Rant in Response to “We Don’t Need Superheroes”
This morning, following a link from Bleeding Cool, I read an article titled “We Don’t Need Superheroes” on Workers World by Caleb T. Maupin. A few of his arguments have merit. But on the whole, the essay is damaged by a lack of knowledge, research, and horrendous critical analysis.
Has Maupin ever read a history of the comic book genre? I’d guess not. Because he would then know that Superman started out fighting corrupt businessmen and politicians in addition to the usual mad scientist, Nazi, etc. And lets not forget Green Arrow and the X-Men. . .
But, is actually discussing comic books on the agenda? No. Rather Maupin’s ire is targeted at The Dark Knight Rises. Yes, I will agree with the analysis that TDKR (and the Nolan Bat films in general) are very conservative works of superhero film making. Despite my enjoyment of the film, its politics do bug me considerably. The Dent Act’s authoritarianism, the depiction of Gotham during Bane’s occupation, and the depiction of the GCPD all annoy me. I get that. But does that make superheroes and their attendant media all suspect? No.
What is even more inexcusable is his shifting the argument from superheroes to the recent spate of gun violence that has plagued America in recent years. Don’t blame comic books for the violence. It is as asinine as blaming video games, movies, books, art, etc. for society’s ills. Seriously, a “left wing” analysis should focus on the root causes of the problem not on the lazy scapegoat that emerges based on extremely lazy research and analysis. Wertham’s Seduction of the Innocent, anyone?
Superheroes are fantasy. They are the new mythology. To not understand that, to not see what meanings that has for people is rather foolish. Yes, it would be nice if the workers of the world would unite and overthrow the oppressive 1%. But if it were that easy, it would have been done a century ago. Without the attending nightmare that is Soviet style communism.
What pisses me off the most about this essay is the ending. The shear naivety is infuriating. How the hell is this utopia supposed to form? And seriously, do superheroes really stand in the way?
The lesson that should be taken from this essay is simple. Do your damn research before you look like a fool. Don’t just make assumptions. And actually support your arguments.
Posted on August 7, 2012, in Movies and tagged bad criticism, Bleeding Cool, Caleb T. Maupin, comic books, Ranting, Slander of Superheroes, The Dark Knight Rises left wing analysis, Workers World. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.