01 April 2013

Superhero State Policy

On the way to school today 11-year-old was telling me about a mock trial they would be performing today at the local university.  Apparently Thor is in hot water over his abuse of Bruce Banner, breaking or bruising his coccyx as a preventative measure...that is keeping him "hampered" before he can become The Hulk.

"Thor uses violence to stop violence, Dad.  I mean, the idea is if you kill someone they can't give you anymore trouble, right?"

Hmmm...the trial will be decided on "legal" considerations?  Or is there a moral or ethical consideration?

No answer.

You seem to have stumbled onto the US rationale for being the world's largest penal state and the world's largest invading and occupying military, my boy.

And I suppose we might more easily understand this as a very real aspect of superhero comics.  It is a medium used to aggressively promote Team America (Captain America).

I've always loved the fact that Captain America, patriot-extraordinaire, is an underling meant to simply do the dirty work for the "good guys."

As far as I'm aware these comics were born during WWII and became the building blocks of baby-boomer ideology.

In any event, the simplicity of the story and the medium--there is good, there is evil; our violence and murder and terror is good, any other violence that doesn't fit with our violence is evil and needs to be eradicated.  This is then easily extended to any other aspect of us/them ideology.

Good times!


  1. Interesting topic for a "trial"
    Here in Chicago they chose to re-enact the trial of Socrates with local volunteer attorneys. That would have been worth seeing.

  2. I'm not so keen on the ridiculous nature of the trial content. The law is scary and serious because it is not a safeguard but a structure to serve power and property.

    A poem comes out of it though: Court Disorder. http://nemesis-poetry.blogspot.com/2013/04/court-disorder.html

  3. Hulk/Thor strikes me as ridiculous.
    The Chicago Socrates version not so ridiculous at is a recreation of an historic event with new characters and perhaps a new conclusion. They were going for the debate, not trying to recreate the outcome. Interesting concept that.