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Desc:Gritty realism.
Category:Humor, Classic Movies
Tags:batman, Superman, movie, darkness, no parents
Submitted:magnesium
Date:04/18/15
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Comment count is 81
Xenocide - 2015-04-18
Batman, it's really rude to ask someone if they've had their period.
Caminante Nocturno - 2015-04-18
This is not how Batman dies.
kingarthur - 2015-04-18
Pretty much sums it up. Personally, I find the direction Warner Brothers is going with Superman and this thing is too dark, but I suppose you have to differentiate yourself in the market from Marvel.
kingarthur - 2015-04-18
I think a large part of DC's problem is that Marvel keeps beating them to market consistently.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
Except it's a differentiation that doesn't need to be made. DC Comics could make fun movies if they knew how, but when they try, the result is the god-awful Green Lantern. I think they're going with dark-n-gritty because it worked for Batman, but that's just because it's Batman. It doesn't mean it's what works for every damn character they have.

Go look at the animated series DC put out for Batman, Superman, the Justice League and Batman Beyond. They could be fun AND dark, if needed, but they didn't just dive into pathos for no good reason.

As for this movie, so far it looks about as deep as a boxing match. "Watch Superman and Batman fight, for reasons!"

TeenerTot - 2015-04-19
I just saw an interview with Patton Oswalt where he discusses this a bit.
https://youtu.be/rfBAqauWxzs
at the 4-minute mark.

Bort - 2015-04-19
DC has a massive inferiority complex where Marvel is concerned; when Marvel showed up and was appealing to teen audiences by creating protagonists their readers could identify with, DC's heroes were typically wooden types. Marvel's writers had lots of experience writing teen romance comics, so they mostly transposed what they knew to the superhero genre.

Ever since then, DC has been trying to "Marvelize" and to become more "adult", and the results have been pretty reliably bad. The big difference between DC and Marvel is that DC is about crimebusters and Marvel is about soap opera: Batman's foes are usually engaged in criminal activity which is what brings Batman into the picture, while it's been years since Spider-Man's foes have cared about anything except crushing that meddling wall-crawler once and for all. You can't apply the Spider-Man dynamic to Batman or Superman or even the Metal Men, it just doesn't work.

As Patton Oswalt said, you have to embrace the characters for what they are.

infinite zest - 2015-04-19
DC however has Brave and the Bold (which I haven't really watched enough of) and Teen Titans Go (which I've seen every episode of) which are much better than any Marvel cartoon in terms of light-heartedness and fun.

Bort - 2015-04-19
B&B embraces the characters, and starts with the proposition, what do our viewers want to see? Then they deliver.

garcet71283 - 2015-04-19
I really think that DC should just keep themselves concerned with TV and Marvel can keep doing movies. So far, the DC shows have been vastly superior to the Marvel shows (sorry Agents of Shield, you suck). Even the best Marvel show, Daredevil, has to borrow a big page out of the DC TV show playbook to work.

DC heroes are great for short, self-contained stories, which is why this nonsense with the "continuity" doesn't work. The Nolan movies were good because they never intended to be connected to anything other than themselves, and they knew it from the start.

I forget who it was, but one critic pointed out that the primary reason why DC heroes don't work to carry movies is because they are bland. DC has always been about the villains more than the heroes. Batman sells because his villains are the most interesting and famous, Superman, well...he fights a bald guy and a bunch of characters nobody has ever heard of. I would totally go watch a DC villains movie (Suicide Squad doesn't count)... I'm thinking Guy Ritchie for the director.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
I see DC's problem as being the marketing department.

Their TV shows work because the suits back at DC and Time-Warner don't seem to meddle with those very much (apart from certain restrictions on Smallville not having Superman in his actual uniform). Again, the animated shows from Dini/Timm are fantastic and manage to make the heroes interesting as well as the villains. Kevin Conroy was a great Batman and actually had some personality. It only got better as the cast of the show(s) grew, especially in Batman Beyond where he and Terry McGinnis would verbally spar in most conversations.

But when it comes to the movies, I think they're afraid to try ANYTHING, even the stuff that's been shown to be popular in the comic books themselves. Even in the comics, the best stories are the ones that used to be called "Elseworlds" where writers can go nuts with the characters since it's an alternate universe, allowing them to mix it up a little.

Ironically, Marvel has had to step up its game and get more creative thanks to the X-Men and Spider-Man rights being tied up with other studios, and after all is said and done, I think I like the Marvel U without mutants and the baggage they bring along. I get that they became a metaphor for oppressed groups (be it gays, nerds, or whatever), but that kind of falls apart when your oppressed group can kill you with its eyeballs or read the minds of everyone on the planet.

infinite zest - 2015-04-19
Personally I'd really like to see a Wonder Twins movie, or just do a Superfriends movie altogether. Who says that there can't be two movies with two different Batmen at the same time? It's not like the comics don't do that..

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
@Infinite Zest: Go watch the episode of Justice League Unlimited called "Ultimatum." I think you'll be pleased.

Xenocide - 2015-04-19
DC's television shows have always been better than Marvel's, both live action and animated, and if you go by TV, they had a successful shared universe on film years before Marvel did.

I wish they'd capitalize on those successes instead of trying this pathetic, "WE'RE LIKE MARVEL MOVIES BUT DAAAAARKEEEER" routine.

Raggamuffin - 2015-04-19
maybe superman can adopt batman?
TeenerTot - 2015-04-19
Batman needs to get out of his own head once in a while. He should get a kitten.

Bort - 2015-04-19
Batman's son, Damian, has a cat named "Alfred". Also a dog (Titus) and Bat-Cow:

https://thenypost.files.wordpress.com/2014/03/batcowtitusalfre d-415x615.jpg

Cena_mark - 2015-04-19
Lame. Hey losers, its a Batman movie. Its supposed to be dark. When they stray away from the darkness you get Adam West of George Cloony shit. You're all going to love this movie, and you'll forget all about the stupid shit you posted about it prior to its release.
Bort - 2015-04-19
The problem is that it's also a Superman movie that apparently wants nothing to do with what makes Superman work as a character (he truly sees himself as no more important than anyone else despite his powers, and he tries to set a good example and bring out the best in people).

It's possible to do a Superman vs. Batman movie, but pretty early in the thing, Superman and Batman are going to realize their main differences have to do with M.O. and not with intentions.

DC already set the standard for this on Saturday mornings anyway, almost twenty years ago. They're going to need to beat this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F90nxOlsm1s

Cena_mark - 2015-04-19
Superman on his own wasn't working out, so just make him work for this film. I've seen this angle done in the cartoons and I'm assuming its been done in the comics, where Lois Lane dies causing Supes to become a dictator. Batman of course is the only dude who can stop him.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Hey Cena, I finished Part 1 of my response to your comments on the Cassie Cage Selfie Fatality video. Expect Part 2 by tomorrow.

Only thing I'll say about this is, OK, yeah, I agree with you. Superman sucks, Batman's dark, losers gotta stop whinin'.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"I've seen this angle done in the cartoons and I'm assuming its been done in the comics, where Lois Lane dies causing Supes to become a dictator. Batman of course is the only dude who can stop him."

No thank you; that's plotting by Mad-Lib: "What if _____ turned evil and ______ had to stop him?" That's about the weakest, least imaginative way to generate conflict between heroes.

People say Superman is so powerful that you can't create any threats he can't easily beat, but that's not true: all you have to do is come up with a threat that can't be punched into submission, or one that enjoys legal protections. Lex Luthor was a respected businessman for years and years, and Superman couldn't just punch him because he couldn't construct a legal case against him.

Cena_mark - 2015-04-19
Its not that simple Neal Boortz. Most epic stories can be given just as simple a synopsis. You dorks are just hating because this is awesome. Go watch something that sucks.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Since when has Superman EVER cared about legal cases, Bort?

Name me one instance in which Superman has identified a bad guy, BUT, instead of bashing the shit out of this bad guy, Superman stood back, let the cops arrest him, allowed him to get a lawyer, stand trial, be convicted by a jury of his peers, receive a fair and just sentence, AND THEN AND ONLY THEN, came up and punched the snot out of the rotten criminal?

Superman doesn't care about the law and he punches whomever he wants. He's a fascist bully, and the only reason he didn't punch Lex Luthor the first time they met was because Supes was scared the law would side with Lex. Little guys, working-class guys, guys who didn't have half the city in their pockets, Superman knew he could do whatever he wanted with those poor bastards, and the cops weren't going to say shit. But like all bullies, he backed down whenever there was something meaner and tougher looming over him.

Fuck Superman. I hope Batman kills the punk.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
See, here's the thing, you said it yourself:

"all you have to do is come up with a threat that can't be punched into submission, or one that enjoys legal protections."

Here in America, EVERYONE enjoys legal protection. Even the worst child-molesting serial killer scumbag has the right to a fair trial, and cannot be punished in cruel or unusual ways. Superman doesn't give a shit about this. He punches as many people as he can, because he knows the system is powerless to stop him, and he knows exactly how much he can get away with before society will start fighting back.

Two Jar Slave - 2015-04-19
Batman The Movie (starring Adam West) is, after the Dark Knight, the best Batman movie to date. It knew exactly what it wanted to do, and pulled it off with gusto. The idea that Batman "has to be dark" is stupid; the character is too shallow to demand any particular style. You can paint whatever you want onto the empty canvass that is Batman, so the only question is: can you paint?

Zack Snyder fingerpaints by numbers. He's embarrassing to watch try to tell a story.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
EH, you just described Batman. Batman is a conservative's wet dream: Fight street-level crime while ignoring the mega-fraud going on in our legal system which, as a billionaire as well as being Batman, he could do something about. Does he? Nope. He goes after the low-hanging fruit that people want kept out of their gated communities. Fuck Batman.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"Since when has Superman EVER cared about legal cases, Bort?"

For years and years, Lex Luthor said to Superman, "you'll never prove I had anything to do with Intergang's new high-tech weapons! Even if you tie it back to LexCorp, you'll never be able to prove I knew about it! HA, HA HA HA HA HA HAAAAAAA!"

"He's a fascist bully"

Yeah, you know what the problem with the fascists was? They voluntarily opted to serve their fellow man, to protect those without power, and to save life wherever they could. No wonder fascism gets such a bad rap!

Cena_mark - 2015-04-19
Batman's parents weren't murdered by inside traders or tax evaders. They were killed by common thugs. So of course he's bringing down violent criminals. Let Oracle handle the white collar crime. She can bring them to court and serve them justice, because the courthouse has a wheelchair ramp.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>>EH, you just described Batman.


No, I just described EVERY superhero, except maybe for Lobo, who kills people because it's funny and also he likes money.

I'm glad you brought that up, though; I was waiting for Bort to mention Bats, because the difference between Batman and Superman is very instructive, particularly in light of what Cena's trying to tell you guys.

See, Batman is a fascist, too. I'll be the first to admit that. *But Batman knows what he is!!!* Batman doesn't have any illusions, he doesn't see himself as some noble superbeing with the moral imperative to perfect the human race through the medium of punching. Hell, Batman doesn't even think of himself as a hero half the time! That's why Batman is such a conflicted character, that's why he's so brooding.

That's why he's so dark.

There are other differences, too, like: Batman's motives. Batman got into fighting crime because he felt that the system was failing, that justice wasn't being done, and it was up to the private sector to pick up the slack dropped by the corrupt and Orwellian system in Gotham. Maybe Bats was right? Maybe he was wrong? Maybe he was right, AND he was wrong, in different ways at the same time? Batman - or at least dark Batman, cool Batman, properly handled Batman - invites us to explore these questions right alongside our edgy, brooding antihero. But Superman? What are his motives? Superman thinks he's the shit. Period. Full Stop. Superman thinks he's better than everyone else, and oh sure, he's gracious about it, the square-jawed stand-up little fuck, but that doesn't change the fact that he is, to the core, nothing more than a moral busybody, an oppressor who sincerely believes that his glorified bullying is the best thing to happen to the human race since we first crawled out of the swamps. He bullies because that's in his nature, and because his tiny, neanderthal, jock-brain can't conceive of a world in which everyday people want to live their lives on their own terms, and don't like having an invincible, all-seeing, physically perfect alien-man flying about, punching whomever he damn well pleases.

Bort - 2015-04-19
Quit using the word "fascist" if you're not going to use it right. Please.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>>Yeah, you know what the problem with the fascists was? They voluntarily opted to serve their fellow man, to protect those without power, and to save life wherever they could. No wonder fascism gets such a bad rap!

Bort, I know you're not being serious, because I know for a fact that you're smarter than this.

There are no black hat villains in real life. Fascists get a bad rap _when they get beaten in wars and deposed through force-of-arms_; before that, they're not walking around, twirling their oil moustaches, and scheming up ways to make the world a worse place. Making the world a worse place is what they inevitably do, of course, and they really are evil, but my point is that they don't think of themselves in that manner, and they will never -justify- their evil by -appealing- to evil. Fascists worship power because they believe it's GOOD, not just for them, but for everyone; they think a well-ordered, secure society, tightly controlled by violence (dished out by themselves), will bring about peace and prosperity and a great new age in which all people, big and small, can live in some Neo-Platonic ideal state-of-being.

Sound familiar? That's because it's the same bullshit that Superman feeds his own followers.


More broadly, it should be pointed out that practically the ENTIRE American comic book industry was, for most of its life and certainly during the time Superman came to the fore, little more than an American experiment in fascism. It was a way for writers and artists to let off some steam and indulge in little sadistic fascist power-fantasies now and then; we all have them sometimes, no sense in lying to ourselves. In fact, I'd even argue that the CCA itself was a pretty blatant attempt to make fascism *mandatory* for American comic books. You'd be hard pressed to find a DC comic book hero who ISN'T cheerleading for his own personal brand of National Socialism!

Batman's an asshole sometimes, too, but at least he sees through his own lies and knows what's really going on. That awareness and self-doubt is why he's the best, coolest, and ironically, most morally trustworthy of all DC superheroes (after Lobo, of course).

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
Actually, you're missing the point of how super heroes work. They are not police, they are vigilantes. The idea is they right wrongs and stop villains that the law can't handle. Very often, Superman fights bad guys just to keep them from starting shit, not so they can go to jail. There's no "chain of evidence" when you're not a legally deputized arm of the state's law enforcement. If the law does get involved, it's only after the fact, when the villain's plot or threat has been taken care of, and it's often for evidence gleaned apart from the super hero interceding.

Now, as far as Cena's comments:

"Batman's parents weren't murdered by inside traders or tax evaders."

They weren't murdered by a steroid-infused luchador, Darkseid, or a man in a space suit wielding a freeze-ray, either. He still managed to fight those guys and others on occasion, yet he never went after the crime in his own peer group. Again, fuck Batman.

"Superman on his own wasn't working out..."

Gee, why could that be? Let's see, "Superman Returns" was basically a remake of the first Donner movie, but in that one Superman was a roofie rapist and a deadbeat dad, Lex Luthor was a real estate scam artist and not a corporate super genius, and every problem was solved by Superman lifting something. It was an awful movie.

Then there's "Man of Steel." Pa Kent is okay with letting people die to "protect" Clark, Superman can't seem to figure out that punching Zod away from Metropolis might cut down on the body count, and without any build-up or even a nod to the character's historical code of not killing anyone with his powers, they have Superman snap Zod's neck. Again, it was an awful movie.

No superhero can really go it alone now, because they look even more ridiculous when they do. They need a larger world to flesh out their stories and make them seem a little more plausible. Marvel has learned this, but DC is trying to achieve this without planning for it. They really needed to reboot Batman AND Superman, this time making movies that were BY DESIGN supposed to introduce a larger DCU. Instead, we're going to get fightin' films that are defended the same way the Star Wars prequels are: "It had cool effects!"

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>>Actually, you're missing the point of how super heroes work. They are not police, they are vigilantes.

How am I missing the point of how superheroes work? You and I just described the exact same thing - Superman doesn't give a shit about the law - the only difference between our positions is that you choose to see this state of affairs in a positive light. Like Superman would. I cannot help but see this as a negative. As Batman does.

AT BEST, "superheroes" (perhaps we should call them "subtextual villains" instead?) are a so-called necessary evil; a temporary solution to a problem that has no clear long-term solution. This is certainly how dark and angsty Batman sees his place in the world. (he could be wrong, of course) What they are not, what Superman, and more importantly his fans, fail to realize they are not, are ethically-upright agents of justice, defending freedom and the rule-of-law.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"Fascists"

EH, I have a real problem seizing upon the point you're trying to make, because you seem to have defined "fascist" to mean "anyone who could beat me up". That's my best guess, anyway. But that's not what fascism is, and every time you reduce the term to mush, it makes it impossible to get your meaning.

Not that there is a firm definition of fascism, but there are certainly some traits that make it recognizable: glorification of The State, a militaristic world view with an eye towards conquest, a leader whose will is to be obeyed completely, curtailing of freedoms, contempt for the weak and for minorities held to be weak, and free enterprise but ultimately in service to the requirements of the government, for starters.

And none of that -- not one jot, not one tittle -- tracks with typical superheroes. Which is why I implore you to quit saying "fascist" to mean "Superman scares me".

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
For example, SDK, I actually wrote this earlier but choose to edit it out of my post, because I did not want to give Bort any ammunition with which he might shift the focus of the debate. The edited passage does, however, apply here. i will reprint it below. (EH note - this was originally written as a post-script to qualify the sentence, "Even the worst child-molesting serial killer scumbag has the right to a fair trial, and cannot be punished in cruel or unusual ways.")


------
There is of course an exemption, that being self-defense. i.e. If a child-molesting serial killer is threatening your life, you have every right to kill him first. However, self-defense requires that the person against whom you are acting as judge, jury, and executioner, is *actually an imminent threat to your life*. Superman cannot be hurt, not by bullets nor by atomic bombs. Unless some criminal is coming at him with a kryptonite lance, probably three kryptonite lances and a kryptonite tank (because you know Supes always Deus Ex Machinas his way out of these situations) then there is literally nothing a criminal can do to Superman which would warrant a savage punching.
------

Is Superman a vigilante? Sure, why not. Are his vigilante actions justified, when he himself is no danger, and he can, in fact, quite easily resolve situations without punching anything, owing to his stupid unbeatable Mary-Sue invincibility? Gee, I don't know, what do you think?

If Superman were actually concerned with the law - and not just the letter of the law, either, but the spirit of the law, which is ultimately far more important - then he could quite easily use his super-hearing, super-speed, X-ray vision, and ability to fly so as to track suspected criminals, collect evidence, collate it, present it in a big file to the Metropolitan PD, and then wait for the legal authorities to acquire a properly-signed warrant from a judge. He'd still be a FASCIST FUCK, of course - covert surveillance of the citizenry being one of the primary methods with which fascists of any stripe both acquire and maintain power - but at least he'd be a law-abiding, procedurally correct fascist fuck.

SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
EH, tell me who issues a warrant for Darkseid? Does the Justice League sit on their hands while alien spaceships destroy L.A. until they get a go-ahead from the governor?

I'm not sure which adventures of Superman you're reading, but the ones they ought to be basing the films off of don't have him going after thugs or doing a hell of a lot of detective work. The stories they need to be doing is him going up against Brainiac or Doomsday.

Unless you're going off of comics from the 1960's and before, having Supes spend his time fighting gangsters is not only boring, it's also a waste of resources. The guy who can punch a hole through an asteroid should be given similar physical challenges, not stopping people who use tommy guns to rob banks.

As to your bit about being in imminent danger, go look up what "depraved indifference" means. I'll wait.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Bort - fascism is, at it's core, an attitude towards power. It is a sociopolitical doctrine which states that power (real power, coercive power; that is, the capacity to commit violence) must be held in the hands of the responsible few - the fascists - and wielded for the good of the many - the empire, the race, the proletariat, or even the decent, hardworking people of Metropolis.

Fascism is not, and has never been, a system in which bald, ugly villains say to themselves "We don't want to serve our fellow man, we don't want to protect those without power, we don't want to save life wherever we can" - a state of affairs that you seem to be implying above, in your third post within this nested thread. THAT is Hollywood fascism, that's the sort of fascism that gets fed to us about 'Fascist of The Wrong Variety'; usually, and quite ironically, by people who are themselves either fascists or fascist-sympathizers. (One example being, the writers responsible for Superman!)

ON THE CONTRARY, if you actually go and read what fascists wrote about themselves --- and I'm talking both literal Fascists, i.e. the Italian collectivists of the 1930s who honestly thought that centralizing all business and turning the State into their country's supreme industrial monopoly was going to wind up being a great idea, as well as the broader, vernacular "fascists", many of whom dreamt up radically different words for their own systems, which ended up being, functionally-speaking, virtually identical to all the other one --- you will see quite quickly that THE OPPOSITE is the case!!! That is to say, Fascists DO believe that they are serving their fellow man. They DO want to protect those without power. And they are just as concerned about saving lives as anyone else is - which is to say, they are not very concerned at all, but it sure does sound good when you say that you are (e.g. Superman may say that he's concerned with saving lives, but if that were the case, then why do you suppose his entire life is consumed by the act of punching people?)


Face it, Bort. Superman is Hitler.

Bort - 2015-04-19
EH, I get that you have minarchist / libertarian leanings, and you have an instinctive fear of anyone powerful. But you've let that drive you to a pretty ridiculous place, where anyone who uses power, no matter how benignly, and no matter with what level of respect for the law and civil liberties, are fascists.

Cena_mark - 2015-04-19
I said Batman fights violent criminals, which includes Bane and Darkseid. Stopping white collar criminals would be a total waste of his fighting skills, plus it would be pretty boring if Batman's nemesis was a rogue accountant.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
SPK - if they were at all concerned about the law, which we both agree they are not, so why you still bring it up is beyond me? If they were, then yes, they should let Darkseid's ship destroy LA. Or, better yet, they should destroy the ship's guns, neutralize it's anti-grav thrusters, and then hold Darkseid under citizen's arrest until his lawyers arrive. Then, if it turns out that the evidence is insufficient, and Darkseid was NOT about to destroy LA, then the Justice League should be held accountable for their actions, and sued on behalf of all the citizens of Apokolips. And you'd better have an open trial, too - make sure Parademons are present and represented.

Of course, you're going off on abstract tangent here, which is exactly where the fascist writers of fascist comic books want us to go; what we must remember is that the presence of AN EVIL, so dangerous and so profound, that it could literally wipe out the entire empire/race/commune/Metropolis, UNLESS a bunch of curiously handsome young men in form-fitting uniforms immediately take to the streets and start kicking heads, that is precisely the sort of silly fantasy on which the allure of fascism rests. Change "Darkseid" for "Weimar Jews", and you have a story indistinguishable from the ones fed to the Axis peasantry.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Bort - so what exactly is wrong with that definition of fascism (it's actually a very common liberal reading of fascism, found not just in libertarian or anarchist circles, but also in democratic socialist and hippie-communitarian ones as well)?

And, most importantly, if you do not accept the definition which I gave to, then... what word WOULD you use to describe the sociopolitical system of which I spoke? I'm willing to adapt to you here. If you've got a word which you'd rather use to describe fascism, then by all means, tell me what it is and I will use it for you. Just so long as we understand and agree upon what it is that we're talking about, that is what matters here.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"Bort - so what exactly is wrong with that definition of fascism"

I just told you -- it fails to capture any of the criteria that differentiate fascism from, say, Soviet-style communism. It doesn't hint at any of the racism, nationalism, or militarism of fascism.

"(it's actually a very common liberal reading of fascism, found not just in libertarian or anarchist circles, but also in democratic socialist and hippie-communitarian ones as well)?"

Well, a great many Lefties are retards -- their hearts are in the right place, which is more than I can say for the Teabaggers, but having a heart does not mean you're in a position to discuss or defend your opinions.

"If you've got a word which you'd rather use to describe fascism"

No, I think fascism is a fine word for describing fascism. But you're describing something else, and that's where I feel it's up to you to be clearer. So far, you are likening stopping armed bank robbers to annexing the Sudetenland, and I feel it's up to you to fix your own argument. If it were up to me, I'd recommend scrapping that perspective altogether, because it's more rooted in fear of what superheroes like Superman COULD do rather than what they ACTUALLY do (in comics, I mean). Mind you, the fact that they won't just take over Hitler-style is one of the starting assumptions of (most) superhero comics, so it's kind of like saying "yeah but suppose Romeo and Juliet didn't even like each other, what then?"

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>.I just told you -- it fails to capture any of the criteria that differentiate fascism from, say, Soviet-style communism.

Well, that's because there isn't any difference, not a meaningful one at any rate, not one which would say "this sort of fascism is not fascism, this sort of fascism is". The differences between, say, Italian Fascism ("literal fascism", discussed above), and any other form of fascism ("vernacular fascism", again, above) are matters of surface appearance and obscure doctrinal squibbles. The Stalinists differed from the Fascists in much the same way as the Lutherans differed from the Calvinists; their core principle - which again, I invite you to look above - is precisely what I said.

Again, if you don't like this word - which is a word that's commonly accepted in the vernacular, you can even see it being in EXACTLY that same manner in places as disparate as old Soviet propaganda (who routinely accused the "free West" of being "fascist", sometimes with good reason), and the ultra-leftie Salon.com article I linked to below - if you don;t like this word, then come up with another one. I use the word "fascism" because that is the word which I most frequently encounter to describe just this sort of sociopolitical philosophy. It's the the word that most people understand, it's the word that accurately conveys the unequivocally pejorative subtext of what Superman stands for, and it's even the word which comic book writers themselves have used to describe the violent, authoritarian worldview that they had a part in creating (again, links are provided below - don't blame me, I'm not the one who created fascism).

But you don't like the word, so, fine. Give me something else. Give me the word which YOU would use to describe a system in which coercive power is monopolized by the elite few and wielded for the "good" of the many.

Superman is an authoritarian? Superman is a paternalist-reactionary? Superman is Evil? It all works. It's your call, Bort.

Bort - 2015-04-19
You're the one making the accusation; you pick the word that best applies. But if you pick a dumb word I reserve the right to call you on it.

"which is a word that's commonly accepted in the vernacular"

I shit on the vernacular, when "the vernacular" is an excuse for remaining ignorant or refusing to be clear on what one means or doesn't mean. According to "the vernacular", Sweden and Australia share a border, not far from the Baltics.

Mickerus - 2015-04-20
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gZEdDMQZaCU

Centennial Ostrich - 2015-04-20
I just spent nearly 30 minutes in a Korean restaurant reading all these threads. Thanks, guys.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"However, self-defense requires that the person against whom you are acting as judge, jury, and executioner, is *actually an imminent threat to your life*"

Not true. Self defense applies to protecting other people. Next.
EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
And how many times does Superman do this? How often does he punch someone who is an imminent threat to someone else? Either almost never, or never. Half the time, Superman is simply dealing with criminals involved in property-related crimes, i.e. bank heists, gold looting, hijacked trains full of super-intelligent gorillas, one of whom happens to be Jimmy Olson. And even when Superman is responding to situations which potentially involve innocent victims - such as a kidnapping or a bunch of mobsters threatening to shoot a stereotypically helpless 1950s bimbo - in these situations, it's pretty much always possible for The Man of Steel to resolve the problem without resorting to punching. Superman could, for example, simply step in front of the mobsters and let them waste their bullets shooting at his adamantium-hard chest. In fact, he quite often does precisely this! After that, they are no threat; they no longer have bullets and they cannot possibly move fast enough to harm the poor damsel-in-distress, even if they wanted to; Superman could, if he so wished, calmly walk over, handcuff them and read them their rights, or he could even just stand there, keep them company, and talk to the now-terrified gangsters about the mercy and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, while they all wait for the real police to show up.

Due to Superman's unbelievable power, whenever he arrives on the scene of a crime, AT NO POINT IS ANY CRIMINAL SUCH A THREAT TO ANYONE ELSE, THAT THIS CRIMINAL NEEDS TO BE PUNCHED IN ORDER TO NEUTRALIZE HIM.

Look, let's put it this way Mr Bort; this tangent we're getting off on here, it's a matter of proportionality and the escalation of force. Answer me the following question, if you'd be so kind: What did you think of the Trayvon incident? What is your opinion about the actions of George Zimmerman?

Bort - 2015-04-19
I think you're trying to make a ridiculous and invalid comparison, that's what I think of George Zimmerman's actions.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>>I think you're trying to make a ridiculous and invalid comparison, that's what I think of George Zimmerman's actions.


No, it's not. Again, proportionality and the escalation of force. That was the central issue of the Zimmerman trial, and it is the central issue of this side discussion here.

If it's a sensitive topic for you, then I am sorry; I do not mean to offend you. But I believe - in fact, I'm almost certain, as I remember you writing about this matter before - that you were AGAINST George Zimmerman, and you believed that Zimmerman's actions were NOT justified. He did not "need" to shoot Trayvon in order to defend himself.

You understand this, I know you do. Proportionality is important when it comes to self-defense. Escalations of force must be justified. Someone like Superman - who is several thousnad orders of magnitude more powerful than George Zimmerman will ever be, even with a gun - is so in control and so far removed from danger that he never needs to "even the odds", as it were, by resorting to violence.

And yet he does. Why?




On a related, this is actually one of the reasons why I actually take comic books seriously, and why I think we *should* be examining the messages contained within them more closely. George Zimmerman did not grow up isolated in a vacuum. American society is FULL of fascist power fantasies; we're swimming in an sea of them every day! Now this does not need to be a "bad" thing; as I said before (and I was quite serious when I said it), we all have fascists urges now and then. We all want to let off a little steam and imagine that one man - namely ME - can rise above everyone else and do violence in the service of good. Some comics, suhc as Lobo, can even be used to instruct, as well as titillate - Lobo's satirical take on the superhero genre is, in many ways, a sort of comic-book Candide, and i am only slightly exaggerating when I say that it is quite possibly the most important literary work within the American superhero library. But we also, usually, don't even realize when we're indulging in these fantasies; and that, that IS a bad thing. Nobody dares think they're a fascist, until it's too late.

Things like Superman, DC Comics, they tell people that fascism is OK. They teach kids that justice is about controlling people and beating up anyone who gets outta line. That everyone who looks foreign is a criminal, and you don't need no evidence because everyone's guilty of something. They sing to us, the cops are great, and the supercops, the secret cops, THOSE GUYS are even better! And that's worrying, not just to me, but... I think it's worrying to you, too, Mr Bort. Right?


Look, getting back on topic, Superman vs Batman. Superman is an asshole. Batman is a self-aware asshole. They're both bad people trying to do good things for their own separate reasons; the important difference is, Batman, with his superior insight, actually has a chance of making the world, on the balance, just a little bit better.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Also, getting on topic and getting back offtopic again, I've noticed that a lot poeTV commenters have been complaining about Batman "aiming too low" - going after street level crime and not dealing with The Bigger Picture, like Superman (allegedly) does. I actually think this is another one of Batman's *strengths* - on the whole, Bats limits himself to violent offenders. His city is shittier than Superman's, thus giving him more moral justification for actions - not a whole lot more, but more nonetheless. And he rarely goes up his own ass, thinking his night-job makes him somehow better than he is. He's a pissed off rich kid with severe emotional issues and a burning drive to succeed; he'll take things street by street, one night at a time, because he knows that's the only way to do it.

Bort - 2015-04-19
"No, it's not. Again, proportionality and the escalation of force. That was the central issue of the Zimmerman trial, and it is the central issue of this side discussion here."

That might be what the trial swirled around, but that's not what you asked. You asked my opinion of Zimmerman's actions, and the answer there is: Zimmerman was a bigot who tailed a kid for no other reason than his skin color, continued the pursuit even after being told not to by the police dispatcher, got into a fight, found himself hilariously outmatched, and then shot the kid when he got scared.

There's no way to tie any of that bullshit to superheroes. I knew where you wanted to go with that, but it doesn't hold up. Even if Superman has sufficient power to infallibly prevent all harm in an armed bank robbery, that's still different from a thug trying to take his frustrations out on the first nigger he can find.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
OK, maybe I should have been more specific. I'm sorry.

Leaving aside all other concerns EXCEPT FOR proportionality and the escalation of force, what was your opinion on George Zimmerman?

Bort - 2015-04-19
Zimmerman's life was not at risk, so lethal force was not justified.

Even with Superman on the scene, though, it's still possible for someone to get shot. Maybe Superman gets distracted, or misjudges his actions. Even that portion of things doesn't track with Zimmerman.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
>> Zimmerman's life was not at risk, so lethal force was not justified.

BINGO! You said it yourself!


As for the rest of it, that's just silly. Zimmerman could have have easily gotten distracted. He "had" a gun which Trayvon could have taken, he "was" getting his ass kicked, and, unlike Superman, he was neither invincible bor faster than a bullet nor even a fictional character.

Superman can't just punch a criminal and say, oh, well, he MIGHT have been a danger, IF I had of been distracted. That's your classic "cop bullshit" move right there - well, the suspect didn't appear to be dangerous at the the time, but you know, to me, I just thought, shouldn't take any chances, right? Better shoot him before he decides to get in a position where he might possibly hurt someone."


We've already used Zimmerman to resolve the issue of proportionality, so now to resolve the issue of when and where to escalate force, let's hop on over to the Ferguson Riots. __Leaving aside all other concerns except for the escalation of force__, what was your opinion on the shooting death of Michael Brown?

Bort - 2015-04-19
Zimmerman STARTED the incident. How many bank robberies does Superman incite? It's a crap comparison.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2018-05-07
>>>Right, they argue it. And your counter-arguments would be...?

Superman was created by two Jews in the 1930s.

betamaxed - 2015-04-19
*Checks IMDB* "Written by: David S. Goyer."

Nope
NOPE
NOOOOOOOPE
SteamPoweredKleenex - 2015-04-19
I'll admit I've liked the Constantine TV show he's written (so far), but yeah, he's got way too many stinkers under his belt.

I'm guessing they won't put "Written by the screenwriter for Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD, the one from 1998 starring David Hasselhoff" on the posters.

Mickerus - 2015-04-20
But with Zack Snyder directing how can you go wrong?

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
And just to show you guys I'm not crazy (much), nor am I the only person to argue this before:

http://correspondingfractions.blogspot.com/2009/12/comic-books -and-fascism.html

http://www.salon.com/2013/11/30/superheroes_are_a_bunch_of_fas cists/

http://toobusythinkingboutcomics.blogspot.com/2010/07/fascist- superman-tyrant-aquaman-that.html
(^ hostile, but contains good quotations from Mark Waid)
Bort - 2015-04-19
People argue it. Deconstructing superheroes has been a growth industry since "The Watchmen". It's still typically shit.

There are about 15 million alternate-timeline Supermans out there, and the clever approach to almost all of them is: they decide to take over and run things fascist-style. Yawn. (Peter Tomasi's "The Mighty" isn't bad, though.)

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Right, they argue it. And your counter-arguments would be...?

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
More to the point, the only real meaty counter-arguments I've ever encountered are the ones put up in the last link, and those are pretty lacking in substance, to say the least - the bulk of Mr The Blogger's response is concerned with splitting hairs over the meaning of the word "adolescent" and harping on about how superheroes SAY they love democracy on a purely symbolic level (of course they do, so did the Nazis), rather than addressing the actual issue raised by postmodern academia - namely, the nature of power fantasies and their constant presence within the comic book form.

Bort - 2015-04-19
Well, as to whether they are "fascists" specifically, since few to none of the criteria for fascism apply to superheroing, that argument is DOA.

As to whether superheroes are some other sort of tyrannical fantasy, the genre is built around superheroes going after people who are actively causing harm, and heroes aspire to cause a minimum of harm even to the "bad guys" in the process of turning them over to the authorities. Outliers to that (like the Punisher) are just that; they stand out precisely because they are different. And except for those alternate timelines which are deliberately shitty places, the authorities are basically humane, and the heroes will even usually stand against officials who abuse their power. Hell, the age-old question of "why doesn't Batman kill the Joker?" is predicated on the authorities being too humane to put the Joker to death. Whether that's smart is another matter, but as with the core precepts of superheroing that keep Superman from being terrifying, you sort of have to accept it.

It's kind of like watching "Glee" but protesting that people are breaking into song and dance all the time: if you're not willing to accept that conceit, perhaps that's not the show for you.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
I'd also like to add, just real quick, that the majority of street-level people who claim (rightly) that Superman comics are inherently fascist, these people generally have no love for superheroes or for comics in general. That's why, going back to my point about the importance of awareness, I believe that we, as nerds, NEED to start taking these accusation seriously. If we don't face up to them, if we stick our heads in the sand and don't reclaim fascism for our ourselves, then sooner or later, the truth behind Superman will win out, and comics will be destroyed. (or, society will turn fascist, and Superman's facism won't be a problem anymore) Nerds need to do this, because the sort of people who love to point out that comics are intrinsically fascist, it's a small step to go to the sort of people who'd like to see comics eradicated entirely.

EvilHomer - 2015-04-19
Well, again Bort, the sense of the word "fascism" which they are using is the same sense of the word "fascism" which I am using. We have already established that you do not like this word; all you need to do is come up with a new word, and whenever you see the word "fascism" in any of those links, replace it with the new word you have chosen. It will change the symbols, but won't change the meaning.


And yes, I agree, it is a conceit. You need to be willing to put yourself in a specific mindset in order to properly immerse yourself in a comic book or in a show like Glee. In Superman, that mindset needs to be f̶a̶s̶c̶i̶s̶t̶ ______ .

Bort - 2015-04-19
It's not an accusation to take seriously. I'm sorry to say this, but anyone who has ever read a comic book, and thinks it celebrates fascism or has significant fascist undertones, didn't understand what he read.

John Holmes Motherfucker - 2018-05-07
Well, there is the unbearable whiteness of being Kryptonian. Krypton, that world which spawned of a race of advanced superbeings, is always portrayed as a kind of Leni Riefenstahl wet dream. Of course, when you're living under a red sun, who needs melanin?

Ugh - 2015-04-19
lol
Ugh - 2015-04-19
and now i can just see the shelves full of a bunch of ridiculously lame variant action figures

(in my early 30s i guess that doesnt help that expectation)

RockBolt - 2015-04-19
3 goths hanging out in a candle store
gambol - 2015-04-19
hey guys give us your opinions about this movie
StanleyPain - 2015-04-19
sweet jesus, the threads on this one are one for the record books.
SolRo - 2015-04-20
With every new GrimDark batman movie that comes out, the shitty Cloonie tongue-in-cheek ones look just that little bit better.

By the time they finish milking the franchise (without doing a fun movie), Batman and Robin will have turned into a cult classic.
blue vein steel - 2015-04-20
isn't it already a cult classic?

SolRo - 2015-04-20
I mean one enjoyed unironically

blue vein steel - 2015-04-20
hey cool, i'm friends with one of the guys on "Bad Movie Drinking Game", from which this is from.
themilkshark - 2015-04-20
Whoa guys. This comment thread is embarrassing. Please, just go back to watching movies the way you did as a kid: with fresh eyes. Who fucking cares about canon. It's insanity.

I really think that glowing eyes helmet makes Batfleck look exactly like LEGO Batman.
poopy - 2015-04-21
EvilHomer, you are a treasure.
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