Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/4/17: Labor Day, Google Being Evil, Antifa, And Hollywood

Good Morning!

1.Happy Labor Day! My dry cleaner has a sign out that reads, “Happy Labor Day! Support Our Troops!” Now, any day is a good day to support our troops, but I strongly suspect that this is an unfortunate example of our increasing cultural and historical ignorance (ignorance that the war on statues and memorials will exacerbate, and that’s the intention). No holiday is more misunderstood than Labor Day, and the news media barely makes an effort to remedy the problem.

Ethics Alarms explained the history behind the holiday in a 2012 post that began,

Labor Day commemorates one of the great ethical victories of American society, and not one in a hundred Americans know it. Labor Day marks the end of summer, and a time for retail store sales, and the last chance to get away to Disney World, but few of us think about the real meaning of the word “labor” in the name, and how it is meant to honor brave, dedicated men and women who fought, sometimes literally, the forces of greed, political influence, wealth and privilege in this country to ensure a measure of safety, consideration, fairness and justice for the hardest working among us.

The post is here.

2. This is traditionally a big movie weekend, but it has already been declared a dud. Hollywood is having its worse summer in more than two decades.  Conservative commentators have speculated that one reason is that Hollywood’s loudly and obnoxiously proclaimed contempt for about half of its potential audience—you know, The Deplorables–has alienated a significant segment of the market. That would be nice, since Hollywood has traditionally been a unifying cultural force rather than a divisive one, and this might shock Tinsel Town into getting off its high, blind horse and doing its job. I doubt it, though.

Astoundingly, the public is not yet sick of super hero movies, one of the few genres that continues to do well at the domestic box office.  I wonder when the public will figure out this is partially political indoctrination by the Hollywood Left too: super heroes don’t use those evil guns. They just kill people with their innate powers, or, as in the not-bad NetFlix/Marvel series “The Defenders,” in ridiculously long, drawn-out martial arts combat sequences that resemble ugly dancing more than real fighting. Some of the heroes are bullet proof, however.

The flaw in this anti-Second Amendment propaganda is that real people do not have super powers, and there aren’t any super heroes running around protecting them.

3. Here’s something to worry about: with Google, Facebook and other powerful tech and internet companies increasingly signalling their political biases, how can they be trusted to facilitate freedom of expression rather than attempt to restrict it?  The clear answer is, I think, they can’t.

Journalist Kashmir Hill reveals  that in 2011, as a technology and privacy reporter at Forbes, she attended a  meeting  where a Google representative threatened  that Forbes would be penalized in Google search results if it didn’t add +1 buttons to its site to promote Google Plus.  She wrote a report on the meeting and Google’s use of its search power as a weapon, and Google, through her employer, forced her to kill it.

Google’s defense, included in the Ars Technica piece, rests upon whether her presence at the meeting was covered by a non-disclosure agreement, which avoids the real issue. The ethics issue is that Google has the power to strong-arm companies, websites, journalists and bloggers who displeas it by manipulating search results, and will use that power.

What do we do about that?

4.  The Left, which is to say the mainstream news media, is apparently committed to defending the violent antifa thugs using good ol’ Rationalization #22, “It’s not the worse thing.” Here is Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan, the closest thing the Post has to an ombudsperson, concluding her essay about how the news media should cover those who argue that violence is acceptable when wielded against certain political views:

The best thing journalists can do is to relentlessly explain the beliefs, scope and scale of antifa, and to resist conflating it with liberal groups. And most important, to challenge politically motivated efforts to create a false equivalency between antifa and the rising tide of white supremacy. There is no comparison.

Will those journalists also explain the scope of white nationalist groups, which is negligible, and emphatically make the distinction between them and, say, the President? They haven’t so far. Nor did they make distinctions between conservatives and non-conservatives who objected to the cultural purge of historical statues and the white nationalists who organized the legal demonstration in Charlottesville they may have participated in. The media narrative was that if you protested against the statues, you are a card-carrying racist. However, the fact that the counter-protesters included hooded antifa members in their midst didn’t trigger guilt by association at all. They were peaceful, even if a significant segment of their group weren’t.

What are the principles at work here, Margaret? I’m confused.

As for her last two sentences: of course there is a comparison. Both are destructive forces in our culture and political discourse. Efforts to excuse the ones that wear masks and extol violence as a legitimate political tool are politically motivated, not those who correctly condemn both. The building narrative that white supremacy is “rising” is part of the effort to delegitimize the election of a Republican President and has no basis in fact, a phony threat to justify censorship, violence and suppression by anti-speech and democracy elements on the Left.  Meanwhile, antifa and its apologists pose a real, present and existential threat to open dissent and the First Amendment. I’m willing to call both of these foes equally indefensible, but based on the willingness of Sullivan and others to minimize the danger posed by the antifa groups, it is by far the greater threat. Physical violence is illegal; mere words, even the ugliest words, are protected by the Constitution.

Why is a newspaper favoring violence over speech?

 

104 Comments

Filed under Arts & Entertainment, Business & Commercial, Government & Politics, History, Journalism & Media, Popular Culture, Rights, This Helps Explain Why Trump Is President, U.S. Society

104 responses to “Morning Ethics Warm-Up, 9/4/17: Labor Day, Google Being Evil, Antifa, And Hollywood

  1. Inquiring Mind

    Regarding #4:
    The answer is simple: Because she doesn’t believe the victims of antifa deserve to have their right to peaceably assemble and their freedom of speech protected.

    In reality, she either does not have a rational or thoughtful response, either to the arguments against her preferred policies or she simply is too lazy to come up with anything other than to smear her opponents as racist.

    It’s easy to win the argument if you intimidate the other side from speaking, or throw them in jail (just as Democratic AGs threatened to do with climate change deniers about 18 months ago). It’s easy to win when you can sic the IRS or Federal Election Commission on the activists and media of the other side.

    What frightens me is that should the Democrats win in 2020 or 2024, we will see an army of Lois Lerners and Ann Ravels unleashed on anyone to the right of Bill Clinton – and people like Margaret Sullivan will cheer that army on, even as the First Amendment is trampled.

    Truly, the line to have drawn was much further than we have it now. We should have protected the businesses like Elane Photography from compelled expressions. We should have acted to punish those who attacked Prop 8 supporters. We should have treated Perez Hilton like the cyber-bully he was over his treatment of Carrie Prejean.

    This also, of course, explains the opposition to the Second Amendment. If you can make it likely people will be disarmed, as California has, then the thugs roam freely and dissent is more easily crushed, especially when you can confiscate the means of resistance.

  2. Chris

    Astoundingly, the public is not yet sick of super hero movies, one of the few genres that continues to do well at the domestic box office. I wonder when the public will figure out this is partially political indoctrination by the Hollywood Left too: super heroes don’t use those evil guns. They just kill people with their innate powers, or, as in the not-bad NetFlix/Marvel series “The Defenders,” in ridiculously long, drawn-out martial arts combat sequences that resemble ugly dancing more than real fighting. Some of the heroes are bullet proof, however.

    The flaw in this anti-Second Amendment propaganda is that real people do not have super powers, and there aren’t any super heroes running around protecting them.

    And with this, you’ve descended into Fox News-style paranoia.

    Superheroes as a group haven’t regularly used guns in any medium since the 1940s, so the notion that this is some sort of leftist “anti-Second Amendment propaganda” is ludicrous. You’re right that in the real world, people don’t have superpowers, which is why people need guns to protect themselves. Yet somehow you’re missing the other side of that coin: that in the world of superheroes, superheroes wouldn’t need guns.

    You’re also leaving out that modern superhero shows and movies haven’t exactly been gun-free zones. The main heroes on the Defenders don’t use them because they don’t need them, but their sidekicks have been shown using guns to defend themselves numerous times.

    Captain America has used guns frequently in his movies. Black Widow also brings them into battle. In Wonder Woman, she fought alongside men who used guns, including Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. But she, of course, would have no need for one. Arrow’s sidekick Spartan brings guns rather than arrows into battle, and no one has ever condemned him for it. There’s also characters who are defined by an anti-gun stance, such as Batman, yet the most recent movie with him sought to put a gun in his hands. Fans weren’t mad about this because they’re “anti-Second Amendment,” we were mad because Batman using a gun is anti-Batman.

    That isn’t to say these movies do not have other leftist messages. But you’re ignoring decades of context to project an anti-gun message onto these movies that just isn’t there. This is anti-anti-gun hysteria.

    • Other Bill

      I had hoped the sagging box office meant the movie going public was getting tired of comic book movies. Aren’t comic books for grade schoolers?

      • Comics and SF are the new mythology, the latest generation of cultural creativity that made for Paul Bunyan and Hercules. They come on every stripe from the Punisher to the Dove, and a large portion are written for adult themes. Some become fallen heroes.

        At most, comic book movies are a reflection of their fans, a growing market that only since the millenium finally became a self sustaining market. The previous isolated successful Batman and Superman movies did not erase the ‘for kids’ stigma. But tales of heroes are for adults as much as kids, just like Hercules taught lessons with his rise and fall. The the broad axe became the six gun became the laser gun became a magic hammer. The journey of the hero of a thousand faces is the same, even if an alcoholic in weaponized super-armor isn’t to your taste. Our culture had been flailing for a new model for heroes since the cowboy and G-man got torn down fifty years ago and broken anti-heroes became admired, admired far too much by the culture’s health. We need heroes, warts and all, who strive for more important things than an ten point spread.

        Comic book super-heroes keep growing in popularity despite what elitist critics say. Not all marked as heroes by marketers and outsiders are heroes, but the archetypes are stronger than that. They are a diverse group, including every minority and more, and many use guns and deadly weapons that make a gun look like a water pistol. A number of the biggest names are passionate advocates of the Bill of Rights, so conflating them as a group as anti-gun is overboard. We need heroes to teach and to want to be like. The wreck of people’s belief in heroes decades ago was signature significance. The return of heroes is a good thing and part of a healthy culture, but you cannot control the kinds of heroes who speak to the rest of the culture.

    • That’s a pretty lame list of gun0weilding super-heroes compared to the whole. Cap mostly used guns in WWII: has he used them in the Avengers movies? I don’t recall. Then you have to stoop to “fighting alongside” those using guns.

      I’m not convinced, and the Fox slur is a particularly transparent bit of ad hominem. I am still mostly boycotting Fox and have for over a year, but I’ve never heard anything about superhero movies on the network. This my theory, and I like it. Anti-gun indoctrination is rife in the schools and elsewhere; it’s hardly revolutionary to identify it in political correctness cultures like Marvel and Hollywood. The message is that only the bad guys use guns, hence guns BAD. It’s pretty obvious.

      • Chris

        That’s a pretty lame list of gun0weilding super-heroes compared to the whole.

        As I explained, there are perfectly legitimate reasons for superheroes not to use guns that have nothing to do with political correctness or an anti-gun agenda. Superheroes, as a general rule, don’t need guns. Why would audiences want to watch superpowered people shoot people, rather than use their extraordinary abilities? Do you want to see Superman shooting people on screen?

        This doesn’t even go into the Comics Code forbidding guns back in the 50s (due to a conservative agenda, not a liberal one), meaning most of the heroes we see on screen today had their portrayals solidified at a time when they were restricted by law from using guns on the comics page. Remember that in those days, these characters were for children. But that has nothing to do with any kind of anti-gun agenda today.

        You are ignoring the many other factors that explain why superheroes do not typically use guns, and by doing so you are failing at basic cultural literacy, an ethical imperative you have discussed yourself here.

        The fact that any superheroes on screen are using guns, despite the long tradition of superheroes not doing that for all kinds of reasons, disproves your thesis.

        Cap mostly used guns in WWII: has he used them in the Avengers movies? I don’t recall.

        I don’t recall either. Why does it matter? He’s Captain America! The most true blue, moral hero the MCU has. If the producers really believed that guns were evil, they would not show him using guns. Period.

        Then you have to stoop to “fighting alongside” those using guns.

        It’s not “stooping.” I named two huge superheroes who use guns, then showed that their allies frequently use guns as well. That disproves your argument that comic book films and movies are anti-gun.

        I’m not convinced, and the Fox slur is a particularly transparent bit of ad hominem. I am still mostly boycotting Fox and have for over a year, but I’ve never heard anything about superhero movies on the network. This my theory, and I like it.

        I originally typed that you were going full Breitbart, and thought better of it; the Fox thing was me trying to be nice. And it’s more than fair. I don’t know if Fox has also erroneously claimed that superhero movies and shows are anti-gun, but it’s the kind of thing they would say; I remember one segment on Fox where they condemned Frozen as anti-men. The point is that you, like them, are looking for anti-conservative messages where none exist, and are ignoring facts because they’re inconvenient. You can like your theory all you want; that doesn’t make it remotely based in reality.

        Anti-gun indoctrination is rife in the schools and elsewhere; it’s hardly revolutionary to identify it in political correctness cultures like Marvel and Hollywood.

        This is totally fallacious. Just because some institutions may have anti-gun messages does not mean that superhero movies do; I have already demonstrated that they do not, and you have made no compelling case that they do.

        The message is that only the bad guys use guns, hence guns BAD. It’s pretty obvious.

        I literally just showed you that this isn’t true. Why would you say such a blatantly false thing like this? Do you honestly think Captain America and Black Widow are being portrayed as “bad guys?”

        • Some of the baddest bad asses in the major comic universes have no powers, using brains, equipment, and chutspah to take out the powered heroes, even the most powerful. A rather famous story was alluded to in Batman V Superman, actually two of them, where a kryptonite weapon could take him down.

          Yeah, a majority of comic heroes were formed before the 70s when the Comics Code censorship faded. The cowboy comics didn’t survive when that censorship hit after Death of the Innocent. So you have to go much further back than this decade’s movies and gun suppression to cover the dearth of guns in comics. After all, comics are ‘just for kids.’ But those protected kids from the 50s now have grandchildren, and they want stories with more substance, that dealt with real topics that no powers protect you from. Heroes in the 70s started dealing with addiction, and later dealing with surviving terror attacks after 9/11. Kids’ comics as you consider them were just denial.

          Once the censorship was lifted, gun heavy characters came in as mercenaries who were usually villains: Deathstroke, Lobo, and Deadpool are leading examples. Some stay more on the hero side of the line, like Black Panther, Cable, and Rocket Racoon from Guardians. They are a minority, because readers are more excited about flying, healing fast, and reading minds. But most of these powers can be more dangerous, and powers or ahigh tech tools can be outlawed or taken away. Superpowers ARE guns.

      • I don’t think mdpern superhero propaganda is anti gun. I think it’s popularity derives from a notion that our system of justice is broken (it isn’t), and that superheroes have this “omniscience” that give them the ability to know who truly is guilty and can break through the gridlock of our justice system and really punish the bad guys.

        I think that’s the dangerous propaganda the movies reinforce.

        • Chris

          I absolutely agree, tex; it’s a flaw in the vigilante concept that is probably unavoidable. Civil War and other recent stories have engaged with that idea a bit, but never to any kind of satisfying conclusion. Interestingly, I’ve mostly seen your critique from leftists; the critic Abigail Nussbaum talks about this concept a lot, but she writes from a very left-leaning perspective.

        • I’m not as sure it’s a vigilante or anti law at appears at first glance. Part of the believability-breaking throwing Joker into jail over and over for the last sixty years is the hope and expectation that the courts should make the judgements for life or execution. Any of the long-term hero has the same issue. Resisting using guns is part of NOT being judge-jury-and-executioner. There just isn’t a good model for how the legal system would fairly handle villains or dissenters with powers.

          I think the popularity is because people are looking for heroes, even if ‘hero’ became a dirty four letter word that too many mock and others dilute with athletes and self-important celebs,

        • I additionally feel there is a certain aspect of modern super-hero movies that DOES imply a dis-empowerment of the individual and a need for some strong figure to rectify the ills of the society through unchecked action.

          • Chris

            Agreed.

            Interestingly, they’re making a show about the Punisher, who debuted in Daredevil Season 2 by shooting up a hospital to target some gangbangers. This is initially portrayed as a villainous act, but later the show seems to make excuses for this behavior by arguing that the Punisher has the magical ability to always hit his mark and can never, ever miss, thus none of the bystanders in the hospital were ever in any “real” danger. I find whatever message that’s sending far worse than the imaginary anti-gun message Jack has picked up on in these properties.

            • The Punisher is an anti-hero, a vigilante psychopath. Not relevant.

              • Chris

                Let’s just continue to ignore all the more relevant examples I pointed out, such as Captain America and Black Widow, then.

                • I will. A couple of exceptions won’t disprove the rule.

                  • Chris

                    The rule is that “superheroes don’t use guns because they use superpowers, which are more visually interesting.” The rule is not “superheroes don’t use guns because we hate the Second Amendment and want it repealed.”

                    • Not arguing with your logic, Chris, but something you said made me curious:

                      The rule is not “superheroes don’t use guns because we hate the Second Amendment and want it repealed.”

                      Is there any doubt, in your mind, that Hollywood in general, and the writers/producers/directors (and most actors) in these type movies are anti Second Amendment?

                      That does not prove or disprove you point of contention with Jack, mind you. I am curious of your viewpoint on something I have taken for granted for decades: progressives are anti gun; Hollywood is mainly progressive; therefore Hollywood is anti gun. (Which makes them hypocrites since they make movies like the ‘Taken’ trilogy and the Jason Bourne series.)

                      Your opinion might differ.

      • Jeff

        “Cap mostly used guns in WWII: has he used them in the Avengers movies?”

        Not only did Cap use guns in “Avengers”, he uses an AR-15. You can’t get more American than that!

        Surely if there were a concerted effort to portray guns as “bad” in that movie, they would have scripted those scenes differently. Having Captain America use an “evil assault rifle” to shoot bad guys certainly wouldn’t advance an anti-gun agenda.

        I’m a staunch second amendment absolutist; one of those “shall not be infringed” guys, and so my radar is constantly being set off by anti-gun messages in the media (some subtle, some like being smacked in the face with a hammer). There are definitely some anti-gun political messages in some of the superhero fiction, but I think it’s mostly the TV shows. The Marvel movies, in particular, don’t strike me as pushing an anti-gun agenda. If they were intending to not glamorize guns, they wouldn’t have made “Deadpool”, that’s for sure.

        I think Chris has it right, it’s just that most of the characters in these films have other (more cinematically appealing) ways to subdue bad guys. Why would Spider-Man or the Hulk need to carry a gun?

        • No, Captain America is an anachronism, a WWII hero supersoldier now playing with others in the 21st Century. I’ll take your word on the gunplay. Cap does not change the trend or the message.

          • Chris

            Thanks, Jeff. Though I can’t remember the AR-15 scene; when was that?

            Jack, whether Cap is an anachronism or not, your statement that “only the bad guys use guns” in superhero movies is still false. Cap is still seen as righteous and moral. If the studio was pushing an anti-gun message they wouldn’t have him use guns at all. You’ve still provided no evidence of an anti-Second Amendment agenda other than the fact that most superheroes don’t use guns, a fact that is explained through a variety of reasons having nothing to do with any stance on the Second Amendment. You’re seeing what you want to see here.

            • Jeff

              Chris, Cap uses the AR when he’s helping Iron Man repair the damaged engine on the helicarrier. A couple of bad guys show up and Cap trades fire with them with the rifle. IIRC, it’s even an even more evil short-barreled model with a (gasp!) silencer!

              Jack, your analysis also ignores that several of the storylines (of the Marvel movies, at least) have elements that seem to support a pro-individual-liberty stance. Initially, Iron Man is at odds with the government that wants to confiscate his technology, saying it’s too dangerous for a private citizen to have (sound familiar?). The embodiment of the government’s position is a slimy Senator, played by Garry Shandling, and it leaves no doubt who the “good guy” is supposed to be in that argument.

              A similar dynamic is played out in “Civil War”, only this time Iron Man has flipped to the pro-government-control side, and Cap is against it, making some fairly libertarian arguments along the way. That movie wusses out in the end, but the conflict that is set up in the first 2/3rds definitely has parallels in the gun control vs. RKBA world.

              “Ant-Man” has a similar dynamic regarding the technology that gives Ant-Man his abilities. None of these plotlines are about guns per se, but it would be pretty undermining to include such elements in your story if your goal was to spread an anti-gun message.

              Like I said, I’m usually hypersensitive to the media’s anti-gun bias and general ignorance on the topic, and I’m just not seeing what you’re seeing in these movies.

              • Are we losing the dynamic here that those with super-powers don’t need guns? There is a sub-group of well-trained pseudo-super heroes–Batman is the most prominent example— who can’t defeat villains with rings, superpowers, mutant abilities and magic, but they are, again, exceptions. I have about 20 years of Justice League comics: I can’t find a single instance of any of them using a gun. Nor any member of the Fantastic Four; nor a X-Man, at least the least couple generations. Thus they are perfect heroes for the anti-gun culture via Hollywood.Bullet proof, but not bullet wielding. Simultaneously with Hollywood grandstanding about guns, it began making more and more movies about good guys who didn’t use guns.

                I’m sure its just a coincidence.

                • Jeff

                  I think it is mostly just a coincidence. If people didn’t want to see these movies, and give Hollywood billions of dollars every time they make one, they wouldn’t be making them. These are, by and large, characters that have been around in pop culture for decades. People like them, and have always liked them. What has changed isn’t Hollywood suddenly becoming aware of and concerned with its hypocrisy on guns. What’s changed is digital technology that makes these movies possible without looking hokey and silly. One of the keys to selling superheroes is that they have to look heroic. CGI makes that more possible than it ever was before (Christopher Reeve, as Superman, may have been many things, but physically impressive he was not), so they’re going to keep cranking them out as long as audiences want to see them.

                  If cowboy fiction became popular again like it was in the ’50s, you can be sure Hollywood would start cranking out cowboy pictures to cash in. And I’ll bet most of ’em would have a Colt on their hip.

                  • Its a favorite cultural topic. In my program about the re-make of the Magnificent 7, I pointed out that this time the bad guys outgunned the heroes absurdly, who won using not guns, but explosives (as in Blazing Saddles).

                • Chris

                  Jack, part of the reason I’m having trouble taking your position seriously is that you’re not articulating what it is you want.

                  Should more superheroes use guns more often, in your view? What would superhero fiction without this alleged anti-gun bias look like?

                  • What do I want? A balance of ideological views in movies rather than a single note. Good movies. Less dependence on CGI and special effects. Fewer re-boots, remakes and sequels. Clever comedies that aren’t gross. A super-hero movie can be good drama and quality cinema, like “Logan” who was bullet proof and didn’t use guns.

                    • Chris

                      I thought my follow-up questions made it clear what I meant: what do you want from superhero movies that would show you they do not have an anti-2A bias? Your answers don’t clarify that, and in the case of your Logan example, confuse it further.

                  • …you’re not articulating what it is you want.

                    Sounds like ‘what do you believe?’

                    And that triggered this:

                    Well, I believe in the soul…* the small of a woman’s back… the hangin’ curveball… high fiber… good scotch… that the novels of Susan Sontag are self-indulgent overrated crap… I believe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. I believe there ought to be a Constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf and the designated hitter. I believe in the sweet spot, soft core pornography, opening your presents Christmas morning rather than Christmas Eve, and I believe in long, slow, deep, soft, wet kisses that last three days.

                    *edited slightly to leave out unneeded slang…

                • DC and Marvel as the major comic universes still attempt to keep their major properties marketable to parents and as mentioned before that dates back to the 1950s. After many decades of that limitation for Batman, it is now intrinsically part of his backstory and character, Fans, not parents or bureaucrats, get angry when he or Supes use guns. Characters made after “Death of the Innocent”/McCarthy were built with that lethal weapons limitation, like Spiderman and Hulk, or retrofitted for Green Arrow. But this is NOT new or part of the current progressive flailing, it originally came from conservative flailing, Saying that a twenty year span where the JLA didn’t use guns is not a good sample pool in a 65 year history and where nearly all are richly powered. It’s as relevant as why Jedi don’t: they have other options.

                  A gun is as valid an option for Cap as Batman can choose not to. That is no moral hatred for the 2nd Amendment. Aren’t we arguing about people having the choice to be armed? That they can arm themselves as they feel the need? Wayne won’t, because guns are too tied to his trauma. That doesn’t mean he disrespects Cap, the soldier, in the rare crossovers.

                  Comics are huge these days, with adult lines like Image added to the rich 75 year history of the oldest characters. Older characters and even groups change over time, but they usually drift back to the archetype. Black Widow and SHIELD are prominent characters who are armed, but DC has pretty much had a lockout on hero guns for far longer than my forty year history. The Adult lines and companies outside Marvel and DC use guns, like Judge Dredd and Hell Boy. But if they want the bigger sales, they go for G, and the reverberations echo from the 50s clampdown that nearly ended the artform. (I’d love to put McCarthy and some SJW in a MMA cage to argue it out live, and show how dumb they are)

          • Sue Dunim

            Re Superheroes:

            See Captain Invincible.

    • “Superheroes as a group haven’t regularly used guns in any medium since the 1940s, so the notion that this is some sort of leftist “anti-Second Amendment propaganda” is ludicrous.”

      Except for the ones that do. Deadpool being the most obvious example right now… but also Starlord, Rocket, Cap, Black Widow, Ironman (or do missiles not count as guns?), War Machine, Deadshot and… Oh, what’s that? I’ve only listed MARVEL gun wielders that had a movie in the last five years?

      Honestly, I thought Jack was making a reference to all the “We got a black man that’s bulletproof” lines from Luke Cage’s arcs. Which… Yeah… Was part of the source material, but that hasn’t stopped anyone before. It was deliberate, and political, and pushed different buttons for different people.

      • Chris

        Except for the ones that do. Deadpool being the most obvious example right now… but also Starlord, Rocket, Cap, Black Widow, Ironman (or do missiles not count as guns?), War Machine, Deadshot and… Oh, what’s that? I’ve only listed MARVEL gun wielders that had a movie in the last five years?

        You’re right that there are more exceptions than just the ones I listed; I left out the obvious anti-heroes (such as Deadpool) and didn’t include Starlord or Rocket because I think they mostly use laser guns, which are typically viewed as more of a safe bet than real guns (they use laser guns in cartoons for this reason). I totally forgot about Iron Man and War Machine; I would consider them gun-wielders now that you mention it.

        Jack is right that as a general rule, superheroes don’t typically use guns, but the fact that these exceptions exist and Marvel is making tons of movies with them disproves his “anti-Second Amendment” narrative. And of course, the reasons most don’t use guns have nothing to do with the Second Amendment.

        Honestly, I thought Jack was making a reference to all the “We got a black man that’s bulletproof” lines from Luke Cage’s arcs.

        What he said was this:

        Left too: super heroes don’t use those evil guns. They just kill people with their innate powers, or, as in the not-bad NetFlix/Marvel series “The Defenders,” in ridiculously long, drawn-out martial arts combat sequences that resemble ugly dancing more than real fighting. Some of the heroes are bullet proof, however.

        He couldn’t have just been talking about Luke Cage, and after I gave him examples of superheroes who do use guns, he went even further, ludicrously arguing that “only the bad guys use guns” in superhero movies.

        Which… Yeah… Was part of the source material, but that hasn’t stopped anyone before. It was deliberate, and political, and pushed different buttons for different people.

        You can’t do a Luke Cage show without being political. OK, I suppose you could, but it would be shitty. He was created as an explicitly political character, and has remained one since. Removing that aspect would weaken the character and what he stands for.

        • “didn’t include Starlord or Rocket because I think they mostly use laser guns”

          I will forever be amused at the mental picture of a raccoon laughing maniacally, while perched on top of a giant, spinning tree brandishing a metal cylinder larger than he is, from which he is shooting thousands of metal projectiles haphazardly. What do we call those things again?

          “You can’t do a Luke Cage show without being political.”

          This is probably true… But you could also not do a Luke Cage show. And I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have, or even saying I have beef with the show. I’ve said forever “If the SJWs want heroes, let them make their own” so I can hardly complain when they do exactly that. No, my point is that now, having been made, you can’t pretend that it isn’t political. It IS a reflection of the creator’s point of view on race relations, and they have to own it.

          • You could do Luke Cage without dumbed down, knee-jerk, standard bumper-sticker politics.

          • Chris

            I will forever be amused at the mental picture of a raccoon laughing maniacally, while perched on top of a giant, spinning tree brandishing a metal cylinder larger than he is, from which he is shooting thousands of metal projectiles haphazardly. What do we call those things again?

            Good call. I’d also point out that Iron Man’s suit shoots bullets sometimes, not just missiles, as does the Falcon’s drone.

            This is probably true… But you could also not do a Luke Cage show. And I’m not saying that they shouldn’t have, or even saying I have beef with the show. I’ve said forever “If the SJWs want heroes, let them make their own” so I can hardly complain when they do exactly that. No, my point is that now, having been made, you can’t pretend that it isn’t political. It IS a reflection of the creator’s point of view on race relations, and they have to own it.

            Who’s pretending that it isn’t political? The response I’ve seen to objections that Luke Cage is political has been “Duh, it’s fucking supposed to be,” not “No it isn’t.”

            • Right…. So as a political statement, we can criticize the statement being made. And that criticism will probably look a lot like the criticism we lob at the people and events Luke Cage references.

              • Chris

                Of course you can criticize the statement being made.

                • Right… So if one were believe that Luke Cage is sending out anti-second amendment propaganda, either with their rhetoric, or their action scenes… Then one could criticize that. Which is, I think, what Jack did.

                  • Chris

                    But there is no evidence that Luke Cage is sending out anti-second amendment propaganda. The fact that he’s bullet-proof and doesn’t use guns doesn’t count; is Superman anti-second amendment propaganda?

                    I’ll grant you that Luke Cage pushes Black Lives Matter propaganda. But there are also some conservative messages in there: Luke hates when black people use the “n” word, the main villain is a corrupt Democrat who wants to “keep Harlem black” and has major gang ties, and one of the most respectable characters is a black female cop who keeps beating suspects because drama. So…there are political messages there, but I don’t think they’re all left-leaning.

                    • “The fact that he’s bullet-proof and doesn’t use guns doesn’t count; is Superman anti-second amendment propaganda?”

                      I don’t think Superman was ever referred to as… And I’m quoting here: “The only nigga who don’t have to worry about cops ‘n guns.”

                      I’m just saying. I’m just sitting here, shaking my head. It’s obtuse to argue as you are. BLM routinely criticizes the second amendment, it’s hard to divorce those causes cleanly.

                      “But there are also some conservative messages in there”

                      I mean…. Why aren’t those Democratic messages?

                    • Great question. I’m sick of asking it, myself, but I don’t get answers. Being pro-American values like Supie shouldn’t be a partisan divide.

                    • Chris

                      I don’t think Superman was ever referred to as… And I’m quoting here: “The only nigga who don’t have to worry about cops ‘n guns.”

                      Ha! Indeed, I don’t think he ever was.

                      I still don’t see how that’s anti-Second Amendment, though. It’s anti-“people shooting blacks unjustly.” That’s not the same as being anti-gun or anti-Second Amendment.

                      I’m just saying. I’m just sitting here, shaking my head. It’s obtuse to argue as you are. BLM routinely criticizes the second amendment, it’s hard to divorce those causes cleanly.

                      I…honestly didn’t know that, so I’m not being obtuse. I’ve seen BLM criticize cops shooting blacks unjustly, and things like “stand your ground” laws which they believe allow citizens to shoot blacks with impunity. But again, that’s not the same thing as criticizing the second amendment.

                      But even taking this as truth, there are still no specific anti-gun messages in the show. “The show promotes BLM, which also argues against the Second Amendment, therefore there are anti-Second Amendment messages in the show” is quite a leap, especially as I’ve already shown you the politics of the show are kind of confused, and that the show features conservative messages as well.

                      I mean…. Why aren’t those Democratic messages?

                      I don’t know, but the fact is that they aren’t, so at the moment you can’t accuse Luke Cage of only having leftist political messages. (Though I do think the more conservative messages were likely unintentional.)

          • Preachy comics and shows usually drive me away quickly. And dramatically, how can a character be interesting and teach us anything they’re finished, if they don’t make mistakes outside their romances? A preachy Gary Stu? Nah,

      • I was making that reference, but more. And the fact that those SH’s use or used guns in the comics the movies were based on doesn’t change the fact that Super Heroes represent a a largely non-firearm action/justice/good guys/bad guys genre, and the fact that it gained momentum just as critics were pointing out that the anti-gun posturing by Hollywood was pretty hypocritical when many of the Second Amendment opposing stars were simultaneously using guns to kill dozens of people in their films. It’s really obvious in “The Defenders”: more than once, the unarmed good guys are attacked by multiple bad guys firing automatic weapons.

        No, rockets aren’t guns; neither are iron fists, Green Arrow’s arrows and automobiles thrown by Jessica Jones. Guns are guns.

        • Chris

          I was making that reference, but more. And the fact that those SH’s use or used guns in the comics the movies were based on doesn’t change the fact that Super Heroes represent a a largely non-firearm action/justice/good guys/bad guys genre, and the fact that it gained momentum just as critics were pointing out that the anti-gun posturing by Hollywood was pretty hypocritical when many of the Second Amendment opposing stars were simultaneously using guns to kill dozens of people in their films.

          I’m confused.

          Are you saying that studios started making superhero movies because of the anti-gun posturing of Hollywood? Or are you saying that these movies “gained momentum” because of an growing anti-gun movement?

          Neither of these conclusions is supportable.

          Superhero movies are more common today because we actually have the budget to make them. Studios keep making them because they keep making money. They don’t typically have guns in them because superheroes don’t typically use guns, for perfectly valid reasons. There is no need for an “anti-gun agenda” to explain any of this; you keep ignoring the many other reasons superheroes don’t need guns in order to read your own political bias onto these movies, and you’re ignoring evidence that doesn’t fit your bias.

          It’s really obvious in “The Defenders”: more than once, the unarmed good guys are attacked by multiple bad guys firing automatic weapons.

          See above. There’s also the fact that The Defenders is a martial arts show. Bruce Lee didn’t fight with guns in most of his movies; was he anti-Second Amendment?

          No, rockets aren’t guns; neither are iron fists, Green Arrow’s arrows and automobiles thrown by Jessica Jones. Guns are guns.

          And as you have been shown, many on-screen superheroes use actual guns.

          • I have not been shown that. You have cited minor exceptions. “There’s also the fact that The Defenders is a martial arts show.” Now THAT’s a circular argument! It’s a “martial arts” show because the show doesn’t let its heroes use guns.

            There may be no “need” an “anti-gun agenda” to explain the sudden obsession with non-gun using superheroes, but there are good reasons to believe that an anti-gun agenda is involved. The moral/ethical action genres were originally Westerns and war movies, then science fiction and “action,” all of which has their heroes using guns as their primary weapons of justice. The Super Hero genre is notably anti-gun by comparison. That’s a fact.

            • Chris

              Captain America is not a “minor” exception. He’s one of the biggest and most marketable superheroes in the world. If Marvel Studios is letting him use guns, then Marvel Studios isn’t anti-gun. Period.

        • I would like to mention that Defenders/Luke Cage were usually minor characters used intermittently as guest stars for many years, often as antagonsts. Their market was more limited in comics and now limited to those who can afford Netflix. They will have far less influence than the Avengers and Agents of SHIELD, even if they are knee jerk martial artists. Comics and comic media are businesses and the companies want to be able to sell to everyone.

  3. I don’t often have a reason to praise Nancy Pelosi, but how about this, from the WaPO:

    “Our democracy has no room for inciting violence or endangering the public, no matter the ideology of those who commit such acts,” Pelosi said in a statement released late Tuesday. “The violent actions of people calling themselves antifa in Berkeley this weekend deserve unequivocal condemnation, and the perpetrators should be arrested and prosecuted.”

  4. Cynical John

    Interesting enough, there is a law in Virginia forbidding the wearing of masks in public. Ergo, the antifa are violating the law just by showing up with their faces covered. Ironically, this law passed at a time when the KKK was making a resurgence in Virginia about fifty years or more ago.

  5. dragin_dragon

    Just an FYI, the original Batman carried and used a 1911 Colt on each hip of his utility belt. Before most peoples times, I’m sure.

  6. Isaac

    “And most important, to challenge politically motivated efforts to create a false equivalency between antifa and the rising tide of white supremacy. There is no comparison.”

    There IS NO RISING TIDE OF WHITE SUPREMACY you lying, mass-hysteria peddling, ratings-baiting, DNC bootlicking, low-information citizen-manipulating, soulless jack wagon of a fake journalist.

    Hope that wasn’t mean.

    • As tiki torch bearing twits are rapidly fading into memory (which is the location they have rightly occupied for *decades* with NO problem), what group is STILL starting violence and breaking things wherever they go?

      Starts with an “A” and rhymes with “NTIFA”…

  7. Isaac

    I’m not tired of the superhero movies yet. If I go to a theater at all its usually either a superhero movie or something both inspiring and epic like Dunkirk. No reason to blow $40 on an indie story about best friends that doesn’t look any better in IMAX than it does on an iPad.

    Best of all, the Marvel and DC superheroes are a sort of last vestige of the pre-snowflake era, when being a “hero” meant sacrificing personal glory, affirmation, and ambition to serve others out of duty. Most of the classic heroes in these movies were created decades ago by old guys who had been through poverty, fought in wars, scrapped in the streets, and raised families. Most of them were writing to feed their families some even died poor.

    I think that’s why people still love those old heroes so much. Spider-Man (as traditionally written) is a guy who just about kills himself every day helping people, gets no thanks, half the city hates him, and life dumps on him every day like he’s Charlie Brown. Batman is a stoic loner who has just about the most thankless and tiresome job in the world, and he just might be the most popular person in all of pop culture. People love these guys because they act like real heroes (despite all of the ethical issues raised by their vigilantism, which writers have tried to navigate in many ways, including having 60s TV Batman working as a “duly-deputized” member of the police force.)

    If you care to dive down that particular rabbit hole…there’s something really weird going on in comic books right now, Marvel in particular. Most of the Avengers (Thor, Hulk, Iron Man) have either died temporarily, lost their powers, or just been shunted aside somehow so that Marvel can introduce “new” ethnically diverse, younger, hip replacements. There’s Asian bro-dude super-duper genius Hulk, teenage black super-genius Iron Man, woman Thor (still called Thor even though that’s not her name), and so on. The replacement heroes aren’t in separate comics, they are actually taking over the Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor titles, because Marvel is embarrassed that their most popular heroes are mostly white guys. The new comics are every cringe-inducing stereotypes of “SJWism” and they are really, really hilariously bad. And the narration is basically, “everyone in the world loves these guys, they’re smarter and better than the old versions, they can do anything without really trying, and all of the other heroes can’t stop talking about how totally better they are! Why do you keep wanting Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and white-cis Thor back? What’s wrong with you?”

    The changes are in part because Marvel is hiring extreme progressives straight off of Twitter and Tumblr who don’t really like comics very much, hoping that the new, young writers can “fix” the comic culture. It’s a complete disaster and while comic-book movies are making billions of dollars, comic book sales have been plummeting.

    • Chris

      Best of all, the Marvel and DC superheroes are a sort of last vestige of the pre-snowflake era, when being a “hero” meant sacrificing personal glory, affirmation, and ambition to serve others out of duty. Most of the classic heroes in these movies were created decades ago by old guys who had been through poverty, fought in wars, scrapped in the streets, and raised families. Most of them were writing to feed their families some even died poor.

      I think that’s why people still love those old heroes so much. Spider-Man (as traditionally written) is a guy who just about kills himself every day helping people, gets no thanks, half the city hates him, and life dumps on him every day like he’s Charlie Brown. Batman is a stoic loner who has just about the most thankless and tiresome job in the world, and he just might be the most popular person in all of pop culture. People love these guys because they act like real heroes (despite all of the ethical issues raised by their vigilantism, which writers have tried to navigate in many ways, including having 60s TV Batman working as a “duly-deputized” member of the police force.)

      I don’t know what “pre-snowflake era” means, but you do have a point here: the best superhero movies are those that show that heroism has a personal cost, and where heroes choose to sacrifice their personal happiness for the greater good. I think a problem with the Amazing Spider-Man movies with Andrew Garfield was that, unlike the originals with Tobey Maguire or even Homecoming, that Spider-Man wasn’t much like the one you describe; he was seen as equally “cool” as Peter Parker as he was as Spider-Man. Man of Steel and “Batman v. Superman suffered from having no personal stakes to speak of; the characters barely even had personalities.

      Now moving on to the anti-SJW screed…there are a LOT of unsupported assertions here.

      If you care to dive down that particular rabbit hole…there’s something really weird going on in comic books right now, Marvel in particular. Most of the Avengers (Thor, Hulk, Iron Man) have either died temporarily, lost their powers, or just been shunted aside somehow so that Marvel can introduce “new” ethnically diverse, younger, hip replacements. There’s Asian bro-dude super-duper genius Hulk, teenage black super-genius Iron Man, woman Thor (still called Thor even though that’s not her name), and so on. The replacement heroes aren’t in separate comics, they are actually taking over the Iron Man, Hulk, and Thor titles, because Marvel is embarrassed that their most popular heroes are mostly white guys.

      I’d like to see some evidence of this.

      The notion of heroes’ sidekicks or others temporarily taking over the titles of bigger heroes is not at all new. There was a phase in the 80s where this was almost as common as it is now: Monica Rambeau took over as Captain Marvel in 1982; a year later, Tony Stark’s African-American sidekick James Rhodes took over as Iron Man. Since then Dick Grayson has taken over the role of Batman at least twice, Donna Troy took over as Wonder Woman, and there were like four Superman in the 90s while Superman was dead. And don’t even get me started on Flashes and Green Lanterns; the idea of replacing them goes even further back.

      It makes sense that in a superhero-filled world where heroes are constantly being killed off and resurrected, there would be multiple people taking on similar roles.

      The new comics are every cringe-inducing stereotypes of “SJWism” and they are really, really hilariously bad. And the narration is basically, “everyone in the world loves these guys, they’re smarter and better than the old versions, they can do anything without really trying, and all of the other heroes can’t stop talking about how totally better they are! Why do you keep wanting Tony Stark and Bruce Banner and white-cis Thor back? What’s wrong with you?”

      I’d really like some concrete examples of this.

      The changes are in part because Marvel is hiring extreme progressives straight off of Twitter and Tumblr who don’t really like comics very much, hoping that the new, young writers can “fix” the comic culture.

      Some examples of this would be nice too. Which writers, specifically?

      It’s a complete disaster and while comic-book movies are making billions of dollars, comic book sales have been plummeting.

      This is really funny. Comic book sales have been plummeting for years; blaming diversity when there are dozens and dozens of other reasons for this is ludicrous. The female Thor has been an artistic, critical and financial success. So has Ms. Marvel. So has Miles Morales’ Spider-Man. There is a right-wing bubble that denies this online, but they do not speak for most comic book fans and they have been known to misrepresent sales figures (which, to be fair, are notoriously open to interpretation.)

      • Chris

        Forgot to mention that at various points Thor has been the name of a) a man named Eric Masterson, b) a man named Donald Blake, and c) an alien horse named Beta Ray Bill.

        So the fact that some fans can’t suspend their disbelief far enough to accept a woman taking on the name Thor strikes me as…revealing.

        • Really? Thor is a mythological Norse God with am authoritatively established history. As something of a mythology devotee, I would also have trouble accepting a woman as Jason, Hercules, Aeneas, Perseus, Achilles, Paris, Hector, Ulysses, Loki, Odin, Paul Bunyan, Sigfried, King Midas, Theseus, and many, many others. Also Captain Ahab, The Sea Wolf, Sherlock Holmes, Mike Hammer, Sam Spade, and Jack Reacher. What it reveals is that I know what the hell I’m talking about, and find gratuitous gender reversals pointless, distracting, contrived and annoying.

          • Chris

            Man are you going to be mad when you find out that Loki switches genders like every other week.

            • Chris

              But really–you just said it’s more unbelievable for Thor to be a woman than an alien horse. Yes, that’s revealing.

            • Loki never switched genders. The Marvel writers could have its version become a ballet dancer, but that would have nothing to do with Loki.

              • Chris

                Your arguments are getting weirder and weirder.

                We’re discussing comic book characters. Isaac’s objection was that Marvel has changed Marvel’s version of Thor into a woman. This objection is groundless; one reason is because Thor has been multiple separate people in Marvel, and has been recognized as a title more than a single person. Another reason is that one of the Thors has been an alien horse. Another reason is that Marvel’s version of Loki changes genders all the time.

                Your response doesn’t really address any of these reasons, though at least this time you’re not responding with blatantly false claims that have already be disproven (“only the bad guys use guns.”) Still hoping you’ll correct that one.

                • This is your bad habit of intentionally pretending the clear meaning of a statement is other than it is. I, unlike, oh, 90% of Thor’s readers, actually know something about the comic’s hero. Thus I’ve never been able to stand the comic, nor the Avengers when he was a member. I explained why pretty clearly. Nothing weird about it. I didn’t address the alien horse version because 1) I wasn’t aware of it and 2) I don’t care. Knowing abut the “real” Thor, the comic and its permutations have as much credibility as “Abe Lincoln, Vampire Hunter.” Marvel’s own characters are whoever and whatever it wants them to be. Marvel doesn’t own Thor, didn’t originate the character, and for those of us who know our mythology, its various versions are jarring.

                  I don’t “believe” in any comic book characters.

                  • Chris

                    You said you had trouble accepting Marvel’s Thor as a woman, like you would for any other character with an “authoritatively established history,” and now you’re saying you “don’t care.” Why did you jump into the conversation Isaac and I were having about the female Thor then? You’re argument is incoherent.

                    But I’d really like you to acknowledge you were wrong about the “only bad guys use guns” thing. Seriously, it’s bothering me. You are not a dishonest person. But this argument of yours was completely dishonest, and designed to serve your own political agenda.

                    • I think his point is that in the case of comic book characters based off established characters, that the Norse mythology supersedes Stan Lee. Loki, the Norse god, did not swap genders every Thursday, even if Loki (TM) of Marvel did.

                    • … Although I’m not an expert, and It tickles the back of my head that ancient pagan Gods did do all kinds of debauchery. I know it’s a different pantheon, but didn’t Zeus turn himself into a swan and knock up Leda?

                    • Jeff

                      Let’s not forget that Loki (the “real” Norse one) is the mother of Odin’s horse, Sleipnir… It may not be every Thursday, but that’s at least one gender switch (with some inter-species breeding thrown in for good measure).

                    • Loki turned himself into a mare, and got knocked up, He was never a female humanoid. This is like arguing that Marvel could credibly make Hercules into Woody Woodpecker because Zeus (Herk’s Dad) once turned himself into a swan.

                    • Jeff

                      The point is that Loki’s whole deal is that he’s a trickster and shapeshifter. If he can become a mare, why not a woman?

                      Thor, on the other hand, is not a shapeshifter, nor is he multiple people, so Marvel’s version of that character is wrong on that score.

                    • Chris

                      My point was that it doesn’t make sense for Marvel comics fans–which I presume Isaac is–to get upset about a woman taking over the mantle of Thor if they didn’t get upset over the mantle being taken up by multiple men and an alien horse.

                      The appeals to Norse mythology are a distraction. The people screaming “political correctness” at Jane Foster’s Thor aren’t doing so because they’re huge fans of Norse mythology.

      • Isaac

        “I don’t know what “pre-snowflake era” means…”

        Yes you do.

        As for the other stuff, as I said…you are welcome to go down the rabbit hole. Just go to your local comic shop and check out what’s going on in those titles. I was being very, very kind.

        • Chris

          I read Thor monthly. It’s great. Jane Foster’s struggle with being Thor while battling cancer is a classic comic book hero dilemma, and it’s got some of the best art on the shelves right now. I’ll be sad to see her go, but it’s always been inevitable that the classic Thor will come back. That’s part of what gets me about those complaining about the legacy heroes replacing their classic counterparts; you know the originals always come back, right?

          • Isaac

            He’ll have to come back. Those books contain actual dialogue like, Thor (thousands of years ago because convenient time travel): “How is a mere wench worthy to hold my hammer?” Jane (sassy): “Perhaps because you use words like “wench.” Yup, the savage Norse God in like 1000 BC is unworthy because he is not woke. Also “I am Thor. Who are you?” “I am also called Thor.” It’s head-scratchingly bad, of course he’ll have to come back. And honestly the Thor ones are probably the best ones. Riri is head-splodingly bad.

            • Chris

              I thought the wench line was funny. The issue as a whole was very good; I’m intrigued by Odin’s relationship with the Pheonix. Haven’t read any of Riri, but then I’m not much of an Iron Man fan. Ms. Marvel is wonderful. I also like Champions but don’t find Amadeus Cho particularly interesting. Miles Morales is cool but the sheer amount of Spider-Man titles drives me away from even trying. I do like what I’ve read of Spider-Gwen though. Sam Wilson as Cap started out interesting but devolved to weird Werewolf humor within a couple issues. Still can’t believe they’re making Steve Cap again so soon after the ill-advised Nazi storyline.

    • That type of recasting to fit current hysteria usually fails to use the archetype that is as strong and that readers identify with. The Ghostbusters reboot is a stellar example of a mirror image to serve a Cause is preachy and fails to tell a good story. As a woman, I identify far more with Dick Whittington than the preachy morality of books for girls of that period.

      Pick another legendary character type. First make strong female characters in comics with strengths, powers, and flaws, not as lessons or examples of perfection for some political stand. We don’t want any more Mary Sues, those have been mocked since the 70s, and deservedly so. If old characters like Lana Lang and Gwen Stacy can’t break out stereotypes, redo them. I have almost never seen a major recasting that approached the original in storytelling power. And swapping around starts to dilute the original archetype. I’m speaking about the Supes and Spiderman variants as a start, (The only time I think it kinda worked was the Green Lantern Corps which lets you have original WASP, black guy, alien woman, and a planet.) The people who jump to make more ‘just’ versions don’t want to admit that the ho-hum originals still have lessons to teach about what it means to be a hero. Some of the best moments in comics have come when the hero faces aspects of the modern world on a personal level. Modern re-dos are already aware, so they and the reader don’t learn. I will admit I avoided Marvel for the most part as their stories got too heavy-handed and preachy even if I generally agreed. I preferred the making yourself a better person and helping others. Stay out of politics when you do the previous. I vote with my wallet, and too many female superheroes and ghostbusters are strident and not heroes in their own right.

      And really, if you aren’t a big fan of the medium, you should not get a pass for a A-list title. Work your way up like Trina Robbins. There are female authors who write story, not screed. This is am old issue, and many female creators prefer the smaller companies where they get more control and bigger share of the gate. Grandstanding will never impress the bread and butter customers, male or female.

      • Isaac

        The crazy thing is that not only do minorities of all types love the classic characters (because they aren’t racist and it doesn’t bother them that Iron Man is white), but all of the fans universally love Storm, Luke Cage, and all of the various non-white and non-male characters. Just make more of those.

        Instead we’ve got middle-aged white dudes writing a comic where a sassy black teen named Riri makes her own Iron Man suit and is like, “OMG guys! I’m like, a girl of color and I’m like totally smarter and just as strong as Tony Stark!” And every other superhero is like, “She’s the best ever! Please join our team Riri! You’re the smartest and bestest person we’ve ever seen!” And black Iron Man fans are like, “Where’s Tony Stark? What is this pandering crap?”

  8. Sue Dunim

    Labor Day

    Those dediacted(sic) Americans and the citizens who followed them personify what Labor Day commemorates, for they won us a nation without child labor, with fair wages and reasonable work hours, with employee benefits and genuine concern for employee safety, and where greedy, cruel and unjust employers are restrained by laws and regulations, not protected by them.

    How times change. Such things are now deemed Socialist, if not actually Communist. How many now have to work multiple jobs, well over 12 hours a day just to make ends meet? How many of these regulations are being or have been, repealed?

    https://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/03/07/f-d-r-makes-the-case-for-the-minimum-wage/

    • The nostrum about all crusades eventually becoming rackets has no better example than organized labor in the US. Whole industries have been destroyed and driven overseas. Government regulations shut down lemonade stands. I think your characterization is hyperbolic, to say the least.

      • I should remind you that organized labor gained public support because businesses used violence against those who were peacefully petitioning for higher wages.

        If a taco cart owners form a cartel and peacefully refuse to sell tacos unless prices go up, physically attacking the taco cart owners is not going to buy any sympathy points from bystanders, even if those bystanders might agree that the price is too high.

        (Labor unions are analogous to a cartel of taco stand owners, labor is analogous to tacoes, and businesses are analogous to taco stand customers. )

      • Also it’s one of the DNC’s most efficient extortion or money laundering schemes ever (depending on the direction you look at it).

  9. The workers went on strike, and when it began to wain, and Eugene V. Debs’ American Railway Union ordered a full-scale national strike in its support. By the summer of 1894, 125,000 railroad men were on strike across the country, freezing transportation on twenty railroads in 27 states. The railroads demanded federal intervention, and the courts obliged, issuing injunctions banning the strike as unlawful. Federal troops arrived to enforce the injunctions in Chicago, the railroad industry’s center. There were riots, fires, shootings, and 34 deaths, most of them victims of the troops. But the violence was spun by the news media, and it turned public opinion against Debs and the workers. The strike was broken. Naturally, they indicted Eugene Debs.

    So the strikers in this instance held a general strike, even against employers who had no control over Pullman’s labor practices, and defied a federal court injunction.

    This is why public opinion turned against the strikers in this instance.

    By the way, do you meant to write “wane” instead of “wain”?

  10. Observation about this thread; discussion about super heroes has dominated the thread and discussion about tech giants squelching speech that they disagree with is non-existent.

    I find this trend “interesting”.

    • All this talk about super heroes and no one has even mentioned Captain Caveman or the ever popular Underdog!

      It’s sad that people have forgotten about these fellow crime fighting super heroes.

      • UD never used a gun, to my recollection 🙂

      • Isaac

        Only canines ever liked to watch Underdog, because as we all know, kids can only look up to a hero if the hero shares their surface characteristics like race and gender. That is why no there are no popular superheroes who are, let’s say, anthropomorphic raccoons. Or trees. Or ninja turtles.

  11. #3. Why is it that this whistle blower story about Google’s outright strong-arming (I’d call it extortion) has not made a big splash in the media. Isn’t the implication that Google can, and likely does, manipulate their search engine software to not display high on search results that which they disagree with a big deal? This is intentionally manipulating the public and it’s a HUGE deal!

    As for Facebook; I’ve been noticing posts/comments/ads in my “Most Recent” status page that appear to be placed at a higher level than other things even though the “Most Recent” search criteria directly implies that things will be in reverse chronological order with the most recent being at the top. What I’m finding is that posts and comments that lean towards agreeing with social justice warriors tend to be at a higher place on the list regardless of the fact that the most recent posts/comment can be up to 24 hours (I actually saw this happen) before other posts/comments that are down the list but posted within the last 10 minutes. I’m getting to the point that I no longer pay any attention to that page and I’m visiting Facebook less and less because of the apparent dishonest and manipulative programming. The many many ads based on Facebook mining are getting really irritating and it doesn’t seem to matter how many times I choose to not see particular ads from particular things, they keep on showing up.

  12. Jeff H.

    Jack, I really think you’re jumping at shadows in re: superhero movies. They have surprising international appeal possibly because of how they tell stories mostly about human spirit. America is the only country with such reverence for the gun. If you think it’s leftist propaganda because superheroes don’t use guns, I think there’s plenty of Hollywood movies where the heroes shoot at each other that are either doing fine or just as bad as some of the duds this year.

    The reason the movies went bad this year is because of too much thoughtless attempts at franchising. That’s why The Mummy floundered, that’s why Dark Tower was a miss, that’s why King Arthur was a slog, and why Alien: Covenant was forgotten so quickly that nobody even bothered to make a “Covfefe” joke.

    I’ll give you one example where you might be right. Valerian has a shapeshifter played by Rihanna who is left into a world of prostitution because she’s “an illegal immigrant with nowhere else to go.”

    Now, the rest of the movie is bad, but this comes out of nowhere. On the giant space-city with thousands of different lifeforms living, what does ‘illegal immigration’ even mean? What planet is she from where she’s not allowed to co-exist? Is it because she’s a shapeshifter and thus isn’t trusted by the other races? What sort of crappy sci-fi IS this?

    That’s a real example of a Hollywood movie (if the mostly European-produced Valerian really counts as that) putting its foot in its mouth needlessly to make a point about the American immigration situation. The other ones… I really think you might be chasing things that aren’t there. I understand being frustrated with the left’s behavior, but let’s not lose our heads.

  13. Chris

    Jack, I have terrible news.

    The latest Marvel project, ABC’s “Inhumans,” goes beyond the attacks on the Second Amendment typical of superhero fiction and actually targets the First Amendment.

    On the show, Black Bolt is the king of the Inhumans. Yet despite his immense power, he cannot speak and remains mute for the majority of the show. The sound of his voice is so powerful that it causes massive destruction at the slightest whisper. This is clearly a statement on how the speech of powerful conservatives, such as Milo Yiannopolous, must be suppressed lest it “trigger” the sensitive snowflakes on the left.

    With Antifa’s attacks on the First Amendment based on the idea that “speech is violence,” it is hugely irresponsible for Marvel to send the message that mere words have the capacity to harm others.

    No word yet on whether any of the characters use guns, but another character, the queen Medusa, uses her brightly-colored hair as a weapon: a clear dig on President Trump.

    • In the market of ideas it will probably crash and burn. They’re making superhero movies faster than they find good ideas, even with a huge motherlode.

      • Isaac

        I haven’t seen any of it but it looks kinda stupid and everyone so far seems to hate it. I don’t understand why Marvel is cranking this all out so fast.

  14. Pennagain

    Free online: Old Time Radio. Guns forever, interspersed with cigarette commercials, featuring one-time gun-users who can hear when a guy in the office in the next building is about to give them away, and make a kill shot through a one-inch space between the bottom of the shade and the window sill; private dicks as paid vigilantes with super-healing powers after being knocked unconscious weekly with gun butts or other blunt instruments); stupid policemen (flat-foot sidekicks or second bananas who usually miss all the real gun action); evil, traitorous foreigners and mad scientists with similar Peter Lorre accents who use unsportsmanlike Lugers; and the inevitable females of the species who come with sultry voices in shades of bad, badder and really bad (barring the occasional weeping wife or sorrowing mother) who shoot with their eyes closed using girly-guns that were hidden in their purses; and finally, Justice for all! as the bad guys die by .32s or .38s once the shamus’ recover from their concussions and identify them. Who needs superheroes!

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