Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

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madd0ct0r
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-09-16 12:49pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-09-16 11:05am
Majin Gojira wrote:
2018-09-16 10:49am
Technology often develops from what is available and what is needed by the societies at large. For instance, one African tribe discovered how to immunize themselves from smallpox, and another figured out how to make high-grade steel, and another discovered how to use biting ants to act as sutures. But still had tribal structures in largely agrarian societies.
The general development, however, is intractable from social relations. And from relations of production. Social structures are impacted by technical development just as the opposite is true. Therefore a socially static society cannot undergo a comprehensive technological revolution, even if isolated developments and discoveries can be made. That is why knowing how to make high-grade steel in principle and knowing how to make steel in the context of industrial mass-production are two very different things. Damascus blades and railways.
Majin Gojira wrote:
2018-09-16 10:49am
Not all "Conservative" groups have the exact same ideology, and it's foolish to assume so.
No, I don't assume they all have the same ideology. But there are common problems in Bhutan just as in Saudi Arabia, both absolute hereditary monarchies but with different beliefs. The general social backwardness is actually only reflected in the crude, obsolete power structure.
Majin Gojira wrote:
2018-09-16 10:49am
Also: Why the hell are you ascribing Islamic extremist values to an explicit polytheist and eclectic religious group. We have Bast and Hanuman worship being concurrent in Wakanda. An Egyptian and Hindu god in the same belief system. That has a LOT of implications without even getting into the possibilities Thor provides.
I do not, in fact I just mentioned them as examples of real-life societies where such archaic forms of dictatorship have endured into the XXI century. Having a society of mixed religion does not imply progressiveness by itself. Bhutan has Hinduism and Buddhism, but its social backwardness persists nonetheless.
Stas, im calling bullshit on that, especially that "The general development, however, is intractable from social relations. And from relations of production. Social structures are impacted by technical development just as the opposite is true. Therefore a socially static society cannot undergo a comprehensive technological revolution, even if isolated developments and discoveries can be made. "

British society is incredibly class/caste static and socially conservative. We had a glorious revolution, civil war and invited the bloody royal family back afterwards! Entry to officer core was based on the commission you could afford to buy, even as late as the crimean wsr.
And yet this was the home of the industrial revolution.

I dont think your lockstep development between social and tech progress exists.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Vendetta » 2018-09-16 03:57pm

madd0ct0r wrote:
2018-09-16 12:49pm
Stas, im calling bullshit on that, especially that "The general development, however, is intractable from social relations. And from relations of production. Social structures are impacted by technical development just as the opposite is true. Therefore a socially static society cannot undergo a comprehensive technological revolution, even if isolated developments and discoveries can be made. "

British society is incredibly class/caste static and socially conservative. We had a glorious revolution, civil war and invited the bloody royal family back afterwards! Entry to officer core was based on the commission you could afford to buy, even as late as the crimean wsr.
And yet this was the home of the industrial revolution.

I dont think your lockstep development between social and tech progress exists.
Actually, as a nation with relatively few lasting political revolutions, mapping the power of parliament vs. the monarchy and hereditary class vs. capital as against techological progress, Britain provides a really good example of the way the two are linked in the way Stas is arguing.

Sure, the Restoration brought back the monarchy, but post Restoration the monarch had a lot less power and was progressively more of a figurehead over time. The Industrial Revolution got kickstarted here early but what happened as it was entering its final phases? The reform riots and the end of the rotten boroughs.

The argument isn't that "technological progress requires social progress in order to occur". The argument is that "technological progress and social progress are interlinked such that one will bring about the other".

Particularly at the level of development Wakanda had reached, where information is freely available and education level is extremely high. There are going to be a lot of opinions about the running of the nation, and it is going to be very easy to disseminate those opinions among people who can understand them and organise movements around them.

That's not the sort of environment that a closed star chamber style of government which Wakanda appears to have is going to last, because when people don't feel like their opinions are being represented they're going to have a lot of tools to do something about it.

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Majin Gojira » 2018-09-16 05:33pm

K. A. Pital wrote:
2018-09-16 11:05am
The general development, however, is intractable from social relations. And from relations of production. Social structures are impacted by technical development just as the opposite is true. Therefore a socially static society cannot undergo a comprehensive technological revolution, even if isolated developments and discoveries can be made. That is why knowing how to make high-grade steel in principle and knowing how to make steel in the context of industrial mass-production are two very different things. Damascus blades and railways.
Bad example there, though the latter example with Britain is far better. Why?

Feudal China managed to make near-industrial weapons production/conveyer belt style manufacture of goods and, well, they then went and intentionally stagnated themselves and never really used it beyond the War of the Three Kingdoms era (IIRC, it dates to that).
No, I don't assume they all have the same ideology. But there are common problems in Bhutan just as in Saudi Arabia, both absolute hereditary monarchies but with different beliefs. The general social backwardness is actually only reflected in the crude, obsolete power structure.
Honestly, it's a bad example to draw parallels to in this instance because what the ideology says can alter things.

Like, in this instance, the Black Panther is also a religious position where the Super Powers the herb grants are seen as (and usually are) literally divine gifts. The phrase "God-King" is sort of literal here, and that changes how things are handled by a wide margin, so again, that comparison doesn't hold. Wakanda is just too different from that to draw on.
I do not, in fact I just mentioned them as examples of real-life societies where such archaic forms of dictatorship have endured into the XXI century. Having a society of mixed religion does not imply progressiveness by itself. Bhutan has Hinduism and Buddhism, but its social backwardness persists nonetheless.
It's not the mix, it's what the religions say that matters.
Wakanda in the film and modern comics is one of those things that arises out of continuity artifacts.

In the original stories, it wasn't a super advanced nation and T'Challa was the one reforming it based on his intellect and capabilities plus Vibranium, and one of his major conflicts was with the primitivist Jabari. Over time it morphed into a highly advanced isolationist nation but because fixed points of Black Panther canon are "is King of Wakanda" and "Jabari tribe primitivists" that bit had to stay.

It's the consequence of worldbuilding kludged together over decades rather than intentionally designed.
One of the key plot points of the early appearances of Wakanda was a vast spy network that went around the world gathering technology and information, and then building on it and adding the capabilities of Vibranium to it. Hell, a plot point is that T'challa was sent to America's top schools as princes of Wakanda had done for centuries, to learn from the best and bring that information to Wakanda.

So, Wakanda is secluded, but they actively are involved in the interchange of ideas and the benefits of worldwide learning. They not only develop their own tech, but benefit fromt he advances of the rest of the world and add to it.

Think of it as the meme of "The Rome that did not Fall" (even though Rome had no advancements of their own and just took from whomever they conquered).

Anyway, this got exaggerated to the point where Reginal Huldin...went and gave Wakanda Kirbytech in the 16th century, and exaggerated the technological disparity to "Why don't they have a space empire?"

By the way, the current main story arc for Black Panther has him finding out about an Interplanetary Wakandan Empire. Or something.

So, I think the way Wakanda was originally described helps answer a lot of the problems presented in this thread.
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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by Q99 » 2018-09-16 08:43pm

I will note how much a formality the challenge seemed to be- the Jabari showing up was unexpected. None of the champions of the tribes challenged- I doubt T'chaka got challenged, or if he did it likely was fairly prefunctionary. Likely before him too. The M'Baku fight was unusually serious for that event. It seems to me there'd probably only be a challenge if a leader lacked political support, which itself would be unusual- there might not have been a serious challenge for the last century for all we know, in which case, the thought would be 'why mess with tradition? It shows our respect for our elder's ways, and the tribes all respect it'.

Also there's a whole council, not sure how absolute the King is- certainly powerful, but not ruling on their own, and it wouldn't surprise me if there's some override (Eswatini has 'powerful monarch- but Queen Mother has veto power' to this day. And Killmonger *did* have council support so even if a united vote could overturn him, it wouldn't). And it's a small kingdom that for much of it's life viewed survival as based on tightly controlled isolationism, so you can see how having a strong monarch would be supported in that view.

Strong monarchs insisting on resources going to pure research may be a part of why they're so high tech- they would likely have a strong enough say on the budget to prevent it from being bled off onto other things by budget fights.

A small, ridiculously resource-rich nation who's defense relies on strict secrecy is a fairly atypical situation

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Re: Black Panther: Critical Thoughts

Post by madd0ct0r » 2018-09-17 02:19am

Vendetta wrote:
2018-09-16 03:57pm
madd0ct0r wrote:
2018-09-16 12:49pm
Stas, im calling bullshit on that, especially that "The general development, however, is intractable from social relations. And from relations of production. Social structures are impacted by technical development just as the opposite is true. Therefore a socially static society cannot undergo a comprehensive technological revolution, even if isolated developments and discoveries can be made. "

British society is incredibly class/caste static and socially conservative. We had a glorious revolution, civil war and invited the bloody royal family back afterwards! Entry to officer core was based on the commission you could afford to buy, even as late as the crimean wsr.
And yet this was the home of the industrial revolution.

I dont think your lockstep development between social and tech progress exists.
Actually, as a nation with relatively few lasting political revolutions, mapping the power of parliament vs. the monarchy and hereditary class vs. capital as against techological progress, Britain provides a really good example of the way the two are linked in the way Stas is arguing.

Sure, the Restoration brought back the monarchy, but post Restoration the monarch had a lot less power and was progressively more of a figurehead over time. The Industrial Revolution got kickstarted here early but what happened as it was entering its final phases? The reform riots and the end of the rotten boroughs.

The argument isn't that "technological progress requires social progress in order to occur". The argument is that "technological progress and social progress are interlinked such that one will bring about the other".

Particularly at the level of development Wakanda had reached, where information is freely available and education level is extremely high. There are going to be a lot of opinions about the running of the nation, and it is going to be very easy to disseminate those opinions among people who can understand them and organise movements around them.

That's not the sort of environment that a closed star chamber style of government which Wakanda appears to have is going to last, because when people don't feel like their opinions are being represented they're going to have a lot of tools to do something about it.
Britain still has a partially hereditary House of Lords and a largely stagnant class system with decadely riots.
But i concede on your point that closed council governance in Wakanda would be unstable. Even Singapore pays lip service to the mob.
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