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This essay is a very belated response to a " part 1 " published in February 2015. The gist of that essay was a response to a corre...

Friday, January 10, 2014


In the essay SUPERHEROES ARE ABOUT FASCISM, Noah Berlatsky offers an assortment of generalized arguments about superheroes, violence and fascism that I have refuted under other circumstances.

in order to prove superheroes fascist, you dismiss the diegetic reality of the villains whom they fight, who most often are seen robbing and killing and swindling, and choose to perceive [these acts] simply as amorphous violations of a "dominant order."  That way, you paint the hero/ine as a mindless defender of that order-- one that can then be compared, no matter in what far-fetched manner, to whatever dominant order one doesn't like.

What strikes me as most interesting about Berlatsky's essay-- to which I have already responded at some length-- is that from a writer's standpoint he makes his point clear right away.  Whether his readers agree or disagree with him, he provides a succinct theme statement right away:

Superheroes conflate goodness with hitting things. For the superhero genre, the best person in the world is the one with the greatest power; beating evil is a matter of hitting it harder.

In the comments-section a respondent named Sean boils this assertion to its most familiar formula:

Actually, superheroes are about capitalist democracy – might makes right together with a bit of (self serving) moralistic waffle about justice and the individual.

Thus, though Berlatsky himself does not utter the familiar formula, anyone can read his first sentences and know that (a) he believes superheroes are governed by the ideal of "might makes right," (i.e., "the best person in the world is the one with the greatest power")  and (b) that this is a bad thing to believe.

What would be the countervailing statement to this assertion?  It comes down to this:

                               MIGHT MAKES EGO

And that's the short definition.  Long one to follow.

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