Spoiler Alert: If you are an Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. fan and did not see last night’s episode, don’t read this.
Though I’m admittedly not a big prime time tv watcher, I decided to join my kids in some evening fare that they were excited about. One in particular, Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. We are lovers of the superhero movies, and The Avengers was a favorite with us. We were all sad to see Coulson killed off, yet, hey. Looky here! They brought him back to prime time! My middle school daughter just loves the guy.
As I was relaxing with the kids, I couldn’t believe my ears when the show name dropped Manning, Snowden, and Aaron Schwartz. HUH?
If you don’t know any thing about the show, well, to remain as brief as possible, they are an elite team of government agents who’s home is a huge aircraft that always seems to be airborn, except when they need to touch down to fight the bad guys or protect the innocent. They’ve invited a young, brilliant hacker to join their force, much to the dismay of a couple of the agents who’s intuition happens to be right. She’s secretly working for a hacktivist group called Rising Tide, who’s “manifesto” sounds somewhat familiar. One of her colleagues happened to hack into the S.H.I.E.L.D. data base and released information, which led to the kidnapping of a guy who had a mysterious ability to create a ball of fire in his hand. Instead of managing to protect him, Skye (hacker chick) led them straight to him, of course after a proverbial roll in the hay.
As the plane raced to save the day, both hackers were being held in some kind of a holding room, both cuffed and full of guilt, Hacker guy and Skye had it out. A few catchphrases caught my ear.
“So I guess due process isn’t really S.H.I.E.L.D. protocol” Hacker Guy says to Skye. “They don’t have time for it” was her response, as the plane was headed as fast as possible to save the guy who’s life was in danger due to the leak of information that Hacker Guy was responsible for releasing. As he throws in a few more “manifesto” tidbits “These people are denying our basic rights,” Hacker Guy states, as Skye defends S.H.I.E.L.D.’s position. “They’re trying to save someone’s life,” Skye retaliates. “That’s what they always say to justify invading privacy, Skye.”
And then the kicker: “Manning, Snowden, Aaron Schwartz. These are modern day revolutionaries.”
The agents are listening in, and show their distaste for him immediately. “The guy’s hiding behind platitudes. He’s dirty, I can feel it.”
The team rushes to save the poor guy who’s been kidnapped by the bad people who want to use his powers for evil, and it’s all because this “dirty” Hacker Guy wanted to spill the secrets. In the end, we discover he’s compromised the whole Rising Tide ideology: He sold secret information for $1 million dollars.
The messaging is all too obvious to those who pay attention.
“Dirty” Hacker Guy, who’s “manifesto” is about freedom of information, who calls attention to the secrets that governments keep from citizens, who’s heroes are REAL LIFE whistleblowers, sold secret information for a hefty sum, put an innocent man’s life in jeopardy, and gave the bad guys more power to do their evil work. When he calls out the lack of due process, he is met with the defense of “They’re trying to save someone’s life!” as the justifiable retaliation.
There you have it, friends. That’s how opinions are swayed. Create an “entertainment” moment, put in real life issues, and shape the imaginary drama to defend the status quo.
It’s actually more common than you think. If you understand how the entertainment industry promotes the militarization of our society, then you understand what I’m talking about. A few movies to ponder: Zero Dark Thirty, Seal Team 6, Battleship, Black Hawk Down are just a small handful. The military is more than happy to offer it’s equipment to all pro military movies. Those that question military standing in movies such as The Thin Red Line, The Hurt Locker, and even Forrest Gump don’t pass the test, and thus, must resort to CGI or make expensive purchases elsewhere. http://motherboard.vice.com/...
It is unfortunate that Hollywood is becoming less about the expression of art, and more of a money making machine built on the next big blockbuster that’s guaranteed to give a big return for the investor’s big dollars. http://www.thedailybeast.com/... We are missing out on the potential of great art to move our spirits and inspire us, and instead are fed an endless feast of guns, violence, explosions, and mediocrity. I am a lover of great movies, and even good movies. I am hopeful that the movie going audiences across the country help support the more independent movies being made, so that we can see more of them.
So, will I continue to watch Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.? Sure, for now. I hope they might offer a balanced opinion of the one they gave audiences last night. I’m sure that’s probably a lost cause, but hey, it’s just entertainment, right?