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I think I agree.

From the Guardian piece:

   "I've had some distancing thoughts about them recently. I've come to the conclusion that what superheroes might be – in their current incarnation, at least – is a symbol of American reluctance to involve themselves in any kind of conflict without massive tactical superiority," Moore said. "I think this is the same whether you have the advantage of carpet bombing from altitude or if you come from the planet Krypton as a baby and have increased powers in Earth's lower gravity."

   The graphic novelist said that, when he was a child, superheroes represented "a wellspring of the imagination". "Superman had a dog in a cape! He had a city in a bottle! It was wonderful stuff for a seven-year-old boy to think about," Moore explained. "But I suspect that a lot of superheroes now are basically about the unfair fight. You know: people wouldn't bully me if I could turn into the Hulk."

We live in a world that longs for saints and supermen. Forget the fact that all of the real good work gets done piecemeal fashion by people who go home tired and smelly after a long day at the office or the factory and still find time to help their kid with homework or play a board game. People want theater. We vote for stuff that tickles our lizard brain.

George Bush was a terrible president, but he was also terribly exciting. Even though we elected a responsible and moderate (and thoughtful, and measured, and conscientious, and...etc.) president this time around, you can hear your neighbors getting restless. A person can't live on C-Span alone, you know. Every now and then you've got to treat yourself to some Dancing With The Stars!

I'm over superheroes too. When it comes to saints, I'm with Orwell: They should always be judged guilty until they're proved innocent. Give me a pencil pushing diplomat, a coffee soaked professor, a working person with creaky knees, or a baggy-eyed doctor any day over The Incredible Hulk, Superman, or George W. Bush.

I guarantee you my team will get way more accomplished than yours, and with far fewer casualties.


Originally posted to Spencer Troxell on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 01:45 PM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Truth, Justice, and the American Way (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    millwood, Johnny Q

    To me, USA superheroes belong to a bygone era when it was easy to believe that your government was looking out for your interests, but needed the help of a Superman or Batman or Spirit when confronting an external force so clever and so evil that the police and military could not handle it alone.

    Since Watergate and Reagan, it has become abundantly clear that too many enemies of the people come from inside the system and are too often aided by the government that should be protecting the people from them.  It is very sad indeed that V for Vendetta is not that farfetched.

    Ah, I remember the wonderful naïvité of the old Batman TV show (paraphase):

    Batman (Adam West): Robin, why is it that our enemies always get us in these life-threatening predicaments, yet we are always able to escape?

    Robin (Burt Ward): Because we're smarter than they are.

    Batman: Boy Wonder, I prefer to think it's because our hearts are pure.

    It was indeed a different time.

    Big Joe Helton: "I pay Plenty."
    Chico Marx: "Well, then we're Plenty Tough."

    by Caelian on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:28:13 PM PDT

  •  This is why Rorschach is such a good character... (7+ / 0-)

    ... in Moore's Watchmen graphic novel. Politically, he's almost to the right of Hitler, and yet he also embodies a kind of absolute moral certainty that is interesting to the extent that he is even willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of his principles. One can admire such a character's consistency without embracing the same black-versus-white view of the world.

    And in the end, the thing that always struck me about Rorschach was how his extreme point of view tends to be self-defeating because it does not leave any room for the shades of gray most of us experience in life, nor does it allow for the sort of ethical compromises that are sometimes necessary to make progress in society. After all, if the price of telling the truth about the Ozymandias hoax meant that the superpowers would launch their nuclear weapons against each other instead of learning how to live together in peace, who among us wouldn't keep such a lie to ourselves?

    •  Rorshach, apparently. (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Rogneid, philimus, SciVo, Johnny Q

      And, if my reading of the graphic novel and movie are correct, Rorshach had the last word anyway, didn't he?
      His written account of events survived his death so Ozymandias' plot was defeated afterall.

      That movie didn't get the love it deserved, btw.
      I thought it was awesome.

      The Republicans are coming...

      by dclawyer06 on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 02:51:45 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yes, IIRC, you are right ... (5+ / 0-)

        ... that Rorshach (sp?) did have the last word. I had forgotten that part. The thing that impressed me about his role in the story, though, was that he was the only one who would not keep such an important secret for the greater good. Most of us (myself included) would see silence as the lesser of two evils.

        But then, a Manichean view of the world did not work to the advantage of Rorshach himself ... or anyone else.

        You are also correct that the movie did not get the credit it was due. I actually thought Zack Snyder's twist in the plot was better than the intersteller squid Moore used in his book. If only the director had used a different Leonard Cohen song for the film. ...

        •  here's a blasphemy for you: (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rogneid, Independant Man

          I thought the movie was better than the comic. It was much tighter, and kept true to the essential message.

          •  No blasphemy, but I still prefer the book ... (4+ / 0-)

            ... if only because of all the little touches it had, like Rorshach's mask coming from the fabric of the dress Kitty Genovese had made before her notorious murder.

            That being said, Snyder did a brilliant (and very underrated job) of adapting some difficult material. I know Moore did not approve of the film, and I respect him as a writer, but I still think he should have at least seen the movie. Most of the critical reviews I saw of "Watchmen" did not seem to even bother to try to understand it.

            •  " but I still think he should have at least seen (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Rogneid, dclawyer06, Independant Man

              the movie"

              That highlights one of the funniest aspects of Moore's personality. He definitely has a strong inner Rorschach. Unlike every other adaptation of his work though, I think Watchmen works. I was in a constant state of cringe as I watched the reviews of Watchmen roll in at Rotten Tomatoes. I think Roger Ebert kind of got it.

              I didn't remember that thing about Rorschach's mask...crazy. I haven't read that comic since I was a teenager, so maybe I'm misremembering it's greatness.

          •  One nitpick on the film (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Spencer Troxell

            They screwed up in making Manhattan's final quote("nothing ends...Nothing ever ends.") hopeful rather than the ominous warning it should've been.

            Still, all in all it was a good film and I think even Moore himself said it was as close as possible to translating the comic to screen.

            You may think that. I couldn't possibly comment.-- Francis Urqhart

            by Johnny Q on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:18:46 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  i relate to the owl in watchmen (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      philimus, dclawyer06

      i would keep the secret but it would haunt me for the rest of my life

    •  now i have to watch Watchmen again (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
  •  i don't follow superheroes outside of movies (0+ / 0-)

    in the movies they seem to be about using your potential for good

    this reminds me.  i can't wait for kick ass to release on dvd so i can watch it again.  i loved that movie.

  •  Who could do supes after "The Boys" (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SciVo, Spencer Troxell

    Garth Ennis's wicked, massively funny take off on the super hero genre?

    All the super heroes from now on will come to us from Asian. China, Korea, Japan----they show no sign of tiring of the "One man against many" theme. If you consider the differences between eastern and western culture you can see why. In the west, rugged individualism has been practically dogma. If a man is true enough to himself, he can battle all odds and get anything done. However, in recent years, folks in the west have begun to realize that "can't we all just get along" may be a better solution to the many problems that ail us in the modern world.

    In the east, on the other hand, conformity has long been the rule. Therefore Buddhism---and manga---attempts to free the individual by telling him "Do what is right even when society tells you to do wrong." Yeah, I know this sounds like last week's meatloaf to  Americans. But it is some pretty radical thinking for a part of the world that blamed the victims of mercury poisoning for their own suffering (their demands for clean water were going to mess up the economy for the rest of Japan!) The Japanese did not learn to question authority until the 1960s. And we are just now learning that rugged individualism does not solve all of life's problems.

    Not sure about the foreign policy angle, though. Most Americans could care less about folks in other nations. 100,000 Iraqi civilian deaths mean nothing to them compared to 1000 Americans. We are as arrogant as ever.

    Remember that "The Brave Little Tailor" is still the most popular of all three story archetypes in the US (the other two are "Boy Meets Girl" and "The Man Who Learned Better"). I think we will see our Supes come in different styles. More women, more oppressed, more orphans who have dragged themselves up from misery. Less WASP males--unless the WASP males are gay. It should be about time for gay superheroes to appear on the scene.

    "A dog starved at his master's gate/Predicts the ruin of the state" Blake

    by McCamy Taylor on Tue Jul 13, 2010 at 03:53:59 PM PDT

  •  Spiderman (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Spencer Troxell

    the Marvel series I think did a good job showing being a superheroe isn't as great as some folks think.  Peter Parker has all this awesome powers, but no bank will let him cash a check made out to 'Spiderman' without proper ID.  And he never gets the girl.

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