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Saturday, July 04, 2020 

Time magazine attacks superhero fare for being created by white men

Time's published a grotesque article proving there's those on the left who really do have a rock bottom view of superhero fare (which we can see in how much it's been artistically destroyed over the past 20 years), where Eliana Dockterman, who was among those attacking Marvel for using Milo Manara's illustrations for a Spider-Woman cover is now attacking the genre for respecting authority figures. Some of her claims are downright flawed and exaggerated:
In the past several weeks, as calls to defund the police have gone mainstream, pop culture critics and fans have been reconsidering how Hollywood heroizes cops. Legal procedurals and shoot-em-up action movies have long presented a skewed perception of the justice system in America, in which the police are almost always positioned as the good guys. These “good cop” narratives are rarely balanced out with stories of systemic racism in the criminal justice system. The “bad guys” they pursue are often people of color, their characters undeveloped beyond their criminality.

In this period of reckoning, the long-running show Cops and the widely-watched Live PD have been canceled. Actors and writers who contributed to police procedurals are criticizing their own work and donating money to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. Parents are protesting benevolent portrayals of canine cops in the children’s television show Paw Patrol. And Ava DuVernay’s film collective ARRAY is launching the Law Enforcement Accountability Project (LEAP) to highlight stories of police brutality and counteract a biased narrative.
She puts words in the mouths of "fans" she won't even identify clearly, and doesn't have the courage to admit she's speaking for a leftist crowd that despises heroism. One of the ugliest lectures I've ever seen in such a propaganda magazine. Time's long been a cesspool for the worst of liberalism, and this is no different. There have been plenty of police TV series over the years where whites comprised a huge amount of the criminals pursued by the stars in law enforcement, and the funniest irony is that quite a few of the villains could easily have been metaphors for conservatives (I remember a crooked county sherriff in the 1988-95 series based on In the Heat of the Night being depicted as a right-winger). If there's any TV show where the writers otherwise sought to avoid making minorities the criminals too often, it's Law & Order, which, over the years, took on more of a stark liberal stance.

When she turns to superheroes proper, she's just as sloppy as before:
Superheroes have dominated popular culture for the last decade—they are fixtures of the highest-grossing movies and icons to more than just our children. They are beacons of inspiration: protesters dressed as Spider-Man and Batman have turned up at recent Black Lives Matter demonstrations. And yet what are superheroes except cops with capes who enact justice with their powers?

With a few notable exceptions (more on those later), most superhero stories star straight, white men who either function as an extension of a broken U.S. justice system or as vigilantes without any checks on their powers. Usually, they have some sort of tentative relationship with the government: The Avengers work for the secretive agency S.H.I.E.L.D.; Batman takes orders from Gotham police commissioner Gordon; even the villainous members of the Suicide Squad execute government orders in exchange for commuted prison sentences. And even when superheroes function outside the justice system, they’re sometimes idolized by police because they are able to skirt the law to “get the job done.”
Simply hilarious. The Avengers are far from operatives for SHIELD like Nick Fury is. And Batman is far from taking orders from Jim Gordon; in many instances, Batman investigates and fights crime on his own. Also, is something wrong with criminals like those appearing in Suicide Squad repenting by carrying out challenging missions to fight crime on the government's orders? In Dockterman's case, apparently yes. All that aside, it's clear she's against superheroes, because they fulfill a role similar to police - that of a crimefighter. And in today's stridently PC world, that's simply unacceptable.
In fact, real-life police officers sometimes adopt the symbolism of these rogue anti-heroes. The Punisher, a brutal vigilante introduced in a 1974 Spider-Man comic who also starred in a 2017 Netflix series, has become an emblem for some cops and soldiers—to the point where Marvel felt the need to address this idolatry in the pages of its comics. In a 2019 story, a group of police fanboys run up to the Punisher and say, “We believe in you.” One shows off a Punisher skull sticker on his car. The Punisher rips the sticker off and says, “We’re not the same. You took an oath to uphold the law. You help people. I gave that up a long time ago. You don’t do what I do. Nobody does.” Another cop replies, “Like it or not, you started something. You showed us how it’s done.”

The Punisher is representative of a larger problem in superhero narratives. When Batman ignores orders and goes rogue, there’s no oversight committee to assess whether Bruce Wayne’s biases influence who he brings to justice and how. Heroes like Iron Man occasionally feel guilt about the casualties they inflict, but ultimately empower themselves again and again to draw those moral lines.
Well it looks like Gerry Conway, in his modern example of a liberal almost entirely disowning his past writings, the Batman stories he wrote in the late 70s-early 80s included, has influenced somebody. The worst part is that this feels like the time when the Acts of Vengeance crossover came out in late 1989, and Mr. Fantastic appeared before a Washington D.C. panel discussing whether to regulate superheroes and their powers, to convince them otherwise. Such a story wouldn't pass muster under today's increasingly communist entertainment industry. I can only imagine what side the Time columnist would take if it were published today. And it's phony to say Batman always followed orders from authorities to the letter. This claim wouldn't work even with Superman. But what's really disgusting is the implication IM's literally ever killed anybody. *Ahem* Tony Stark - certainly before the turn of the century - usually avoided killing criminals outright, and if he did, it was in self-defense, something Daredevil usually restricted himself to as well. Taking everything out of context and without citing clear examples from any era must be a lot of fun for these real life Bethany Snow wannabes, huh?
Most of the blockbuster Marvel and DC comics movies skirt the issue of who should define justice for whom. Captain America: Civil War and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice briefly float the idea of superhero oversight but both devolve into quip-filled CGI fistfights. (In fairness, the Civil War storyline in the Marvel comics more thoughtfully plumbs the depths of that socio-political debate.)

What’s more, given that the creators and stars of these movies have historically been white men, it’s hardly surprising that so few reckon with issues of systemic racism—let alone sexism, homophobia, transphobia and other forms of bigotry embedded in the justice system or the inherent biases these superheroes might carry with them as they patrol the streets, or the universe.
I think what's telling here is that it makes little difference the Cap movie drew from 2006's insulting Civil War crossover - Dockterman still dismisses the film as not going far enough. And it makes little difference the producers/writers/directors of these films are as far-left as she is - she still turns against them. Of course, until recently, it's not like they went full-on SJW mode, as they look to be doing now with their adaptations of Eternals and such, though they were certainly getting close. Dockterman conveniently ignores that some of the fistfights were the result of disagreements over government regulation. As bad as Civil War is, was she expecting a full-fledged enforcement of the position unquestioned?

Though she may not do so directly, Dockterman's also damning the comic creators as well, like Stan Lee. To people like her, he'll never be valid, and this pretty much proves it.
There is some history of reckoning with policing in Black superhero films. Blade, the 1998 Wesley Snipes superhero movie, launched the superhero movie boom we’re still in today, giving Marvel its first box office smash. The movie, written and directed by white men, references tensions between Black communities and the police. In one scene, two cops walk in on Blade fighting what is clearly a monstrous vampire and begin shooting at Blade instead. Blade turns around and asks, “Are you out of your damn mind?” It’s played as a throwaway moment, but one that rings true decades on. (Marvel announced last year that two-time Oscar winner Mahershala Ali will star in Blade reboot.)

More recently, racial injustice has become the centerpiece for some superhero films. The clearest example of that shift is Black Panther, Ryan Coogler’s 2018 superhero movie that takes as its main subject the oppression of BIPOC people worldwide. In that movie, Black Panther, a.k.a. T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman), rules over Wakanda, a secluded, scientifically-advanced African country unfettered by colonialism. He faces off against a would-be usurper named Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan), who argues that Wakanda must abandon its policy of isolationism and help combat systemic oppression across the world.

T’Challa eventually discovers that his own father and Killmonger’s father had a similar debate in the 1990s. When Killmonger’s father was deployed to America as a spy, he became radicalized by the racism he saw there. He smuggled weapons from Wakanda to help Black people suffering in America. When T’Challa’s father confronts Killmonger’s father, the latter argues, “Their leaders have been assassinated. Communities flooded with drugs and weapons. They are overly policed and incarcerated. All over the world, our people suffer because they do not have the tools to fight back.” Killmonger’s father eventually loses his life for his political stance.

T’Challa’s arc is to realize his nemesis is right: While Killmonger and his father broke laws and enacted violence for their cause, their conviction that people of color have historically lacked the tools to fight systemic oppression was correct. T’Challa eventually comes to represent a compromise between these two viewpoints: He uses his relative privilege to empower people who have been held back by colonialism and racism but finds non-violent methods to do so.
She's politicizing the Blade scene (even the Punisher's been pursued by the police far more than Blade ever was), yet she does hint why the BP movie could be overrated. It seems to take a "one man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter" form of moral equivalence, and while this premise may have worked if set in south Africa during the apartheid era when corrupt white politicians were in charge, it doesn't work well in a country where a Constitution was developed to defend the rights of all citizens, regardless of race and skin color. Does this mean there should've been a new civil war in the US where innocent people could be wiped out by weapons provided by a criminal to renegades? Still, if this were to bear any meat, why do leftists always get excused for the racism they could've caused in past decades?

Of course, while the racism in south Africa was a very bad period in the past century, it doesn't excuse that Nelson Mandela was a communist, and both Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan considered him worrisome because of his associations with the commies on the continent. But is that who the BP movie took as an example for a metaphor? Good grief.
It’s not just that superheroes act like members of law enforcement; sometimes they interact with them directly. Spider-Man has long had a complicated relationship with the NYPD. Last year’s Spider-Man video game received some pushback over what many critics called “copaganda.” In that game, Peter Parker is a fan of the police, even fantasizing about being “Spider cop.” He spends much of the game fixing surveillance towers for the NYPD.

But the introduction of Miles Morales, who made his debut in the comics in 2011, could offer opportunities to explore the contentious relationship between New Yorkers and police. Miles, who is half-Black, half-Puerto Rican, is the son of a cop. In 2018’s animated Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse, Miles’ father doesn’t know his son’s secret identity. Miles spends much of the movie trying to reconcile his father’s love for him with his dislike for Spider-Man as a vigilante.
Given that Morales is the product of a line mostly overseen by Brian Bendis, this should be no surprise the character emerging from the Ultimate line (which Dockterman conveniently ignores) could embody a PC vision.
But the superhero property that most directly engages with corruption in policing is Watchmen. In Alan Moore’s 1986 graphic novel, vigilantes who believe they have the right to fight and live by their own moral codes often prove themselves despicable bigots or megalomaniacs. One particular image of so-called heroes confronting a riot looks an awful lot like the recent videos we’ve seen of police officers shooting rubber bullets and tear gas at protesters.
I've often thought Watchmen was overrated, and this'll only enforce my belief.
If Hollywood is to do better in telling these stories, more creators of color need to be given the reins to tell them. It’s worth noting that while Lindelof employed a diverse writers’ room, it likely took his name and cache as the creator of Lost and The Leftovers to get such an ambitious story greenlit. Similarly, while the director of Spiderverse, Peter Ramsay, became the first Black man to win an Oscar for animation, Sony initially approached the two white men (who ended up producing the film), Lego Movie directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, with the opportunity to make an animated Spider-Man.

Writers must also shake the notion that they are bound by the strictures of outdated intellectual property. These days, few big-budget projects move forward unless they are based on existing IP. But the success of Watchmen suggests that creators can snatch up those familiar characters and still weave a new story, with new politics and a new perspective, using only fragments of what came before. Just as the Watchmen series is a radical departure from a dusty Reagan-era graphic novel, both Black Panther and Into the Spiderverse borrowed the names and backstories of their main characters from the comics but took those characters in new and ambitious directions.
Well I was aware the Thor movie already set the path for diversity-pandering when characters like Heimdall were changed to black and Asian, and this is beginning to tell more of what the BP movie's approach could really be about. If the columnist had paid better attention to comicdom proper, she'd notice that the comic depicting police outfits as corrupt the most happened to be Nightwing's solo book from 1996, written by a right-winger, Chuck Dixon. But of course, because of his politics, he doesn't count. Dockterman takes a position that if you're not a POC, you don't comprehend anything about the issues, and that's just pure insult to the intellect. By the way, isn't Watchmen an existing IP, contrary to what she says?

Dean Cain, notable in the mid-90s for his TV take on Superman with Teri Hatcher, Lois & Clark, gave an interview about this to Fox News:
A recent and controversial Time Magazine article calling for a cultural reckoning of the depiction of superheroes amid the national debate over law enforcement makes claims that are "totally untrue" and reveals the left's "cancel culture" agenda, actor Dean Cain said Thursday.

In an interview on "Fox & Friends" with host Ainsley Earhardt, Cain -- former star of "Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman" -- said he found writer Eliana Dockterman's piece to be "insane" and hypocritical.

"This is insane to me, though, because these people will scream anti-police rhetoric all day long but when their life is threatened and they need a hero, they will dial 9-1-1 and a police officer will show up," he pointed out. "Because police officers are heroes."

Cain conceded that while there have been some "bad situations" and "bad apples" in departments, "99.9 percent of all police officers" aim to serve and protect their communities and "do a fantastic job."

"This whole ‘cancel culture’ thing that we're living in right now is crazy. It's like an early version of George Orwell’s ‘1984,'" he said.

"And, what this article does in Time Magazine, what they talk about, I mean…from the very beginning…the author of this article makes a bunch of claims that are totally untrue," Cain said.
Personally, I'm wondering if Time intends to continue giving positive reviews to any future movies about police, let alone superheroes. Or, do they intend to take a mandatory line to pan every movie where good triumphs over evil from this point onward?
"Then she says Hollywood heroizes cops and you can destroy that in just a list of titles: 'Training Day', 'Serpico,' 'The Departed,' 'The Wire,' 'BlacKkKlansman,' 'Rambo.' I mean, the list goes on and on because a bad cop is a great villain because they're not supposed to be bad," Cain told Earhardt. "So, this stuff all just drives me insane. I promise you that Superman -- I wouldn't today be allowed to say: ‘truth, justice, and the American way.’"
The 2006 movie starring Brandon Routh deliberately avoided using the phrase, so that's one example of where PC madness came about. There was a rumor a new Superman live action might come about after all, but if PC takes precedence over talented writing, it won't be worth the effort.

To make matters worse, the disgraceful Tom King rudely attacked Cain over his argument, claiming he'd used the phrase of the American Way in a Superman tale he'd written...except it was a soldier using it in 1st person narrative. And King was foul-mouthed about it. His excuse was Cain complaining he had to wear a surgical mask to guard against Covid19 while flying an airplane, as though most liberals actually want to wear it either. I'm sorry, but either way, what King did was pathetic, explaining perfectly why he's not suited to work in entertainment. Just like Dockterman's not suited to be a commentator. Only Cain's offered the best argument here.

Time's really scraped the bottom of the barrel with this dumb op-ed of theirs, that eschews the importance of talent for the sake of political agendas. They may as well stop reviewing movies if this is what they think makes for a valid viewpoint.

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The Southern white sherrif on In the Heat of the Night, played by Carrol O Conner, was basically a good guy, teamed up with a black Northern cop. But the classic private detective stories and movies - Ray Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and their modern-day imitators - show the police as corrupt and politicized.

Guys in masks taking the law into their own hands evokes memories of lynch mobs and the KKK. The difference is that most superheros work on their own, not as a mob. But the imagery is evocative.

Marvel is doing a storyline right now about government regulation of superheros, under the sobriquet Outlawed - it applies to the teen hero books. Paul Levitz did a story about the government trying to regulate the Justice Society during the 1950s, back in Adventure Comics; the people trying to do the regulating were a metaphor for Joe McCarthy and his investigative committees, essentially radical right-wing populists.

"Also, is something wrong with criminals like those appearing in Suicide Squad repenting by carrying out challenging missions to fight crime on the government's orders?"

The Suicide Squad villains aren't repenting; in the movie and recent incarnations of the book they are being illegally threatened, coerced and tortured by government agents to do the government's dirty work. In the Suicide Squad, the government is worse than the criminals.

"Does this mean there should've been a new civil war in the US where innocent people could be wiped out by weapons provided by a criminal to renegades? Still, if this were to bear any meat, why do leftists always get excused for the racism they could've caused in past decades?"

Actually, no, it doesn't mean anything like that. She says in the article that the Black Panther finds peaceful means to non-violently empower the innocent people.

And of course people get excused for the things they "could've" done! You blame people for what they have done, not for what they could have done.

The comics wheel turns.

https://www.salon.com/2013/11/30/superheroes_are_a_bunch_of_fascists/

There was also a number of superheros = fascists articles during the upheaval of the anti-vietnam war period. Superheros represent "law and order". During periods of rioting and lawlessness, assuming you're on the side of the rioters, law and order is something imposed by counter-revolutionaries - hence bad.

In the Marvel books, superheros were mostly like anarchists; they were basically good people who followed their own moral lights and did not take orders from anyone. They weren't very orderly and didn't always follow the letter of the law. Even Nick Fury was impatient with rules and bad at taking orders; the message was that his streak of stubborn independence was part of what made him a good soldier. The ones who were true governmental types tended to be portrayed as humorless idiots, like US Agent.

DC went through a period where their heros were like lawmen; in the 50s Batman was practically a cop, working hand in hand with Commissioner Gordon, and may have been formally deputized; in the 60s tv show, he was always called in by the police when needed.

As for the 'rioters' and the protesters, they are protesting a crime and a series of crimes - the murder of George Floyd was definitely a crime. They are often treated with lawlessness by police, many of whom are using unlawful methods to control the protests. Cell phone cameras have made their job a lot harder. Part of the problem is that the police are the wrong people for the job in this case - they can't be neutral arbiters when the protests are aimed against them, and the message from the President is that law is something that does not apply to people with power and/or lawyers.

It is the people who put law and order in all caps that are breaking the law; many of the protesters are protesting because the authorities are not honoring the law. They see that justice is only available to some people and not others.

"A difficult thing being a cop. You never know whose stomack it's safe to jump up and down on." - Philip Marlowe, 1953.

"There have been plenty of police TV series over the years where whites comprised a huge amount of the criminals pursued by the stars in law enforcement, .... If there's any TV show where the writers otherwise sought to avoid making minorities the criminals too often, it's Law & Order, which, over the years, took on more of a stark liberal stance."

The reason groups are considered minorities is that there are less of them than other people. Whites comprise the majority of criminals in the US, because they are in the majority of people in the US. It would be really weird if the tv shows showed anything different.

"And it makes little difference the producers/writers/directors of these films are as far-left as she is - she still turns against them."

Denny O'Neill once had Green Lantern complain that "it used to be so simple; there was right and wrong, and all you had to do was pick one!" The posts on this blog tend to be like this; all right wingers have to adhere to Trump's latest peregrinations and any conservatives who don't toe the line, from Dan Jurgens to Bill Kristol, are traitors; all left wingers are supposed to think alike or else they are letting down the team.

Left and right are ranges in a spectrum, and each include a wide gamut of opinions. Disagreeing with someone doesn't mean you are turning against them. Many true-blue natural-born conservatives despise Trump, a lot of Democrats would have preferred Bernie to Biden. That is healthy. Enough with all the ideological purity tests!

"In the Marvel books, superheros were mostly like anarchists; they were basically good people who followed their own moral lights and did not take orders from anyone. They weren't very orderly and didn't always follow the letter of the law. Even Nick Fury was impatient with rules and bad at taking orders; the message was that his streak of stubborn independence was part of what made him a good soldier. The ones who were true governmental types tended to be portrayed as humorless idiots, like US Agent."

Actually, the guys who made Superman rejected that Nietzschean ideology of following your own moral code. In fact, their first rendition of Superman, called "The Reign of the Super-Man", which they wrote for a Science Fiction magazine, dealt with a guy named William Dunn who became a superman (he was no alien, he got experimented on with either a formula or a meteorite by an arrogant scientist), and ended up gaining megalomaniacal designs, even setting up World War II before his fight with his "creator" ended up resulting in him losing the formula permanently, forcing him to go back to the breadlines where he came from. And get this, when they wrote the story, they did so specifically as take that to Nietzsche's Ubermensch (Overman, or in this case, Superman) concept. As far as your overall point, there's a fundamental difference between anarchists and not acting like a drone. What you wrote indicates they aren't willing to simply stand aside just because their higher ups told them not to. An anarchist is willing to disobey laws even if it's in the best interest to uphold said rules due to hating the very concept of law and order. Want a true anarchist? Try Joker in the Dark Knight or Injustice 2 (and for the record, they weren't god-like or superpowered at all, the latter just restored civilizations haphazardly after gaining access to Braniac's world collection, that's all, nothing superpowery about that), or even Vladimir Lenin, who actually AIMED to end any and all law and order with Leninthink.

"As for the 'rioters' and the protesters, they are protesting a crime and a series of crimes - the murder of George Floyd was definitely a crime. They are often treated with lawlessness by police, many of whom are using unlawful methods to control the protests. Cell phone cameras have made their job a lot harder. Part of the problem is that the police are the wrong people for the job in this case - they can't be neutral arbiters when the protests are aimed against them, and the message from the President is that law is something that does not apply to people with power and/or lawyers."

Actually, there's plenty of evidence that Floyd died from an overdose (he was seen complaining about not being able to breathe while being led to the car, and footage indicated he disposed of some drugs, and said footage was shown by Candice Owens). Besides, considering they willingly torched fellow blacks' storefronts, and how there's even WORSE murders in CHAZ and other places without cops, that rings hollow anyhow.

Amazing coincidence, that Floyd happened to die of an overdose at just the moment a policeman was kneeling on his neck and strangling his windpipe. But actually, the coroner’s report doesn't say overdose. There is some evidence that he had drugs in his system, perhaps making him more vulnerable to abusive treatment, but no evidence of an overdose, and the direct cause of death was cutting off the oxygen to his brain. If you kill someone, it is no defence to say that it is the victim's tough luck that he was too weak and should have been strong enough to survive.

"An anarchist is willing to disobey laws even if it's in the best interest to uphold said rules due to hating the very concept of law and order. Want a true anarchist? Try Joker..."
Most anarchists would disagree with you on this. Try real anarchists, like Emma Goldman or Pierre Proudhon or Mikhail Bakunin or Peter Kropotkin, rather than fictional crooks like the Joker or communist opponents of anarchism like Lenin. You might find more in common with the anarchists than you realize now.

The thing about the protesters? They are probably the biggest mass movement in American history. With something that size, you attract a mix of people, including some right wing and police provocateurs and boogaloo boys, crooks who see an opportunity, and all wings of the ideological spectrum and all races. Saying 'they willingly torched fellow blacks' storefronts' makes no sense - there are too many theys, many or most of them are white, and certainly much of the torching in Minneapolis was done by non-black people, with neighbourhood protesters trying to stop the torchers. If you compare what is happening now with, say, the riots and demonstrations in Detroit in 1967, though, you see a lot less property damage now.

"Amazing coincidence, that Floyd happened to die of an overdose at just the moment a policeman was kneeling on his neck and strangling his windpipe. But actually, the coroner’s report doesn't say overdose. There is some evidence that he had drugs in his system, perhaps making him more vulnerable to abusive treatment, but no evidence of an overdose, and the direct cause of death was cutting off the oxygen to his brain. If you kill someone, it is no defence to say that it is the victim's tough luck that he was too weak and should have been strong enough to survive."

Maybe you haven't noticed, but he was whining about not breathing even as he was being led to the car, indicating the true cause of death was going into overdose. Besides, there was a tweet where a French policeman did a similar neckpin maneuver and the perp clearly survived, with barely any comment at all: https://mobile.twitter.com/abde49/status/1266828059140853765

"Most anarchists would disagree with you on this. Try real anarchists, like Emma Goldman or Pierre Proudhon or Mikhail Bakunin or Peter Kropotkin, rather than fictional crooks like the Joker or communist opponents of anarchism like Lenin. You might find more in common with the anarchists than you realize now."

Emma Goldman tried to assassinate a leading industrialist, and may have played some role in several anarchist riots. Mikhail Bakunin also envisioned Europe reduced to rubble according to Wagner, and wanted nonstop destruction, calling it the creative spirit. Even Pierre Proudhon wanted the excesses of the French Revolution. And no, I've got absolutely NOTHING in common with them, AT ALL. If anything, the likes of Lenin and Marx have more in common with them based on these statements:

"...at a certain stage in the development of democracy, it first welds together the class that wages a revolutionary struggle against capitalism -- the proletariat -- and enables it to crush, smash to smithereens, wipe off the face of the earth the bourgeois, even the republican-bourgeois, state machine -- the standing army, the police and the bureaucracy -- and to substitute for it a more democratic state machine, but a state machine nevertheless, in the shape of the armed masses of workers who develop into a militia in which the entire population takes part."

"...the Social-Democrat’s [Communist's] ideal should not be the trade union secretary, but the tribune of the people, who is able to react to every manifestation of tyranny and oppression, no matter where it appears, no matter what stratum or class of the people it affects; who is able to generalise all these manifestations and produce a single picture of police violence and capitalist exploitation; who is able to take advantage of every event, however small, in order to set forth before all his socialist convictions and his democratic demands, in order to clarify for all and everyone the world-historic significance of the struggle for the emancipation of the proletariat."

Or hey, just read up on Leninthink by Gary Morson: https://newcriterion.com/issues/2019/10/leninthink

cont'd

Specifically:

"A special logic governs the Leninist approach to morality, legality, and rights. In his famous address to the Youth Leagues, Lenin complains that bourgeois thinkers have slanderously denied that Bolsheviks have any ethics. In fact,

We reject any morality based on extra-human and extra-class concepts. We say that this is a deception . . . . We say that morality is entirely subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle. . . . That is why we say that to us there is no such thing as a morality that stands outside human society; that is a fraud. To us morality is subordinated to the interests of the proletariat’s class struggle.

When people tell us about morality, we say: to a Communist all morality lies in this united discipline and conscious mass struggle against the exploiters.

In short, Bolshevik morality holds that whatever contributes to Bolshevik success is moral, whatever hinders it is immoral.

Imagine someone saying: “my detractors claim I have no morals, but that is sheer slander. On the contrary, I have a very strict moral code, from which I never deviate: look out for number 1.” We might reply: the whole point of a moral code is to restrain you from acting only out of self-interest. Morality begins with number 2. A moral code that says you must do what you regard as your self-interest is no moral code at all. The same is true for a code that says the Communist Party is morally bound to do whatever it regards as in its interest.

(cont'd)

Rabelais’s pleasure-seeking utopia, the Abbey of Thélème, was governed, like all abbeys, by a rule. In this case, however, the rule was an anti-rule: Fay çe que vouldras, “Do as you wish!” People were to be restrained from yielding to any restraints. Ever since, such self-canceling imperatives have been called Thelemite commands.

Bolshevik legality was also Thelemite. If by law one means a code that binds the state as well as the individual, specifies what is and is not permitted, and eliminates arbitrariness, then Lenin entirely rejected law as “bourgeois.” He expressed utter contempt for the principles “no crime without law” and “no punishment without a crime.” Recall that he defined the dictatorship of the proletariat as rule based entirely on force absolutely unrestrained by any law. His more naïve followers imagined that rule by sheer terror would cease when Bolshevik hold on power was secure, or when the New Economic Policy relaxed restrictions on trade, but Lenin made a point of disillusioning them. “It is the biggest mistake to think that nep will put an end to the terror. We shall return to the terror, and to economic terror,” he wrote. When D. I. Kursky, People’s Commissariat of Justice, was formulating the first Soviet legal code, Lenin demanded that terror and arbitrary use of power be written into the code itself! “The law should not abolish terror,” he insisted. “It should be substantiated and legalized in principle, without evasion or embellishment.”

So far as I know, never before had the law prescribed lawlessness. Do as you wish, or else. Lenin had ascribed the fall of the Paris Commune to the failure to eliminate all law, and so the Soviet state was absolutely forbidden from exercising any restraint on arbitrary use of power. Indeed, officials were punished for such restraint, which Lenin called impermissible slackness and Stalin would deem lack of vigilance.

The same logic applied to rights. On paper, the Soviet Constitution of 1936 guaranteed more rights than any other state in the world. I recall a Soviet citizen telling me that people in the ussr had absolute freedom of speech—so long as they did not lie. I recalled this curious concept of freedom when a student defended complete freedom of speech except for hate speech—and hate speech included anything he disagreed with. Whatever did not seem hateful was actually a “dog-whistle.”

As far back as 1919, Soviet parlance distinguished between purely formal law and what was called “the material determination of the crime.” A crime was not an action or omission specified in the formal code, because every “socially dangerous” act (or omission) was automatically criminal. Article 1 of the Civil Code of October 31, 1922 laid down that civil rights “are protected by the law unless they are exercised in contradiction to their social and economic purposes.” Like the “material” definition of crime, the concept of “purposefulness” (tselesoobraznost’) created a system of Thelemite rights: the state was absolutely prohibited from interfering with your rights unless it wanted to."

If I were to be an anarchist, I'd hold similar views to lenin, believing that any laws at all is inherently restrictive, and to truly be free, I must have absolutely NO restraints, be free to kill and maim whoever I wish. And I'd know this because that's EXACTLY what plenty of anarchists, including the anarcho-syndicalists of Spain, have done, and had done since France in 1789.

"The thing about the protesters? They are probably the biggest mass movement in American history. With something that size, you attract a mix of people, including some right wing and police provocateurs and boogaloo boys, crooks who see an opportunity, and all wings of the ideological spectrum and all races. Saying 'they willingly torched fellow blacks' storefronts' makes no sense - there are too many theys, many or most of them are white, and certainly much of the torching in Minneapolis was done by non-black people, with neighbourhood protesters trying to stop the torchers. If you compare what is happening now with, say, the riots and demonstrations in Detroit in 1967, though, you see a lot less property damage now."

Actually, they DID torch their fellow blacks' storefronts. In fact, there's even video of a black storeowner REALLY giving them a new one when they said "black lives matter" while their store was ruined. And no, the BLM movement is primarily marxist, even the founders of the group admitted as much.

botness wrote: "Maybe you haven't noticed, but he was whining about not breathing even as he was being led to the car, indicating the true cause of death was going into overdose. Besides, there was a tweet where a French policeman did a similar neckpin maneuver and the perp clearly survived, with barely any comment at all:..."

This would be the point where the policeman's defence lawyer desperately tries to get you to shut up, and then holds his head in his hands as he sees you are guaranteeing his client will be sent to the gallows. If the guy was saying he can't breathe even before the policeman choked him, that only makes the crime worse. It means the policeman had reason to believe that the guy was vulnerable and more likely to die from a chokehold. It amps up the crime so that the policeman is more likely to be convicted of deliberate pre-meditated first degree murder. Think about it - if someone is suffering from asphyxiation you call an ambulance, you don't establish dominance by crushing their throat to prevent them from breathing.

That neckpin maneuver in France - and why are you so sure the guy in the picture was a perp? - aroused a lot of comment nation-wide and internationally. It caused the French government to propose a ban on chokeholds, only to waver on its implementation amidst protests from the police.

The possibility that the guy in France survived the chokehold doesn't say anything about Floyd's death. Gabby Gifford and Ronald Reagan both survived being hit by bullets. That doesn't mean gunshot wounds don't kill people, or prove that Abe Lincoln and John Kennedy died of pre-existing conditions rather than gunshot wounds.

And "whining" that he can't breathe? Really telling choice of word there.

Might as well note that George Floyd's family themselves condemned the rioting and even the notion of defunding the police: https://pjmedia.com/news-and-politics/matt-margolis/2020/06/14/george-floyds-brother-opposes-the-defund-the-police-movement-will-he-be-canceled-n527979

So no, even if Floyd was truly innocent and a victim, the riots going on STILL were contemptible. It should say a lot when Floyd's own family made it VERY clear that rioting and ending the police is NOT something they would have wanted, period.

“I’m proud of the protests, but I’m not proud of the destruction. I’m going to say that again: I’m proud of the protests, but I’m not proud of the destruction. My brother wasn’t about that.” --- Terrence Floyd

"Actually, the guys who made Superman rejected that Nietzschean ideology of following your own moral code."

It is not just Nietzsche. Christian martyrs followed the law of God rather than the law of the land; Jews were described as a stiff-necked people for the same reason. Anarchists believe that right and wrong is something that people know as part of existence as a social being, apart from state law, and that the law corrupts that intrinsic moral code. Kant believed that right and wrong could be deduced by a human being from reason. Sometimes you have to do what is right and accept the consequences, even if everyone else thinks it is wrong. Nietszche was not the only person who believed that.

Superman has always had a moral code.

"By the way, isn't Watchmen an existing IP, contrary to what she says?"

Yes; and she says exactly that in her article. She uses the Watchmen tv show as an example of how creative people can take existing IP and make it meaningful today.

"Well it looks like Gerry Conway, in his modern example of a liberal almost entirely disowning his past writings,"

Disowned his past writings? He doesn't like what successor writers did with the Punisher, turning a villain into a morally ambiguous and law-breaking hero. But when has he disowned his own writings? Like you, he thinks the focus should be on the heros, not on the bad guys.

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