05-12 12:08pm

It is no surprise that human image from antiquity became the key in the fascist depiction of perfect man. No cripple would be a fascist poster boy.


Superhuman does not automatically equate to superhero, nor is the idea of superhuman exclusive to fascist imagery.

And the superhero that punches villains, all while wrapped in the American flag, is a very clear image of national supremacy.


Pre-WW2 propaganda heavily features personification of nations fighting or defeating each other, before the invention of comics even.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby ray245 » 2017-05-12 12:31pm

K. A. Pital wrote:Fascism relied heavily on the synthesis of traditionalism (Mussolini's "Roman Empire" bullshit, Franco's alliance with organized religion) with modern industry. It is no surprise that human image from antiquity became the key in the fascist depiction of perfect man. No cripple would be a fascist poster boy.


But the stories superhero comics drew upon were not necessarily drawn from the Fascist interpretations. The idea of a superhuman "hero" can be easily inspired by stories of Hercules, Samson and etc. Those kinds of thinking predate fascism.

It is not just racial hierarchy, but national supremacy too (Mussolini claimed nation can transcend race, after all, if my memory serves me right; a difference to the more radical Nazis). And the superhero that punches villains, all while wrapped in the American flag, is a very clear image of national supremacy.


Superheroes in the modern form were created at the height of nationalism around the entire world. Of course, there would be people who want to wrap superheroes in the clothing of their countries. But this isn't something exclusive to superheroes. People drew Mickey Mouse and co fighting the Nazis and Imperial Japan. Everyone in the world was using comics and drawings to for propaganda reasons at the time, including the Soviets.

I'm guessing the main takeaway from Soviet WW2 posters is to that the Soviets had a strong nationalistic supremacy mindset at the time if we are to use your reasoning?


Zixinus wrote:
It is no surprise that human image from antiquity became the key in the fascist depiction of perfect man. No cripple would be a fascist poster boy.


Superhuman does not automatically equate to superhero, nor is the idea of superhuman exclusive to fascist imagery.


Exactly. Comic writers and artists could have easily drawn their inspiration from classic superhuman "hero" stories like Hercules, Samson, Beowulf and etc.


Hell, one of our earliest human literature is the epic of Gilgamesh, about a superhuman warrior-king.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-12 12:44pm

K. A. Pital wrote:It is a fascist ideal of man, not the fascist political order, which is being discussed here.


Is there any useful conclusion to draw on that other than 'different group's ideal of man overlap' ? Like the ideal of man of Jews in the 1930s who stand against fascism... well, literally is Superman, that is his origin.

Note that this is also something of a goalpost shift, the discussion line started with 'are superheroes inherently fascist?'. Going to merely 'do they fit some part of the ideal *image*?' is a different, and much more minor, topic that doesn't have much deep meaning. And still wrong.

Fascism relied heavily on the synthesis of traditionalism (Mussolini's "Roman Empire" bullshit, Franco's alliance with organized religion) with modern industry. It is no surprise that human image from antiquity became the key in the fascist depiction of perfect man. No cripple would be a fascist poster boy.

It is not just racial hierarchy, but national supremacy too (Mussolini claimed nation can transcend race, after all, if my memory serves me right; a difference to the more radical Nazis). And the superhero that punches villains, all while wrapped in the American flag, is a very clear image of national supremacy.


Again the focus on image- or one part of image no less- over substance.

Superman very clearly works across national borders and clashes with nationalist sentiment- and additionally is an immigrant and who spends his time as a mild-manner reporter who stands up for the little guy there too. Wonder Woman is a foreigner and diplomat. Captain America fights Nationalists as, like, his number two most common foe, behind Nazis, and puts aside the flag when he feels the country gets especially bad, and his origin story is about him not being born a physical paragon at all, and the first image of him anyone ever saw on the stands was him punching a fascist. Those are the big 'flag' characters.


This is a very reductionist view that minimizes what fascism is and paints it only as an image. I don't think it productively links superheroes to fascism in any way other than "If you step back, squint, and don't pay too much attention to the stories or characters...".

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-05-12 01:02pm

The emergence of the far more perfect and less "fascistic" or at least less one-dimensional or more multi-dimensional figures like Spiderman, Professor X, Magneto, etc. are precisely because the genre reinvents itself by examining, criticizing, deconstructing and reconstructing its old roots. Watchmen gives us a great example of how this is done.

To prevent stagnation - which is pretty much gonna take one to lame ass depths that resorts to DC murderverse-style grimdarkery shock value that's pretty much fascism - the genre has to be introspective, unafraid to call itself out on its past bullshits, and thus be a living thing that likes to have fun even when being SRS BSNSS.

Stas should read All Star Superman.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby ray245 » 2017-05-12 01:05pm

Well, Superheroes is about celebrating the notion of individuality to an extent. It's about one person being able to make a difference. They aren't exactly the most communists archetypes around, but that does not make them fascists by any means.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby K. A. Pital » 2017-05-12 01:08pm

Zixinus wrote:Before we go further, I have what I think a reasonable demand: Let's go analyzing specific superheroes rather than just cross-picking from all of them. It is innately fallacious to take a list of characteristic that define an ideology, pick random individuals from a large group that identify with some but not all characteristics and then ascribe that ideology to all of them. To be logical, the m majority these characteristics need to be consistently present and even unifying characteristic of the group, if not an ideology.

If we analyze specific superheroes, we would lose the common features of the genre (white, male, perfectly athletic - certainly a reactionary view at the very least) in favor of specific backstories. There is no fallacy in describing these unifying features, and I did mention that some later-developed characters fall outside the canon image of the superhero.
Zixinus wrote:The other thing is that superhuman does not automatically equate to adherence to the ideology whose ideal is that superhuman. Just because you are an ideal man of one ideology does not mean that you identify and support that ideology. Nietzsche's übermensch was hijacked by Nazis (and Nazi-supporting relatives of Nietzsche) yet it is debatable whether it actually supports it (or have anything to do with it at all) or that Nietzsche himself would.

The problem here is that the very story about superhumans is structured like this: male, white, strong superhero (super)human being an undisputed protagonist. He is protecting ordinary humans - the sheep. And he's always or almost always operating outside legal boundaries, and always or almost always solving the problem with violence. So the separation of the perfectly athletic male "heroes" and the sheeple who are just a human mass to be "saved" by the hero is present in most such narratives, and is classic. It does not matter what ideology the superhuman himself espouses - the story is structured in a way that is imbuing elitist direct-action power fantasies as a good thing in the minds of the audience, it is the domination of strong authoritarian males who act as they want.
Zixinus wrote:It DOES tell us whether a particular superhero's ideology does or does not align with what is historically fascist and gives us a guide to what is fascist and what isn't. Something you have neglected to do so until now.

You seem to be of the opinion that a story can benefit fascism only by having its heroes give the Roman salute or walk around with the imperial eagle or a swastika. That's not so. The authoritarian strong white male power fantasy is deeply troubling, but the problem with fascism is that it also originated from western thought, and western culture, and there was - and still is - a very large demand for authoritarian or even fascist ideas in society.
Zixinus wrote:Also, I think an argument can be made that the ideal of a man is not necessarily exclusive to that ideology.

It is not exclusive, but if you look down into history, you will find this ideal, this cult, in the historic predecessors and precursors which fascist though heavily relies on - the empires, dominated by unchained autocrats, who created massive states in their "perfect" image, in the militaristic cult of the strongman.
Zixinus wrote:This was the actual point of Captain America: a weak man turned into superhuman who opposes the very culture that would worship him as perfect. It is downright a mockery of it, separating inner strength from physical strength that fascism (as noted by my quote) believes to be interrelated.

What started as mockery of the fascist idea, is by now a militaristic superhuman character that serves to illustrate and enforce US global dominance. The US is a global empire, one of the last such things remaining on Earth. "Super-soldier" is also, itself, a horrible idea, and for a long time - at least in my culture - it was considered a fascist one.
Zixinus wrote:Now the last characteristic is true for most superheroes. They are physically superior people that are clever if not brilliant or genius, highly-motivated and very good in a fight. However, it also ascribed to a historically common idea of "smart, strong, tough, clever and good in a fight". How many cultures do not have these characteristics unified in one person as not ideal? Especially in Europe? Hell, in Asia. How about all that anime with ideal, superhuman characters?

What about anime? Lots of it is just the same as classic "strong white super race person" comic books - delusional power fantasy, dangerous and sometimes fascist. It's not even entirely unexplainable, given that Japan was the first of the Eastern nations to directly import fascism and create its own breed of this ideology.

In my culture, complex stories about complex individuals composed the bulk of classic literature, not stories about person X being born super-powerul or become super-powerful and then do what they want (be good, if this is a superhero story). So I guess that's minus one culture in your cultural comparison. The stories about strong men are very primitive and compose like barely a few percent of our classic literature. Usually they're very old and tell the story of ancient legendary heroes, kind of like Greek myths.

Zixinus wrote:But what about the others? Let's stick to Batman for a moment. He is indeed masculine, disdainful of death (he never kills or if he does, it is notable exception or abnormal behaviour) and can be quite brutal to his enemies (of course, this ignores that he may often be forced to as his enemies are not rarely physically superior to him or otherwise have mayor advantages over him). Yet he is anything but anti-intellectual, as he is noted to studying a large array of things to be Batman including forensics, psychology and a great deal of other things. He often combats his enemy's super-science with his own. He does not care much for his virility (he adopts rather than sires children, while he had relationships women it is usually part of his playboy facade or deeper attachment that rarely lasts long). He is very capable of violence (and in some depictions, even of torture) but his love and enjoyment of it is limited, often doing it with a specific purpose in mind rather than for his own sake. Some versions depict him even with a sentimental and/or romantic bone in his otherwise cold personality. His stance on war is generally ambiguous, he is not noted for supporting or being against military.

Batman's physique dominates the image of him just as it does with Superman - when you see a panel with a strong brawly man, you don't think "intellectual!", so I guess there's that. But the fact that it is already a close match (and superheroes somehow always use violence to solve problems) is telling.
Zixinus wrote:You just described most of Western entertainment media of the 20th century and 21st century, as well as possibly before that. Maybe that of other cultures too. Villains are often repulsive and heroes attractive in fiction to gather sympathy of the audience. This is not an inherently fascist characteristic.

Fascism refined and was created on a foundation of Western thought. It did not appear in a vacuum.
Zixinus wrote:Except for all the super-scientists characters like Reed Richards, Spiderman to a lesser extent, Batman even who uses modern forensic sciences if not more and a bunch of others I can't name. Or that many origin stories frequently involve origins in super-science. Or have allies that are scientists if not super-scientists (the late Ms. Marvel for instance).

That's a good point, but I already admitted the genre now has more diverse stories, some of which go outside the canon.
Zixinus wrote:But for them to be truly anti-intellectual they must not only fight against scientist-villains, but acting or denouncing regular scientists and other intellectuals who are not criminals.

Not necessarily. The image of a strong man sticking it up to that evil smartass alone is an image, which has a certain meaning even in form alone. By making scientists an often-used villain type, it also betrays a certain intent.
Zixinus wrote:The superheroes are often intelligent too and it is actually more notable to list those that are not. Also, what about the times that the differences they are fighting often create superhuman physical or even mental abilities? Like a good deal of Batman's villains?

What about it?
Zixinus wrote:I think you are committing the common fallacy of communists, that of interpreting everything as a class war. For starters, while the classic archenemy of Batman is Joker but one of the characteristic ones is Penguin who is quite clearly high-class or Black Mask who is also a rich, corrupt businessman. Not to mention middle-class enemies that includes intellectuals such as Dr. Freeze, the psychologist and others I can't bother to list. If he is lashing out in revenge, he is doing it across multiple classes at very specific targets (criminals and preferably super-criminals). That is not class-war, that is war against criminals.

I've primarily based my criticism on the Nolan films. But I think the very idea of an oligarch who fights crime on his own is very dangerous. In real life, such people make corporate or paramilitary death squads and kill undesirables. They become the real "men of steel" and real vigilantes, and then people say it is horrible. So the disconnect between the hero Batman and what really happens when rich people fight others in thier own way, is also interesting.

Batman the hero is just another class diversion. Look, rich tough guy, the crime fighter. :lol:
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Shroom Man 777 » 2017-05-12 01:30pm

I had a response that somehow disappeared!

ray245 wrote:Well, Superheroes is about celebrating the notion of individuality to an extent. It's about one person being able to make a difference. They aren't exactly the most communists archetypes around, but that does not make them fascists by any means.


This notion of utterly unique individuality is two-fold. One one hand, as already discussed, it can serve as this utterly detached from reality wish fulfillment power trip fantasy for basement dwellers, a surrogate, a crutch, that can thus have misanthropic results, anti-solidarity that atomizes people into these sad sacks lost in their dysfunctions propped up by these ego-projections. This isn't just in the superhero genre but in all sorts of fiction and all sorts of... well, lifestyle choices.

On the other hand, we've also got counter-examples where the individuality, this whole non-conformist rebellion against the establishment and the norms, is presented... in unique individuals who nonetheless in their uniqueness still exemplify humanity, what we all can be. Even Marlon Brando's Space Dad spiel in Superman touches on this. And for the non-superhero genre, we've got the Hunger Games' Katniss touching upon this. It begins with this uniqueness but then it somehow paradoxically subverts it by showing how in the end all these people are going "I am Spartacus" and so it's actually an egalitarian solidarity thing.

It's a paradox, a duality, a Yin and Yang. I am supposedly working in media, sorta, and it's something worth looking into. A product - superhero, cigarettes, softdrinks, whatever - is meant to be marketed to individuals, to stroke their egos in that the product is somehow a unique thing that will make them special if they get it. Yet we all know it is being marketed to more than just one person, the lot of them are all subscribing to it so they aren't unique at all. Just like how we joke about "we are all the same because we are all unique" or "I am unique just like everyone else!"

The rugged individualism of the Marlboro Mang, welcome to flavor country. Same thing. These are not exclusive. For better or worse.
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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Civil War Man » 2017-05-12 01:31pm

K. A. Pital wrote:I've primarily based my criticism on the Nolan films. But I think the very idea of an oligarch who fights crime on his own is very dangerous. In real life, such people make corporate or paramilitary death squads and kill undesirables. They become the real "men of steel" and real vigilantes, and then people say it is horrible. So the disconnect between the hero Batman and what really happens when rich people fight others in thier own way, is also interesting.

Batman the hero is just another class diversion. Look, rich tough guy, the crime fighter. :lol:


I would personally concur that Nolan Batman definitely has some fascistic tones to it. Particularly the third one.

There's an interesting video that's basically an autopsy of TDKR that covers those themes a bit, particularly with regards to its take on the theme of the Noble Lie, where the movie seems to take the stance that the Noble Lie is a moral good, and sometimes even stray towards implying that it is necessary.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby Q99 » 2017-05-12 01:47pm

There are a couple versions of Batman that get pretty fascistic. Nolan's has some shades of that, and Miller's takes even more-so.


On the flip side, Adam West Batman? Ain't. Ditto B:TAS Batman and many of the versions where he's closer to his family, the people, the authorities, etc..

And heck, one of the whole 'Batman must never kill,' things is Batman recognizes that he's not an entirely stable individual who could go too far.

Batman varies from a person who's actually pretty stable, uses his position to reinforce the law and the police, and there isn't that much worry of it, to someone closer to the edge but where it's often text he himself is worried about that too.


K.A. Pital wrote:If we analyze specific superheroes, we would lose the common features of the genre (white, male, perfectly athletic - certainly a reactionary view at the very least) in favor of specific backstories. There is no fallacy in describing these unifying features, and I did mention that some later-developed characters fall outside the canon image of the superhero.


Is it really a unifying feature if it doesn't fit the largest best-known ur examples or many of the rest?

If you're trying to make a grand unifying thesis of what superheroes in general means, it'd help if you based it on superheroes and, again, not a distant and fairly inaccurate impression.

The problem here is that the very story about superhumans is structured like this: male, white, strong superhero (super)human being an undisputed protagonist. He is protecting ordinary humans - the sheep. And he's always or almost always operating outside legal boundaries, and always or almost always solving the problem with violence. So the separation of the perfectly athletic male "heroes" and the sheeple who are just a human mass to be "saved" by the hero is present in most such narratives, and is classic. It does not matter what ideology the superhuman himself espouses - the story is structured in a way that is imbuing elitist direct-action power fantasies as a good thing in the minds of the audience, it is the domination of strong authoritarian males who act as they want.


I'm going to note that Superman's actions are rarely illegal, ditto the Fantastic Four and so on. Daredevil is a lawyer. The JLA and Avengers and Teen Titans and Fantastic Four have legal standing- a team being a city's 'official' team is common place. The 'sheeple' as you call them often have an active role in the story and aren't just there to be protected.

And while the majority of heroes are white males, that obviously doesn't apply to the ones who aren't, who are fairly significant in number, and so when you're saying "Superheroes are inherently..." you do have to account for the sizable minorities too.

If you're talking about the ideology a genre represents, then it does matter what ideology is espoused- both in dialog and perhaps more importantly, the narrative itself. And quite often, the actions of the narrative directly contradict and undermine nationalistic and fascistic readings. You can't just brush aside the narrative itself when describing what the narrative means in favor of presenting one aspect as the key and overriding factor.

You seem to be of the opinion that a story can benefit fascism only by having its heroes give the Roman salute or walk around with the imperial eagle or a swastika. That's not so. The authoritarian strong white male power fantasy is deeply troubling, but the problem with fascism is that it also originated from western thought, and western culture, and there was - and still is - a very large demand for authoritarian or even fascist ideas in society.


You seem to be of the opinion that the image of a strong character who uses violence is all it takes to make something fascistic. Which isn't to say it doesn't have problems, but again, it's minimizing what fascism is in an attempt to fit a point. It's a clumsy argument that we've noted significant holes in.

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Re: So apparently superheroes are racist

Postby ray245 » 2017-05-12 01:50pm

K. A. Pital wrote:I've primarily based my criticism on the Nolan films. But I think the very idea of an oligarch who fights crime on his own is very dangerous. In real life, such people make corporate or paramilitary death squads and kill undesirables. They become the real "men of steel" and real vigilantes, and then people say it is horrible. So the disconnect between the hero Batman and what really happens when rich people fight others in thier own way, is also interesting.

Batman the hero is just another class diversion. Look, rich tough guy, the crime fighter. :lol:


I disagree with your view of the Nolan' films. Nolan's films do go against the standard canon "lore" and goals of Batman in other media and comics. The major difference is Nolan's Batman wanted to retire, which is something that no other Batmen wanted to do.

Nolan's Bruce Wayne is someone who sees his wealth and influence as a tool to return his city back to some semblance of a functioning society. He's not someone that relishes the wealth and status he had and was perfectly fine with letting go of everything if the city no longer needs his help. He's not concerned with recovering his lost wealth due to the stock exchange hit and is perfectly happy to live the rest of his life in anonymity.

His morality stems from his father, a Doctor/industrialist that is perfectly happy to bankrupt his own company if it means the poor can suffer less. Nolan's Batman exists in a world where even the basic tools of saving people have failed, forcing him to take upon extreme measures. And Batman in Nolan's film is extremely happy when he can find a replacement in Harvey Dent, someone who can take on corruption without relying on wealth and costume-fighting. Bruce Wayne in this universe wanted a happy "normal" life, he doesn't enjoy being Batman ( which is something more common in other comics/TV shows/movies).

Bruce was happy to be some bum stuck in a prison in Tibet ( he refuse to give his real name to the police and get away from imprisonment) until Liam Neeson gave him some sense of direction in his life. He nearly bankrupted his company in the 3rd film because he wanted cheap, clean energy for everyone. He retired Batman after the death of Harvey Dent because he thought that Batman had served his purpose.
Humans are such funny creatures. We are selfish about selflessness, yet we can love something so much that we can hate something.


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