Sunday, March 15, 2015

Banality of the Daleks

On the 9th of April, 1940 Denmark was invaded by Germany. With this occupation the Germans promised to treat Denmark as an independent and "neutral" territory, as long as the Danish Government cooporated.  An extraordinary governmental constellation consistenting of the 4 major parties* governed during the occupation. The prime minister at the time, Thorvald Stauning, a well-known, some would say infamous** figure in Danish politics, urged the Danes to cooperate with the invaders, in any way possible. Needless to say, the public did not take this well, as they feared that the Germans would do to Denmark, what they had done, (and still were doing) to Poland. Resistance movements began to form over the course of the war, and the Danish government passively resisted to the best of it's ability, it helped evacuate 99% of Country's Jewish population, including my grandfather, but couldn't officially back-up any of the resistance movements. Despite this, Denmark became known as "die Sahnefront" (lit. "the cream front") to the German troops, because it was relatively peaceful compared to the other theaters, even when the final days of the war, when the RAF was bombing targets in Danish cities. After the government had finally been dissolved in 1943, some of the remnants began actively working with the resistances. On the 5th of May 1945, the Germans surrendered and Denmark was liberated. The now-unified resistance took control of the country while the government reconstituted itself. There was much rejoicing, businesses closed "due to bliss", people burned their blackout curtains***, it was finally over.

Celebration in Copenhagen, May the 5th, 1945

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Violence and Superheroes

8 hours ago (at time of writing) Alex published a wondefully ”troperiffic” criticsm of the X-Men as an analogy for oppressed and marginalized minorites. I generally agree with him, and it made think of one of my problems with the merry mutants.

Art by John Cassaday

The purpose of the X-Men is to build goodwill and trust between humans and mutants, which due to Marvel's trademark poetic irony would backfire or have little to no impact, but that wouldn't stop them. The X-Men are about idealism, about how you shouldn't give up on doing the right thing even though it seems impossible, even though the world hates and fears you. You could argue that the struggle of the X-Men can never end, because racism** can never be over, Over time, the in- and out-of-universe perception of Homo Superior* changed, some writers embraced the idea of Mutants as an analogy while others didn't.

How the Status Quo Ruined the X-Men - On Racism and Failed Allegories in Superhero Comics

I don't care about the X-Men. This might sound like a strange thing to open an article about the X-Men with but I would actually like to explain why I don't like the X-Men.

 In theory, the X-Men are what I want from comics or even literature in general: a cool concept that can also make you think. The whole thing about the X-Men has always been that they are an allegory about racism and homophobia. Okay fine, that's a really great thing. That's not just a cool concept, that can lead to all thoughts of great story lines. Unfortunately, the execution of that was lackluster at best over the past few decades and is now arguably the main reason why I actually hate the X-Men and refuse to pick up their books. Let me explain. 

Most people would agree that a story has a beginning, a middle, and an end. You introduce your story, build up the characters and the world, then you tell the story and explore your themes, they might need to overcome obstacles in order to succeed, but in the end they triumph (or not, depending on the tone of the piece and the message you wanna sent) and then the story is over. You may begin another one or not, that is all up to you and whether you think that the universe and characters you have created can support a sequel.