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Political Philosophy in Comics


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But couldn't that be said for capitalism as well? The argument always goes that the system has been corrupted by red tape, sorta like how Batman could never work as a cop within the system of law. I don't disagree with your analysis, but rather I don't see how it doesn't work for capitalism.

Your typical capitalist would, in accordance with the ideal (as Batman is), react in unison with reality, he has a very real attachment to the world and must also see the broader consequences (invisible hand). Morality however is true enough, just another cog in the wheel, if it is needed it is heeded, if not... Whereas Batman must dogmatically adhere to morality as a guiding principle to all of his other actions, in that sense he's more of a social liberal.

Therefore the 'crude' comparison.

Batman often has moments of collaboration with certain elements within both the justice and the criminal world. He chooses to stand at the threshold of both in order to be more effective whilst being bound by none. In this regard he is pretty much a capitalist, yet the main difference comes from how they see the world and what their intent is. Batman seeks order out chaos, pure capitalism seeks profit and history has shown that great profit and progress come with a dose of chaos. It is not just attachment to reality but an awareness of how one's actions affect the world, my earlier point was more about degrees of separation than actual empathy (although those two things are related). The banker that fails at his job, swindles or finances a war in a Third World country is very far away from where the consequences take place. Batman has focused his efforts in Gotham, which he patrols nightly and can gauge the effect his actions have on the world. Perhaps it is more of how the term "capitalist" has come to mean something else, it is applied to bankers, brokers, and moguls yet small business owners are exempt because they have to work directly in their business. Ours could be a difference of how we see the term.

 

 

I would still argue that Superman true strength flows from his ideals, not his physical prowess. Doomsday is (and in reality all of Superman's greatest arch enemies are) used as contrast to illustrate this, as he is capable of being/becoming physically stronger and ultimately more adaptable, he is pure evolution of strength whereas Superman is the pure expression of idealism. Superman is also stagnant, which is in reality his greatest weakness and therefore it is apt to compare him to Greek mythological heroes or even Norse mythology - unable to escape themselves and their fate as they are ultimately bound by laws that supercede even themselves (with power comes responsibility), but he is seperated from humanity much more so from his actions than his power. 

 

As Tarantino's analysis of Superman in Kill Bill - Superman is alien because he alienates himself from humanity by choice.

 

I don't deny Superman takes strength from his ideals. The point is that regular humans have to compromise in their ideals to survive while Superman was born blessed so that he wouldn't need to. At any given conflict, Superman is always capable of making the right choice. Superman answering the Trolley problem would be pointless as he can save all of them. Yes, he is ideal and that is why he can't be the best of humanity or his ideal as what defines our struggle is our powerlessness.

Edited by Orogun01
I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Interesting perspective, yet there is a dogmatic nature to both characters that contradicts your view. Batman whilst misguided in a practical sense, still retains a tentative hold on his sanity by adhering to a code of not killing. There is the running theme that Batman holds back his potential which makes him a bit more altruistic than your typical capitalist which trough separation to the rest of the world has no emotional attachments to it His universe is self contained and he expects the rest of the world to be the same; Batman's perspective is broader, being unable to ignore the consequences of his actions and the strain it puts on his moral code.

Batman is very similar to Bill Gates, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, and various other billionaires in that he uses his fortune to attempt to shape the world to fit his image. In a way he is just as removed as they are, as his life will be largely unaffected by the organized crime and occasional supervillain he faces while those who live in Gotham without the benefit of vast riches and security systems are the ones vulnerable to the various schemes Batman attempts to thwart. I'd go as far to argue that by applying ineffective measures to these issues he is complicit in the continuation of them and the inability of the people of Gotham to solve it themselves, similarly to how certain charity can result in underdeveloped areas becoming reliant on charity and unable to become self-sufficient. In this way Batman is very much a capitalist, unless you have an anal definition where anyone but an Objectvist is a true capitalist.

 

Superman on the other hand despite being inherently better, chooses simplicity and almost yearns for it. It is the lack of a sense of belonging or how the adage goes "It is lonely at the top". A long standing critique of Superman is his alien nature, not because of actually being an alien but because of his inherent superiority which separates him from the mere mortals. His archetype is closer to the Greek heroes who had a connection to the divine rather than of it actually being humanist.

 

I find your view that he is made better by an ideal mistaken; he is simply better by genetics, and more fitting to Batman whose entire existence has been defined by a singular moment and the belief it generated.

Superman is better because the radiation from the yellow sun empowers him, take him out of that and he's pretty much a normal human with highly advanced technology. Not to mention a small chunk of rock is able to kill him fairly easily under this particular solar radiation. And there's also the consideration Superman exists in a universe where there are many villains physically superior to him, rendering the genetic superiority argument contextual depending on who he is matched up against.

 

So this pedantic comic book guy brings us to what is Superman. I'd agree with the Kill Bill interpretation in that Clark Kent is what humanity is, with the caveat Superman is what humanity should be and his purpose is that of a savior figure here to show how things should be.

 

Both seem to be very bound by the personal consequences of their existence which in no way reflect the consequences of the belief you claim they represent.

Their existences shape the beliefs they represent. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, including belief systems symbolized primitively by fictional characters in children's entertainment. And of course depending on who is writing said belief systems can be warped to be unrecognizable, Snyder's recent cluster**** proved that pretty well.

“By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible. Those who have cautiously done no more than they believed possible have never taken a single step forward.” ― Mikhail Bakunin

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varley-color-04.jpg

Fascist

 

1804147-ronaldreagan.png

 

superman-tank.jpg?itok=gVGtBYMa

Reagan Democrat

 

daredevil-born-again-cover-miller.jpg

Papist

 

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...Then there's Oliver Queen

Oh crazy Frank Miller...

 

Each character is shaped more by the person who's writing them rather than the publisher. For example Tony Stark has been recently portrayed as a Bill Gates figure who buys out the Marvel version of Coke so he can distribute vaccinations using their system. But the thing is Marvel heroes never actually "win". They can't in those situations because it would disrupt the status quo to much.

 

I would suggest reading Kurt Busieks "Secret Identity" for a damn good superman story (although it's not in the main DC universe), and for an alternate take, J. M. Straczynski's Supreme Power.

Victor of the 5 year fan fic competition!

 

Kevin Butler will awesome your face off.

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Batman is very similar to Bill Gates, George Soros, Sheldon Adelson, and various other billionaires in that he uses his fortune to attempt to shape the world to fit his image. In a way he is just as removed as they are, as his life will be largely unaffected by the organized crime and occasional supervillain he faces while those who live in Gotham without the benefit of vast riches and security systems are the ones vulnerable to the various schemes Batman attempts to thwart. I'd go as far to argue that by applying ineffective measures to these issues he is complicit in the continuation of them and the inability of the people of Gotham to solve it themselves, similarly to how certain charity can result in underdeveloped areas becoming reliant on charity and unable to become self-sufficient. In this way Batman is very much a capitalist, unless you have an anal definition where anyone but an Objectvist is a true capitalist.

Is matter of utilitarianism vs humanism; those men you mention, I know two of them to be scum. Even so I will entertain the thought that their intent is the greater good. Batman is not about the greater good, his is to inspire fear in criminals and hope to the crestfallen. More so, Bruce Wayne has established charities and community programs to try to get Gotham back into shape. He isn't as ignorant of the causes of crime as everyone seems to think or so strict that he can't empathize with his enemies. One the his inner turmoils is the fact that he feels too much like them.

 

Like I said before, I'm arguing from the position that capitalists are selfish and have no real obligation to the community. If your argument is that a capitalist is just someone who owns capital, then everyone who has private property is one.

 

Superman is better because the radiation from the yellow sun empowers him, take him out of that and he's pretty much a normal human with highly advanced technology. Not to mention a small chunk of rock is able to kill him fairly easily under this particular solar radiation. And there's also the consideration Superman exists in a universe where there are many villains physically superior to him, rendering the genetic superiority argument contextual depending on who he is matched up against.

 

So this pedantic comic book guy brings us to what is Superman. I'd agree with the Kill Bill interpretation in that Clark Kent is what humanity is, with the caveat Superman is what humanity should be and his purpose is that of a savior figure here to show how things should be.

IIRC; Superman is affected by different types of radiation, with G type stars being the ones who empower him, plus Kryptonians are also smarter than humans. So if your point is that in an Universe without Suns he would be normal, then you're right. Our isn't that Universe.

Moreover that is part of his nature as classical hero, who are divine and therefore more than human. What you argue is that he is the ideal human, what I said was that because he was born as such he can't be representative of humanity's modernist struggles.

Their existences shape the beliefs they represent. Nothing occurs in a vacuum, including belief systems symbolized primitively by fictional characters in children's entertainment. And of course depending on who is writing said belief systems can be warped to be unrecognizable, Snyder's recent cluster**** proved that pretty well.

Author's intent aside, only Batman has been shaped by his belief. Superman has and always has been Superman, he merely adopted his views but wasn't shaped by them; Clark Kent was.

The Renaissance was the birth of humanism, while they copied the techniques of the ancient the subject matter they embraced was different. Gone were the demigods and what took their place were normal men who accomplished great deeds, even if they had been guided by divine providence.

I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Is matter of utilitarianism vs humanism; those men you mention, I know two of them to be scum. Even so I will entertain the thought that their intent is the greater good. Batman is not about the greater good, his is to inspire fear in criminals and hope to the crestfallen. More so, Bruce Wayne has established charities and community programs to try to get Gotham back into shape. He isn't as ignorant of the causes of crime as everyone seems to think or so strict that he can't empathize with his enemies. One the his inner turmoils is the fact that he feels too much like them.

Good or bad has nothing to do with it, the point is that Batman is using his wealth to attempt to shape the world, with Gotham City functioning as his world, to fit his ideals. Batman's tactics and Bruce Wayne's charity has fundamentally failed to solve the problems facing citizens of Gotham, the problems Barman is concerned about. It's arguable that both efforts have only exacerbated the problem, with criminals being pushed into an arms race with Batman and Gotham residents being encouraged to stay in a ****ty place because the charity. The point is that he will never be directly affected material by the problems he aims and fails to address and that despite how he may feel on a personal level the people of Gotham who are being victimized by an increasingly powerful and malicious criminal element are the ones who are ****ed, not Batman and not Bruce Wayne.

 

Like I said before, I'm arguing from the position that capitalists are selfish and have no real obligation to the community. If your argument is that a capitalist is just someone who owns capital, then everyone who has private property is one. 

I would argue that is the case.

 

IIRC; Superman is affected by different types of radiation, with G type stars being the ones who empower him, plus Kryptonians are also smarter than humans. So if your point is that in an Universe without Suns he would be normal, then you're right. Our isn't that Universe.Moreover that is part of his nature as classical hero, who are divine and therefore more than human. What you argue is that he is the ideal human, what I said was that because he was born as such he can't be representative of humanity's modernist struggles.

My argument is that Superman ceases to be Super without the yellow sun. And Kryptonians aren't more intelligent than humans. But I believe this is ultimately a road to pedantic power lawyering.

 

I would argue that he is the ideal humanity should strive for, both as Clark Kent and Superman. While Superman represents divinity and benevolent power, Clark Kent represents the everyman doing his best to improve the world. To the fictional characters of the DC universe Clark Kent may not represent the power and almost savior like status of Superman, but he does represent a man doing his best to help others out. In this dualistic nature, he represents the idea that we're all in this together and that everyone has an important part.

 

Author's intent aside, only Batman has been shaped by his belief. Superman has and always has been Superman, he merely adopted his views but wasn't shaped by them; Clark Kent was.The Renaissance was the birth of humanism, while they copied the techniques of the ancient the subject matter they embraced was different. Gone were the demigods and what took their place were normal men who accomplished great deeds, even if they had been guided by divine providence.

Superman wouldn't be Superman without being Clark Kent. There's been more than few kryptonians who aren't superman, General Zod springs to mind, so we must assume that there is something different about Superman. Clark Kent being raised on Earth by the Kents is likely the reason for this. Batman is the same, as theoretically any extremely intelligent and extremely fit guy with a lot of money could put on a silly suit and beat up criminals, but it takes a traumatized child like Bruce Wayne to grow into the broken man that becomes Batman.

“By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible. Those who have cautiously done no more than they believed possible have never taken a single step forward.” ― Mikhail Bakunin

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Good or bad has nothing to do with it, the point is that Batman is using his wealth to attempt to shape the world, with Gotham City functioning as his world, to fit his ideals. Batman's tactics and Bruce Wayne's charity has fundamentally failed to solve the problems facing citizens of Gotham, the problems Barman is concerned about. It's arguable that both efforts have only exacerbated the problem, with criminals being pushed into an arms race with Batman and Gotham residents being encouraged to stay in a ****ty place because the charity. The point is that he will never be directly affected material by the problems he aims and fails to address and that despite how he may feel on a personal level the people of Gotham who are being victimized by an increasingly powerful and malicious criminal element are the ones who are ****ed, not Batman and not Bruce Wayne.

Your argument is that unless that people are directly affected by an event in a material sense they have a deep emotional reaction to it. That is quite cynical, specially considering that when Batman is patrolling the city he gets to watch all the suffering his failings have brought. A character who so strongly attached to his belief that even though he can't see a better way he refuses to give up his humanity even when he gets close to the edge.

I'm sure that Bill Gates cries himself at night about the Indian children that died because of bad vaccines. There is clearly a difference in the degrees of attachment a capitalist has the ones an idealist has. Batman's ideals are central to his character.

I would argue that is the case.

I will agree to disagree

My argument is that Superman ceases to be Super without the yellow sun. And Kryptonians aren't more intelligent than humans. But I believe this is ultimately a road to pedantic power lawyering.

"Superman also possesses super genius-level intelligence and an eidetic memory. Average people from Krypton already had genius-level intelligence"

source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Powers_and_abilities_of_Superman

I would argue that he is the ideal humanity should strive for, both as Clark Kent and Superman. While Superman represents divinity and benevolent power, Clark Kent represents the everyman doing his best to improve the world. To the fictional characters of the DC universe Clark Kent may not represent the power and almost savior like status of Superman, but he does represent a man doing his best to help others out. In this dualistic nature, he represents the idea that we're all in this together and that everyone has an important part.

I wonder why Superman doesn't get as much criticism for not using his intellect to solve the world's great problems. The whole point of Superman is that he isn't a human, saying that he is the ideal humanity should strive for is akin to saying we should be as good as the angels. I feel like I'm repeating myself in this part and I would ask why is that an ideal man is a better mentor than a flawed one. From the latter I can learn from their mistakes.

Also there is the mention of Lex Luthor's belief that Superman through his helping humanity is sapping them of the will to greatness.

Superman wouldn't be Superman without being Clark Kent. There's been more than few kryptonians who aren't superman, General Zod springs to mind, so we must assume that there is something different about Superman. Clark Kent being raised on Earth by the Kents is likely the reason for this. Batman is the same, as theoretically any extremely intelligent and extremely fit guy with a lot of money could put on a silly suit and beat up criminals, but it takes a traumatized child like Bruce Wayne to grow into the broken man that becomes Batman.

My point is that his innate powers removed the possibility of any moral dilemma from his life during his formative years. He didn't have to re-examine his beliefs, he knew that he was better than everyone and he was tempered with kindness. Which is the same outlook that he has later in life. So you can't really say that he has been shaped by belief in the same way that the rest of humanity grows up and becomes wiser.
I'd say the answer to that question is kind of like the answer to "who's the sucker in this poker game?"*

 

*If you can't tell, it's you. ;)

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Your argument is that unless that people are directly affected by an event in a material sense they have a deep emotional reaction to it. That is quite cynical, specially considering that when Batman is patrolling the city he gets to watch all the suffering his failings have brought. A character who so strongly attached to his belief that even though he can't see a better way he refuses to give up his humanity even when he gets close to the edge.

My argument is that despite whatever emotional reaction Batman has, he has no threat to his material situation and doesn't have to change course. He may feel very bad at consistently failing to solve the rampant crime plaguing Gotham, but unlike the citizens he is removed from immediate danger. At most he will lose some money and maybe get bloody beating someone up, but the people of Gotham are the ones being routinely terrorized, having their livelihoods destroyed, and killed. The point is that Batman has the luxury of clinging to his morals and continuing ineffective efforts because he will never be personally affected the same way a working-class guy trying to get by in Gotham would.

I'm sure that Bill Gates cries himself at night about the Indian children that died because of bad vaccines. There is clearly a difference in the degrees of attachment a capitalist has the ones an idealist has. Batman's ideals are central to his character.

I'm not following you, are you arguing that you can't be an idealist and a Capitalist? If so I don't think you've ever encountered an objectivist or have a romantic view of what an idealist is.

I wonder why Superman doesn't get as much criticism for not using his intellect to solve the world's great problems. The whole point of Superman is that he isn't a human, saying that he is the ideal humanity should strive for is akin to saying we should be as good as the angels. I feel like I'm repeating myself in this part and I would ask why is that an ideal man is a better mentor than a flawed one. From the latter I can learn from their mistakes.

Also there is the mention of Lex Luthor's belief that Superman through his helping humanity is sapping them of the will to greatness.

He does. But it's comics so they can't have him cure AIDS or cancer to preserve the concept of a fictional universe in sync with current times. Similarly to Batman not using his massive resources to fix what appears to be a warzone of a city. Blame the nature of comic book publishers.

 

The point of Superman is being the "man of tomorrow", a Christ-like figure on Earth to show humanity what they could and ideally should be. While Superman represents the spectacle and awe of this, Clark Kent represents the idealized normal man. I don't know where you're getting this mentor stuff from, he exists more as an ideal to strive for, not as a mentor to man, and the reason for that is he is what man ideally should be. You can argue that in reality and fictional universe reality man is not like that, and you would be right, but the point is to keep striving for the ideal and not to stop at only what we know to be possible.

My point is that his innate powers removed the possibility of any moral dilemma from his life during his formative years. He didn't have to re-examine his beliefs, he knew that he was better than everyone and he was tempered with kindness. Which is the same outlook that he has later in life. So you can't really say that he has been shaped by belief in the same way that the rest of humanity grows up and becomes wiser.

I can and will. Superman doesn't exist in a vacuum. If there were no Lex Luthors or Doomsdays or Sports Masters or whatever other villains and creatures exist in the fictional universe he inhabits you may be right, but he is consistently challenged in his beliefs by these obstacles in a way that has shaped him and shaped said beliefs.

 

EDIT: I should be clear that this isn't my personal feelings about the characters, but rather what I believe they were intended to represent.

Edited by KaineParker

“By striving to do the impossible, man has always achieved what is possible. Those who have cautiously done no more than they believed possible have never taken a single step forward.” ― Mikhail Bakunin

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As mentioned in the comics topic I previously created, if I were to be asked what comic so quintessentially proves the medium as a valid means of artistic expression, my answer would be <<Partie de chasse>> (translated into English by Humanoids Publishing as "The Hunting Party"). A fantastic combination of Enki Bilal's stunning art and Pierre Christin's biting political commentary, and arguably relevant given today's troubles in the former Soviet bloc:

 

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Edited by Agiel
Quote
"Turned wrong way round, the relentless unforeseen was what we schoolchildren studied as 'History,' harmless history, where everything unexpected in its own time is chronicled on the page as inevitable. The terror of the unforeseen is what the science of history hides, turning a disaster into an epic.”

 

-Philip Roth, The Plot Against America

 

Quote
"Always write angry letters to your enemies. Never mail them."

 

-James Fallows

 

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47449470.jpg

 

This frame was beautiful.

"Some men see things as they are and say why?"
"I dream things that never were and say why not?"
- George Bernard Shaw

"Hope in reality is the worst of all evils because it prolongs the torments of man."
- Friedrich Nietzsche

 

"The amount of energy necessary to refute bull**** is an order of magnitude bigger than to produce it."

- Some guy 

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