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An Introduction to War, Politics & Superheroes

The Textbook I Want to Use...
by

Ivan Lerner

on 8 October 2014

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Transcript of An Introduction to War, Politics & Superheroes

Here’s some background music to accompany our
journey…
An Introduction to: Marc Di Paolo’s
War, Politics and Superheroes:
Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film
(2011)
Quickly, off the top of your head:
What is your superpower?
With that superpower, what is your superhero name?
[Write it down; you’ll need it later]
As we work towards media literacy—
and the ability to be able to aid others’ media literacy—
let’s look at the pop culture phenomena of ...
the SUPERHERO in AMERICA
Being media literate means being able to see the socio-political connections that might exist in any kind of art or media…
This is our new textbook, and this Prezi is your introduction to it!
Comic book characters are a big part of the media industry and while they may not be used as pure government propaganda as they were in the 1940s...
the entertainment’s politics reflect its time, and this includes comic books.
Not that what the author is exploring is some sort of cultural outlier—
if anything it is...
NYC Comic Con starts tomorrow, and is sure to be a sell-out—
Here’s footage of the sheer volume of people who attend in a day…
Despite the tawdry reputation that snobs have imposed upon comic books,
“superhero movies and video games are currently a national phenomenon, and their success cannot be accounted for by fanatical fans alone,” Di Paolo writes.
Rather than an overt political agenda, Di Paolo is campaigning for greater empathy and intelligence in both the products and consumers:
“Americans have become more and more cynical since the 1960s,
embracing a purely gothic worldview
in which hope, virtue and love are nonexistent,
society is in a state of perpetual decay,
empathy is for fools,
and all that matters is power and self-defense,”
writes the author.
“All of these stories represent fantasy escapes from reality, but offer no real guideposts to how to live in the real world.”
One of Di Paolo’s understandable gripes is the lack of genuine thinking and problem solving in many of these books (and the shows and movies they inspire):
“By 1992, all of the bestselling comic book characters on the market were variants of the Punisher—mentally deranged murderers who killed their enemies without remorse.”
Do not worry if you think you are unfamiliar with the texts cited,
Di Paolo fills in the gaps quite efficiently.

The book has many lively political/comic book cross-references, and
with chapters titled:
“Superman vs. Ronald Reagan and the Ku Klux Klan”
“President Obama vs. the Zombie Apocalypse”
And
“Batman as Terrorist, Technocrat and Feudal Lord”
We are bound to have some lively discussions!
Space Devil says it's time for your homework assignment...
Oh, it's not so bad...
Remember your superhero name?
Take your powers and use them to solve a problem in the world!
(Leave a brief comment on the discussion board)
THE END
?
An Introduction to:
Marc Di Paolo’s
War, Politics and Superheroes:
Ethics and Propaganda in Comics and Film
(2011)
Full transcript