Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Aquaman We Need

Once again I find my viewings of fantasists diversions in life promising to be grossly disappointing over the next few years. As you might have reckoned by my title, right now it's the promised Aquaman films coming some summer to a theater near me.

First off, we should not have to apologize for liking this Aquaman

Why is this too silly for fans of the rage-filled gay pirate that Aquaman is supposed to be these days?

Better than this guy
Swimming from the waist, great for abs. Those fins are stupid outside a disco.
What exactly is the point of a superhero?

My point being that something about the Throne of Atlantis or the Seven Tribes of the same place are a nice indulgences. The steady trend of the ocean as being other-worldly doesn't make Aquaman relevant to anybody. Fish-people from far off and mystical places... I could write up tales of the biggest members of multiple guppy farms from when I was 15 until 24. There would be long lineages and plenty of drama; they swam around, mutilated each other, and cross-spawned-- often eating their own young. In the end, most of the family members were fed to gruppers and piranha of nearby exotic fish-owners. How long did your sea-monkey farm last? That is the trend that our tales of Atlantis sub-genre are liking to follow.

What made Aquaman such a fun character in the 60s?

 Well, a lot of fascination about octopi and whales, AND the fact that he wasn't Namor, the Sub-Mariner.

 Looking back, Prince Namor was the "water dude" to fight with the "flame dude" known as the Human Torch (which was actually a machine and not human at all). He was the prince, maybe king, definitely a monarch of Atlantis, and hated humanity. Then the Germany and Japan declared war on the USA, and then he decided that NAZIs were bad. He then fought Germans, vampires, and too many Japanese people with prominent buck teeth. He had to save the world with a nerd on radioactive steroids and an alien with a surf board to become cool after 1951.

Aquaman was DC's take on not being all mystical about the ocean. Not only were people trying to get to the moon, sizable amounts of people were spending a lot of time underwater, even under 30 feet worth, and making the post-nuclear age happen. This hero was about humanity's continued intrusion into its nearby seas and coming to terms with it. His first major nemesis, Black Manta, was a overly-technological enemy that was a sign of the secretive and self-serving approach to being underwater.

In 1993, Black Manta's _real_ origin story came about. Aquaman, riding on dolphins, swam past a man who was serving on a slave ship. The tale in and of itself, is one awesome piece of compelling comic book scripting, definitely great characterization. The image of the prince of Atlantis frolicking with dolphins while not making the world a better place, would continue to fester as the writers at DC.Writers would even use "black" in the title become a smarmy allusion to Black Liberation movements, having been in the spotlight 10-twenty-five years before. It is around this point where we see Aquaman project managers become more worried about a fantasy kingdom and fights with his brothers and in-laws, rather than deal with the bigger world.

Despite the fact that Batman can overcome spinal injuries, and Captain America can become an anti-governmental figure, Aquaman can't be about water and humans. The real world is too much for folks on the way to the beach. The beach always comes to us though.

It's not about global warming, idiots
 Aquaman comes most under criticism when a bank robbery occurs. That is because of the fact that most comic readers don't live areas where there are whales and dolphins. It is also, and mostly, because Aquaman is being misapplied. When it comes to comic books, especially the very-well educated heirs at DC and Marvel comics, and the grossly conservative Hollywood scene; dealing with social controversy is easy, science literacy is hard.

At least in the 90s,  insightful commentary on the franchise comes about when folks notice that most of the world where seafaring and the customs around it are about two centuries behind the modern world.  These days,

Despite what the coal industry, Phoenix Arizona, and the state of Wyoming would have you believe, 87-90% (depending on if its an election year) of humanity live within thirty miles of major above-ground sources of water. 80% of all humanity lives within eight miles of a place where water commerce is a significant part of their local economy. One cannot tell me that there isn't some water issue criminal here and there that doesn't deserve a superhero meddling in their business.

If only there was somebody who was a person that could do amazing things underwater without a suit. Anybody know of superhero that lives nearby and not in the murky depths of Atlantis?

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

American Sniper: And now a word from the sponsors

Not an add for Haliburton
An NCOIC of mine in 1997 said, "We don't seem to go anywhere without someone making a whole lot of money when we get there." He wasn't clueless, nor was I. It's just where we were at that time, it was getting a little more than obvious. Around two years before, I started hanging out at parties where we carried our "canteen cups" to special NCO in-Services. The joke was the canteen cups were filled with whiskey, while a few retired NCOs, usually E-7 and above, bitched about Clinton. At least there was some bitching about why had the US been deployed to Bosnia, Haiti, and whatnot, not just the fact that we as Army Men (there were a couple serving women around, they didn't mind) didn't like "Reds--" I smirked at Clinton being lumped in with the commies, the dude was always a monarchist in my book. No one was really paying that much attention anyway.  I miss those bi-polar days.

Later, round 2007, despite a Bachelor's in History in '98, I read that major general Smedley D. Butler USMC, said that war is a racket. I then read the book of the same title. I also learned that he prevented a few American business interests from overthrowing the constitutional government of the USA in 1932-33. Apparently these individuals (beyond-rich) and their lackeys (fascists), thought that a popular general would accept the position as figure-head of a very successful nation without comprehending the rather democratic underpinning of his damn book written the decade before, entitled War is a Racket. All I can say, is that anyone having read that book wouldn't have picked the retired General as their coup detete leader, err figure-head. And that pretty much tells you how creative war profiteers are today.

These days in North American culture, bad decisions made twelve years ago need some rectification. Luckily ever liberal Hollywood has decided that renowned liberal actor Clinton Eastwood (with such bleeding heart treasures as Dirty Harry and Heartbreak Ridge) should direct the "anti-war film" American Sniper. Eastwood as you may know, is the most famous life guard to have served in the US Army during the Korean Conflict.  Ah yes, I remember my life guard days in the Army as well-- actually I do, it's harder than you'd think. Is the Conflict a war these days? It's starring producer/actor Bradley Cooper, known for his pacifism from his contributions to a couple Hangover movies, is happy to made a "non-political film" where he gets to shoot Arabs (and maybe a few Persians, Turks, and other folks that don't look like him) in the head.

It would seem American intellectuals are divided about the merits of this film. Ironically, we all keep getting discussion of the film keeps filling my newsfeeds. Most annoyingly is the NPR channels. Well, I am happy for the network not being over-biased into a "liberal" perspective. Heck, the American conservatives have been battling against liberal expression and the big business community has been whole-heatedly supporting this effort. What I am annoyed at the most is the coyness which the paid-off programs and bought articles at the "news source" is dealing upon its listeners.

Before folks started getting vocal about what a bad movie this motion picture is, I got all sorts of side mentions on the radio at NPR. Somehow a big-budget war movie snuck into the Academy Awards nominations. Then later, it was Clint Eastwood being an active director despite being an affluent old person. And then there was a few "Jungian" allusion-inspired references that ended up being about the movie American Sniper by the end of the piece.

When we, not just me, got a little annoyed, at the hype, the response has been reported upon in abstract.  I hear that folks don't dislike this film, but that they are part of the "leftists anti-war hype" surrounding it. As if there is any doubt concerning the network's committment to accepting patronage, NPR doubled down. Terry Gross, the universe's most shoddy Time Lord ever, goes on to get more interviews from the movie's makers. The last time I heard it  was Cooper. His qualifications at making a war movie? He's done USO tours in the Zone. Apparently he knows all about what we're fighting for there. I am sure there will be more.