Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

Is the Star Spangled Avenger too nice? Hell no. Wishing he was meaner is failure to grasp the concept.

Read Full Article
 

TiberiusEsuriens

New member
Jun 24, 2010
834
0
0
Ha, I guessed correctly that the buildup of this article was to namedrop MovieBob's description of William Burnside. I don't think it needed three pages to do so, but they didn't go wasted.

I had this same feeling. As a 'haven't-read-the-comics person,' when my wife first told me of Riesman's complaint the first words out of my mouth were "but that is THE ENTIRE POINT of Captain America. He's not a military fighter; he's a social justice warrior."
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
TiberiusEsuriens said:
Ha, I guessed correctly that the buildup of this article was to namedrop MovieBob's description of William Burnside. I don't think it needed three pages to do so, but they didn't go wasted.
hahaha, quiet you!
 
Oct 20, 2010
424
0
0
Fun article Ross, and well said. Captain America does NOT need to be gloomy. That crap ruined the X-Men and it pooping all over Spider-Man.

You are correct, the asshole characters get boring FAST. Besides, can you even have a character now who IS gloomy who won't get called a Batman clone?
 

Peter200lx

New member
Nov 11, 2009
3
0
0
Thank you for this article, it echos my thoughts on the character quite well. I have been impressed with how well the Marvel movies have kept the Captain America true to his principles.
 

Trishbot

New member
May 10, 2011
1,318
0
0
One of the reasons I'm enjoying the Marvel movies and not the DC movies is because Marvel movies remembered they can have FUN with their colorful characters, AND they can stand for high ideals without compromising their integrity with traumatic backstories and moody self-loathing.

And what do we have here...

A noble, heroic, selfless, incorruptible symbol of America truth and justice, trying to find his place in a modern world of shady governments and moral ambiguity... Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a better Superman movie than Man of Steel.
 

Ishal

New member
Oct 30, 2012
1,177
0
0
Cap is a boy scout and a goody two shoes. Like so many have said, that's the point. People nowadays don't grasp certain traits of characters, and they throw around the "Mary Sue" label so much it's starting to lose all meaning. There are paragons of virtue and good in the world. I've met some. I've met people who haven't done a single evil/bad/regrettable thing in their lives. They are rare, exceedingly rare, but they exist. People like Cap and what he represents can and do exist.

To the claim that they aren't interesting, well, perhaps to certain people who like to see flawed characters all the time. But flaws =/= interesting or good characters. I'm tired of cynicism and brooding antiheroes. They have their place, I watch and enjoy Game of Thrones. I liked the Dark Knight films for what they offered. But having dark characters all the time wil saturate the landscape with them and THAT will make THEM uninteresting and boring. Hell, it's already happening.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Trishbot said:
One of the reasons I'm enjoying the Marvel movies and not the DC movies is because Marvel movies remembered they can have FUN with their colorful characters, AND they can stand for high ideals without compromising their integrity with traumatic backstories and moody self-loathing.
One thing I'm particularly happy with is how the MCU has for the most part rejected The Hero's Journey as the go-to guide to character creation. In addition, they don't rely on Destiny as the reason they've managed to do heroic deeds. WB's increasingly bland take on the DC universe characters, plus the way the Xmen and Spider-Man are being treated contrast poorly to that.
 

Trishbot

New member
May 10, 2011
1,318
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Trishbot said:
One of the reasons I'm enjoying the Marvel movies and not the DC movies is because Marvel movies remembered they can have FUN with their colorful characters, AND they can stand for high ideals without compromising their integrity with traumatic backstories and moody self-loathing.
One thing I'm particularly happy with is how the MCU has for the most part rejected The Hero's Journey as the go-to guide to character creation. In addition, they don't rely on Destiny as the reason they've managed to do heroic deeds. WB's increasingly bland take on the DC universe characters, plus the way the Xmen and Spider-Man are being treated contrast poorly to that.
Very much agreed.

A friend of mine pointed out how all of the Avengers have origins that supplement each other.
Iron Man is a self-made superhero, using cunning and ingenuity. He becomes a hero after his own creations were used against him, showing him the error of his ways.
Thor is a literal god of Asgard, cocky and confident with a might makes right mentality until his father humbles him without power on earth, forcing him to develop the skills and humility to be a true leader who uses his power to protect those weaker.
Captain America is a man who was a pure hero in everything but body, who would lay down his life for others but had to fight to even get that opportunity. He earns the right to become Captain America and then further uses that status to protect a world from bullies, both outside of and within his own country.
The Hulk is a man who played god and paid the price, forever in battle with a rampaging monster vying for control of his body and fearful of whether the monster within is a mindless beast of destruction or something he can guide and control to save others.
Black Widow is a former KGB spy with an apparent history of murder and espionage who had her fill of it and now seeks to atone and put her skills towards protecting the world.

And on and on it goes. While there is a "hero's journey" in the purest sense (a potential hero needs to learn a lesson, a big event transforms their lives, they become a hero after learning this lesson), it's done so in a more organic and less predictable way.

But, I think most importantly, the people they were "before" their transformation remain AFTER as well. Iron Man is still cocky and arrogant, but he redirects it. Captain America is still heroic and selfless, but now can apply his skills. Bruce Banner is still brilliant and smart, but he now applies it towards controlling what he unleashed. Black Widow is still a cunning and seductive spy, but she uses it to benefit others. Only Thor, I would say, matured out of hotheaded arrogance and faith in power.
 

Callate

New member
Dec 5, 2008
5,118
0
0
I agree with the premise that Captain America is a better and more interesting character for not being a cynical, conflicted brute who refuses to let anyone get close to him. One of the more interesting character notes in Winter Solider is that in his proximity to Nick Fury and Black Widow, his optimism seems to rub off on them rather than their more cynical/pragmatic approach on him.

...But I don't necessarily agree that "dark" characters need inherently be boring. I think the key word is not "dark" but "predictable"- when Ross mentions "you start to realize you know exactly how the story is going to turn out", that's the real issue. "Dark" becomes a problem when it prevents the character from growing or the plot from branching out; it's like a noir detective who you know in the end will be broke, bruised, and not have the girl. Not all "dark" characters are so predictable, nor need they be, nor should they be.

Things move in cycles. When the Comics Code was more of a threat, there were plenty of square-jawed heroes who you knew beyond doubt would catch the bad guy (gently, please!) and turn them over to the cops, all the while instructing their ward or other youthful "this could be you, kiddies" characters about sticking to the straight and narrow. Now, more things are Batman- but more to the point, one interpretation of Batman.

We'll weather this, too.
 

TheMemoman

New member
Mar 11, 2013
130
0
0
Let me offer some international perspective. The American Way doesn't mean to us what it means to you. To the third world it means bombs and threat. The American Way is our Smaug. I (as well as my friends) loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America suddenly became my favorite movie theater superhero. How are both of the latter sentences not contradictory? The answer to that is simple, and just like Captain America, simple doesn't mean plain or stupid. It means earnest.

We don't hate Captain America for representing America, we don't hate America. The all encompassing entity named America really has two distinctly separate, opposing components. The people, who work hard to make it by, and the government who profits in war and lies to its people. Being in the third world doesn't make you a stupid cliché villain who hates everything associated with America. We are able to see the dichotomy in your identity as America because we also suffer from such dichotomy. In every single country we have people on one side and government on the other. Those who want to live and be fulfilled as humans, and those who are psychopathically addicted to power. Justice against Corruption. Which is what defines Captain America as a character. At least in the movies.

It's that sense of justice, of being a shining beacon of respect for human life, that we all love in Captain America. I've said the word America now about seven hundred times in this three paragraphs, not once with an ounce of hate, maliciousness or wishing ill on its people. Because the values Captain America stands for transcend our primitive notions of nationalism and borders. What matters is that at least on the screen we can count on someone that has the character, the moral strength and specially the resilient courage to stand for what is right. No matter allegiances, race, country or flag.

That particular scene when Nick Fury stares down at Captain America "to get with the program" rather now than later, if you put it in context, realizing the events that just unfolded in The Avengers, who Nick Fury is, represents and what he has done for all of them, then it's easy to see why that scene has so much impact when Captain America answers back "Don't hold your breath." and walks away. Not even the display of disproportionate firepower in front of him (which actually made me say,"Cool! The Earth is getting its own space army!" Silly, sod.) nor Nick Fury's severity made him flinch or doubt for a second. That to me is way more impressive (and downright bad-ass!) than toppling building after building.

These matters of ethic fiber are done without any cheap pathos or emotional string-tugging, it's just a moral stand off, based on arguments, and for the sake of superhero movie delight, actions. Captain America puts his money where his mouth is. You gotta respect that.
 

orangeapples

New member
Aug 1, 2009
1,836
0
0
It is fun being in a world in which the childlike idealism of "don't be a dick" is seen as the more mature option. I think what it is is that it is easy being a dick. People go to these movies and want to relater to the characters, but when the characters don't take the easy path people think it is unrealistic and too much sunshine and rainbows.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Callate said:
I agree with the premise that Captain America is a better and more interesting character for not being a cynical, conflicted brute who refuses to let anyone get close to him. One of the more interesting character notes in Winter Solider is that in his proximity to Nick Fury and Black Widow, his optimism seems to rub off on them rather than their more cynical/pragmatic approach on him.

...But I don't necessarily agree that "dark" characters need inherently be boring. I think the key word is not "dark" but "predictable"- when Ross mentions "you start to realize you know exactly how the story is going to turn out", that's the real issue. "Dark" becomes a problem when it prevents the character from growing or the plot from branching out; it's like a noir detective who you know in the end will be broke, bruised, and not have the girl. Not all "dark" characters are so predictable, nor need they be, nor should they be.

Things move in cycles. When the Comics Code was more of a threat, there were plenty of square-jawed heroes who you knew beyond doubt would catch the bad guy (gently, please!) and turn them over to the cops, all the while instructing their ward or other youthful "this could be you, kiddies" characters about sticking to the straight and narrow. Now, more things are Batman- but more to the point, one interpretation of Batman.

We'll weather this, too.
Yeah, I tried to make it clear that I wasn't writing off darkness period, (and I like A LOT of the dark titles I mentioned) but pointing out that it became the single overriding cliche of our time. It's everywhere, regardless of whether it even fits. Bleak meanness for its own sake. "I'm the goddamned batman" indeed.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
TheMemoman said:
Let me offer some international perspective. The American Way doesn't mean to us what it means to you. To the third world it means bombs and threat. The American Way is our Smaug. I (as well as my friends) loved Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Captain America suddenly became my favorite movie theater superhero. How are both of the latter sentences not contradictory? The answer to that is simple, and just like Captain America, simple doesn't mean plain or stupid. It means earnest.

We don't hate Captain America for representing America, we don't hate America. The all encompassing entity named America really has two distinctly separate, opposing components. The people, who work hard to make it by, and the government who profits in war and lies to its people. Being in the third world doesn't make you a stupid cliché villain who hates everything associated with America. We are able to see the dichotomy in your identity as America because we also suffer from such dichotomy. In every single country we have people on one side and government on the other. Those who want to live and be fulfilled as humans, and those who are psychopathically addicted to power. Justice against Corruption. Which is what defines Captain America as a character. At least in the movies.

It's that sense of justice, of being a shining beacon of respect for human life, that we all love in Captain America. I've said the word America now about seven hundred times in this three paragraphs, not once with an ounce of hate, maliciousness or wishing ill on its people. Because the values Captain America stands for transcend our primitive notions of nationalism and borders. What matters is that at least on the screen we can count on someone that has the character, the moral strength and specially the resilient courage to stand for what is right. No matter allegiances, race, country or flag.

That particular scene when Nick Fury stares down at Captain America "to get with the program" rather now than later, if you put it in context, realizing the events that just unfolded in The Avengers, who Nick Fury is, represents and what he has done for all of them, then it's easy to see why that scene has so much impact when Captain America answers back "Don't hold your breath." and walks away. Not even the display of disproportionate firepower in front of him (which actually made me say,"Cool! The Earth is getting its own space army!" Silly, sod.) nor Nick Fury's severity made him flinch or doubt for a second. That to me is way more impressive (and downright bad-ass!) than toppling building after building.

These matters of ethic fiber are done without any cheap pathos or emotional string-tugging, it's just a moral stand off, based on arguments, and for the sake of superhero movie delight, actions. Captain America puts his money where his mouth is. You gotta respect that.
Quoted for truth. Hopefully my similar thoughts came through in this article. As I said, Cap doesn't defend American power, he defends American values.
 

Ratty

New member
Jan 21, 2014
848
0
0

The whole "heroes must change to fit the fanon conception that they are all dark and gritty" strikes me as something like a reverse Draco in Leather Pants.

It comes down to what you really want out of your heroes I guess. Do you want noble archetypes to aspire to or more relateable figures to project your fantasies on?[footnote]Often misidentified as "realistic". If years of brown and gray video games have taught anything it's that "realism" is boring, and ultimately unattainable in fantastical situations anyway. A truly realistic Batman would just be a rich guy who donates lots of money to the Police.[/footnote] Deep down a lot of people want to be a Frank Miller Batman. Powerful through wealth, nasty and able to scare and beat up others while always being morally "right", that's their ideal power fantasy. And as long as it's a fantasy there's nothing wrong with that, though I think it's unfortunate that they don't aspire to more.

Personally I like my Batman like I like other superheroes, as a decent person trying to do the right thing. As I saw recently pointed out this version of Batman was summed up perfectly at the end of the Batman:TAS episode "Harley's Holiday"

"Harley Quinn: There's one thing I gotta know. Why'd you stay with me all day? Riskin' your butt for someone who's never given you anything but trouble?"

"Batman: I know what it's like to try and rebuild a life. I had a bad day to, once."
 

K12

New member
Dec 28, 2012
943
0
0
The mistake people make is assuming that a "character flaw" must mean that the character is an asshole in some situations. Sure a character without flaws is dull but Captain America does have flaws, he's sincere to a fault and won't make compromises in situations where it is arguably a more prudent option to do so.

The idea that a good guy has no struggles is silly. It isn't easy to stick with principles especially when you have to call out people who are essentially your allies.

I think it is easier and more satisfying to imagine that you are justified in pummelling your enemies to death than it is to imagine giving them a fair trial and a full list of human rights. The latter is far more heroic but the first may be a more appealing power fantasy.
 

Racecarlock

New member
Jul 10, 2010
2,497
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

Is the Star Spangled Avenger too nice? Hell no. Wishing he was meaner is failure to grasp the concept.

Read Full Article
I will admit I just quoted you in the off chance that you also have quote notifications enabled so I might get a faster response, but here we go.

Let me tell you about literally the WORST CHARACTER I have ever encountered in ANY FICTION.

Max Payne 3's Max Payne. I have never met someone more cynical and yet more uninteresting than max payne. When he's not making social commentary, he's constantly constantly CONSTANTLY (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!) calling himself a loser or wishing to die or wishing to die or wishing to die and DID I MENTION HE LOVES WISHING TO DIE!? I stopped playing because of him. Right after I saved that one girl. Because after that, you have to figure out this conspiracy to make you a fall guy, and the next chapter is sarcastically titled "The Great American Savior". At that point, I said "No. I cannot take this anymore". Why should I waste my time on a guy who will probably kill himself after the game's ending? Why should I waste my time on some guy who manages to fix his alcoholism but doesn't ever fix his attitude because he's so fucking above everything.

People think captain america is an uninteresting character? No! No, I say. Max Payne 3's Max Payne is an uninteresting character. He's so uninteresting and so unlikable that I no longer wanted to play a game with some of the best shooting mechanics I've ever seen. He's that bad. I'm hoping that when I stopped playing, one of the guards in that hotel found him and shot him. It's apparently what he fucking wants anyways.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start. It should be noted that the big trick in a lot of cases to doing genuinely good characters is to have them be good without being stupid. This goes back to the old joke/point that "evil will always win, because good is dumb" in pointing out reality vs. fantasy, or more realistic fantasy situations that get ultra-dark because of it. For example in "Winter Soldier" part of what's wrong with Captain America is that the guy is by definition part of what started as a covert government program. World War II wasn't morally ambigious because of civil liberties issues at home, but because like most things we won largely by being the bigger bastards. We dropped more bombs and massacred more Germans than the Nazis did during the "horrors" they inflicted in London during "The Blitz" thanks to guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who are the reason we won the war (like it or not), people who were decorated heavily by the US and Britan alike, yet were reviled as the same kinds of war criminals as the ones we tried and convicted by the other side. The winners get to write the history books. The purpose of Captain America was actually the opposite of what a lot of people here seem to think, he's a dude who ran around calling Nazis "Krauts" and other slurs that could make it into print to dehumanize them, and he did very much enter the military to act as a weapon against it's enemies. Conceptually he's sort of an answer to left wing isolationist sentiments at the time, and those in the US who were very pro-Nazi (Hitler was an international man
of the year).

Later generations of creators, especially after they retconned away from the whole "commie smasher" days by saying it was never *really* Captain America started using him as a social critic, and a way to attack those that didn't have a left wing idealogy. Forget the whole "William Burnside" thing, it becomes somewhat difficult to reconcile him with the character from World War II he's allegedly still supposed to be.

What's more look at what he did in say "Winter Soldier" where he destroys the three Helicarriers at the end. Okay, granted, maybe him being as pessimistic as Nick Fury doesn't work (they exist to play off each other to an extent, even in the comics, we have two separate characters for a reason), but when he wrecks these weapons as opposed to simply disabling them so Hydra can't use them, he goes from being "moral" to "stupid" especially in a world where things like Hydra exists, and the planet was already invaded by aliens once. It's a case where the writers lust for smacking down the US military/industrial complex trumped any kind of good writing for the character.

What's more while Captain America shouldn't be quite as jingoistic as he is in the "Ultimate" version, one point that version does make is that realistically Cap *would* be invading Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia, and other places opposed to the US. Indeed part of the point of Captain America, and him being "super" is specifically that he can be dropped behind the lines of places like that and say taken down Iranian nuclear programs, or thwart the schemes of the KGB or Kim Jong Un's tech divisions, without actually having to send in the military... and if they DO send in the military, he'd be right there with them. I mean let's not forget the whole "War On Terror" did start with an attack on US soil, against both military (The Pentagon) and Civilian targets. Properly Captain America would be critical of say The Bush administration for war profiteering, but he'd be just as critical of the left wing stupidity in how to conduct a war and not focusing on a practical method of winning... and yep, in wartime Cap would dehumanize his opponents, and start screaming racial and cultural epitats, not because he's racist, but because it gets under people's skin, and also makes it easier to brutalize people you dehumanize. If you think that doesn't sound like Captain America, then you don't know Captain America, as both him and Nick Fury used terms like "Krauts" and the like for the Germans for the same reason, he wasn't racist, he was just a warrior who knew what he was doing.

That said, the bottom line is that a character like Captain America was created largely for military-type stories and to focus on duels between nations and such. A lot of what causes the concept not to work is when you start involving him too much on a domestic level, which inevitably leads to the writers (currently dominated by the left wing) using him to make very one sided political points which don't always work for a character who is by definition the embodiment of America's military industrial complex, and using overwhelming force for the right reasons (with right being American principles, or the defense thereof).

In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it, and in writing this character in particular it's important that he doesn't become an embodiment of one side of the political spectrum, like he has been for the left wing. Right now Captain America has arguably become a parody equivalent to if he was say a defender of the upper 1% of American society, and spent all of his time punching people in the name of economic theory on behalf of bankers and corporations. Socially Captain America should be VERY militant, but he should also be someone who doesn't exactly act as a tool of the upper class either. When it comes to more social issues, gay rights, racism, etc... he doesn't belong there even if he's long since been used in those kinds of stories by those with an agenda. Those kinds of issues are things he as a super hero is supposed to exist above, as that is exactly the kind of garbage people read comics to get away from.

See, right now I think Captain America should be say punting Kim Jong Un and his ilk, much like his old "Hitler Punching Days", along with the regular super hero stuff. The problem is left wing writers and their "peace at any price" agenda prevents them from acknowledging any group as a real enemy of the US, and treating it that way, and honestly that kind of enemy (originally the Nazis) was what Cap was intended to fight, and arguably be a counterpoint/shaming influence on people like the current left wing who refused to accept those threats, or believed the US should stay out of such events and remain isolationist/it's their own business. Cap was designed as "the guy who goes to war" *NOT* as "the guy who whines about wars and tries to undermine them".
 

StHubi

New member
Jan 15, 2010
56
0
0
That was a really great article! I like Captain America the way he is. In my eyes the "dark" has already damaged the "Amazing Spider-Man" storyline and I am not willing to see that one in the cinemas anymore. But it could really be that the mass market is quite fond of such darkness... Let's hope there will be another shift in the entertainment industry as a whole.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Racecarlock said:
RossaLincoln said:
Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

Is the Star Spangled Avenger too nice? Hell no. Wishing he was meaner is failure to grasp the concept.

Read Full Article
I will admit I just quoted you in the off chance that you also have quote notifications enabled so I might get a faster response, but here we go.

Let me tell you about literally the WORST CHARACTER I have ever encountered in ANY FICTION.

Max Payne 3's Max Payne. I have never met someone more cynical and yet more uninteresting than max payne. When he's not making social commentary, he's constantly constantly CONSTANTLY (AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!) calling himself a loser or wishing to die or wishing to die or wishing to die and DID I MENTION HE LOVES WISHING TO DIE!? I stopped playing because of him. Right after I saved that one girl. Because after that, you have to figure out this conspiracy to make you a fall guy, and the next chapter is sarcastically titled "The Great American Savior". At that point, I said "No. I cannot take this anymore". Why should I waste my time on a guy who will probably kill himself after the game's ending? Why should I waste my time on some guy who manages to fix his alcoholism but doesn't ever fix his attitude because he's so fucking above everything.

People think captain america is an uninteresting character? No! No, I say. Max Payne 3's Max Payne is an uninteresting character. He's so uninteresting and so unlikable that I no longer wanted to play a game with some of the best shooting mechanics I've ever seen. He's that bad. I'm hoping that when I stopped playing, one of the guards in that hotel found him and shot him. It's apparently what he fucking wants anyways.
So much truth contained here. I couldn't decide what I hated more, the fact that he was essentially Jack Bauer combined with Bad Lieutenant, or the fact that spending even an hour with him is the most tedious thing in the world.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Therumancer said:
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start..
I would argue that believing in fair play, equal rights, personal liberty, not being scared into submission by ominous national security paranoiacs, and not being an asshole are "what's right", unambiguously, and further, they aren't, or they shouldn't be the exclusive property of the left. If the other 50% believes otherwise, that says more about them than it does about the left.

I would also like you to describe some of these so called liberals who supported Hitler. Because in the US, the nazi sympathizers were all right wingers like Charles Lindberg who opposed things like unions, rights for minorities and equality for women. Sorry, but this is history. The leftists were, regrettably (and I am deliberately understating here) far far more likely to idealize Stalin's USSR precisely because communism and fascism were diametrically opposed to one another.

I'm sorry, but this is history. The nazis were right wing ideologues, not leftists. National Socialism was an artifact title that obscured the roots of the party having coopted an angry quasi-socialist organization and turned it into a xenophobic, anticommunist (which meant anything up to and including new deal style ideas), pro war and racist paramilitary group. They opposed liberals in their own country and once in power ruthlessly destroyed them, sending artists, gay people and dissenting intellectuals (some of whom to be fair were also conservatives) to death camps along with Roma and Jewish people. Liberals- like the ones in the US government at the time, were very much interesting in fighting hitler. The isolationists who also didn't like anything remotely commie-sounding, were the ones who wanted to stay out of it.

EDIT: just to be fair, let me note that I think that tied for worst president of the 20th century (and it's a three way tie for the country's history as a whole) is Woodrow Wilson. And not because of his attempt to create the League of Nations (because I support international cooperation and nations working together to prevent wars and so forth. I am no isolationist), but because he was a liar who gunned the country into going to war after campaigning on his record of keeping us out of WWI, he actually jailed or deported people for speaking out against the war (or for being socialist, and this was before the USSR so the only argument against was that he didn't like uppity workers), unconstitutionally limited freedom of assembly, he was opposed to women's suffrage, and was an enormous racist the likes of which hadn't been seen in the White House since before the Civil War. Just so we're clear I'm not reflexively team Democrat.
 

LysanderNemoinis

Noble and oppressed Kekistani
Nov 8, 2010
468
0
0
Therumancer said:
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start. It should be noted that the big trick in a lot of cases to doing genuinely good characters is to have them be good without being stupid. This goes back to the old joke/point that "evil will always win, because good is dumb" in pointing out reality vs. fantasy, or more realistic fantasy situations that get ultra-dark because of it. For example in "Winter Soldier" part of what's wrong with Captain America is that the guy is by definition part of what started as a covert government program. World War II wasn't morally ambigious because of civil liberties issues at home, but because like most things we won largely by being the bigger bastards. We dropped more bombs and massacred more Germans than the Nazis did during the "horrors" they inflicted in London during "The Blitz" thanks to guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who are the reason we won the war (like it or not), people who were decorated heavily by the US and Britan alike, yet were reviled as the same kinds of war criminals as the ones we tried and convicted by the other side. The winners get to write the history books. The purpose of Captain America was actually the opposite of what a lot of people here seem to think, he's a dude who ran around calling Nazis "Krauts" and other slurs that could make it into print to dehumanize them, and he did very much enter the military to act as a weapon against it's enemies. Conceptually he's sort of an answer to left wing isolationist sentiments at the time, and those in the US who were very pro-Nazi (Hitler was an international man
of the year).

Later generations of creators, especially after they retconned away from the whole "commie smasher" days by saying it was never *really* Captain America started using him as a social critic, and a way to attack those that didn't have a left wing idealogy. Forget the whole "William Burnside" thing, it becomes somewhat difficult to reconcile him with the character from World War II he's allegedly still supposed to be.

What's more look at what he did in say "Winter Soldier" where he destroys the three Helicarriers at the end. Okay, granted, maybe him being as pessimistic as Nick Fury doesn't work (they exist to play off each other to an extent, even in the comics, we have two separate characters for a reason), but when he wrecks these weapons as opposed to simply disabling them so Hydra can't use them, he goes from being "moral" to "stupid" especially in a world where things like Hydra exists, and the planet was already invaded by aliens once. It's a case where the writers lust for smacking down the US military/industrial complex trumped any kind of good writing for the character.

What's more while Captain America shouldn't be quite as jingoistic as he is in the "Ultimate" version, one point that version does make is that realistically Cap *would* be invading Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia, and other places opposed to the US. Indeed part of the point of Captain America, and him being "super" is specifically that he can be dropped behind the lines of places like that and say taken down Iranian nuclear programs, or thwart the schemes of the KGB or Kim Jong Un's tech divisions, without actually having to send in the military... and if they DO send in the military, he'd be right there with them. I mean let's not forget the whole "War On Terror" did start with an attack on US soil, against both military (The Pentagon) and Civilian targets. Properly Captain America would be critical of say The Bush administration for war profiteering, but he'd be just as critical of the left wing stupidity in how to conduct a war and not focusing on a practical method of winning... and yep, in wartime Cap would dehumanize his opponents, and start screaming racial and cultural epitats, not because he's racist, but because it gets under people's skin, and also makes it easier to brutalize people you dehumanize. If you think that doesn't sound like Captain America, then you don't know Captain America, as both him and Nick Fury used terms like "Krauts" and the like for the Germans for the same reason, he wasn't racist, he was just a warrior who knew what he was doing.

That said, the bottom line is that a character like Captain America was created largely for military-type stories and to focus on duels between nations and such. A lot of what causes the concept not to work is when you start involving him too much on a domestic level, which inevitably leads to the writers (currently dominated by the left wing) using him to make very one sided political points which don't always work for a character who is by definition the embodiment of America's military industrial complex, and using overwhelming force for the right reasons (with right being American principles, or the defense thereof).

In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it, and in writing this character in particular it's important that he doesn't become an embodiment of one side of the political spectrum, like he has been for the left wing. Right now Captain America has arguably become a parody equivalent to if he was say a defender of the upper 1% of American society, and spent all of his time punching people in the name of economic theory on behalf of bankers and corporations. Socially Captain America should be VERY militant, but he should also be someone who doesn't exactly act as a tool of the upper class either. When it comes to more social issues, gay rights, racism, etc... he doesn't belong there even if he's long since been used in those kinds of stories by those with an agenda. Those kinds of issues are things he as a super hero is supposed to exist above, as that is exactly the kind of garbage people read comics to get away from.

See, right now I think Captain America should be say punting Kim Jong Un and his ilk, much like his old "Hitler Punching Days", along with the regular super hero stuff. The problem is left wing writers and their "peace at any price" agenda prevents them from acknowledging any group as a real enemy of the US, and treating it that way, and honestly that kind of enemy (originally the Nazis) was what Cap was intended to fight, and arguably be a counterpoint/shaming influence on people like the current left wing who refused to accept those threats, or believed the US should stay out of such events and remain isolationist/it's their own business. Cap was designed as "the guy who goes to war" *NOT* as "the guy who whines about wars and tries to undermine them".
Wow... That is easily the smartest thing I've read on The Escapist in...a very long time indeed. For a long time, Captain America has been Captain Liberal America. Now granted, I'm not surprised the author of this article finds no fault in Cap only representing his side of the political spectrum. And while it was good to see Captain America kicking the hell out of nazis, I don't see why it was such a bad idea when he went against communists. More people have been killed in the name of communism than by the Nation Socialist German Workers Party by far. I mean, the nazis were pikers compared to the soviets and the communist Chinese, and they were our allies (sadly) in WWII. Most of the biggest mass murderers in the 20th century were communists. In the real word, there are evil people. Sometimes these lunatics lead countries and they warp the minds of their people. Why is it bad to point that out, and to have a superhero to fight against them in comic books?

On the other hand, I have to say that I agree when it comes to using comics (though in my case video games and anime more often) to escape from all the crap of the real world and all the issues and baggage it has, I think it's a good thing. Not everything needs to have politics injected into it. Not every game, book, movie, TV show, comic book, etc. needs to bash the viewer/reader/player over the head again and again with heavy-handed moralizing (mostly of the left-wing variety). Can't we just have at least a few things that are apolitical? And no, I'm not being hypocritical by asking to not have everything be political after talking about Cap's politics, because he's already being used for an agenda (like most superheroes).

And I'd like to at least congratulate Mr. Lincoln on not using any derogatory and offensive language this time around. I'm sure it was difficult for you not to insult people who don't believe the same things you do.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
LysanderNemoinis said:
Therumancer said:
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start. It should be noted that the big trick in a lot of cases to doing genuinely good characters is to have them be good without being stupid. This goes back to the old joke/point that "evil will always win, because good is dumb" in pointing out reality vs. fantasy, or more realistic fantasy situations that get ultra-dark because of it. For example in "Winter Soldier" part of what's wrong with Captain America is that the guy is by definition part of what started as a covert government program. World War II wasn't morally ambigious because of civil liberties issues at home, but because like most things we won largely by being the bigger bastards. We dropped more bombs and massacred more Germans than the Nazis did during the "horrors" they inflicted in London during "The Blitz" thanks to guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who are the reason we won the war (like it or not), people who were decorated heavily by the US and Britan alike, yet were reviled as the same kinds of war criminals as the ones we tried and convicted by the other side. The winners get to write the history books. The purpose of Captain America was actually the opposite of what a lot of people here seem to think, he's a dude who ran around calling Nazis "Krauts" and other slurs that could make it into print to dehumanize them, and he did very much enter the military to act as a weapon against it's enemies. Conceptually he's sort of an answer to left wing isolationist sentiments at the time, and those in the US who were very pro-Nazi (Hitler was an international man
of the year).

Later generations of creators, especially after they retconned away from the whole "commie smasher" days by saying it was never *really* Captain America started using him as a social critic, and a way to attack those that didn't have a left wing idealogy. Forget the whole "William Burnside" thing, it becomes somewhat difficult to reconcile him with the character from World War II he's allegedly still supposed to be.

What's more look at what he did in say "Winter Soldier" where he destroys the three Helicarriers at the end. Okay, granted, maybe him being as pessimistic as Nick Fury doesn't work (they exist to play off each other to an extent, even in the comics, we have two separate characters for a reason), but when he wrecks these weapons as opposed to simply disabling them so Hydra can't use them, he goes from being "moral" to "stupid" especially in a world where things like Hydra exists, and the planet was already invaded by aliens once. It's a case where the writers lust for smacking down the US military/industrial complex trumped any kind of good writing for the character.

What's more while Captain America shouldn't be quite as jingoistic as he is in the "Ultimate" version, one point that version does make is that realistically Cap *would* be invading Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia, and other places opposed to the US. Indeed part of the point of Captain America, and him being "super" is specifically that he can be dropped behind the lines of places like that and say taken down Iranian nuclear programs, or thwart the schemes of the KGB or Kim Jong Un's tech divisions, without actually having to send in the military... and if they DO send in the military, he'd be right there with them. I mean let's not forget the whole "War On Terror" did start with an attack on US soil, against both military (The Pentagon) and Civilian targets. Properly Captain America would be critical of say The Bush administration for war profiteering, but he'd be just as critical of the left wing stupidity in how to conduct a war and not focusing on a practical method of winning... and yep, in wartime Cap would dehumanize his opponents, and start screaming racial and cultural epitats, not because he's racist, but because it gets under people's skin, and also makes it easier to brutalize people you dehumanize. If you think that doesn't sound like Captain America, then you don't know Captain America, as both him and Nick Fury used terms like "Krauts" and the like for the Germans for the same reason, he wasn't racist, he was just a warrior who knew what he was doing.

That said, the bottom line is that a character like Captain America was created largely for military-type stories and to focus on duels between nations and such. A lot of what causes the concept not to work is when you start involving him too much on a domestic level, which inevitably leads to the writers (currently dominated by the left wing) using him to make very one sided political points which don't always work for a character who is by definition the embodiment of America's military industrial complex, and using overwhelming force for the right reasons (with right being American principles, or the defense thereof).

In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it, and in writing this character in particular it's important that he doesn't become an embodiment of one side of the political spectrum, like he has been for the left wing. Right now Captain America has arguably become a parody equivalent to if he was say a defender of the upper 1% of American society, and spent all of his time punching people in the name of economic theory on behalf of bankers and corporations. Socially Captain America should be VERY militant, but he should also be someone who doesn't exactly act as a tool of the upper class either. When it comes to more social issues, gay rights, racism, etc... he doesn't belong there even if he's long since been used in those kinds of stories by those with an agenda. Those kinds of issues are things he as a super hero is supposed to exist above, as that is exactly the kind of garbage people read comics to get away from.

See, right now I think Captain America should be say punting Kim Jong Un and his ilk, much like his old "Hitler Punching Days", along with the regular super hero stuff. The problem is left wing writers and their "peace at any price" agenda prevents them from acknowledging any group as a real enemy of the US, and treating it that way, and honestly that kind of enemy (originally the Nazis) was what Cap was intended to fight, and arguably be a counterpoint/shaming influence on people like the current left wing who refused to accept those threats, or believed the US should stay out of such events and remain isolationist/it's their own business. Cap was designed as "the guy who goes to war" *NOT* as "the guy who whines about wars and tries to undermine them".
Wow... That is easily the smartest thing I've read on The Escapist in...a very long time indeed. For a long time, Captain America has been Captain Liberal America. Now granted, I'm not surprised the author of this article finds no fault in Cap only representing his side of the political spectrum. And while it was good to see Captain America kicking the hell out of nazis, I don't see why it was such a bad idea when he went against communists. More people have been killed in the name of communism than by the Nation Socialist German Workers Party by far. I mean, the nazis were pikers compared to the soviets and the communist Chinese, and they were our allies (sadly) in WWII. Most of the biggest mass murderers in the 20th century were communists. In the real word, there are evil people. Sometimes these lunatics lead countries and they warp the minds of their people. Why is it bad to point that out, and to have a superhero to fight against them in comic books?

On the other hand, I have to say that I agree when it comes to using comics (though in my case video games and anime more often) to escape from all the crap of the real world and all the issues and baggage it has, I think it's a good thing. Not everything needs to have politics injected into it. Not every game, book, movie, TV show, comic book, etc. needs to bash the viewer/reader/player over the head again and again with heavy-handed moralizing (mostly of the left-wing variety). Can't we just have at least a few things that are apolitical? And no, I'm not being hypocritical by asking to not have everything be political after talking about Cap's politics, because he's already being used for an agenda (like most superheroes).

And I'd like to at least congratulate Mr. Lincoln on not using any derogatory and offensive language this time around. I'm sure it was difficult for you not to insult people who don't believe the same things you do.
In my defense, I did insult people who think Captain America should be an asshole - I compared them to Harry Potter slashfic writers after all. Also, I compared Batman to patchouli. That's pretty insulting.

I will say that if Captain America doesn't belong "there" with regard to racism, hatred of gays and the like, then what is he fighting for? Why bother caring about America if you don't want America to be a better place? Captain America is a symbol, but our country isn't, it's a real place.

Also, I should think we can all, right and left, agree that bigots are bad people, especially bigots who seek to codify their prejudice into law, right?

EDIT: I'll add that I can see the appeal of art that functions only as escapism. But I also would suggest that the majority comics readers would like the art they like to aspire to more than simple escapism. And so too do the creatives toiling behind the scenes. If you think comics *should* only be escapist, that's fine, and there are plenty of comics out there that do just that. But overall, comics have rarely been just that for the last 50 years. We live (as we always have) in interesting times, and it's often fun and enlightening to see how those interesting times play out in our entertainment. If we ignore the clear zeitgeists as they happen, we render whatever art we make as pointless as Lawrence Welk. Captain America is a perfectly cromulent vehicle for finding ways to discuss hot button issues of the day, and the comic has been for decades. What I mean to say is, that ship sailed long ago.

And again, I don't think having a character designed to be the embodiment of All That Is Right About America also be opposed to discrimination and dealing head-on with the big issues actually happening in America is particularly contradictory. It'd feel a bit weirder if, say, Ambush Bug had a storyline about Kony.
 

Mr. Q

New member
Apr 30, 2013
767
0
0
Abraham Riesman comes off as the worst "comic fan" you NEVER want in your local comic book store, in your convention hall, anywhere near your friends and family, or even in your life for a brief second. Anyone who honestly believes characters like Duke Nukem and Lobo are the pinnacle of characterization and demands that all characters should follow their lead should be immediately be placed in a psychiatric ward for the rest of their lives. It's that kind of antisocial douche-bag mindset that poisons and corrupts any form of entertainment, be it comics or movie or video games. Personally, the world can do with less Abraham Riesman's and more Steve Rogers. People who are kind, compassionate, and selfless are a rarity to meet in life. Also, it tends to make them more well-rounded as a person and as a character. Being a total douche-bag 24/7 only makes you as compelling as a rotting 2x4. But, anyone who survived the hellish experience of comics in the 90s can testify to that.

As for characters who act like dicks, allow me to introduce you to one dick in particular that stars in one of my favorite comics-Guy Gardner. Early in his career, during the Justice League International era (the one by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire. Not the New 52 knock-off), he was the atypical jack-off no one on the team liked. He was sexist, rude, cocky as all hell, and worshiped Reagan and Rambo like they were Moses and Jesus. But a funny thing happened when he pushed the buttons of one Dark Knight too many times. Guy Gardner challenged Batman to a fair fight. No power ring, no gadgets. Just man-to-man fisticuffs. Batman agreed to the fight and the rules.

You wanna know how well that went?


And, for your viewing pleasure, here's that epic battle from a different angle.


And, for the record, I love JLI. Mostly because it remembers to add the one thing the New 52 comics tend to leave out... levity.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Mr. Q said:
Abraham Riesman comes off as the worst "comic fan" you NEVER want in your local comic book store, in your convention hall, anywhere near your friends and family, or even in your life for a brief second. Anyone who honestly believes characters like Duke Nukem and Lobo are the pinnacle of characterization and demands that all characters should follow their lead should be immediately be placed in a psychiatric ward for the rest of their lives. It's that kind of antisocial douche-bag mindset that poisons and corrupts any form of entertainment, be it comics or movie or video games. Personally, the world can do with less Abraham Riesman's and more Steve Rogers. People who are kind, compassionate, and selfless are a rarity to meet in life. Also, it tends to make them more well-rounded as a person and as a character. Being a total douche-bag 24/7 only makes you as compelling as a rotting 2x4. But, anyone who survived the hellish experience of comics in the 90s can testify to that.

As for characters who act like dicks, allow me to introduce you to one dick in particular that stars in one of my favorite comics-Guy Gardner. Early in his career, during the Justice League International era (the one by Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire. Not the New 52 knock-off), he was the atypical jack-off no one on the team liked. He was sexist, rude, cocky as all hell, and worshiped Reagan and Rambo like they were Moses and Jesus. But a funny thing happened when he pushed the buttons of one Dark Knight too many times. Guy Gardner challenged Batman to a fair fight. No power ring, no gadgets. Just man-to-man fisticuffs. Batman agreed to the fight and the rules.

You wanna know how well that went?


And, for your viewing pleasure, here's that epic battle from a different angle.


I LOVE THIS MOMENT. Now i need to dig through my crates to find the issue.

And, for the record, I love JLI. Mostly because it remembers to add the one thing the New 52 comics tend to leave out... levity.
 

Anachronism

New member
Apr 9, 2009
1,842
0
0
Thoroughly enjoying the increasing coverage of comics on the site. It's also really gratifying to have high-quality written content that isn't Critical Intel, Experienced Points or Extra Punctuation; don't get me wrong, I like the videos on the Escapist, but I miss the days of weekly issues and lots of great articles to read. This seems to be a step back in the right direction to me.

Unsurprisingly, I wholeheartedly agree with this article. It's a lot of the reason why I love Kingdom Come so much: showing how much better stories can be when they're populated by actual heroes instead of just assholes who like fighting. It's pretty much the perfect example of how to make Superman work - even if that isn't anywhere near as hard as many would have you believe - by showing him, like Cap in The Winter Soldier, as a good man in a time when good men are considered weak because they refuse to kill the bad guy.

I love Watchmen (though I despise The Dark Knight Returns), but Kingdom Come coming along and repairing the damage the Dark Age inflicted on superhero comics was a wonderful thing.

RossaLincoln said:
No, I'm not evaluating these comics on an artistic basis - many of them are in fact extremely excellent, and remain so today. Definitely not Lobo, or The Punisher however.
Must disagree with you on that last point, I fear. Have you ever read Garth Ennis' run on the Punisher? Because it's phenomenal, undoubtedly the definitive version of the character. He's a horrible, horrible person, a bloodthirsty psychopath who simply enjoys killing people - but Ennis is aware of this.

The stories acknowledge that the Punisher's methods are abhorrent even if it's enjoyable to watch him murder sex traffickers, and the only reason he's not the villain of his own book is because the people he kills are even more evil than he is. The ending of The Slavers openly acknowledges that his way of fighting crime doesn't work. These stories actually deconstruct the concept of the violent vigilante in much the same way Kingdom Come did.

Maybe it doesn't make him a great character, but it makes for amazing stories. Punisher: Born, which chronicles his origin in the Vietnam War, is a war story worthy of being ranked alongside Platoon and Saving Private Ryan, in my opinion.
 

LysanderNemoinis

Noble and oppressed Kekistani
Nov 8, 2010
468
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
LysanderNemoinis said:
Therumancer said:
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start. It should be noted that the big trick in a lot of cases to doing genuinely good characters is to have them be good without being stupid. This goes back to the old joke/point that "evil will always win, because good is dumb" in pointing out reality vs. fantasy, or more realistic fantasy situations that get ultra-dark because of it. For example in "Winter Soldier" part of what's wrong with Captain America is that the guy is by definition part of what started as a covert government program. World War II wasn't morally ambigious because of civil liberties issues at home, but because like most things we won largely by being the bigger bastards. We dropped more bombs and massacred more Germans than the Nazis did during the "horrors" they inflicted in London during "The Blitz" thanks to guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris, who are the reason we won the war (like it or not), people who were decorated heavily by the US and Britan alike, yet were reviled as the same kinds of war criminals as the ones we tried and convicted by the other side. The winners get to write the history books. The purpose of Captain America was actually the opposite of what a lot of people here seem to think, he's a dude who ran around calling Nazis "Krauts" and other slurs that could make it into print to dehumanize them, and he did very much enter the military to act as a weapon against it's enemies. Conceptually he's sort of an answer to left wing isolationist sentiments at the time, and those in the US who were very pro-Nazi (Hitler was an international man
of the year).

Later generations of creators, especially after they retconned away from the whole "commie smasher" days by saying it was never *really* Captain America started using him as a social critic, and a way to attack those that didn't have a left wing idealogy. Forget the whole "William Burnside" thing, it becomes somewhat difficult to reconcile him with the character from World War II he's allegedly still supposed to be.

What's more look at what he did in say "Winter Soldier" where he destroys the three Helicarriers at the end. Okay, granted, maybe him being as pessimistic as Nick Fury doesn't work (they exist to play off each other to an extent, even in the comics, we have two separate characters for a reason), but when he wrecks these weapons as opposed to simply disabling them so Hydra can't use them, he goes from being "moral" to "stupid" especially in a world where things like Hydra exists, and the planet was already invaded by aliens once. It's a case where the writers lust for smacking down the US military/industrial complex trumped any kind of good writing for the character.

What's more while Captain America shouldn't be quite as jingoistic as he is in the "Ultimate" version, one point that version does make is that realistically Cap *would* be invading Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia, and other places opposed to the US. Indeed part of the point of Captain America, and him being "super" is specifically that he can be dropped behind the lines of places like that and say taken down Iranian nuclear programs, or thwart the schemes of the KGB or Kim Jong Un's tech divisions, without actually having to send in the military... and if they DO send in the military, he'd be right there with them. I mean let's not forget the whole "War On Terror" did start with an attack on US soil, against both military (The Pentagon) and Civilian targets. Properly Captain America would be critical of say The Bush administration for war profiteering, but he'd be just as critical of the left wing stupidity in how to conduct a war and not focusing on a practical method of winning... and yep, in wartime Cap would dehumanize his opponents, and start screaming racial and cultural epitats, not because he's racist, but because it gets under people's skin, and also makes it easier to brutalize people you dehumanize. If you think that doesn't sound like Captain America, then you don't know Captain America, as both him and Nick Fury used terms like "Krauts" and the like for the Germans for the same reason, he wasn't racist, he was just a warrior who knew what he was doing.

That said, the bottom line is that a character like Captain America was created largely for military-type stories and to focus on duels between nations and such. A lot of what causes the concept not to work is when you start involving him too much on a domestic level, which inevitably leads to the writers (currently dominated by the left wing) using him to make very one sided political points which don't always work for a character who is by definition the embodiment of America's military industrial complex, and using overwhelming force for the right reasons (with right being American principles, or the defense thereof).

In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it, and in writing this character in particular it's important that he doesn't become an embodiment of one side of the political spectrum, like he has been for the left wing. Right now Captain America has arguably become a parody equivalent to if he was say a defender of the upper 1% of American society, and spent all of his time punching people in the name of economic theory on behalf of bankers and corporations. Socially Captain America should be VERY militant, but he should also be someone who doesn't exactly act as a tool of the upper class either. When it comes to more social issues, gay rights, racism, etc... he doesn't belong there even if he's long since been used in those kinds of stories by those with an agenda. Those kinds of issues are things he as a super hero is supposed to exist above, as that is exactly the kind of garbage people read comics to get away from.

See, right now I think Captain America should be say punting Kim Jong Un and his ilk, much like his old "Hitler Punching Days", along with the regular super hero stuff. The problem is left wing writers and their "peace at any price" agenda prevents them from acknowledging any group as a real enemy of the US, and treating it that way, and honestly that kind of enemy (originally the Nazis) was what Cap was intended to fight, and arguably be a counterpoint/shaming influence on people like the current left wing who refused to accept those threats, or believed the US should stay out of such events and remain isolationist/it's their own business. Cap was designed as "the guy who goes to war" *NOT* as "the guy who whines about wars and tries to undermine them".
Wow... That is easily the smartest thing I've read on The Escapist in...a very long time indeed. For a long time, Captain America has been Captain Liberal America. Now granted, I'm not surprised the author of this article finds no fault in Cap only representing his side of the political spectrum. And while it was good to see Captain America kicking the hell out of nazis, I don't see why it was such a bad idea when he went against communists. More people have been killed in the name of communism than by the Nation Socialist German Workers Party by far. I mean, the nazis were pikers compared to the soviets and the communist Chinese, and they were our allies (sadly) in WWII. Most of the biggest mass murderers in the 20th century were communists. In the real word, there are evil people. Sometimes these lunatics lead countries and they warp the minds of their people. Why is it bad to point that out, and to have a superhero to fight against them in comic books?

On the other hand, I have to say that I agree when it comes to using comics (though in my case video games and anime more often) to escape from all the crap of the real world and all the issues and baggage it has, I think it's a good thing. Not everything needs to have politics injected into it. Not every game, book, movie, TV show, comic book, etc. needs to bash the viewer/reader/player over the head again and again with heavy-handed moralizing (mostly of the left-wing variety). Can't we just have at least a few things that are apolitical? And no, I'm not being hypocritical by asking to not have everything be political after talking about Cap's politics, because he's already being used for an agenda (like most superheroes).

And I'd like to at least congratulate Mr. Lincoln on not using any derogatory and offensive language this time around. I'm sure it was difficult for you not to insult people who don't believe the same things you do.
In my defense, I did insult people who think Captain America should be an asshole - I compared them to Harry Potter slashfic writers after all. Also, I compared Batman to patchouli. That's pretty insulting.

I will say that if Captain America doesn't belong "there" with regard to racism, hatred of gays and the like, then what is he fighting for? Why bother caring about America if you don't want America to be a better place? Captain America is a symbol, but our country isn't, it's a real place.

Also, I should think we can all, right and left, agree that bigots are bad people, especially bigots who seek to codify their prejudice into law, right?
We can certainly agree that bigotry is wrong, regardless of what side one is on politically, but it comes down more to who you call a bigot. Just about every conservative in politics (except for liberal republicans) are called bigots all the time, but very few say or do things that actually display a sense of hatred for people. But calling someone a racist is a good way of shutting down opposition. One example I can easily think of welfare. Anyone who wants welfare to be lessened or for there to be more efforts to get people out of work to find a job is automatically called a racist. Not implying you do it, but many liberals do. The vast majority of conservatives see welfare as necessary (at times) but not a good thing for people to use in the long term as it makes people dependent on government. Not everyone on welfare is just looking for a check, but it makes quite a few to make less of an effort to find a job, especially if the various food stamps, mediciad, unemployment and such combined allow them to live at or near the same level they were when working (mostly lower-middle class). It, like many issues, has nothing to do with race, but anyone who says such things will be called racist.

As for America being a better place, that's entirely subjective. Your version of a "better place" is most likely probably isn't the same as mine, or a lot of people. Not on The Escapist, mind you, but elsewhere in the country. For example, no one wants African Americans to be discriminated against, but my "better place" would be one where race hustlers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton go get real jobs and not continue to further inflame racial issues by always portraying white people as horrible individuals (and especially Sharpton with Jews) and causing riots. The KKK, the Westboro assholes, and the Black Panthers, these are people who need to go the hell away and stay the hell away. But I think that many of the perceived "bigots" are just people that have been impugned because they have a differing opinion.

As for the insulting remark, I meant more your use of the T-word in that post you wrote about the politician being slammed for his LARPing. And in case people are wondering why I won't say it, I just figure if victim groups can pick and choose which words they can ban and disallow people to say because they now find them offensive even if they didn't previously, then so can people like me.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
LysanderNemoinis said:
As for the insulting remark, I meant more your use of the T-word in that post you wrote about the politician being slammed for his LARPing.
I know. I was using self-deprecating humor.
 

CrazyGirl17

I am a banana!
Sep 11, 2009
5,145
0
0
Well said. I think "darker and edgier" comics can be good if done right... but when it goes too far.l. well... just look at the comics of the 90s and see how well tat turned out. And it can be argued that the new DCU is going the same route.

That's why we need more heroes like Captain America. More optimism and less cynicism, if you catch my drift.
 

WaltIsFrozen

New member
Apr 11, 2014
22
0
0
Therumancer said:
That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start.
...
In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it, and in writing this character in particular it's important that he doesn't become an embodiment of one side of the political spectrum, like he has been for the left wing.
All-American values like equality, privacy, due process and personal freedom, don't automatically become "left wing morality" just because they're rejected by the the right. I think one would have to be pretty cynical to hear quotes like these and think only 50% of Americans would agree with them :

"This isn't freedom. This is fear."
"I thought the punishment usually came after the crime."
"I don't want to kill anyone. I don't like bullies; I don't care where they're from."

Therumancer said:
Right now Captain America has arguably become a parody equivalent to if he was say a defender of the upper 1% of American society, and spent all of his time punching people in the name of economic theory on behalf of bankers and corporations.
Actually a better example would be the Captain America that you describe above. One that "*would* be invading Iran, Iraq, North Korea, China, Russia" and "would dehumanize his opponents, and start screaming racial and cultural epitats". If you think a racist war-monger represents American values, then we can agree to disagree. Personally, I'm glad we get the Captain America we see in the Marvel movies and not some Captain "Stand Your Ground" who shoots first without any regard for who he's attacking or the consequences of his actions.

Therumancer said:
Properly Captain America would be critical of say The Bush administration for war profiteering, but he'd be just as critical of the left wing stupidity in how to conduct a war and not focusing on a practical method of winning...
Not focusing on a practical method of winning is an example of "left wing stupidity"? If we're going to have a conversation about recent history, try Googling the name "Donald Rumsfeld" sometime. Bush and co. conducted two wars and never gave more than a passing thought to "practical method of winning", which is why we've still got tens of thousands of troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.


Therumancer said:
In short Captain America should be a nice guy, but he shouldn't be dumb about it...
...
The problem is left wing writers and their "peace at any price" agenda prevents them from acknowledging any group as a real enemy of the US, and treating it that way, and honestly that kind of enemy (originally the Nazis) was what Cap was intended to fight, and arguably be a counterpoint/shaming influence on people like the current left wing who refused to accept those threats, or believed the US should stay out of such events and remain isolationist/it's their own business.
To echo Ross's point, it was right wingers who were isolationists in WW2, not the left. Moreover, if you want to go back to your point about the war on terrorism, it was Bush Jr's administration who refused to take the threat of terrorism seriously pre-9/11. Only after 9/11 happened on their watch did they do anything and then they were "dumb about it" by redirecting resources away from the actual threat toward Iraq. You paint this straw man picture of the weak left versus the strong right when the reality is much different. The right is filled with war-hungry idiots who start wars and don't know how to finish them. For the left, it's not that we're anti-war in all situations. It's that we're against "dumb wars" (to quote Barack Obama). When there's a legitimate humanitarian threat that can only be resolved through military action, the left usually either falls in line or leads the charge (Rawanda).

Therumancer said:
When it comes to more social issues, gay rights, racism, etc... he doesn't belong there even if he's long since been used in those kinds of stories by those with an agenda. Those kinds of issues are things he as a super hero is supposed to exist above, as that is exactly the kind of garbage people read comics to get away from.
Jeez. You must have the most boring comics collection ever. Do yourself a favor and never read anything by Alan Moore. You'd hate his work. Also, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica? They're also "garbage".
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Therumancer said:
I agree with you to an extent, and your overall sentiment about there being nothing wrong with super heroes who are just plain out nice guys is spot on.

That said your point sort of falls apart when you start getting into specifics where your by and large equating left wing morality with "what's right" when 50% of the population disagrees with that just for a start..
I would argue that believing in fair play, equal rights, personal liberty, not being scared into submission by ominous national security paranoiacs, and not being an asshole are "what's right", unambiguously, and further, they aren't, or they shouldn't be the exclusive property of the left. If the other 50% believes otherwise, that says more about them than it does about the left.

I would also like you to describe some of these so called liberals who supported Hitler. Because in the US, the nazi sympathizers were all right wingers like Charles Lindberg who opposed things like unions, rights for minorities and equality for women. Sorry, but this is history. The leftists were, regrettably (and I am deliberately understating here) far far more likely to idealize Stalin's USSR precisely because communism and fascism were diametrically opposed to one another.

I'm sorry, but this is history. The nazis were right wing ideologues, not leftists. National Socialism was an artifact title that obscured the roots of the party having coopted an angry quasi-socialist organization and turned it into a xenophobic, anticommunist (which meant anything up to and including new deal style ideas), pro war and racist paramilitary group. They opposed liberals in their own country and once in power ruthlessly destroyed them, sending artists, gay people and dissenting intellectuals (some of whom to be fair were also conservatives) to death camps along with Roma and Jewish people. Liberals- like the ones in the US government at the time, were very much interesting in fighting hitler. The isolationists who also didn't like anything remotely commie-sounding, were the ones who wanted to stay out of it.

EDIT: just to be fair, let me note that I think that tied for worst president of the 20th century (and it's a three way tie for the country's history as a whole) is Woodrow Wilson. And not because of his attempt to create the League of Nations (because I support international cooperation and nations working together to prevent wars and so forth. I am no isolationist), but because he was a liar who gunned the country into going to war after campaigning on his record of keeping us out of WWI, he actually jailed or deported people for speaking out against the war (or for being socialist, and this was before the USSR so the only argument against was that he didn't like uppity workers), unconstitutionally limited freedom of assembly, he was opposed to women's suffrage, and was an enormous racist the likes of which hadn't been seen in the White House since before the Civil War. Just so we're clear I'm not reflexively team Democrat.
Umm, no, not even close. The Nazis were a left wing movement based on workers rights and the forcible overthrow of the upper class. A lot of the anti-Jew bigotry came about due to a lot of the upper class happened to be Jewish, and extremely racist themselves, getting into that position largely due to an entire era where Jews had a monopoly on money lending due to Christian religions forbidding it. Not all Jews were involved or were the problem of course, but they did symbolize the upper class and top 1% of the day. Indeed when you get down to it a lot of liberals in the US right now are starting just like the Nazis, albeit without the racial overtones, demonizing the top 1% and working towards tearing it down. Indeed the reason why nations like Romania got in bed with the Nazis was specifically because Germany provided muscle to assist with the "Re-romanianization of property", namely they went in, killed a lot of the top 1% (many of whom were Jewish) and then gave the land and wealth to the people through the government.

Hitler was an international man of the year because of his economic theories and the way he presented himself as a man of the people, what was appealing about him was that he envisioned/promised days when every man could have a "Volkswagon" putting cars, which were still the stuff of the upper class, into the hands of the everyman.

Now to be fair with you, Hitler was right about a lot of things, indeed a lot of the areas I go left wing on are similar to some of the areas where Hitler leaned that way. I myself tend to be very big on worker's rights, unionized labor, and limiting how much power groups of businessmen can directly leverage in society. The thing was that those things Hitler wasn't right about were absolutely bug nuts crazy. This was a guy who turned strong handed reforms into ethnic genocide, and had an agenda literally based on the occult where he believed he was going to genetically restore a race of giant, blonde-haired, psionic supermen that he believed went extinct to become our leaders. The thing was though that he got to the point of being able to indulge that insanity because he was incredibly popular and charismatic on a global level, and very much following an extremely liberal agenda assuming you weren't say a Jew or a Gypsy and on one of his genocide lists. The guys who followed Hitler in the US were pretty much the everyman, the guys who liked the ideas presented by the dude who was telling them that he could build an economy which would let everyone have a car, along with greater equity between the rich and poor.

See the thing is Hitler has only been made out to be this monsterous nightmare dictator after the war ended due to propaganda. The scary thing about him is that he's the guy you like, the leader who tells you what you want to hear, and happens to be honest about most of it to the point where you kind of miss those insane little points that are going to snowball as time goes on. The funny thing about Godwin's law is how so many people like to compare leaders they don't like to Hitler, when really an appropriate comparison can only be made to a leader which the majority of people actually like. Someone like Hitler will almost always be a "people's champion" as he was. This also means that none of the leaders we have here in the US come close, we're seeing elections resolved by single digit percentages, both Obama and Bush were vehemently hated by too many people to really invite Hitler comparisons... but that's neither here nor there.


What we're actually talking about here is Captain America. On a lot of levels he personifies the idea that "The Price Of Freedom is eternal vigilance", he's about the might and will of the US compared to other ideologies and threats. He was created pretty much to show up the whole "peace at any price" crowd, and the guys with isolationist sentiments which were a big deal during "World War II". Captain America is the "enlist and do your duty" type of guy. As a character he's not really intended for peacetime, which is fine, because in comics your pretty much always dealing with one threat or another.

Your more or less "okay" with the whole "equal rights" and "personal liberty" bit. Your off kilter with "fair play" since Captain America is all about overwhelming military superiority and doing what you have to in order to win. After all the defining power of the character is that he's pretty much better than any human could ever be, he is a super soldier, the very manifestation of a special weapon, and one that proves itself superior to anything else thrown at it. The idea of a "super" anything is to be better than the other guy, not fight on an even playing field. What's more while Cap did lead troops in the trenches, he, like Nick Fury, was big on offensive operations behind enemy lines. Indeed Cap's WWII super team is called "The Invaders" because they invaded other countries for the US (stop and think about this).

Where the real problem is when your talking about people being "paranoid about security", Captain America is pretty much national security incarnate, that's what he's supposed to be about, albeit his approach is by definition pro-active. Indeed the entire point of him being a war time icon is to pretty much shut down the people who just want to sit on their butts, refuse to acknowledge threats, and have the US mind it's own business. Despite how history presents things now, even after Pearl Habour there were a lot of people that wanted to stay out of World War II, that event merely tipped things, to get our intervention through, and it was a constant effort by The War Department to produce propaganda and control the media to keep people on track and on target. Cap is pretty much a manifestation of that, who is also a very effective war machine. Indeed properly portrayed he would BE that paranoid for all intents and purposes. Especially seeing as the threats presented by Middle Eastern Muslims (long history of terrorism, betrayal, failed diplomacy, and of course the 9/11 attacks), North Korea (they are at least trying to build WMDs they can launch into the US), Russia (has now launched two invasions of independent states, has been threatening the US and it's allies), and of course China (massive human rights violations, theft of our copyrights, patents, and IPs, and a massive military build up followed by aggression against US allies like Japan and The Philippines), all of these threats exist, and arguably the left wing's attitude is very similar to that prior to World War II "we should stay out of this kind of thing, and mind our own business", and that is the anti-thesis of the point of Captain America.

Now granted, the thing about Cap is that he doesn't exist in the real world. Rather he's supposed to symbolically confront our enemies abroad. As I said, Cap's place is to be doing things like sticking a star spangled boot up the posterior of Putin or Kim Jong Un (much like he would have done to the Nazis), when he's not fighting more fantastic super villains of course. Granted in real life you can't so stuff like this, there are no real super heroes, but then again the guy is supposed to just point the finger at our enemies and the threat they present in his stories. He wasn't around IRL to almost single handedly turn the tide of "World War II" and floor Hitler with a haymaker either.

My point about the social issues other than that is that they are debatable, and that is why Captain America's stories should generally not involve them. When it comes to something like gay rights, Cap just shouldn't go there, as the nation is divided almost down the middle. His purpose is the big picture and dealing with threats, not to make social statements outside of that arena in order to symbolize one political philosophy or another. Properly used it just shouldn't come up (in either direction) Cap belongs kicking butt, not debating domestic social philosophy, people who use him for that miss the point, and that's the problem. He needs to be above that, standing for America, not your America, my America, his America or the other guy over their and his America. He's the guy who puts his boot up our butts and says "stop fighting about gay rights, we have terrorists to kick butt on, worry about that later", so to speak. He should always be doing something else as opposed to indulging a writer's domestic political axe grinding.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Therumancer said:
With all due respect, and I cannot stress enough I do not mean this personally, there is a vast historical record of what fascism was and is. And it isn't how you're describing it here. Socialists, communists, liberals and so on were the targets and enemies of fascists. Yes, even and especially in Nazi Germany. It's why Hitler was bent on destroying the USSR. Fascism is totalitarian system to be sure, and that means every aspect of the state is forced under the boot of the dictatorship. But totalitarianism isn't the exclusive domain of 20th century communism anymore than awful racism is the exclusive domain of economic right wingers. People suck, people are complicated. But Nazi Germany was not even remotely left wing, nor did liberals in the US support it.

It was, I'll add, completely batshit crazy and did things that made both ardent capitalists and ardent socialists develop migraines from confusion. Because it was batshit crazy and bent largely on eliminating every single undesirable person, first in Germany and then the rest of the world.

I will say this: You really need to know what Time's Man (now person) of the Year is. It's not "international man of the year" like some kind of award for best and most awesome person, it's an issue examining the most influential or newsworthy person in a given year. If you read the actual Hitler article you keep referring to (it's available online, I swear), it's impossible to come away from it thinking Time is lauding nazi germany. There are huge sections about what a nightmare it was for everyone who wasn't "aryan". It is, however, undeniable that in 1938, everyone was amazed that in less than 6 years Germany went from a pauper nation to the bully of Europe. That's why he made the issue.

As for the rest of your points about the Cap, like I said earlier, that ship has sailed. Captain America as more than just an ass kicker for freedom (and if you really read the original Captain America comics in the 40s, his stories are more often than not monster stories or mysteries, and he's kind of nice in those comics too) is almost as old as people who are now eligible to join the AARP.

Finally, "stop fighting about gay rights, we have terrorists to kick butt on, worry about that later." Dude, there wouldn't be a fight if people who oppose equality weren't such jerks about it. The fight didn't start because people who were being oppressed liked it, but one day they decided they didn't. Or more to the point, what you're saying is functionally equivalent to a bully coming up to you, punching you repeatedly, and then you swing back to make him stop and you both get suspended because your response "started" the fight. (Which, by the way, happened to me in 8th grade, until my math teacher intervened and tore the Vice Principal a new one.)

And for what it's worth, the issue where Cap comes out in favor of gay rights involves his old war buddy getting kidnapped by Baron Zemo and brainwashed into hating himself. Maybe you can argue that the story sucked or whatever, but at least they made it make sense in context.
 

WaltIsFrozen

New member
Apr 11, 2014
22
0
0
Therumancer said:
My point about the social issues other than that is that they are debatable, and that is why Captain America's stories should generally not involve them.
Civil rights was a "social issue" that was "debatable" in the 1960's. Somebody should have told Stan Lee that introducing a black character like Falcon in 1969 was "left wing morality" that had no business in a Captain America comic. He should have been doing something more American like bombing the shit out of a Vietnamese village or something.
 

Zontar

Mad Max 2019
Feb 18, 2013
4,931
0
0
I never understood why Ultimate Captain America seemed to have a problem with the French. Even as an asshole from his time period instead of the boy scout we all know and love, that just does not make sense given that American anti-French attitudes developed in the late 80s/early 90s. For hit time period, France should be close to the top of the list of countries he likes because of the long century and a half of good relations coupled with how many shared values there where between the two countries. Then again it is a universe where everyone is written as an asshole where logical actions are abnormal (ex: the fact that Cap is the ONLY person who has a problem with the incest couple on their team).
 

Sniper Team 4

New member
Apr 28, 2010
5,433
0
0
I salute you for writing this article. Captain America is by far my favorite Avenger, and after The Winter Solider, it is safe to say that he is now my favorite superhero movie character. I am so sick and tired of 'heroes' being nothing but angry, spoiled, and downright rotten. I remember in the Batman cartoon that Batman had a sense of humor, that he could be fun and enjoy life too, but now it's all anger and depression all the time. Same thing with everyone else.

Captain America is a breath of fresh air. I was so worried that he was going to compromise who he is in The Winter Soldier because of people who wrote that other article would complain. And I agree: people like him need to grow up. What about the guy whose head he cut off with his shield? Captain America can still be a 'bad ass' without compromising who he is. His speech at SHIELD HQ showed exactly who he his, what he stands for, and why that makes him so cool. It so much harder to stick to your guns, your morals, when everyone and everything around you is saying you're doing it wrong and you're wasting time.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
WaltIsFrozen said:
[

Jeez. You must have the most boring comics collection ever. Do yourself a favor and never read anything by Alan Moore. You'd hate his work. Also, Star Trek and Battlestar Galactica? They're also "garbage".
I almost decided not to respond largely because you decided to get personal here. For the record I'm familiar with all of those things, and have probably read everything Alan Moore has written.

My advice right now is to go back, re-read what I wrote, what you've written, and what we're actually discussing. Then consider trying to respond on topic without turning it into an attack piece.

At it's core what we're discussing here is not some hypothetical "what I think Captain America should be like" but rather what Captain America actually is, and what he's been reinterpreted it by one sided political writers, especially when they have tried to insert the character out of context into things in order to reinforce their indirect political rants.

For example, when I talk about how Captain America should address people he's fighting, that comes directly from the comics. When Cap has fought in World War II, like most characters set in that time period he's resorted to mocking the Nazis by calling them Krauts and such. What's more the very name of his team "The Invaders" sort of make a statement about where he was coming from. This isn't my interpretation of the character, these are things that are actually established about him. The statements that you quoted from the movie, are an example of Cap behaving out of character and being modified to make a sort of political statement that just doesn't work within it's intended context.

I for the most part agree that Captain America does not work as a "grimdark" character, but at the same time he's not supposed to be counter-cultural either. The idea behind Cap is pretty much that the US is "good" and thus Captain America in promoting the country is also "good". He is by definition supposed to be a military patriot. Cap is supposed to in a lot of respects demonstrate why security is necessary, and of course he acts as the face of it which makes it a good thing because he holds the moral high ground so to speak.

It's really not a point you can argue. I suppose if your deeply into the left hand side of the political spectrum and are convinced that the US doesn't face any genuine threats, your of course going to like the whole schtick we have going on here, but that is both naïve and not what the character is supposed to stand for. What's more purely in a movie context, when you remove all of the real threats from the equasion, Captain America comes across as being an even bigger moron because where someone can say naively "Russia, China, and The Middle East are our friends and present no threat to us or our interests" since they haven't actually attacked us yet, the Marvel Cinematic universe had an alien invasion, a dark elven ship crashing into a major city, rampaging monsters like The Hulk, and even if he was revealed to be a farce, the threat of global terrorism shown to be possible through The Mandarin (ie what happens if a super villain like that actually does appear at some point and isn't a corporate toy). Needless to say having three Helicarriers around capable of precision targeting is not a bad thing if your going to potentially be fighting aliens coming through dimensional portals, which are now a known threat. Captain America had the option to just have them removed from Hydra control, but nope "we've got to destroy them because I'm stupid but it makes sense in terms of naive meta-politics that has nothing to do with the movie!".

Furthermore, a degree of militant nationalism is sort of what the country needs for a lot of reasons. While it goes outside the context of this argument, a big part of why is because due to political indoctrination people still seem to think what we tried during "The War On Terror" was a valid tactic with a chance of success. No it was not, anyone with a bit of brains knew it was going to fail. The only way to really defeat a culture is to break them, it's not nice, and you avoid going to war, but when you do it, you need to go all out. All this idea did was send a bunch of reserves overseas so we could fight a bunch of guys rifle to rifle in their back yard, and totally negate our tech advantage and invalidate the trillions of dollars we spent on weapons to ensure where if something like 9/11 happened we could break the culture of the offenders quickly and easily with minimal risk to American lives. In the end our anti-septic war turned into flushing billions of dollars down the proverbial toilet, while not even achieving one of the social goals used to justify this approach (like women's sufferage), heck both Iraq and Afghanistan drafted new constitutions specifying themselves to be Theocracies (Islamic states) meaning we didn't even plant the seeds for reform, and as
soon as we no longer have a gun to their heads it will be business as usual. Never mind the whole problem of bringing the troops back into an economy that's already in shambles, ideally we should have never put that many boots on the ground to begin with. But that's neither here nor there. The point is that a character like Captain America is a character that should be showing that a degree of militant patriotism is neither bad, nor does it need to make a character "grimdark".

That said I imagine from your tone we don't have a lot to discuss.
 

sumanoskae

New member
Dec 7, 2007
1,526
0
0
So, I should make it clear that I haven't read any of the Captain America comics, nor have I read enough of Batman's to consider myself an authority on the subject. So, the following arguments are made regarding the cinematic portrayals of the characters (Or from the animated series, in the case of Superman), which, if what Bob says is true, are fairly accurate anyway.

To my mind, the issue is not that Captain America is a bad character, I don't think he is; he has coherent and relatable motivation for his actions and behaves in a manner consistent with human nature. The problem is that all those things amount to is a GOOD character, and comparing him to Batman is unfair, because Batman is a GREAT character.

While Steve Rodgers's philosophy and psychology are believable, Bruce Wayne's are profound; Batman's obsessive lawfulness, strict code of traditionally good but pragmatically questionable ethics, and deep seated psychological issues are not just believable motivation, they are arguably the only thing that allows him to do what he does.

Because Batman is just a mortal man, he NEEDS his obsession to drive him to be the best; he NEEDS his dogmatic and inflexible code of honor to prevent himself from becoming just like his enemies.

?You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain; I can do those things because I'm not a hero. I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be?

?He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector? A Dark Knight?

Batman's psychology and philosophy do not simply make him a believable human being, they are detailed and in depth enough to make his actions understandable for ANY human being; Batman is not merely a portrait of a person, he is a comment on human nature itself.

Batman's obsession is our obsession and his weakness is our weakness; these are the things required of him to do what he does, and would be from anyone who lived the life he chooses to live.

In the complex, indifferent and dark world we live in, Batman may be the closest thing to a hero we have. He makes his home in the dark because the closer you fly to the sun, the further you have to fall.

The greatest Batman stories don't try to justify the characters actions, because great works of fiction don't tell their audience what is right, they present a story in keeping with the way the world works, and allow the audience to come to their own conclusion. And in real life, good and evil are nothing more than constructs; the world is not designed so that every action or person falls into one camp or the other, and the more clearly you see the world and the more power you have over it, the more obvious that fact becomes.

If you will permit, I will make a comparison to a great character who bares more resemblance to Captain America; Eddard Stark.

POSSIBLE GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHAEAD: I will try not to refer to anything in detail, but if you're savvy or have not yet seen or are in the process of watching and/or the first season of the show or the first book, you might want to skip to the end.

In the violent and chaotic world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Ned may be the closest there is to a character that could be considered good. Oh, there are more minor characters (knights, children, commoners) that perform acts of kindness, but Ned is one of the very few people in positions of real power whose first concern is not himself or his ilk.

See, it's easy to do the right thing when your actions have few consequences; it's easy to be a nice person if you never seek to better the world. When the only actions available to you result in nothing more than saving or ending the life of one person, the right thing to do is clearer.

But if you only hold power over the lives of a few select people, you can't make any real progress or enact any change; you can prevent tiny injustices in the grand scheme of things, but you can't hope to stem their tide.

Power without justice is tyranny, but justice without power is impotence. And if you have the opportunity, the power, to change the lives of many for the better, is it not irresponsible to not do so? Is it not just as evil to allow others to suffer as it is to make them suffer?
?With great power comes great responsibility.?

Eddard Stark could not be called good if all he did was sit in his throne and keep his hands clean while the world burned down around him; however difficult and thankless an endeavor it may be, Ned Stark tries to wield power for good.

But doing this means that the lives of millions rest on his shoulders, and mistakes that would be merely disheartening or inconvenient for people with less responsibility, result in wide spread suffering on his part.

I will present an example: At one point, Eddard Stark must choose between allowing his best friend to be murdered with impunity (and thus allowing a cruel and unjust ruler to take the throne) or condemning two innocent children to death. There is no way to approach this situation whilst remaining an ideal hero, but turning away from it would just leave it up to chance, it wouldn't make things any better. (SPOILERS END HERE)

I once heard someone say that people too often use the concept of moral ambiguity to get out of taking the risk involved in doing the right thing, but I say that people too often use the concept of black and white morality to excuse themselves for not doing anything at all.

You can argue about how horrible the options are all you want, but the cold, hard truth is that refusing to choose one will cause even more suffering, and when you refuse to act, the only person you're helping is yourself; you're only concerned with feeling good about yourself, you're only concerned with remaining pure, you're not willing to compromise your integrity to prevent the suffering of others.

?If even one person has to die to save another that the trade isn't worth it sounds very heroic?, but the end result is still that somebody dies; ?Killing is making a choice; choose one life or the other?.

And this is why trying to make a wholly pure character with the power to change the world doesn't work; Superman may protect the status quo of things, but how often does he use his almost limitless power to better the world? Does he dismantle corrupt systems of government? Does he enforce change in unjust systems of law? When was the last time you saw Superman break someone OUT of prison or provide food for people who are starving?

True, power can corrupt, but again, tyranny VS impotence; you can't just sit around doing nothing because you don't trust your own judgment.

Captain America, Superman, Thor, The Jedi Order; all these people do is avoid doing horrific things, but they never do great things either. And yet, they are so often portrayed as paragons of infinite virtue.

Eddard Stark has blood on his hands, but he knows that injustice is not just the result of evil men doing terrible things; it's the result of good men doing nothing.

?It's not who you are inside, it's what you do that defines you?

What hold Captain America back from greatness and what cements Batman's place within it, is that Steve Rodgers is framed not as a perfect human being, but as an ideal hero rather than the flawed human being that he is.

Now, I do not think that Captain America's design is the problem, but rather how he is framed; his actions are just as ethically ambiguous as Batman's, but the world Batman inhabits acknowledges his imperfections and uses them to round out his character. Captain America's trials and tribulations are depicted, but his personal flaws are ignored.

Steve Rodgers is kind, he's compassionate, he's humble, he's brave, he is a fundamentally selfless person; he's also short sighted, naïve, dogmatic and impractical. The ingredients for a profound, complex figure are here, they just aren't all being brought into play.

Great characters are not pure hearted and ?Good?, because that's not how human beings are.

I should mention that I agree with many of the precepts of this article; Dark does equal profound and decent does not equal flawless. You can just as easily make a broad and one dimensional ?Evil? character as you can a good one.

But although many imitators copy the tone of The Dark Knight and Watchmen, the reason they are imitated at all is because they're so great, and if the situation was reversed, I would be making the opposite argument. But the fact that The Dark Knight and Watchmen deal with complex and uncomfortable issues is part of what makes them work, and the reason that I do not hold Captain America in as high esteem is because his character (Not necessarily the movie that surrounds him, but the man himself) does not address the myriad of moral quandaries that a man in his position would be faced with.

Steve Rodgers would probably end up a lot like Harvey Dent in the long run; all his righteousness would ultimately just make him unprepared and vulnerable when the chickens came home to roost.

As you said yourself Bob, being a good person is not easy, it is often a thankless endeavor; and although Steve Rodgers faces the physical adversity of a man trying to do the right thing in a world that doesn't care, he does not deal with the emotional and philosophical problems that truly heroic characters face, he never doubts if what he is doing IS, in fact, the right thing to do.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Therumancer said:
With all due respect, and I cannot stress enough I do not mean this personally, there is a vast historical record of what fascism was and is. And it isn't how you're describing it here. Socialists, communists, liberals and so on were the targets and enemies of fascists. Yes, even and especially in Nazi Germany. It's why Hitler was bent on destroying the USSR. Fascism is totalitarian system to be sure, and that means every aspect of the state is forced under the boot of the dictatorship. But totalitarianism isn't the exclusive domain of 20th century communism anymore than awful racism is the exclusive domain of economic right wingers. People suck, people are complicated. But Nazi Germany was not even remotely left wing, nor did liberals in the US support it.

It was, I'll add, completely batshit crazy and did things that made both ardent capitalists and ardent socialists develop migraines from confusion. Because it was batshit crazy and bent largely on eliminating every single undesirable person, first in Germany and then the rest of the world.

I will say this: You really need to know what Time's Man (now person) of the Year is. It's not "international man of the year" like some kind of award for best and most awesome person, it's an issue examining the most influential or newsworthy person in a given year. If you read the actual Hitler article you keep referring to (it's available online, I swear), it's impossible to come away from it thinking Time is lauding nazi germany. There are huge sections about what a nightmare it was for everyone who wasn't "aryan". It is, however, undeniable that in 1938, everyone was amazed that in less than 6 years Germany went from a pauper nation to the bully of Europe. That's why he made the issue.

As for the rest of your points about the Cap, like I said earlier, that ship has sailed. Captain America as more than just an ass kicker for freedom (and if you really read the original Captain America comics in the 40s, his stories are more often than not monster stories or mysteries, and he's kind of nice in those comics too) is almost as old as people who are now eligible to join the AARP.

Finally, "stop fighting about gay rights, we have terrorists to kick butt on, worry about that later." Dude, there wouldn't be a fight if people who oppose equality weren't such jerks about it. The fight didn't start because people who were being oppressed liked it, but one day they decided they didn't. Or more to the point, what you're saying is functionally equivalent to a bully coming up to you, punching you repeatedly, and then you swing back to make him stop and you both get suspended because your response "started" the fight. (Which, by the way, happened to me in 8th grade, until my math teacher intervened and tore the Vice Principal a new one.)

And for what it's worth, the issue where Cap comes out in favor of gay rights involves his old war buddy getting kidnapped by Baron Zemo and brainwashed into hating himself. Maybe you can argue that the story sucked or whatever, but at least they made it make sense in context.

On the subject of Captain America, you are correct as to the tone of his stories, and that is pretty much my point. He's not a character that is supposed to be used in the context of making serious political statements. When he does get involved it is as the so called "butt kicker for freedom" if your going to use him properly. A big part of my point is that the character was undermined by trying to bring him into left wing counter-culture as a way of being critical of the government and challenging policies that the writers happened to disagree with. In the big picture a guy who is basically a commando in a fancy costume acting literally as the strong right hand of the US military-industrial complex during a war, is not the kind of guy who is going to be freaking out over espionage, counter-intelligence, or black ops. Especially given that he was acting at a time when the US outright declared martial law and pretty much suspended civil liberties on a large scale, including the press, which was co-opted into a propaganda machine both to motivate people not to resist literally throwing everything into the war, but also to fight isolationist and anti-war sentiment. With increasing technology and such Captain America of all people, as a dude who was a commando at that time is not going to even bat an eye at things like wire tapping and informational surveillance especially when the bad guys are using the same technologies and the good guys need to play the game just as hard to have any chance. He might long for simpler days, but he wouldn't freak out about it. He most certainly wouldn't destroy a resource like three Helicarriers when it was made obvious control of them could be regained, especially in light of the clear and present dangers knocking around that particular world. More to the point even without the impending threat of alien invasion, he be one of the first people suggesting action (like sending him in to do stuff) in various real world hot spots, since that is exactly what he was created and trained for in the comics especially. In short my point is that he's not the kind of character that should be used to make politically correct statements, for example in the movies the Helicarriers were destroyed as a sort of meta-statement having nothing to do with the movie reality about real world government security, not only does this garbage not belong in movies like this (where there are in-universe problems that should trump this), but Captain America arguably stands for exactly the opposite attitude, this kind of thing is where he actually agrees with Nick Fury (they do have their disagreements about other things though... one point going on before The Civil War was when Nick and Cap were talking about how they knew who killed JFK, but themselves both agreed to cover it up for purposes of stability. This all happened during a storyline involving a "Super Sailor" created as a Navy equivalent to Captain America, and a complicated situation involving internal government one upsmanship... it's also noteworthy that during all of this Nick pulls rank on Cap and he backs down, even if they aren't exactly in the regular army any more).

I more or less agree with you that making Captain America more "grimdark" is not needed, but I do think he should be presented as a bit more patriotic and pro-government (or at least pro-military intervention) which doesn't need to make him darker. One does not need to be on the leftward side of all things to be a nice guy, and for this character it makes increasingly little sense.

When it comes down to your point about Captain America's gay friend, my argument was that the whole story never should have existed. The whole point of doing something like that is to use Captain America, and his inserted political leanings, to make a social statement that the writer wants to make. That's not the kind of story Cap should be in, despite being involved in them all the time. Punching out bad guys, solving mysteries, fighting monsters, that's all Captain America stuff. Likewise just as various super-heroes have a rogues gallery gimmick, like say Spider Man fighting largely animal themed villains, Captain America is supposed to fight and defeat enemies with a patriotic theme for countries that currently oppose the US. An example would be say North Korea sending a super-villain into the US to try and steal missile guidance systems, perhaps even succeeding, leading to Captain America ultimately having to chase the guy down and recover the technology. Cap generally does not belong in stories about divisive political issues, arguably one should be able to project onto Cap say being pro or anti-gay as they choose given how divided the nation is on an issue like that. What's more if you HAD to go there, Cap should be presented as himself being ambigious on the issue and listening to both sides, while ultimately himself never making a judgement. Later on down the road if you ever get a true majority, you could say "okay Cap thinks this", but when even states like California are waffling on things like gay marriage (it's legal today, not legal tomorrow, etc...) and the result of some of the dirtiest politics ever since a a big part of the problem and that waffling is that the guys who believe promoting gay rights "is the right thing" try and manipulate the system to force things through against huge opposition without the kind of support your supposed to have to make changes like that (ie the US was designed specifically to prevent major decisions and policies being made without a substantial majority behind them... whether you agree or disagree). Basically rather than being a sort of "National Avatar" he increasingly becomes a social propaganda tool... when really the only propaganda Cap is supposed to serve is a straightforward "go to war when America asks, isolationism is wrong, and sometimes wars are necessary despite people's instincts" I mean in a way that's what he's all about... leading our country to victory against it's enemies. Cap remains a nice guy because the critics are kind of right, he's supposed to be fairly shallow, and that's part of his charm, he's not about social issues and conflicts in America but about America's conflicts with others.

That said we can't really resolve anything because he's been used for a lot of things over the years. You have your opinion, I have mine. We'll apparently have to agree to disagree.

-

This is already long, but I'll just say that I disagree with you in the strongest possible way about the Nazis, but it will get increasingly off subject if we decide to hash that out. For example we're already getting into a classic argument about "why different socialist powers 'for the people' don't get along" in terms of Russia Vs. Germany at the time. That ultimately comes down to a pair of megalomaniacs who both wanted to rule the world disagreeing over who was going to be in charge. Russia basically did not want to share with The Third Reich, and knew it was pretty close to getting to the point where it could make an international power grab itself. The Nazis wanted their socialist party to rule everything "for the people" and Russia wanted it's to do the same thing. After all, at the end of the day no matter how you dress it up someone is still going to be in charge and better off than everyone else, and calling the shots. This is in part why when Germany was defeated, things almost immediately fell apart with the Russians because the allies and Russians both realized they were on a collision course for much the same reasons. Things like "Operation Paperclip" were justified because we realized that if we didn't give shelter to German scientists and grab up their research the Russians would. We actually wound up getting lucky since the level of technology developed during WW II (namely atomic weapons) ensured we only saw a cold war. Both World War II and The Cold War were fundamentally the US fighting "left wing" governments claiming to be "of the people" and "for the workers". As much as people try and dress it up and say the Nazis were not socialists, their very name makes it clear, and they fundamentally started out doing a lot of the same things the left wing in countries like the US wants to do. Sure you can bring facism and totalitarianism into it, that's fair, but also notice that those same accusations (this going along with big government, an all powerful federal one that controls everything) tend to show up hand in hand with socialism anyway.. which is a big deal with people opposing it.

I'm just going to let that drop though without getting into it further (and yes I will concede a few points), since it will get even further off subject, and we're certainly not going to come to an agreement on a "big issue" like that in an internet debate. The whole point of bringing up that the Nazis were left wing is largely to reinforce that the point can be made and we could argue about it for months and get nowhere. Simply by being that ambigious it's not something that should be so heavily tied to a character like Captain America. As I've said, he doesn't belong being involved in social issues, he belongs in more limited stories that don't get into things where the country is divided. He's there to represent the country, not to be a propaganda tool for one side or the other. The closest thing he has to a political "leaning" is "go go, US military" and beating down anyone that threatens the country and it's interests whether they be from other nations, other planets, or random super villains out to cause chaos.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
WaltIsFrozen said:
Therumancer said:
My point about the social issues other than that is that they are debatable, and that is why Captain America's stories should generally not involve them.
Civil rights was a "social issue" that was "debatable" in the 1960's. Somebody should have told Stan Lee that introducing a black character like Falcon in 1969 was "left wing morality" that had no business in a Captain America comic. He should have been doing something more American like bombing the shit out of a Vietnamese village or something.
Not so much in this context, that issue was considered "resolved" as far as Captain America and his point was concerned given that during World War II a lot of effort was being made to get Blacks to enlist. As that was something the country had pretty much decided, it was something Captain America more or less agreed with, and simply going forward with an established personality trait. What's more in 1969 the issue was pretty much "over" at that point since there was a clear majority, more so than with many other social issues being dealt with.

That said, yes, a lot of mistakes were made with the character, as I've said before this character does not belong in these kinds of stories to begin with, whether he's been put there or not in the past (and obviously he has been) doesn't mean it wasn't a mistake.

See, once society as a whole has largely gone one way or another, it's fine to have Captain America go with what the culture itself has decided. The problem is when Captain America becomes a propaganda tool used to try and sway decisions or make political statements about an issue that the nation is still heavily divided about. For example Captain America should not get involved in anything to do with the whole "gay rights" movement as long as the nation remains this heavily polarized about it, as opposed to being used by writers to voice their politics and try and force things in one direction or another. He should just stay out of it.

The exception to this though is when it comes to being militant. Captain America is supposed to pretty much embody things like military action, the need for service, and the US's obligation to go to war. He exists specifically to counter "peace at any price" sentiments, isolationism, and similar things. The idea was sort of to counter a lot of the anti-war sentiment around the time of World War II, and sell the idea of military intervention, as well as the need for things like tight internal security... I mean remember during World War II the US declared martial law, and the government pretty much took over the press and communications, and The War Department started seriously churning out propaganda to demonize the Nazis, counter Hitler's popularity, and bring the US into the war despite a lot of people simply wanting to stay out of it. When you get down to it, this is the core identity of the character. The point of Cap is that you can be a militant, and aggressively patriotic, without being a jerk. On a lot of levels that's exactly what the US needs right now, given the tendency for patriotism to generally be associated with jerkiness (so to speak). The point of Cap is that sometimes that kind of behavior is warranted. He's the guy who should be making the point that when the US puts down a red line, and someone steps over it, we need to act... and say be promoting putting guys like Kim Jong Un in their place involving comics where he puts a star spangled boot up North Korean butts... if your going to get involved in real issues that's a "Cap issue". If you can't bring yourself to do that he belongs defending the US against Aliens or whatever, not say stupidly disarming us (which really the one big moment that annoys me in "Winter Soldier", it was otherwise a great movie, but that moment just made me go WTF as it seemed to be the writers trying to make a real-world meta statement that had no place in the movie's reality).
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
sumanoskae said:
So, I should make it clear that I haven't read any of the Captain America comics, nor have I read enough of Batman's to consider myself an authority on the subject. So, the following arguments are made regarding the cinematic portrayals of the characters (Or from the animated series, in the case of Superman), which, if what Bob says is true, are fairly accurate anyway.

To my mind, the issue is not that Captain America is a bad character, I don't think he is; he has coherent and relatable motivation for his actions and behaves in a manner consistent with human nature. The problem is that all those things amount to is a GOOD character, and comparing him to Batman is unfair, because Batman is a GREAT character.

While Steve Rodgers's philosophy and psychology are believable, Bruce Wayne's are profound; Batman's obsessive lawfulness, strict code of traditionally good but pragmatically questionable ethics, and deep seated psychological issues are not just believable motivation, they are arguably the only thing that allows him to do what he does.

Because Batman is just a mortal man, he NEEDS his obsession to drive him to be the best; he NEEDS his dogmatic and inflexible code of honor to prevent himself from becoming just like his enemies.

?You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain; I can do those things because I'm not a hero. I'm whatever Gotham needs me to be?

?He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector? A Dark Knight?

Batman's psychology and philosophy do not simply make him a believable human being, they are detailed and in depth enough to make his actions understandable for ANY human being; Batman is not merely a portrait of a person, he is a comment on human nature itself.

Batman's obsession is our obsession and his weakness is our weakness; these are the things required of him to do what he does, and would be from anyone who lived the life he chooses to live.

In the complex, indifferent and dark world we live in, Batman may be the closest thing to a hero we have. He makes his home in the dark because the closer you fly to the sun, the further you have to fall.

The greatest Batman stories don't try to justify the characters actions, because great works of fiction don't tell their audience what is right, they present a story in keeping with the way the world works, and allow the audience to come to their own conclusion. And in real life, good and evil are nothing more than constructs; the world is not designed so that every action or person falls into one camp or the other, and the more clearly you see the world and the more power you have over it, the more obvious that fact becomes.

If you will permit, I will make a comparison to a great character who bares more resemblance to Captain America; Eddard Stark.

POSSIBLE GAME OF THRONES SPOILERS AHAEAD: I will try not to refer to anything in detail, but if you're savvy or have not yet seen or are in the process of watching and/or the first season of the show or the first book, you might want to skip to the end.

In the violent and chaotic world of A Song of Ice and Fire, Ned may be the closest there is to a character that could be considered good. Oh, there are more minor characters (knights, children, commoners) that perform acts of kindness, but Ned is one of the very few people in positions of real power whose first concern is not himself or his ilk.

See, it's easy to do the right thing when your actions have few consequences; it's easy to be a nice person if you never seek to better the world. When the only actions available to you result in nothing more than saving or ending the life of one person, the right thing to do is clearer.

But if you only hold power over the lives of a few select people, you can't make any real progress or enact any change; you can prevent tiny injustices in the grand scheme of things, but you can't hope to stem their tide.

Power without justice is tyranny, but justice without power is impotence. And if you have the opportunity, the power, to change the lives of many for the better, is it not irresponsible to not do so? Is it not just as evil to allow others to suffer as it is to make them suffer?
?With great power comes great responsibility.?

Eddard Stark could not be called good if all he did was sit in his throne and keep his hands clean while the world burned down around him; however difficult and thankless an endeavor it may be, Ned Stark tries to wield power for good.

But doing this means that the lives of millions rest on his shoulders, and mistakes that would be merely disheartening or inconvenient for people with less responsibility, result in wide spread suffering on his part.

I will present an example: At one point, Eddard Stark must choose between allowing his best friend to be murdered with impunity (and thus allowing a cruel and unjust ruler to take the throne) or condemning two innocent children to death. There is no way to approach this situation whilst remaining an ideal hero, but turning away from it would just leave it up to chance, it wouldn't make things any better. (SPOILERS END HERE)

I once heard someone say that people too often use the concept of moral ambiguity to get out of taking the risk involved in doing the right thing, but I say that people too often use the concept of black and white morality to excuse themselves for not doing anything at all.

You can argue about how horrible the options are all you want, but the cold, hard truth is that refusing to choose one will cause even more suffering, and when you refuse to act, the only person you're helping is yourself; you're only concerned with feeling good about yourself, you're only concerned with remaining pure, you're not willing to compromise your integrity to prevent the suffering of others.

?If even one person has to die to save another that the trade isn't worth it sounds very heroic?, but the end result is still that somebody dies; ?Killing is making a choice; choose one life or the other?.

And this is why trying to make a wholly pure character with the power to change the world doesn't work; Superman may protect the status quo of things, but how often does he use his almost limitless power to better the world? Does he dismantle corrupt systems of government? Does he enforce change in unjust systems of law? When was the last time you saw Superman break someone OUT of prison or provide food for people who are starving?

True, power can corrupt, but again, tyranny VS impotence; you can't just sit around doing nothing because you don't trust your own judgment.

Captain America, Superman, Thor, The Jedi Order; all these people do is avoid doing horrific things, but they never do great things either. And yet, they are so often portrayed as paragons of infinite virtue.

Eddard Stark has blood on his hands, but he knows that injustice is not just the result of evil men doing terrible things; it's the result of good men doing nothing.

?It's not who you are inside, it's what you do that defines you?

What hold Captain America back from greatness and what cements Batman's place within it, is that Steve Rodgers is framed not as a perfect human being, but as an ideal hero rather than the flawed human being that he is.

Now, I do not think that Captain America's design is the problem, but rather how he is framed; his actions are just as ethically ambiguous as Batman's, but the world Batman inhabits acknowledges his imperfections and uses them to round out his character. Captain America's trials and tribulations are depicted, but his personal flaws are ignored.

Steve Rodgers is kind, he's compassionate, he's humble, he's brave, he is a fundamentally selfless person; he's also short sighted, naïve, dogmatic and impractical. The ingredients for a profound, complex figure are here, they just aren't all being brought into play.

Great characters are not pure hearted and ?Good?, because that's not how human beings are.

I should mention that I agree with many of the precepts of this article; Dark does equal profound and decent does not equal flawless. You can just as easily make a broad and one dimensional ?Evil? character as you can a good one.

But although many imitators copy the tone of The Dark Knight and Watchmen, the reason they are imitated at all is because they're so great, and if the situation was reversed, I would be making the opposite argument. But the fact that The Dark Knight and Watchmen deal with complex and uncomfortable issues is part of what makes them work, and the reason that I do not hold Captain America in as high esteem is because his character (Not necessarily the movie that surrounds him, but the man himself) does not address the myriad of moral quandaries that a man in his position would be faced with.

Steve Rodgers would probably end up a lot like Harvey Dent in the long run; all his righteousness would ultimately just make him unprepared and vulnerable when the chickens came home to roost.

As you said yourself Bob, being a good person is not easy, it is often a thankless endeavor; and although Steve Rodgers faces the physical adversity of a man trying to do the right thing in a world that doesn't care, he does not deal with the emotional and philosophical problems that truly heroic characters face, he never doubts if what he is doing IS, in fact, the right thing to do.
To clarify, its the legacy of batman, the darker interpretation's influence I am decrying. As I said in the intro, I like bwtman. Honest.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Therumancer said:
RossaLincoln said:
Therumancer said:
With all due respect, and I cannot stress enough I do not mean this personally, there is a vast historical record of what fascism was and is. And it isn't how you're describing it here. Socialists, communists, liberals and so on were the targets and enemies of fascists. Yes, even and especially in Nazi Germany. It's why Hitler was bent on destroying the USSR. Fascism is totalitarian system to be sure, and that means every aspect of the state is forced under the boot of the dictatorship. But totalitarianism isn't the exclusive domain of 20th century communism anymore than awful racism is the exclusive domain of economic right wingers. People suck, people are complicated. But Nazi Germany was not even remotely left wing, nor did liberals in the US support it.

It was, I'll add, completely batshit crazy and did things that made both ardent capitalists and ardent socialists develop migraines from confusion. Because it was batshit crazy and bent largely on eliminating every single undesirable person, first in Germany and then the rest of the world.

I will say this: You really need to know what Time's Man (now person) of the Year is. It's not "international man of the year" like some kind of award for best and most awesome person, it's an issue examining the most influential or newsworthy person in a given year. If you read the actual Hitler article you keep referring to (it's available online, I swear), it's impossible to come away from it thinking Time is lauding nazi germany. There are huge sections about what a nightmare it was for everyone who wasn't "aryan". It is, however, undeniable that in 1938, everyone was amazed that in less than 6 years Germany went from a pauper nation to the bully of Europe. That's why he made the issue.

As for the rest of your points about the Cap, like I said earlier, that ship has sailed. Captain America as more than just an ass kicker for freedom (and if you really read the original Captain America comics in the 40s, his stories are more often than not monster stories or mysteries, and he's kind of nice in those comics too) is almost as old as people who are now eligible to join the AARP.

Finally, "stop fighting about gay rights, we have terrorists to kick butt on, worry about that later." Dude, there wouldn't be a fight if people who oppose equality weren't such jerks about it. The fight didn't start because people who were being oppressed liked it, but one day they decided they didn't. Or more to the point, what you're saying is functionally equivalent to a bully coming up to you, punching you repeatedly, and then you swing back to make him stop and you both get suspended because your response "started" the fight. (Which, by the way, happened to me in 8th grade, until my math teacher intervened and tore the Vice Principal a new one.)

And for what it's worth, the issue where Cap comes out in favor of gay rights involves his old war buddy getting kidnapped by Baron Zemo and brainwashed into hating himself. Maybe you can argue that the story sucked or whatever, but at least they made it make sense in context.

On the subject of Captain America, you are correct as to the tone of his stories, and that is pretty much my point. He's not a character that is supposed to be used in the context of making serious political statements. When he does get involved it is as the so called "butt kicker for freedom" if your going to use him properly. A big part of my point is that the character was undermined by trying to bring him into left wing counter-culture as a way of being critical of the government and challenging policies that the writers happened to disagree with. In the big picture a guy who is basically a commando in a fancy costume acting literally as the strong right hand of the US military-industrial complex during a war, is not the kind of guy who is going to be freaking out over espionage, counter-intelligence, or black ops. Especially given that he was acting at a time when the US outright declared martial law and pretty much suspended civil liberties on a large scale, including the press, which was co-opted into a propaganda machine both to motivate people not to resist literally throwing everything into the war, but also to fight isolationist and anti-war sentiment. With increasing technology and such Captain America of all people, as a dude who was a commando at that time is not going to even bat an eye at things like wire tapping and informational surveillance especially when the bad guys are using the same technologies and the good guys need to play the game just as hard to have any chance. He might long for simpler days, but he wouldn't freak out about it. He most certainly wouldn't destroy a resource like three Helicarriers when it was made obvious control of them could be regained, especially in light of the clear and present dangers knocking around that particular world. More to the point even without the impending threat of alien invasion, he be one of the first people suggesting action (like sending him in to do stuff) in various real world hot spots, since that is exactly what he was created and trained for in the comics especially. In short my point is that he's not the kind of character that should be used to make politically correct statements, for example in the movies the Helicarriers were destroyed as a sort of meta-statement having nothing to do with the movie reality about real world government security, not only does this garbage not belong in movies like this (where there are in-universe problems that should trump this), but Captain America arguably stands for exactly the opposite attitude, this kind of thing is where he actually agrees with Nick Fury (they do have their disagreements about other things though... one point going on before The Civil War was when Nick and Cap were talking about how they knew who killed JFK, but themselves both agreed to cover it up for purposes of stability. This all happened during a storyline involving a "Super Sailor" created as a Navy equivalent to Captain America, and a complicated situation involving internal government one upsmanship... it's also noteworthy that during all of this Nick pulls rank on Cap and he backs down, even if they aren't exactly in the regular army any more).

I more or less agree with you that making Captain America more "grimdark" is not needed, but I do think he should be presented as a bit more patriotic and pro-government (or at least pro-military intervention) which doesn't need to make him darker. One does not need to be on the leftward side of all things to be a nice guy, and for this character it makes increasingly little sense.

When it comes down to your point about Captain America's gay friend, my argument was that the whole story never should have existed. The whole point of doing something like that is to use Captain America, and his inserted political leanings, to make a social statement that the writer wants to make. That's not the kind of story Cap should be in, despite being involved in them all the time. Punching out bad guys, solving mysteries, fighting monsters, that's all Captain America stuff. Likewise just as various super-heroes have a rogues gallery gimmick, like say Spider Man fighting largely animal themed villains, Captain America is supposed to fight and defeat enemies with a patriotic theme for countries that currently oppose the US. An example would be say North Korea sending a super-villain into the US to try and steal missile guidance systems, perhaps even succeeding, leading to Captain America ultimately having to chase the guy down and recover the technology. Cap generally does not belong in stories about divisive political issues, arguably one should be able to project onto Cap say being pro or anti-gay as they choose given how divided the nation is on an issue like that. What's more if you HAD to go there, Cap should be presented as himself being ambigious on the issue and listening to both sides, while ultimately himself never making a judgement. Later on down the road if you ever get a true majority, you could say "okay Cap thinks this", but when even states like California are waffling on things like gay marriage (it's legal today, not legal tomorrow, etc...) and the result of some of the dirtiest politics ever since a a big part of the problem and that waffling is that the guys who believe promoting gay rights "is the right thing" try and manipulate the system to force things through against huge opposition without the kind of support your supposed to have to make changes like that (ie the US was designed specifically to prevent major decisions and policies being made without a substantial majority behind them... whether you agree or disagree). Basically rather than being a sort of "National Avatar" he increasingly becomes a social propaganda tool... when really the only propaganda Cap is supposed to serve is a straightforward "go to war when America asks, isolationism is wrong, and sometimes wars are necessary despite people's instincts" I mean in a way that's what he's all about... leading our country to victory against it's enemies. Cap remains a nice guy because the critics are kind of right, he's supposed to be fairly shallow, and that's part of his charm, he's not about social issues and conflicts in America but about America's conflicts with others.

That said we can't really resolve anything because he's been used for a lot of things over the years. You have your opinion, I have mine. We'll apparently have to agree to disagree.

-

This is already long, but I'll just say that I disagree with you in the strongest possible way about the Nazis, but it will get increasingly off subject if we decide to hash that out. For example we're already getting into a classic argument about "why different socialist powers 'for the people' don't get along" in terms of Russia Vs. Germany at the time. That ultimately comes down to a pair of megalomaniacs who both wanted to rule the world disagreeing over who was going to be in charge. Russia basically did not want to share with The Third Reich, and knew it was pretty close to getting to the point where it could make an international power grab itself. The Nazis wanted their socialist party to rule everything "for the people" and Russia wanted it's to do the same thing. After all, at the end of the day no matter how you dress it up someone is still going to be in charge and better off than everyone else, and calling the shots. This is in part why when Germany was defeated, things almost immediately fell apart with the Russians because the allies and Russians both realized they were on a collision course for much the same reasons. Things like "Operation Paperclip" were justified because we realized that if we didn't give shelter to German scientists and grab up their research the Russians would. We actually wound up getting lucky since the level of technology developed during WW II (namely atomic weapons) ensured we only saw a cold war. Both World War II and The Cold War were fundamentally the US fighting "left wing" governments claiming to be "of the people" and "for the workers". As much as people try and dress it up and say the Nazis were not socialists, their very name makes it clear, and they fundamentally started out doing a lot of the same things the left wing in countries like the US wants to do. Sure you can bring facism and totalitarianism into it, that's fair, but also notice that those same accusations (this going along with big government, an all powerful federal one that controls everything) tend to show up hand in hand with socialism anyway.. which is a big deal with people opposing it.

I'm just going to let that drop though without getting into it further (and yes I will concede a few points), since it will get even further off subject, and we're certainly not going to come to an agreement on a "big issue" like that in an internet debate. The whole point of bringing up that the Nazis were left wing is largely to reinforce that the point can be made and we could argue about it for months and get nowhere. Simply by being that ambigious it's not something that should be so heavily tied to a character like Captain America. As I've said, he doesn't belong being involved in social issues, he belongs in more limited stories that don't get into things where the country is divided. He's there to represent the country, not to be a propaganda tool for one side or the other. The closest thing he has to a political "leaning" is "go go, US military" and beating down anyone that threatens the country and it's interests whether they be from other nations, other planets, or random super villains out to cause chaos.
We can agree to disagree. Fun coversation in any case. Next time we should swear more, however. :)
 

HemalJB

New member
Oct 10, 2011
43
0
0
Therumancer said:
GOOD GOD!! Are you trying to write a book regarding Hitler's ideologies and Captain America's intent and purposes?

On the topic of "authors should not change the character to match their personal ideologies", you're out of luck. It is the nature of comic books that one generation's interpretation of a character is going to be vastly different from another generation depending on the changing values of the times. For instance, once characters having homosexual tendencies was a sure sign of him/her being evil and deviant, but now even heroes can be gay and proud. I wont say it's all a good thing, but considering we must be a diverse people we most accept that in time, your favorite character will do something or have an opinion you don't like, and at that point you could either accept that change or stop reading altogether.
Also, what are your thoughts on the recent Winter Soldier movie? I'd like to hear what you thought about it.
 

Jackhorse

New member
Jul 4, 2010
200
0
0
I haven't logged in in forever but I have to post my appreciation of this well done article. It does seem too often that people confuse darker with more mature, although most of us get through this phase in adolescence it looks like comic book writers get stuck there pretty often.
There is a lovely side to Batman shown in Batman R.I.P., where he saves an old person from being run over by a psychopathic fame obsessed killer, when he rolls down the window to ask if she's OK she tells him he has a kind face, which gets a character-breaking soft smile and teasing by Robin. I don't think even Batman wants to be Batman the whole time.
Thanks for the article, I look forward to reading more from you.
 

CelestDaer

New member
Mar 25, 2013
245
0
0
I'm going to preface this with: The only Captain America canon I know is from the movies, and I'm absolutely terrible with history, so I'm going to skirt the historical implications, but, it seems to me that Captain America is supposed to be a physical embodiment of 'the American dream' at the height of America being a superpower. He and the team destroyed the helicarriers because
they didn't know how much of the system was corrupted by HYDRA, and had to be sure to level the whole damn system, just to be safe
At least, that was my understanding of the in context reasons for destroying them.
Now then, Captain America as a grim dark...? That would be horrible. I'm going to go on a tangent very briefly, so, hopefully, you'll stick with me through this for the moment... Sorry, I'm going to talk about Friendship is Magic.
So, the series, big, bright, beautiful, pretty damn optimistic world, in canon? Just looking at the town, you can tell it's meant to feel idyllic. And then, some fans came along and decided, "Hey, what if Pinkie Pie went over the cliff batshit insane and started baking and eating her friends, as the ultimate expression of her love for them?" Turned her blatantly grim dark, to see what happened... that's Cupcakes, and it is so massively out of left field when compared to the actual canon. It's massively disturbing to see something innocent destroyed like that.
And, well, suddenly, a lot of fans started making grim dark ponies, because they enjoyed the fanfic. What started as a 'what if' became the go to model for character building, and the original story is all but forgotten. And it ruined the series for me, I guess? It used to be "I'm going to watch this week's episode by the end of the day," now it's a resounding "Meh, I might see it on Netflix someday..." Grim dark is an expression of the world that I'm trying to get away from. Movies, especially superhero movies, are escapism, pure and simple. I don't want to be laden down with more depressing horrors, I WANT the hero to be morally just, within reason. That's what I like about the Marvel verse, they're bright and optimistic more often than not. Sure, there are pessimists, but they're often proven wrong.
So, yeah, what I'm trying to say is, I like to see a character who doesn't just adjust their morals immediately, without something massively life changing happening to force them to change.
 

LordMonty

Badgerlord
Jul 2, 2008
570
0
0
The whole point was Captain America is a good man, thats his real super power, never comprimising, never surendering and always standing up for those who cannot defend themselves. I could go on about Captain Briton being a copy serving the UK the same purpose of a unbending figure of ideals but simply put YES I agree a dark gritty cap is not need in the age dark realism he is tragically warm figure reminding us that the world should not be the way it is and we should all just try and and make it a little bit better each day(although we'll probally fail but hey its a nice idea).
 

Nazriel

New member
Apr 4, 2010
28
0
0
Ross, thank you for the article. Aside from my teenage-self preferring the Dark McBroodyPants characters back in the day, I've come to favor the versions of Cap and Superman who have ideals and stick to them. (I still lean towards thinking Gotham City should have instituted a death penalty long ago. I mean, if a psychopath kills thousands of people and keeps escaping an asylum to do, flipping DO SOMETHING ANYTHING ELSE) :D

Having said that, the practice of superheroes being conveyed as more human, full of faults and especially full of doom and gloom, has probably pushed me to prefer those "near-perfect" superheroes. Role-models for people to strive to follow, really.


That's how I viewed super-heroes when I was a kid a least. An ideal/example to emulate. The world is already gray enough. We need clear cut "good guys."
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
HemalJB said:
Therumancer said:
GOOD GOD!! Are you trying to write a book regarding Hitler's ideologies and Captain America's intent and purposes?

On the topic of "authors should not change the character to match their personal ideologies", you're out of luck. It is the nature of comic books that one generation's interpretation of a character is going to be vastly different from another generation depending on the changing values of the times. For instance, once characters having homosexual tendencies was a sure sign of him/her being evil and deviant, but now even heroes can be gay and proud. I wont say it's all a good thing, but considering we must be a diverse people we most accept that in time, your favorite character will do something or have an opinion you don't like, and at that point you could either accept that change or stop reading altogether.
Also, what are your thoughts on the recent Winter Soldier movie? I'd like to hear what you thought about it.
Actually saying we must be a more diverse people is a matter of opinion, and something not everyone agrees with. Those that do agree of course don't always agree on what kinds of diversity we need or should accept.

What's more part of the issue is of course that society has not changed to embrace things like homosexuality. Indeed saying it has is political, and attempt by the left wing to try and create reality by screaming it enough through the media. In reality the population remains heavily divided, pretty much right down the middle, which is why those who are pro-gay push the media so hard, and try and bypass governmental systems and get laws in without the intended level of support. This is why even in states like California which lean heavily left overall, they have trouble getting things like gay marriage to stay in the books, and have had to resort to things like personal attacks outside of the system's function/voting to try and push things through, which has been making the news.

The point here is that Captain America, more so than just about any other character due to what he represents, is not supposed to be an avatar for a writer's viewpoints. His opinions and idealogy are those America already has, not those that people think America should have. He should not be pro-gay for example, until that is an opinion truly held by most Americans to the point of becoming part of the culture. He's supposed to be about where America does come together, and a reminder of where the ideologies meet, and one's duty to the country, not a champion of one idealogy or another. Once you change that, then you might as well not be writing Captain America.

As far as "Winter Soldier" goes, the movie itself was fine. I don't think some of Cap's specific comments to Nick Fury were in character, but the basic idea of SHIELD being subverted and needing to be brought down (in this case by Hydra) is an old one. Indeed there was a comic event largely based around this, "Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD" that was a bit more complicated (lead into for longer), and ultimately involved all of the big quasi-secret organizations (Hydra, AIM, Shield) and the LMD (Life Model Decoy) technology gaining self awareness. Nick Fury who in the real comics has abilities very similar to Cap's ran point on it though and ultimately resolved the situation, something the cinemaverse version couldn't likely have done anyway since they went with the "Ultimate Universe" version where Nick Fury is a comparative wimp (ie he doesn't have super powers, or access to the same levels of technology).

Really my biggest problem with the movie had to do with the ending, where the politics of the writers seemed to override common sense and in-universe logic. Namely when Captain America is told flat out that they Helicarriers can be disarmed and salvaged, but he decides to have them destroyed for no really valid reason. Sure giving them to a bunch of Nazis to fire on their enemies and take over the world is a bad idea, but once that was prevented from happening, the basic point of needing these things to fight supervillains and oh say, alien invasions, is a valid one in that universe. It's not even paranoid since we already had the alien invasion. The guys writing it however decided to try and insert some Edward Snowden like crack about Homeland Security (minus the other point of view being fairly expressed) so the destruction of the Helicarriers was supposed to be symbolic in a real world sense. Something which becomes even more eye-rolling when you consider this entire problem was stopped by black ops. and counter-intelligence services, sort of proving the point of why it was needed, and the guys doing the arrests are the CIA of all people who also at least publically seem to wind up absorbing a lot of previous SHIELD personnel. Of course going with the comics logic we can pretty much assume (especially in light of the TV tie ins) that Nick Fury's survival means he's probably going to activate redundencies he put into place in case SHIELD was destroyed and simply re-build the organization, perhaps without any kind of government accountability at all, something similar happened in the comics (well actually while they made a big deal about rebuilding, it eventually just returned to business as usual, most people don't even realize that Nick Fury fought and pretty much destroyed a corrupted SHIELD at one point... a prime example of Comic Book status quos being destroyed, and nobody of note ever really dying... or in this case an organization).
 

Nuxxy

New member
Feb 3, 2011
160
0
0
My take on the heli-carrier destruction was that there was no one Cap trusted to prevent them being used for their intended purpose - eliminating threats to those in control of them, whether the threat is real or imagined, and whether those in control are 'good' or not.

If they had been 3x Avengers carriers, just with added repulsor tech, sure. But not orbital death machines with automated satellite targeting, DNA tracking and kill rates of thousands/minute.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Nuxxy said:
My take on the heli-carrier destruction was that there was no one Cap trusted to prevent them being used for their intended purpose - eliminating threats to those in control of them, whether the threat is real or imagined, and whether those in control are 'good' or not.

If they had been 3x Avengers carriers, just with added repulsor tech, sure. But not orbital death machines with automated satellite targeting, DNA tracking and kill rates of thousands/minute.
Exactly. And remember that what Fury said was "try to salvage what we can." There was no guarantee they could, and Cap wasn't willing to risk their lives more than need be on the off chance what they saved wasn't hopelessly awful and potentially still usable by HYDRA.
 

HemalJB

New member
Oct 10, 2011
43
0
0
Therumancer said:
HemalJB said:
Therumancer said:
GOOD GOD!! Are you trying to write a book regarding Hitler's ideologies and Captain America's intent and purposes?

On the topic of "authors should not change the character to match their personal ideologies", you're out of luck. It is the nature of comic books that one generation's interpretation of a character is going to be vastly different from another generation depending on the changing values of the times. For instance, once characters having homosexual tendencies was a sure sign of him/her being evil and deviant, but now even heroes can be gay and proud. I wont say it's all a good thing, but considering we must be a diverse people we most accept that in time, your favorite character will do something or have an opinion you don't like, and at that point you could either accept that change or stop reading altogether.
Also, what are your thoughts on the recent Winter Soldier movie? I'd like to hear what you thought about it.
Actually saying we must be a more diverse people is a matter of opinion, and something not everyone agrees with. Those that do agree of course don't always agree on what kinds of diversity we need or should accept.

What's more part of the issue is of course that society has not changed to embrace things like homosexuality. Indeed saying it has is political, and attempt by the left wing to try and create reality by screaming it enough through the media. In reality the population remains heavily divided, pretty much right down the middle, which is why those who are pro-gay push the media so hard, and try and bypass governmental systems and get laws in without the intended level of support. This is why even in states like California which lean heavily left overall, they have trouble getting things like gay marriage to stay in the books, and have had to resort to things like personal attacks outside of the system's function/voting to try and push things through, which has been making the news.

The point here is that Captain America, more so than just about any other character due to what he represents, is not supposed to be an avatar for a writer's viewpoints. His opinions and idealogy are those America already has, not those that people think America should have. He should not be pro-gay for example, until that is an opinion truly held by most Americans to the point of becoming part of the culture. He's supposed to be about where America does come together, and a reminder of where the ideologies meet, and one's duty to the country, not a champion of one idealogy or another. Once you change that, then you might as well not be writing Captain America.

As far as "Winter Soldier" goes, the movie itself was fine. I don't think some of Cap's specific comments to Nick Fury were in character, but the basic idea of SHIELD being subverted and needing to be brought down (in this case by Hydra) is an old one. Indeed there was a comic event largely based around this, "Nick Fury Vs. SHIELD" that was a bit more complicated (lead into for longer), and ultimately involved all of the big quasi-secret organizations (Hydra, AIM, Shield) and the LMD (Life Model Decoy) technology gaining self awareness. Nick Fury who in the real comics has abilities very similar to Cap's ran point on it though and ultimately resolved the situation, something the cinemaverse version couldn't likely have done anyway since they went with the "Ultimate Universe" version where Nick Fury is a comparative wimp (ie he doesn't have super powers, or access to the same levels of technology).

Really my biggest problem with the movie had to do with the ending, where the politics of the writers seemed to override common sense and in-universe logic. Namely when Captain America is told flat out that they Helicarriers can be disarmed and salvaged, but he decides to have them destroyed for no really valid reason. Sure giving them to a bunch of Nazis to fire on their enemies and take over the world is a bad idea, but once that was prevented from happening, the basic point of needing these things to fight supervillains and oh say, alien invasions, is a valid one in that universe. It's not even paranoid since we already had the alien invasion. The guys writing it however decided to try and insert some Edward Snowden like crack about Homeland Security (minus the other point of view being fairly expressed) so the destruction of the Helicarriers was supposed to be symbolic in a real world sense. Something which becomes even more eye-rolling when you consider this entire problem was stopped by black ops. and counter-intelligence services, sort of proving the point of why it was needed, and the guys doing the arrests are the CIA of all people who also at least publically seem to wind up absorbing a lot of previous SHIELD personnel. Of course going with the comics logic we can pretty much assume (especially in light of the TV tie ins) that Nick Fury's survival means he's probably going to activate redundencies he put into place in case SHIELD was destroyed and simply re-build the organization, perhaps without any kind of government accountability at all, something similar happened in the comics (well actually while they made a big deal about rebuilding, it eventually just returned to business as usual, most people don't even realize that Nick Fury fought and pretty much destroyed a corrupted SHIELD at one point... a prime example of Comic Book status quos being destroyed, and nobody of note ever really dying... or in this case an organization).
Wow, you have a lot of time on your hands

To be cynical, you forget that CA:TWS is not just an American film, but a movie with an international release in foreign markets. Most of the world looks at American super-surveillance and drone warfare not as security measures, but as tools of power that can be abused. The idea that HYDRA was working covertly to subjugate the world would resonate with those fears, and is marketable. As for just disabling the helicarriers, I'm pretty certain it wont be a satisfying climax, not just due to lack of explosions, but most people saying what's to stop another evil organisation from taking over the ships.

As for Captain America should not tackle issues on which the country is divided over, a brief history lesson. When Captain America was first published, America was not yet in the world war, and there was a group of people who were against it because they were Nazi supporters. Yes, before Pearl Harbor, there was support for the axis powers in America. By your logic, Captain America should not be fighting Nazis either.

And forget Nazis. Forget Gay rights. Stuff like racism, women's rights, capitalism - America still has various factions who oppose these ideals. Hell, remember Vietnam? Should we not have Cap fighting over there because half the country opposed it? You say Cap should fight for Ideals America already has, but America is still divided on the ideals it already has. Besides, he wouldn't be that popular a character if fighting cartoonishly evil villains is all he ever does.

But maybe your opinion is that Captain America is a Right Wing Superhero. Maybe you'd prefer stories like, say, Snowden was part of a HYDRA plot to weaken American defenses, or that HYDRA was behind a school shooting to oppose gun ownership laws and oppress the American public. After all, you seem to oppose Cap supporting Left wing politics but has not brought up any story where Cap holds some Right wing viewpoint.

Sorry, that last para was extra cynical. I'm pretty certain that the whole destruction of helicarriers will bite the heroes in the ass once Age of Ultron comes about.
 

mjharper

Can
Apr 28, 2013
172
0
0
A well-written piece.

As I don't want to get involved in the wall-of-texts this thread has turned into, I'll just add this: the author cited at the beginning seems to think that we can only be inspired to to good by godlike beings, but not by ordinary humans who strive to be better. Doesn't that alone strip his argument of all credibility? Since we have at least 500 years of literature which do precisely that?
 

Azahul

New member
Apr 16, 2011
419
0
0
Therumancer said:
This is already long, but I'll just say that I disagree with you in the strongest possible way about the Nazis, but it will get increasingly off subject if we decide to hash that out. For example we're already getting into a classic argument about "why different socialist powers 'for the people' don't get along" in terms of Russia Vs. Germany at the time. That ultimately comes down to a pair of megalomaniacs who both wanted to rule the world disagreeing over who was going to be in charge. Russia basically did not want to share with The Third Reich, and knew it was pretty close to getting to the point where it could make an international power grab itself. The Nazis wanted their socialist party to rule everything "for the people" and Russia wanted it's to do the same thing. After all, at the end of the day no matter how you dress it up someone is still going to be in charge and better off than everyone else, and calling the shots. This is in part why when Germany was defeated, things almost immediately fell apart with the Russians because the allies and Russians both realized they were on a collision course for much the same reasons. Things like "Operation Paperclip" were justified because we realized that if we didn't give shelter to German scientists and grab up their research the Russians would. We actually wound up getting lucky since the level of technology developed during WW II (namely atomic weapons) ensured we only saw a cold war. Both World War II and The Cold War were fundamentally the US fighting "left wing" governments claiming to be "of the people" and "for the workers". As much as people try and dress it up and say the Nazis were not socialists, their very name makes it clear, and they fundamentally started out doing a lot of the same things the left wing in countries like the US wants to do. Sure you can bring facism and totalitarianism into it, that's fair, but also notice that those same accusations (this going along with big government, an all powerful federal one that controls everything) tend to show up hand in hand with socialism anyway.. which is a big deal with people opposing it.
I know enough that getting into an argument with you will take up a lot of time and probably lead to nothing, but really, this myth that the "National Socialism" aspect of the Nazi party had anything to do with their actual political leanings is just that. A myth. "National Socialism" derived primarily from their intent to see the aristocracy abolished, allowing the land held by them to be given to the rest of the populace. There were a few other policies mixed in there as well that added to the name, proving nothing more than the fact that the world is a complicated place where political parties do not always sit neatly into "left" and "right" wings. Abolishing aristocracy is neither left nor right wing, it suits both economic policies without a problem. Well, unless you believe that Conservative policies are innately the province of the "right", which as the Nazis demonstrate is flat out wrong. Politics is far more complicated than these labels.

That said, the fundamental belief of the Nazis is a right wing one taken to a positively ludicrous extreme. They believed that some people were better than others, and by virtue of this deserved to flourish. Capitalism is not too dissimilar in principle, in that those who deserve it are meant to reap the benefits. The Nazis believed that Aryans were so innately superior, however, that competition on the free market wasn't a necessary part of their economic strategy. The world was divided into the deserving, the chosen race, and those who were not. This is not remotely a left-wing policy. The nationalisation of the economy was not being done for the betterment of the people, as it would in a theoretically left-wing state, but for the betterment of the nation. The nation in this case being supposedly synonymous with the Aryan people, allowing the Nazis to put the "deserving" at the top of the pile in the world. It's hard to wrap your head around at first, but the Nazis are considered extreme for a very good reason. Even from the perspective of those closest to them on the ideological spectrum, their policies look ludicrous.

The fact remains that the Nazis did not take power on their own, and that their support in terms of both voters and political alliances came from the far-right. Hitler attacked both left and right wing politics, declaring the Nazis superior to both. Their policies are left wing only from an utterly reductive standpoint in which nationalisation can only be a left wing policy. They didn't see themselves as left, they weren't regarded as left by their supporters or their allies, and history does not record them as left. This is why they're called right wing, but they're so far to the right I don't think anyone on the right should feel threatened by that association. They were extremists, first and foremost, and no one really needs to worry about it any more than that.

As my token reference to the article and to actually being on topic, I will say that I agree with the premise. Character flaws are absolutely necessary, but there's a difference between "not a perfect character" and "stinking cesspool of darkness and moral compromise". Good people have their flaws, but they don't have to be moral in nature.
 

YodaUnleashed

New member
Jun 11, 2010
221
0
0
I too agree with the overall point this article is trying to make; just because a character is fundamentally a good, decent person doesn't make them inherently boring or dull; this is especially true in a genre dominated by broody, 'dark' superheroes, where anything that is at the other end of the spectrum is already at least different if not as compelling (though I think he is). Captain America is a personification of American values, values that aren't valuable because they're American but because they're worthwhile in of themselves, thus accounting for why he can be such a popular, global figure despite the Star Spangled Banner colours adorning his costume that would imply a strong sense of nationalism. His purity of goodness, what any critic of his might label as traits of a 'Mary Sue' type character, is, despite the consistency of his moral goodness, not one-note because he has to grapple with constant dilemmas between, as Ross says, his value system and the people giving him orders as a soldier. Thus his decency is always challenged in various ways and he has to face those challenges down. It's sad to see so many decry a character as morally good as Captain America as uninteresting for that very moral goodness and decency, when it?s what most of us could always do with possessing more of.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
HemalJB said:
Therumancer said:
[

Wow, you have a lot of time on your hands

To be cynical, you forget that CA:TWS is not just an American film, but a movie with an international release in foreign markets. Most of the world looks at American super-surveillance and drone warfare not as security measures, but as tools of power that can be abused. The idea that HYDRA was working covertly to subjugate the world would resonate with those fears, and is marketable. As for just disabling the helicarriers, I'm pretty certain it wont be a satisfying climax, not just due to lack of explosions, but most people saying what's to stop another evil organisation from taking over the ships.

As for Captain America should not tackle issues on which the country is divided over, a brief history lesson. When Captain America was first published, America was not yet in the world war, and there was a group of people who were against it because they were Nazi supporters. Yes, before Pearl Harbor, there was support for the axis powers in America. By your logic, Captain America should not be fighting Nazis either.

And forget Nazis. Forget Gay rights. Stuff like racism, women's rights, capitalism - America still has various factions who oppose these ideals. Hell, remember Vietnam? Should we not have Cap fighting over there because half the country opposed it? You say Cap should fight for Ideals America already has, but America is still divided on the ideals it already has. Besides, he wouldn't be that popular a character if fighting cartoonishly evil villains is all he ever does.

But maybe your opinion is that Captain America is a Right Wing Superhero. Maybe you'd prefer stories like, say, Snowden was part of a HYDRA plot to weaken American defenses, or that HYDRA was behind a school shooting to oppose gun ownership laws and oppress the American public. After all, you seem to oppose Cap supporting Left wing politics but has not brought up any story where Cap holds some Right wing viewpoint.

Sorry, that last para was extra cynical. I'm pretty certain that the whole destruction of helicarriers will bite the heroes in the ass once Age of Ultron comes about.

Ahh, but you see with the Nazis it was a military issue, not a social one. Indeed Captain America was designed as a sort of avatar of the US military industial complex and bringing people together to fight enemies like that. It's domestic policy (gay rights, etc...) that Cap should not be involved in, especially seeing as he properly shouldn't be involved in storylines where things like that come up. I already covered this in some of my posts.

As far as the international reaction to the US surveillance programs and such goes, that's kind of a joke, since largely these measures exist to protect us against them. What's more most countries, including ones the US is allied with, are already involved in far worse. Canada for example equips it's police with blank warrants (or did when I took criminal justice) and the UK has camera coverage on civilians almost as soon as they step outside of their homes (which a lot of people from the UK complain about). To be honest there is a lot of room between "OMG, this is like the Nazi secret police" and where we are now, and truthfully a lot of our allies already represent that middle ground. It's just that everyone likes to take the piss out of the US because we make ourselves easy targets. What's more, when it comes to China (trying to take over Japanese Islands, attacking Filipino fishermen, stealing classified US data, responsible for a lot of the reasons (but not all of them) that we need these measures) we really shouldn't give a flying rat's ass, given that they themselves engage in even worse domestic security.

Simply put the fact that we do things like this to sell to foreign markets, like say China, while they knock us in their propaganda all the time, is a big part of why we're international laughing stocks. What's more, in this case I don't really think this was done for the international audience, it was purely domestic anti-government commentary from people who don't believe in the existence of actual threats and don't like the inconvenience. The problem was that "Winter Soldier" was badly written, because as insane as the whole "pretending there are no threats out there" in real life is, in the movie reality we already had New York attacked by aliens so... you really can't deny it. Especially seeing as The Hellicarrier was one of the few things that was between the aliens and conquering earth (along with The Avengers, who themselves used it as a base and a central point of their defense).

Your quite correct, this will probably bite people in the butt come "Avengers 2", *BUT* that doesn't change that it was absolutely stupid behavior on Cap's part, and the writers trying to inject left wing politics into a movie where they really did not belong. They could easily have had the Helicarriers destroyed (say by Hydra) without having Cap be the one to make the call, and justify it with the logic he used.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
Azahul said:
Therumancer said:
This is already long, but I'll just say that I disagree with you in the strongest possible way about the Nazis, but it will get increasingly off subject if we decide to hash that out. For example we're already getting into a classic argument about "why different socialist powers 'for the people' don't get along" in terms of Russia Vs. Germany at the time. That ultimately comes down to a pair of megalomaniacs who both wanted to rule the world disagreeing over who was going to be in charge. Russia basically did not want to share with The Third Reich, and knew it was pretty close to getting to the point where it could make an international power grab itself. The Nazis wanted their socialist party to rule everything "for the people" and Russia wanted it's to do the same thing. After all, at the end of the day no matter how you dress it up someone is still going to be in charge and better off than everyone else, and calling the shots. This is in part why when Germany was defeated, things almost immediately fell apart with the Russians because the allies and Russians both realized they were on a collision course for much the same reasons. Things like "Operation Paperclip" were justified because we realized that if we didn't give shelter to German scientists and grab up their research the Russians would. We actually wound up getting lucky since the level of technology developed during WW II (namely atomic weapons) ensured we only saw a cold war. Both World War II and The Cold War were fundamentally the US fighting "left wing" governments claiming to be "of the people" and "for the workers". As much as people try and dress it up and say the Nazis were not socialists, their very name makes it clear, and they fundamentally started out doing a lot of the same things the left wing in countries like the US wants to do. Sure you can bring facism and totalitarianism into it, that's fair, but also notice that those same accusations (this going along with big government, an all powerful federal one that controls everything) tend to show up hand in hand with socialism anyway.. which is a big deal with people opposing it.
I know enough that getting into an argument with you will take up a lot of time and probably lead to nothing, but really, this myth that the "National Socialism" aspect of the Nazi party had anything to do with their actual political leanings is just that. A myth. "National Socialism" derived primarily from their intent to see the aristocracy abolished, allowing the land held by them to be given to the rest of the populace. There were a few other policies mixed in there as well that added to the name, proving nothing more than the fact that the world is a complicated place where political parties do not always sit neatly into "left" and "right" wings. Abolishing aristocracy is neither left nor right wing, it suits both economic policies without a problem. Well, unless you believe that Conservative policies are innately the province of the "right", which as the Nazis demonstrate is flat out wrong. Politics is far more complicated than these labels.

That said, the fundamental belief of the Nazis is a right wing one taken to a positively ludicrous extreme. They believed that some people were better than others, and by virtue of this deserved to flourish. Capitalism is not too dissimilar in principle, in that those who deserve it are meant to reap the benefits. The Nazis believed that Aryans were so innately superior, however, that competition on the free market wasn't a necessary part of their economic strategy. The world was divided into the deserving, the chosen race, and those who were not. This is not remotely a left-wing policy. The nationalisation of the economy was not being done for the betterment of the people, as it would in a theoretically left-wing state, but for the betterment of the nation. The nation in this case being supposedly synonymous with the Aryan people, allowing the Nazis to put the "deserving" at the top of the pile in the world. It's hard to wrap your head around at first, but the Nazis are considered extreme for a very good reason. Even from the perspective of those closest to them on the ideological spectrum, their policies look ludicrous.

The fact remains that the Nazis did not take power on their own, and that their support in terms of both voters and political alliances came from the far-right. Hitler attacked both left and right wing politics, declaring the Nazis superior to both. Their policies are left wing only from an utterly reductive standpoint in which nationalisation can only be a left wing policy. They didn't see themselves as left, they weren't regarded as left by their supporters or their allies, and history does not record them as left. This is why they're called right wing, but they're so far to the right I don't think anyone on the right should feel threatened by that association. They were extremists, first and foremost, and no one really needs to worry about it any more than that.

As my token reference to the article and to actually being on topic, I will say that I agree with the premise. Character flaws are absolutely necessary, but there's a difference between "not a perfect character" and "stinking cesspool of darkness and moral compromise". Good people have their flaws, but they don't have to be moral in nature.

... and you are entirely incorrect. The Nazis were very much a left wing phenomena based around the rights of the workers and laborers and the argument that they should be the driving force of society. Hitler rallied people by pretty much using a principle of seizing the property and wealth of the rich, and giving it back to the people. For example he brought Romania in largely due to promises of the "Re-Romanianization" of property. Key points of his promises were things like future where everyone would have a car "A Volkswagon".

Now, the racism aspect of what Hitler did was insane, but it largely came from the fact that Europe was heavily threatened by ethnic organized crime, largely syndicates run by Jews. Those syndicates went back in some cases centuries to a period of time when Jews were exclusively able to lend money, because other widely practiced religions prohibited it. This meant they were uncontested loan sharks for a very long time which brought all kinds of crime and scams with it, and allowed them to build up massive amounts of propery, wealth, and other things, and nobody could really compete with them even when they no longer had a monopoly on this. These Jewish syndicates also themselves had a "master race" philosophy which some people have pointed towards and said Hitler stole a lot of his rhetoric and even portions of his speeches from things these Jews themselves passed around internally. The Jews believed they were entitled to terrorize others because they were after all "God's chosen people". What's more they wouldn't agree to sell land or anything to anyone who wasn't also a Jew. Now it's important to understand that this was not something that applied to ALL Jews, as there were many poor Jews and those who weren't involved (the majority actually) sort of like how The Mafia doesn't include all Italians. However it had been going on for so long that it became easy to use Jews as a sort of target for the "corrupt upper class" and the way they gamed the system as an example of why it needed to be reformed. A lot of the Jewish conspiracy stuff comes down to the fact that a lot of these organizations were international as well. So as a result it was easy for Hitler to take his whole "Robin Hood with a gun and a tendency for mass murder" and gradually direct it towards his racist crusades. Other victims like Gypsies were also sold as threats to the every man, as these roving bands were hard to police, and when they arrived in places (camping on land they don't own) theft, prostitution, kidnapping, murder, and other things went through the roof. Argue that point any way you want, but the point was the average person was threatened, and as such Hitler also aimed at what was the lowest rung (basically vagabonds) along with the highest and decided he would just flat out get rid of these people for the every man.

The nationalistic aspects of the Nazis had little to do with the actual Nazi philosophy, which is incidently why a lot of people today try and make arguments that you need to separate the party from the leadership and the politics of the time. It had more to do with the treaties after "World War I" and how badly punished Germany was for the previous world war, while still being allowed to be a power. Pretty much when you kick dirt on a major industrial and military power like that it's not wise, they needed to either flat out destroy Germany, or take the surrender/treaties a lot more easily. This created a sort of desire for vengeance and payback, especially given how many people still believed Germany was in the right during "World War I", because nobody went around and rounded up those people or broke the culture (a mistake which was not made after World War II, Nazis were hunted for decades afterwards, even after mass slaughters in the final days of the war especially. Germany was also split in half... which the world did not have the willpower to stick with).

Right now you see echoes of the Nazis philosophy even in the left wing of the US. After all today liberals want to create a single, strong, federal government that controls everything. Free speech is to be limited against what the government decides to deem "hate speech" which taken to it's extreme makes dissent on anything the government decides is a social issue effectively a crime (this has yet to succeed however). Where the government can't act directly it works with private institutions (like the media) indirectly through deals with it's own regulation and favors to achieve the same effect. Being rich and successful is promoted to the every man as being a bad thing, with the government constantly trying to sell one idea after another for seizing people's personal fortunes through taxes, rules, regulations, and policies. The left wing also wants to disarm the population so if it decides to say send it's enforcers even if the people were to rally they would be powerless. They basically want to avoid situations like how the Feds were pretty
much ran off by a bunch of ranchers in Nevada when they were trying to charge money to use land for grazing the Feds have an ambigious claim to (and know very well what it's needed for) on top of all the taxes and regulations they put
on ranchers to begin with. The biggest difference between the left wing and the Nazis is that it hasn't moved towards an ethnic agenda yet, but then again the Nazis gradually built things up in that direction themselves.

Now, I'm not saying that it's a perfect analogy, just that you can see it if you look. I don't think the American left will go as far as the Nazis did, but they are VERY similar. The right wing is only similar to the Nazis for the most part in that it heavily believes in pushing a nationalist agenda and the US far more aggressively pursueing it's interests globally, up to and including the military. Simply put the right wing attitude on guns alone (ie a heavily armed populance) would prevent anything close to what the Nazis pulled with the secret police and such.

Either philosophy, taken to an extreme by a charismatic leader who manages to really a substantial majority of the population into a cult of personality, can be extremely bad of course. While not identical to the US left wing, the Nazis were very much a left wing philosophy, as was the USSR. A big part of this is "a powerful government is needed to ensure the rights of the people", and that's pretty much what the US left wing is pushing in a nutshell, they want the federal government being involved in everything, "purely to protect minorities, and reduce crime and violence of course"....


That said I lean more to the right wing in most areas that I feel are relevant now, namely because I am a militant and believe we need to be more assertive internationally, fight proper (very ugly) wars, and similar things. For all the global QQing about America being too aggressive, I think half the problem is we aren't aggressive at all really which is why we have people whining like that (and actually having an effect on the US by doing it) as opposed to viewing us with respect, fear, and caution. Right now the entire world is gobbling up the USA's sphere of influence because nobody fears retaliation... but that's an entirely separate discussion.

I do however agree with the left wing in terms of things like worker's rights and so on. I also feel that ultimately for humanity to survive we need a single world government and culture, the exact kind of homogenized "One World Government" or "New World Order" a lot of people are afraid of and see a an anathema. Which means that on a certain level I am a totalitarian, though I do believe that none of the current nations or cultures as they are now would be perfect to rule everything. The USA's philosophies (though now it's current form or practices) are the best case for forming a working global government when the smoke clears and once everyone is unified. Ultimatly though all nations including the USA would need to disband or be disbanded, forcibly or otherwise, and most cultures, including those of the west, would be eroded and dismantled into a whole. I see this as being necessary for serious space travel and exploration, and space travel and exploration as being needed for the survival of humanity. But again this is another entire discussion.

The point here being that on a lot of levels I'm offensive to either side. Me saying the Nazis are left wing isn't me really knocking the left wing. On some levels the left wing might even have the right ideas, but right now isn't the time or the place for it. Half the problem with the USA is that we've become too moral and enlightened (or are trying to be) in a world that isn't yet ready for it. We don't need Bush OR Obama, we pretty much need Ghengis Khan (so to speak).
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
Therumancer said:
HemalJB said:
Ahh, but you see with the Nazis it was a military issue, not a social one. Indeed Captain America was designed as a sort of avatar of the US military industial complex and bringing people together to fight enemies like that. It's domestic policy (gay rights, etc...) that Cap should not be involved in, especially seeing as he properly shouldn't be involved in storylines where things like that come up. I already covered this in some of my posts.
Captain America was created by two Jewish guys whose parents were refugees from anti semitic oppression in central Europe. Like Superman, Cap was not created as an Avatar of the military industrial complex, but as a symbol of the American dream. From his inception, he was the defender of the little guy, the outcast, and the like. That explains why he was easily able to be used to talk about the hot button issues of the day when the character was revived. The 1950s version, who was kind of a big dick, was a serious derivation from the original take, and Marvel thus retconned that out. And again, you really should read the original comics, they aren't quite what you think they are.

And really, you seem to have a problem with a fundamentally decent person having an opinion on things like persecution of gay people or racial minorities. That's your prerogative, but I can't help but think the best Americans are the ones who don't shy away from doing the right thing, domestic or foreign. Fundamentally decent people oppose bigotry and defend the little guy. I'm certain in your own life, you strive to do the same, so why not allow for a super hero who does? Especially when it's baked into the cake.
 

deathbydeath

New member
Jun 28, 2010
1,363
0
0
Okay, first things first: Walls of text are okay but please people, snip your damn quotes. It's pretty silly.

OP: Captain America in The Winter Soldier is a shitty character and TWS is a bad movie, and both of these are because the writers didn't have any balls and even less ideas. The original Captain America Nixon Administration Identity Crisis Arc in the 70's worked because Cap actually changes and emerged from the story different than he had before. In TWS, Cap Is Always Right because to suggest otherwise requires balls Hollywood doesn't have and the "villains" are a walking punchline because they have no conviction to their cause and what Insight is preventing is never even explained.

In Summary: Captain America in The Winter Soldier isn't a bad character because he wasn't dark enough. He's a bad character because the writers are bad.
 

bjj hero

New member
Feb 4, 2009
3,180
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

Is the Star Spangled Avenger too nice? Hell no. Wishing he was meaner is failure to grasp the concept.

Read Full Article
I really enjoyed your article, thank you. Id always written Cap off without giving him a chance, something to do with his start as a propaganda and how uninteresting his powers were compared to others. My only pre-movie exposure to him was civil war and ultimates.

Im a bit older now and dont need "cool and edgy" any more. A charecter works if he has relatable interests and desires with more to him or her than smashing villains. I quite like the soldier out of time story. These are the things that make him interesting and relatable. In someways it reminded me of my time living in America, the world was familiar (Lots of UK TV is American) but alien at the same time.


The one thing in Winter Soldier thant didnt sit right with me though...
When they get the hydra mole alone on the roof to question him and Widow kicks him off the highrise to gain information. I couldnt buy this version of Cap being OK with a mock execution, no matter how elaborate.

How did that sit with other people?
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Therumancer said:
HemalJB said:
Ahh, but you see with the Nazis it was a military issue, not a social one. Indeed Captain America was designed as a sort of avatar of the US military industial complex and bringing people together to fight enemies like that. It's domestic policy (gay rights, etc...) that Cap should not be involved in, especially seeing as he properly shouldn't be involved in storylines where things like that come up. I already covered this in some of my posts.
Captain America was created by two Jewish guys whose parents were refugees from anti semitic oppression in central Europe. Like Superman, Cap was not created as an Avatar of the military industrial complex, but as a symbol of the American dream. From his inception, he was the defender of the little guy, the outcast, and the like. That explains why he was easily able to be used to talk about the hot button issues of the day when the character was revived. The 1950s version, who was kind of a big dick, was a serious derivation from the original take, and Marvel thus retconned that out. And again, you really should read the original comics, they aren't quite what you think they are.

And really, you seem to have a problem with a fundamentally decent person having an opinion on things like persecution of gay people or racial minorities. That's your prerogative, but I can't help but think the best Americans are the ones who don't shy away from doing the right thing, domestic or foreign. Fundamentally decent people oppose bigotry and defend the little guy. I'm certain in your own life, you strive to do the same, so why not allow for a super hero who does? Especially when it's baked into the cake.
Actually I'm fairly familiar with old school Captain America, and am aware of the retcon (including how the Retconned Bucky both wore the costume of Nomad and Scourge). I can also say quite a bit about a lot of Cap's old team mates in "The Invaders" ranging from Prince Namor (and how he waffles from villain to hero), the original Android "Human Torch", etc... including characters like "The Thin Man" and "Union Jack". Overall Captain America covered much the same niche as "Nick Fury and the Howling Commandos" but focused on more superhuman characters. Captain America was a nice guy, but was presented in the context of a commando who was pretty much doing stuff behind enemy lines, indeed the entire team name "The Invaders" kind of summarizes what their intended profile was. Cap was not intended as a champion of political underdogs or anything of the sort, though he was a nice guy, and copped that attitude when dealing with people who were not opposed to America and represented groups America considered to be friends, allies, or underdogs to be protected. When it came to enemies of America represented by everything from The Red Skull, to Warrior Woman, and a vintage rogues gallery (many of which were created later and re-inserted into World War II via past stories and such), Captain America isn't really that nice. Him, Nick Fury, and others threw around terms like "Krauts" quite frequently and weren't exactly out to invite Hitler and the SS over for tea to talk out their differences. Basically, he dehumanized the enemies he was fighting as a soldier would, sort of like calling an Asian "Gook" or "Charlie" in 'Nam, or a guy in the Middle East "Raghead", offensive yes, but pretty much how you dehumanize an enemy in your own mind (and others), admittedly it's not serious racism as long as your able to put it away when the war ends, which Cap has by and large been able to do.

When it comes to social issues, the thing is that 50% of the population doesn't agree that gays are underdog victims that need to be protected. My personal experiences which range from being sexually assaulted by an older boy when I was six, combined with later experiences working security where I engaged in surveillance (for Casinos) have hardly made me pro-gay. Indeed I tend to be right in the middle of that issue when you get down to it, with the serious anti-gay movements thinking I'm too soft, and of course the unquestioning left wing that is highly pro-gay finds me monsterous because I do not believe in the full gay rights agenda and unconditional social acceptance and protection. Do not get
me wrong however, I do not think "Captain America" would be a gay-basher or run around burning homosexuals at the stake or pushing to have them all rounded up in camps or anything either. I think rather Cap is the kind of guy who would be sort of centrist, but not the same way I am, meaning he'd listen to both sides, remain neutral, and more or less focus on the big picture. The idea being that Cap ultimately goes whichever way America does, he doesn't act as a mouthpiece for one side or the other, unless it's rallying against enemies of the country. When it comes to other minorities (such as arguments about ethnic equality) Cap of course is all for equal rights because that's the way America went. In World War II being what he was (a rallying point) he of course didn't promote racism or anything bvecause after all, at the time he was rallying readers to support war (or what happened previously in the way) and there was a drive to get minorities involved. In Cap's case it's less a matter of what's legal, but majority support. If Cap was going to weigh in on any political issues right now I'd imagine it would be over things like the recent decisions by democrats to change policies to prevent Republican filibusters allowing them to force through decisions on the budget, etc.. without the required majority behind them. A move very much towards a tyranny of the minority and a real threat to the intended checks and balances involved in the system. Cap isn't left or right wing, and would rightfully be calling either party for that kind of thing.

What's more there is also a matter of writing things appropriately. I'm not going to argue gay rights here as it would derail this beyond all belief. But consider for example that one big hot button issue involved in the discussion as to whether gay men are pre-disposed towards sexually assaulting children when they believed they can get away with it. The pro-gay movement will of course say this is not the case and "prove" it by pointing towards studies conducted by universities and private researchers. The problem is those studies and researchers don't have the resources or authority to perform proper research. In a society where it takes a judge to get a simple wiretap, these guys are not going to be able to anonymously follow around and spy on millions of homosexuals without their knowledge or awareness, digging into what they do when they think nobody is around. They don't even have the resources to get involved in surveillance if they did have the authority. Rather they have to focus on voluntary focus groups, people who know they are being observed, or are expected to answer questions truthfully, even if promised immunity a child molester is not going to say "oh yes, I dream about raping kids, and trade gay child porn with other people like me all the time". There is no motivation for them to be honest, after all even if they aren't immediately arrested the information gathered is going to be used to create policies that negatively impact what they are doing. In comparison people who do surveillance and/or investigations of one sort or another, come across a lot of data they can't use for what they are doing. For example in snooping for the Casinos it didn't matter if I found a whole crapload of kiddie porn in someone's suitcase, the casino was only concerned about it's own finances, what's more in going after something like that it would tip the hat that say casino security has been going through people's rooms (which as posted we have the right to do, at least where I worked, the laws are pretty much whatever the tribe said they were). Likewise when it comes to the police, federal agents, CIA, FBI, or whatever they come across this kind of information while pursueing other things. If they are say after some dude moving tons of cocaine, they don't care about the gay dudes molesting little boys that might expose their entire operation if revealed (and could quite probably be thrown out due to being beyond the scope of their permissions). People who do this kind of thing, tend to wind up becoming quite jaded, and the worst kind of bigots by the standards of people who don't do it. When I took Criminal Justice years ago I was warned about what this kind of thing did to you, once you put on those "colored glasses" and look behind the façade you can never see the world the same way again. At any rate the point I'm getting at here is let's look at the policies made by someone who wound up in government and had done this kind of thing on a large scale... Putin. Putin who is a guy I don't like very much was a KGB agent, and moved up to run the entire organization. The dude has about a million things on his plate, like say... invading former parts of the Soviet Union to re-absorb them, combined with horrible PR issues. He's not some guy who is going to chance gays around without reason for it, yet he himself makes it quite clear "gays attack kids, we keep a particular eye on them" even when it upsets the rest of the world. The odd thing is Putin is one of the few people in an actual position to have the information to make an unbiased statement on the fact. Universities don't have the resources, politicians like Obama don't generally have that kind of experience (if anything they get summarized bulletpoint reports from intelligence services). Who is more likely to be right? Personally as a one time victim and someone who has spied on people professionally (in a limited context admittedly) and what that did to my opinions... well you can guess where I personally side on this.

The point of that rant which probably has you (or others) frothing at the moment is not to argue gay rights, which I'm not going to do again on these forums, but simply to point out the other side of this whole "oppressed underdog" thing and why there are so many people on the other side of the fence to make it a divisive back and forth battle. Note that despite stereotypes used to fight the anti-gay supporters I did not mention God or religion once here (though I am a Christian). Many people dismiss this, but with roughly 50% of the population being on the anti-gay side, someone like Captain America really couldn't or wouldn't do that. America is not *firmly* on one side or the other. What's more entire issues like this don't really belong in comics that are meant to get away from it. Captain America should more or less remain silent on the issue because it's wrong to represent one side without the other, and honestly when your reading a bloody comic book your trying to get away from this kind of social issues garbage, thinking about stuff like that is for your non-comics time. As a guy who is supposed to be fairly open minded Cap would really have to weigh both ends of that and I really don't want to read a 32 page issue of Cap pondering child molestation. Furthermore, if you really wanted to be realistic about it, Cap, Nick Fury, and other "government agent" types with access to a lot of surveillance data (not just the target, but what you see staking out a target, and otherwise winds up passing through your net) would all probably be huge bigots on almost every subject, as that tends to happen to anyone in that position when they get a face full of reality. Not turning Captain America into Captain "OMG, I now hate the world I'm trying to protect", basically exactly the kind of cynical dickhead I agree with you that he should be, means that he needs to be kept away from. As a result things need to be kept away from this and getting into what Captain America would "Realistically" run into and experience, and turn out like. Sure, it's unlikely anyone nowadays wouldn't be on one side or the other of the gay rights debate, but being apart from that is exactly what allows Cap to be an optimistic super hero. You know having Cap realistically ponder if say Putin is more apt to judge social situations because of all that hardcore Russian spying and internal security that is otherwise criticized just isn't fun... having a guy dressed like The American Flag punch people threatening the US is fun however, to work as a sort of "nice guy, patriot" he needs to be divorced somewhat from reality.
 

VikingKing

New member
Sep 5, 2012
78
0
0
It's might just be me, but I find a funny parallel between the 'DARKNESS! NO PARENTS!' nature of comic books in my life time with that of teenagers who are trying to be mature. Not learning to be mature. But pretending to have grasped the concepts and are therefore superior to their peers. Social conmen, in a sense.

But most of those who suffer from this are going to grow out of it. Captain America is the rare example of someone who never tried to be anything else than exactly what they wanted. Not what they think everyone else wants.
 

Azahul

New member
Apr 16, 2011
419
0
0
Therumancer said:
Like I said, the issue is complicated and hard to get your head around. But since my first attempt didn't work, let's begin with the basics.

First of all, it is possible for one brand of right-wing philosophy to be different from another right-wing philosophy. The same goes for the left. The Nazi brand of right-wing philosophy is quite different from the modern American one, so it isn't that surprising that you're focussing on some superficial similarities. The terms "left" and "right" are extreme oversimplifications that do not accurately convey reality. There are a broad spectrum of different policies that make up each of these "wings", and an extreme version of either philosophy may only focus on a handful of those policies.

Second, as a result of the above, it is possible for a group to simultaneously be right-wing and be a proponent of big government. In the case of the Nazis, the aspect of the right they chose to focus on was social inequality, based on race. Their Nationalism was largely predicated on the fact they saw Germany as an Aryan state. They justified their big government by using it to advance the cause of their chosen people. It's stupid and not much like America's current brand of far-right politics, but it is what you get when you focus on one tiny aspect of a philosophy and advance it to an insane degree. It's not always going to look the same. In this case, Big Government is a tool often used by extremists because a democratic system makes it very hard to enact radical change. Totalitarian rule can be used by either wing if they need to advance a truly extreme set of policies, and was in the case of the Nazis.

Third, all philosophies want to attract supporters from the majority of the populace. That "Volkswagon in every home" quote you keep tossing about isn't an indication of left-wing philosophy. The far-right in Germany, heck, the right in most countries both at the time and in the present, promise the exact same things, but had different ideas to the left on how to go about getting them. The important difference is that the right promised these things to only a certain portion of the population. The hard workers, if they were emphasising a capitalist policy, or to those of the superior race, in the Nazis' case. The left, by contrast, would aim for total equality. And if you really think there isn't some level of political spin in the above statement to trick people outside of the chosen few into voting for the Nazis, you're being pretty naive. All these policies aiming to attract support from the working class, and discriminating against the rich, were based in the rhetoric of a superior race for a reason.

Finally, the policies that are generally believed to fundamentally define the extreme right is a rejection of equality and a rejection of democracy, combined with a powerful sense of nationalism. The Far-Right in this case believe that there are naturally superior people, and rather relying on economic forces to raise these people to the top automatically, they believe it is the job of the state to put them on top and to remove the inferior members of the population.

Like I said before, no one, not the Nazis themselves, their enemies, their allies, their supporters, or the overwhelming majority of modern historians and political analysts, call the Nazis left. Their policies are rooted in a distorted version of right wing philosophy. They flagrantly attacked the traditionally left standpoint of universal equality.

I'm sorry, but by every modern definition we have, the Nazis sit on the right. You can continue to point at things that, to you, look left wing, but I can assure you that you are factually incorrect in this matter (insofar as it is possible to be when discussing social sciences and arbitrary terms life "Left" and "Right"). I won't deny that the Nazis occasionally instituted a left wing policy, but the foundations of their philosophy were all coming from the other side of politics. To reiterate though, this isn't an association that the right should be ashamed of. Political philosophy generally gets to a point where it's so extreme the only policies you can really equate it to are other, equally extreme ones. I tend to think of the Nazis as extremists, more than any particular political affiliation.

And, for the record, I'm not even going to touch on your opinions on modern politics. Some things are just beyond me.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
forget the deconstruction of "Capt"...y'all need to take a step back and view this neckbeards article on the interweb about one of the biggest opening films ever...in the correct context...which is that it doesn't matter a fuck.

the idea that people don't enjoy "good" characters is about one dumbest things i've ever heard.

from "prophets" to "legends" you've been hearing stories about such people almost from the day you were born...
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
Azahul said:
[

Finally, the policies that are generally believed to fundamentally define the extreme right is a rejection of equality and a rejection of democracy, combined with a powerful sense of nationalism. The Far-Right in this case believe that there are naturally superior people, and rather relying on economic forces to raise these people to the top automatically, they believe it is the job of the state to put them on top and to remove the inferior members of the population.

Like I said before, no one, not the Nazis themselves, their enemies, their allies, their supporters, or the overwhelming majority of modern historians and political analysts, call the Nazis left. Their policies are rooted in a distorted version of right wing philosophy. They flagrantly attacked the traditionally left standpoint of universal equality.

I'm sorry, but by every modern definition we have, the Nazis sit on the right. You can continue to point at things that, to you, look left wing, but I can assure you that you are factually incorrect in this matter (insofar as it is possible to be when discussing social sciences and arbitrary terms life "Left" and "Right"). I won't deny that the Nazis occasionally instituted a left wing policy, but the foundations of their philosophy were all coming from the other side of politics. To reiterate though, this isn't an association that the right should be ashamed of. Political philosophy generally gets to a point where it's so extreme the only policies you can really equate it to are other, equally extreme ones. I tend to think of the Nazis as extremists, more than any particular political affiliation.
You are basically either a victim of propaganda who thinks this because it is what you've been told to think (historical and social re-invention in schools are a big thing) or your trying to project based on the labels you want and/or justify the side you want to back in the current context.

Left wing philosophy is about the sacrifice of personal freedom for the state. It's typically sold in terms of equality, so that it appeals to the masses on the lowest rungs of society who are to be conceptually lifted up, while those they see as their oppressors, or the ones they envy, brought down. It's based heavily on the idea that true communism does not work because if people are left to their own devices, none of the required jobs to support the society are going to get done. Every person wants to do something they enjoy, and contribute in their own way, or otherwise do a job they feel is important and rewarding. Society only needs so many people who are doctors, lawyers, leaders, etc... but tons of people who do backbreaking labour in farms and factories. The idea of socialism is you have a government that controls everything presumably to ensure everything gets done and fair distribution of what society produces, which basically amounts to the politicians who represent the idea (ie members of the party) controlling everything. It also comes with tight societal controls in the name of allowing freedom.

This is both the Nazis, and the American democratic party in a nutshell. Both appeal to the lowest rungs of society by promising them more than they have. Appealing to feelings of persecution (even when not grounded) among minorities, and the poor working class who look up at the top 1% with envy. The left wing basically pushes a social agenda that amounts to a central, all powerful government, forcing equality. It's great when your being lifted up, but not so great when the system settles in and you hit that ceiling. The truth usually doesn't fully sink in until you have the left wing government fully in power, running around slapping down anyone who disagrees for "hate speech" or whatever while insisting it's promoting freedom and protecting people, and of course all the people at the bottom realize that at the end of the day someone still needs to dig ditches and they wind up in pretty much the same place. Except instead of a bunch of nobles, corporations, or merchant lords running everything it's party officials filling pretty much the same role.

In comparison the right wing tends to be more about individual liberty, with a certain degree of "might makes right" thrown in for good measure. The right wing is more or less about the ability of people to reap the benefits of their success, and to pass it onto their family dynasties. The government is supposed to largely be there to take care of the people and deal with "big" issues like maintaining roads, fighting wars, and defending American business interests. Ideally most laws and social policies should be set and resolved on a local, or state, level where the people in a community (lead by their leaders who tend to be the most prosperous citizens) decide what happens in their own back yard.

In reality the two sides are the opposite of what most people seem to think they are. It just seems different because the left wing generally comes running in on behalf of minorities who otherwise wouldn't get much say in anything, and forces them down the throat of the majority. Basically having Uncle Sam come into a town and say "we don't care what the people here want you can't do this, and have to let these people do whatever it is they wanted to do". If your on the receiving end of the benefits of that "social justice" or have been convinced academically it's a good idea, your all for it, and think that giving the government more power amounts to protecting the freedom of the people. Sadly it's not a perfect world, and freedom generally means a lot of people are going to have the right to be oppressive dickheads when enough of them get together.

In reality neither "side" here is correct. Taken to the extreme it's pretty much "Nazis Vs. Cowboys" for a simplistic analogy. As a result I don't fully lean towards either camp. However all semantics aside, yes, the Nazis were, and always will be, a left wing movement.

Nationalism and other things tend to be something that exists outside of the left wing/right wing context. In the Nazis case the nationalism came from feeling they were wronged during "World War I". What's more once a left wing power structure took over, it rapidly became a cult of personality, except rather than an emperor, king, or congress, it was being run by the higher ups of the party who themselves had their own agendas, and control of the media. That's pretty much one of the problems with a strong central government that controls everything and the left wing philosophy. If some dude like Hitler and his lackeys control everything and they decide they not only want to get revenge on the world, but also genetically resurrect a bunch of psionic blonde haired giants they believed once ruled the world... well, that's going to be your national agenda.... and by the way the whole occult angle and teachings of "The Brotherhood Of Thule" were the key to the whole thing. Hitler's "Master Race" didn't yet exist, he planned to (re)create it, which is why he didn't match the description of the people he thought should be ruling us all. On and odd and frightening note I'll add (just to ramble) that one of the things that Hitler did that made him so powerful was being able to convince a lot of his political rivals to join him in his crusade. He pretty much walked into a room with people who hated him, put on a presentation, and BOOM, now the guy is on his side. The thing is that a lot of Hitler's theories also inspired a lot of his archaeology expeditions and so on, what's more a lot of effort was made after the war to cover up a lot of Hitler's research and findings. Given that a lot of the biggest experts on history and such in the world teamed up with him to one extent or another, it's lead to a lot of conspiracy theories that Hitler might have been right about certain things, including another race in pre-history, the location of Atlantis, etc... this is what inspires a lot of those "weird tales" about Nazi expeditions and the like, along with "X-files" like theories about how the allies agreed to more or less hide the evidence to keep the peace, etc. The big point is that Hitler was a whacky dude whether he was right or not, and half the problems with the Nazis going militant was because he was so bloody charismatic, and was calling the shots. The antics of him and his followers have little to do with the nature of the central philosophy or where it went.

Now it's great to sit here and try and make academic points about what right and left wing might mean in different parts of the world. But in the context of this discussion it's pretty straight forward. The Nazis were left wing, and Hitler built his little army off of left wing philosophy.

For the most part though, you are correct to an extent that usually right wingers will be the more aggressive ones, but largely when their interests are threatened. One of the few uses for the central government is of course to fight wars. This means the military is going to be used to leverage this like trade, and to seize and protect resources, and otherwise try and ensure as much power as it can for it's patron nation. The old maxim "Free trade means he with the biggest guns trades freely" pretty much represents this kind of attitude.
 

RossaLincoln

New member
Feb 4, 2014
738
0
0
the German nazis were corporatists who put war contracts out to competitive tender...so much for government ownership of everything...

quit looking for a way to make everything fit a template Therumancer...especially when it comes to squeezing all the evil in the world into one black Vs white, right VS wrong, right Vs left box...you're making a fool of yourself...and you're so far OT if this was a party i'd hand you my drink and walk away from you...
 

softclocks

New member
Mar 7, 2014
221
0
0
Maybe people enjoy Captain America (in the comics at least) because at this point he's almost the only one who hasn't had a mad slip into grimdarkness. His ideals aren't limited to the Empire of America anymore, but he's become more of an international symbol. As with everyone in comics it always comes down to the writer and any criticism levelled against a character is often just the case of someone having only seen a movie or read a handful of comics. Or as is the case with Superman, they've never touched a comic or severely lack imagination.

Superman's unbeatable? really? Because he's strong? He's been down for the count more times than I can count. And though he's arguably the top member of the Justice League, he's at the very least surrounded by his nigh-peers. Which is not the case wtih Thor, someone who's more or less Superman's equal yet has to function on a team where most people hover around hawkeye's level....
 

JoshuaMadoc

New member
Sep 3, 2008
165
0
0
I think I can simplify this whole situation by saying that the ones wanting Stevie to be a prick are the same people who would curse and lambast anyone playing as Paragon Shepard, swearing to be a Renegade Shepard or a Sith or even a dickhead Dragonborn that joins the Dark Brotherhood at the earliest opportunity, just so they can have fun killing everyone and everything.

Sociopathy's cool, guys. If you're an 8th grader. Plus, compassion and empathy aren't strictly American values.
 

WaltIsFrozen

New member
Apr 11, 2014
22
0
0
Therumancer said:
Captain America was a nice guy, but was presented in the context of a commando who was pretty much doing stuff behind enemy lines, indeed the entire team name "The Invaders" kind of summarizes what their intended profile was.
If you're going to keep pointing to the name of the Invaders to insist that Captain America was intended to be more militant than portrayed in the movies, just keep in mind that the first appearance of "The Invaders" was in 1969. In the 40's (after the war) the group was called "The All-Winners Squad". Like DC's "All-Star Squadron" it was a retcon group of Golden Age superheroes. Knowing Stan Lee's writing, it's almost certain that the Invaders were so named because it sorta sounded cool. The Invaders probably did as much invading and the Avengers did avenging or the Defenders did defending.
 

sXeth

Elite Member
Legacy
Apr 3, 2020
2,604
98
53
At his grittiest, Captain America should be James-Bond but American with Superpowers. Which is still fairly lighthearted and healthily cheese-dipped.

If anything, he stands out because he does heroics because its the right thing to do (similar to Superman), rather then the myriad of anti-hero motivations (Revenge, money, disrespect for the law, angsty childhood, etc)
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
WaltIsFrozen said:
Therumancer said:
Captain America was a nice guy, but was presented in the context of a commando who was pretty much doing stuff behind enemy lines, indeed the entire team name "The Invaders" kind of summarizes what their intended profile was.
If you're going to keep pointing to the name of the Invaders to insist that Captain America was intended to be more militant than portrayed in the movies, just keep in mind that the first appearance of "The Invaders" was in 1969. In the 40's (after the war) the group was called "The All-Winners Squad". Like DC's "All-Star Squadron" it was a retcon group of Golden Age superheroes. Knowing Stan Lee's writing, it's almost certain that the Invaders were so named because it sorta sounded cool. The Invaders probably did as much invading and the Avengers did avenging or the Defenders did defending.
Actually they largely operated out of a British castle controlled by "Union Jack" from which they made incursions into Nazi territory. Albeit this was presented as "liberating" the area from Nazi control, since of course The Invaders were the good guys, and of course Captain America and company did go behind enemy lines, and actually entered Germany (invasion) to fight the Nazis at various points.

The gist of which is that Captain America and company was big on offense, and going after those that threatened the US. He didn't sit there and go "well gee, maybe of the Nazis come here I'll do something, but otherwise I'm going to sit here and munch Bon Bons". He would properly be all for going after guys like Kim Jong Un, Vladimir Putin, China, or various Middle Eastern powers. Indeed even Mr. "I hate bullies" would be looking at the cause for the kinds of security Nick Fury was promoting which came from playing defense, when arguably Cap would be looking to deal with the cause of the problems. On some levels I'd imagine Captain America would have probably supported going further than Nick Fury and doing something similar to Hydra's plan, say moving the Helicarriers over China, North Korea, and The Middle East and using them to pick off leaders and people threatening the US. His form of idealism would pretty much be that once those kinds of threats are dealt with, then we don't need this level of paranoia anymore. On a lot of levels the Helicarriers were a human war fighter's dream, since they could pick off enemies without causing huge amounts of collateral damage.
 

coheedswicked

New member
Mar 28, 2010
142
0
0
[quote/]All of these complaints may call to mind the timeless question about Superman: Why should we care about a guy who's invincible and endlessly nice? But in recent decades, comics writers have done a great job explaining that Superman is basically a god, capable of doing godlike deeds and inspiring us to be as good as we can be.[/quote]

Captain America being a guy with very limited power (especially in comparison to Superman) and still being the paragon of good and an idealized person makes him a much more powerful symbol. You don't have to be an invincible god in order to achieve an ideal. Captain America shows us that [i/]humans[/i] are capable of great things, not just OP space aliens
 

coheedswicked

New member
Mar 28, 2010
142
0
0
Therumancer said:
Furthermore, a degree of militant nationalism is sort of what the country needs for a lot of reasons. The only way to really defeat a culture is to break them, it's not nice, and you avoid going to war, but when you do it, you need to go all out. All this idea did was send a bunch of reserves overseas so we could fight a bunch of guys rifle to rifle in their back yard, and totally negate our tech advantage and invalidate the trillions of dollars we spent on weapons to ensure where if something like 9/11 happened we could break the culture of the offenders quickly and easily with minimal risk to American lives.
Militant nationalism? Break the other culture? I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you just quoted Hitler.

Btw despite whatever Fox News may have told you "terrorist" is not a culture.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
coheedswicked said:
Therumancer said:
Furthermore, a degree of militant nationalism is sort of what the country needs for a lot of reasons. The only way to really defeat a culture is to break them, it's not nice, and you avoid going to war, but when you do it, you need to go all out. All this idea did was send a bunch of reserves overseas so we could fight a bunch of guys rifle to rifle in their back yard, and totally negate our tech advantage and invalidate the trillions of dollars we spent on weapons to ensure where if something like 9/11 happened we could break the culture of the offenders quickly and easily with minimal risk to American lives.
Militant nationalism? Break the other culture? I could be wrong but I'm pretty sure you just quoted Hitler.

Btw despite whatever Fox News may have told you "terrorist" is not a culture.

Hitler wasn't wrong about everything, that's how you fight a war for real, furthermore it's what we did to him. Once we broke through their defenses guys like Sir Arthur "Bomber" Harris pretty much set about decimating the civilian population and infrastructure. He was the guy who said (a close quote) "I value the life of one British Grenadier more than the lives of 10,000 Germans". We pretty much rounded up groups like The Hitler Youth and mass murdered them (kids), fought the Volkssturm (citizens militia basically) building to building as we destroyed their homes, businesses, etc... on our way across the countryside. Even once the war was over we continued to pretty much hunt down anyone even suspected of having any connection to the Nazis or loyalist sentiments. That's how you fight a real war.

The thing is that the US hasn't really won a signifigant war since World War II because we've become too moral and started believing our own hype. We won "World War II" because at the end of the day we were bigger bastards than the Axis was, and we literally broke the people we were fighting. When it comes to this kind of stuff about "antiseptic wars" and "not targeting civilians" you accomplish nothing. After all an intact culture is just going to rally and seek revenge at some point (arguably this is part of what caused World War II, since Germany was not properly broken during World War I), what's more even if people do not actively fight you, the ideas they hold and practice publically as a culture leads to an endless source of fighters. When a nation is incapable of direct confrontation, it produces things like terrorists. The US is incapable of dealing with problems like "The Middle East" because at the end of the day we won't simply decimate the populations and break the cultures, which ensures a countless stream of insurgents will appear, when one terrorist organization is destroyed, another one will simply appear.

It should be noted that when I talk about The Middle East I talk about "Muslim Culture" that is to say theocracies that are organized around tribal and religious laws, where faith overrules rationality and logic. Basically a group of barbarians that still enslave women, and can only be dealt with by outsiders if the women pretend to adopt a submissive posture, and have other policies and laws society-wide that are just as off kilter, represents a problem. Especially when those people are out to force their way of life onto others, and you see leaders of major nations in the region openly referring to countries like the USA as "The Great Satan" during diplomatic events. Sure your average dude down there might not be strapping on a bunch of bombs and preparing to board a plane, but his beliefs, due to the culture he was raised in, and what he supports, combined with all of the other people like him, ensure that the conflict continues and there will always be enemies and ignorance. We kind of saw the failing of a humane approach when the first thing Afghanistan and Iraq did with their new constitutions was declare themselves "Islamic States" (ie theocracies). To really deal with the problem we need to pretty much purge the Muslim people's in that area to an extent similar to what we did to the Nazis (ie have modern equivilents of "Bomber" who was known as "Butcher" to the Germans, flying over towns, villages, and fleeing refugees dropping daisy cutter bombs like raindrops). Followed of course by chasing down anyone known to have serious Islamic beliefs and executing them using intelligence services and general hunters, much like how people spent decades chasing down bloody camp guards after World War II (which also ensured any surviving Nazis stayed deep underground and did very little in order to survive, which caused their ideologies to die out as they did). Had we not done what we did, we would have had German patriots and Nazis fighting us from the shadows as terrorists pretty much eternally as the culture of the time survived, and produced more fighters, even if they never produced enough support to build standing armies (especially with all eyes on them).

Despite how this might sound it's not because I revel in death that I say such things, it's simply because it's what works. War as a general rule sucks. But it sucks more when you don't pursue it properly and keep it going endlessly. To put things into perspective if someone actually invaded the US, if we weren't eradicated much the same way, we ourselves would produce an endless insurgency, we even make this point ourselves in the media. To be honest it's foolish not to give other peoples (all men being equal) the same credit that we give ourselves.

In general I use the terms I do when talking about problems in The Middle East largely because I'm tired to getting into it about what to call the people I'm talking about. For the most part the people I argue with seem to like playing sematic games, in the hopes that if they can avoid easily labeling the group, that means we won't have to deal with it. For the most part I talk about Middle Eastern culture as the enemy, because there are people who practice Islam peacefully and don't cause any problems or contribute to that culture overseas. What's more I feel that if you take out the problems at the source, and then follow through beyond that, like we did to the Nazis, you can deal with an entire movement of cultural fanatics.

I've love to see the entire Middle East go through a renaissance tomorrow and fall to it's knees collectively weeping tears and apologizing to the western world en-masse. But I don't see it turning over a new cheek in the near future, and honeslty I'm tired of the crap, bending over backwards, and living in fear. As far as I'm concerned this stuff started before 9/11, and I long ago just flat out had enough. Sure, the US isn't moral paragons, but then again all wars come down to "us or them" when you get down to it, cackling comic book evil doesn't really exist. They call us "The Great Satan" okay, fine, let's be the bad guys then and show them what Armageddon looks like. While I don't think actual racial genocide will be nessicary, though in my darker moods I occasionally think it would be amusing to restore the ethnicity in test tubes if they pushed it that far (via stored egg and sperm) if that happened, and then point out to the "New Arabs" as they learn about the old culture that their creators... their god so to speak... is now basically an American in a lab coat. :)

Alright well, thinking about this stuff gets me depressed, so thanks for that, but this should answer your questions. I am not going to argue the points here, or continue this any further, because we are getting WAY off subject.

In the context of Captain America, being a bloody super hero, of course he's not going to focus on the gritty realities of war. He's all about forcibly pushing the US's agenda, but he does it in a comic book fashion where the bad guys are bad, and the good guys are good. You generally don't see Cap pushing bombs out of Arthur Harris' bomber, and giving him a fist-bump as the explosives blow poor fleeing schlubs to pieces down below him. Captain America doesn't say grab a bunch of 11 and 12 year olds, put them against a wall, and machine gun the lot of them. Captain America doesn't leave behind giant corpse piles, or make a bunch of Volkssturm defending their homes after the allies enter Germany dig their own graves. Nor does Captain America say run down some 70 year old dude running a candy store and decapitate him with his shield because he once slung hash in a Nazi barracks. Yet all of these things are part of war, and what's going on in the background. If you think about it Cap supports all of this, but the point is your not supposed to think about it that much. In the context I'm talking about Cap should be say invading North Korea, China, Russia, or The Middle East and thwarting plans there, and in favor of defenses against those enemies (and hating them for making such things necessary, defeating these enemies means not needing to sacrifice that much liberty, much like how winning World War II meant an end to martial law which was even more oppressive). You can say have Cap go up against China or Putin without having him slaughter civilians, in a proper Captain America story, something like that just should never come up, and focus on him fighting soldiers and such and crazy patriotic super villains, taking them out before they can have an influence on the greater conflict.

That said we'll have to agree to disagree, I don't see much more being said, and as I said, war sucks, and just discussing the realities depress me. I really wish it was different, but well... it's not. As I said, wars become inevitable, and it's never about right or wrong, but competing agendas where both sides are right and wrong simultaneously, and things are resolved by whomever the biggest, most murderous bastard is. The winner makes their biggest bastards heroes, the losers get to have theirs executed as war criminals. The history books tell it all from the perspective of whomever won. Whether the resulting changes are good or bad in the overall sense is something people are going to argue about for centuries afterwards.
 

Gunnyboy

New member
Sep 25, 2010
103
0
0
Cap is a certified hypocrite. The only reason he exists, is because of an unethical weapons program. He now despises the same things he was a part of. He also has no problem doing illegally covert missions, but gets upset when others do as well. He's nothing but a naive fool, rooted in "greatest generation" romanticism. He's nothing but a propaganda tool
 

P912

New member
Oct 28, 2013
28
0
0
RossaLincoln said:
Captain America Vs. The Tyranny Of "Dark"

Is the Star Spangled Avenger too nice? Hell no. Wishing he was meaner is failure to grasp the concept.

Read Full Article
Yeah I'm also just quoting for a possible reply tbh sorry ;-D

But what I find about these dark and nasty characters is that they seem to be a reaction to the rash of antiheroes on TV e.g. Tony Soprano, Dexter, etc. But what a lot of people seem to miss is that they only work if they do bad things BUT there is some mitigating factor. Heisenberg is a ruthless drug dealer BUT he was once an ordinary decent guy. Dexter is a serial killer with violent urges BUT he understands this and enforces a strict moral code to keep innocents safe from his "dark passenger". Even in video games and movies we see this: Cpt. Martin Walker from Spec Ops The Line is bloodthirsty and deranged, BUT his innate desire to do good and be a hero clashes with his inherent brutality.

Where less talented people go wrong is just assuming that being a bad person is the same as being complex. Joffrey isn't complex because he's a prick. He's just a spoiled prick, and a TV show that made him the protagonist would suck. The only reason he works is because his concentrated prick-ness provokes interesting reactions from the more rounded characters. In my opinion, this is what made GTA V's story fall flat for me. Trevor was universally cruel and nasty, and his few moments of redemption are pathetically crowbarred in to give him some depth i.e. clarifying that he doesn't condone torture after he GLEEFULLY tortures a guy without hesitation. Michael was just greedy and mean to his family and friends. And Franklin was just... sorta there? I guess he was more a case of "trying to get out the game" cliche, but he didn't even have the angle that he was sick of the immorality of crime: he just wanted to get more money. Niko Bellic was an exploited immigrant who tried to fight his violent nature. This bunch just went along with all sorts of shady bullshit with no pause or consideration for the consequences. They weren't antiheroes. They were cold-hearted villains who we happened to be playing as.

Captain America's characterization comes from something much more deep than "I'm a prick, now I need to stop being a prick". His flaw comes from the fact that he can't save everyone. He has the moral firmness and bravery of Superman but without the invulnerability. IMO this makes him more compelling as a paragon of justice. He wants to save everyone and he tries to save everyone, but unlike Superman, he can't. He couldn't save Bucky. He couldn't stop his best friend being turned into the Winter Soldier. He couldn't prevent SHIELD from being taken over by HYRDA. He couldn't stop Red Skull's scheme without giving up himself. Unlike Superman, he has to make sacrifices to stick to his moral code. And the great thing about him?

He still does it. He fights gods and aliens. He loses out on the prime years of his life. He finds his love interest in a nursing home with Alzheimer's. He finds that his best friend has been brainwashed. He finds the organisation that he fought for has, like his country, been slowly cannibalizing it's ideals out of fear and seeking to dominate the world rather than lead by example and help those in need. He is hunted down by said organisation and forced to be a fugitive. He is forced to fight his best friend and gets shot several times trying to foil the HYDRA plot. But he never stops. In a world with walking WMDs like Iron Man and The Hulk, this mere soldier with his shield will never stop. He will never waver. And he suffers for it, yes. But it is in this suffering and struggling that his commitment to do the right thing becomes both inspiring and significant in a way aimless cynicism could never be.

The Cap is a good person AND a good character. He has flaws in that he is naive and incapable of dealing with moral ambiguity. He deals with tragedies. His character changes as he is forced to deal with a world of moral ambiguity. But his inherent decency makes for a compelling and sympathetic character on a level that we rarely see.

And if we're going on pure wish fulfillment and escapism... well as awesome as brooding and money is Mr. Wayne, I'd personally prefer to fantasize about always having the bravery to do the right thing like the Captain.
 

coheedswicked

New member
Mar 28, 2010
142
0
0
Therumancer said:
..That's how you fight a real war...
I understand your point, you're basically describing total war. But total war is unrealistic in modern times for several reasons.

1. Nazi was a polictal party, not a religion, it is much more difficult to "wipe out" a religion than it is a nation or political system.

2. (and this is the biggie) Global economics. We won't declare total war on an Arab state because we need their oil. Arab states won't declare war on us because we buy all their oil. Same could be said of China or basically any other country we have an idealogical disagreement with. China won't invade us because we buy all their stuff. They'd be broke without us.

Basically it comes down to the heirarchy of what people really care about.
Politics/Ideals<Religion<<<<<<<<<<<MONEY

Money is how the world works. Literally everything is controlled by money and there is no money to be made by crushing the Muslims so it won't ever happen.
 

Azahul

New member
Apr 16, 2011
419
0
0
Therumancer said:
Where you're going wrong and clearly getting terribly, terribly confused is your belief that "right" and "left" wing have set meanings. You can't just disregard my point about having an academic discussion about what these terms mean in different parts of the world, because that is literally what this argument is about. We are just debating which of the the entirely academic terms of "Left" and "Right" best describe the Nazis.

To reiterate, Left and Right do not always mean the same thing. A lot of those common policies and philosophies you listed are, generally speaking, true to a greater or lesser extent. The world does not fit into your boxes as well as you think it does though, and sometimes you end up with groups like, say, the Nazis, who do not fit so easily. It is possible, amazing as it may seem, for one side of politics to use the policies of another side. It is possible for some groups on one side of politics to emphasise certain aspects of that side's philosophy to a greater degree than any other aspect.

This is what the Nazis did. They took the quintessential right wing "some people deserve to have more" (usually justified by having worked harder for it) and bundled it in with racial policy and Nationalism. They, and this is quite obvious given even the most basic knowledge of the Nazi Party, despised the essential "left" philosophy of "all people deserve to be equal". They took a philosophy usually found on the right, twisted it, perverted it, and carried it through to an extreme that few people could even comprehend.

To do this, they used a measure of big government. They look left because they sought to elevate the majority of the people to a certain level, but their motives for doing so were racially and nationally motivated. They were founded on principles of inequality, which divorces them from what is generally regarded as the fundamental principle of "Left" philosophy. If you examine their economic policies, they were actually a lot less controlling than the majority of Far-Left economics at the time. When combined with social conservatism and a philosophy that is practically the antithesis of what the left is supposed to stand for, not to mention the wealth of historical evidence we have, it's hard to call the Nazis anything remotely left-wing.

Basically, all I'm saying is that the use of a big government can be used by any side of government. The world is a complicated place, and it's not always going to conform to the way you think it should. That said, trying to argue that the Nazis are left wing, when historians, political analysts, contemporary allies and enemies of the Nazi party, and the Nazis themselves consider it either right-wing or impossible to place on the spectrum... well, it's a little bit laughable.
 

Therumancer

Citation Needed
Nov 28, 2007
9,909
0
0
Azahul said:
[

Basically, all I'm saying is that the use of a big government can be used by any side of government. The world is a complicated place, and it's not always going to conform to the way you think it should. That said, trying to argue that the Nazis are left wing, when historians, political analysts, contemporary allies and enemies of the Nazi party, and the Nazis themselves consider it either right-wing or impossible to place on the spectrum... well, it's a little bit laughable.

No, the problem is that the media and those scholars, historians, etc... that are given a platform say that largely because of the negative connotation with the Nazis. It's laughable, and makes any "reputable" source look ridiculous when they claim that a movement that even had "socialist workers" in it's name was a right wing philosophy, it was very much a people-oriented left wing movement based around the perception of social justice. Indeed this fits in with the constant issue of leftward historical reinventionism (presented as being "the truth that had been surpressed" or new information or whatever), something which of course comes about largely due to liberal control of a lot of schools, and campuses and the like being one of the hotbeds of left wing thought, at least currently.

That said, there isn't much more that can be said on this subject. We'll have to agree to disagree. At the end of the day the name of the Nazi party says it all (along with other things I've already pointed it out) anyone who disagrees with them being a left wing movement is pretty much discrediting themselves as a valid source by pretty much trying to fight a painfully self evident truth.