Some Scathing Critiques of Marvel Studio’s ‘Black Panther’

As everything at Black Agenda Report is marked Creative Commons, I’ll start there to use most of this first featured op-ed as a lengthy synopsis.  This entire diary comes with a Spoiler Alert warning.  Readers may want to ask themselves if this movie is an intentional or inadvertent psyop; I’ve made my decision.  It’s a long compilation, but if I hadn’t thought it’s important, I wouldn’t have strung it together.  Note: all bolds are mine.

Black Panther” Is Not the Movie We Deserve’; The only Wakandans who matter are royalty, the women take orders from men, the king & his rival work with CIA. Despite the pretty faces Black Panther is enemy propaganda from Disney/Marvel studios whose other movies equate teachers unions with the mafia, Christopher Lebron, author of The Making Of Black Lives Matter: A Brief History of an Idea, 21 Feb 2018, BAR, first at the Boston Review.

Black Panther, the most recent entry into the Marvel cinematic universe, has been greeted with the breathless anticipation that its arrival will Change Things. The movie features the leader of a fictional African country who has enough wealth to make Warren Buffet feel like a financial piker and enough technological capacity to rival advanced alien races. The change that the movie supposedly heralds is black empowerment to effectively challenge racist narratives. This is a tall order, especially in the time of Trump, who insists that blacks live in hell and wishes that (black) sons of bitches would get fired for protesting police violence. Which makes it a real shame that Black Panther, a movie unique for its black star power and its many thoughtful portrayals of strong black women, depends on a shocking devaluation of black American men.

Wakanda is a fictional nation in Africa, a marvel beyond all marvels. Its stupendous wealth and technological advancement reaches beyond anything the folks in MIT’s labs could dream of. The source of all this wonder is vibranium, a substance miraculous in ways that the movie does not bother to explain. But so far as we understand, it is a potent energy source as well as an unmatched raw material. A meteor rich in vibranium, which crashed ages ago into the land that would become Wakanda, made Wakanda so powerful that the terrors of colonialism and imperialism passed it by. Using technology to hide its good fortune, the country plays the part of a poor, third-world African nation. In reality, it thrives, and its isolationist policies protect it from anti-black racism. The Wakandans understand events in the outside world and know that they are spared. This triumphant lore—the vibranium and the Wakandans’ secret history and superiority—are more than imaginative window-dressing. They go to the heart of the mistaken perception that Black Panther is a movie about black liberation.

In Black Panther, T’Challa (Chadwick Boseman) has risen to the throne of Wakanda. We know that his father, T’Chaka, the previous king, died in a bomb attack. T’Challa worships his father for being wise and good and wants to walk in his footsteps. But a heartbreaking revelation will sorely challenge T’Challa’s idealized image of his father.

The movie’s initial action sequences focus on a criminal partnership between arms dealer Ulysses Klaue (Andy Serkis) and Eric Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan). They both seek vibranium but for different reasons: Klaue is trying to profit from Wakanda’s wonder-material; Killmonger is trying to make his way to Wakanda to make a bid for the throne. He believes he is the rightful king.

Killmonger, it turns out, is T’Challa’s cousin, orphaned by T’Chaka’s murder of Killmonger’s father and T’Chaka’s younger brother, N’Jobu (Sterling Brown). Why did T’Chaka kill his brother? N’Jobu was found with stolen vibranium. The motive for the theft is where the tale begins—and where the story of black wonderment starts to degrade.

We learn that N’Jobu was sent to the United States as one of Wakanda’s War Dogs, a division of spies that the reclusive nation dispatches to keep tabs on a world it refuses to engage. This is precisely N’Jobu’s problem. In the United States, he learns of the racism black Americans face, including mass incarceration and police brutality. He soon understands that his people have the power to help all black people, and he plots to develop weapons using vibranium to even the odds for black Americans. This is radical stuff; the Black Panthers (the political party, that is) taken to a level of potentially revolutionary efficacy. T’Chaka, however, insists N’Jobu has betrayed the people of Wakanda. He has no intention of helping any black people anywhere; for him and most Wakandans, it is Wakanda First. N’Jobu threatens an aide to T’Chaka, who then kills N’Jobu. The murder leaves Killmonger orphaned. However, Killmonger has learned of Wakanda from his father, N’Jobu. Living in poverty in Oakland, he grows to become a deadly soldier to make good on his father’s radical aim to use Wakanda’s power to liberate black people everywhere, by force if necessary.

By now viewers have two radical imaginings in front of them: an immensely rich and flourishing advanced African nation that is sealed off from white colonialism and supremacy; and a few black Wakandans with a vision of global black solidarity who are determined to use Wakanda’s privilege to emancipate all black people.

These imaginings could be made to reconcile, but the movie’s director and writer (with Joe Cole), Ryan Coogler, makes viewers choose. Killmonger makes his way to Wakanda and challenges T’Challa’s claim to the throne through traditional rites of combat. Killmonger decisively defeats T’Challa and moves to ship weapons globally to start the revolution. In the course of Killmonger’s swift rise to power, however, Coogler muddies his motivation. Killmonger is the revolutionary willing to take what he wants by any means necessary, but he lacks any coherent political philosophy. Rather than the enlightened radical, he comes across as the black thug from Oakland hell bent on killing for killing’s sake—indeed, his body is marked with a scar for every kill he has made. The abundant evidence of his efficacy does not establish Killmonger as a hero or villain so much as a receptacle for tropes of inner-city gangsterism.

In the end, all comes down to a contest between T’Challa and Killmonger that can only be read one way: in a world marked by racism, a man of African nobility must fight his own blood relative whose goal is the global liberation of blacks. In a fight that takes a shocking turn, T’Challa lands a fatal blow to Killmonger, lodging a spear in his chest. As the movie uplifts the African noble at the expense of the black American man, every crass principle of modern black respectability politics is upheld.

In 2018, a world home to both the Movement for Black Lives and a president who identifies white supremacists as fine people, we are given a movie about black empowerment where the only redeemed blacks are African nobles. They safeguard virtue and goodness against the threat not of white Americans or Europeans, but a black American man, the most dangerous person in the world.

Even in a comic-book movie, black American men are relegated to the lowest rung of political regard. So low that the sole white leading character in the movie, the CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), gets to be a hero who helps save Wakanda. A white man who trades in secrets and deception is given a better turn than a black man whose father was murdered by his own family and who is left by family and nation to languish in poverty. That’s racist.”  [longish snip]

Lebron does praise the Wakanda-born women  being brave, resourceful, independent, and ethically determined.  As the film was inspired by Ta-Nehisi Coates’ comic book series, he reckons that the gender politics over all are good, focused on the women’s minds, not just their gorgeous physical attributes, but he laments the fate of the sole American-born woman who is ‘disposed of by black-on-black violence’, contra Coates’ comic book.

Black Panther presents itself as the most radical black experience of the year. We are meant to feel emboldened by the images of T’Challa, a black man clad in a powerful combat suit tearing up the bad guys that threaten good people. But the lessons I learned were these: the bad guy is the black American who has rightly identified white supremacy as the reigning threat to black well-being; the bad guy is the one who thinks Wakanda is being selfish in its secret liberation; the bad guy is the one who will no longer stand for patience and moderation—he thinks liberation is many, many decades overdue. And the black hero snuffs him out.”  [snip]

Black Panther is not the movie we deserve. My president already despises me. Why should I accept the idea of black American disposability from a man in a suit, whose name is synonymous with radical uplift but whose actions question the very notion that black lives matter?”

Next up: ‘The Panther Movie: Why is It Dangerous? Why Do We Fall for It?’, Abdul Alkalimat,  21 Feb 2018, BAR



“Our situation is so dire that we will reach out for this Hollywood fantasy as if it can be helpful, healing, and a lens through which to view history.”

The Panther movie is out and people are going in droves to check it out. Both Black and white. This requires clear hard-headed thinking. It’s not about the actors in the film and their careers. Can’t blame a brother or a sister for needing a payday and a chance to make it inside the system, in this case Hollywood. It’s certainly not about the capitalists promoting it on all media, as they have the dual interest of making money and controlling our consciousness to prevent our movement from making sure they stop making all this money. It has to be about our clear understanding of history, and how we can get free from this system.

The first thing is that they know how to go fishing. Beautiful Black people celebrating culture and positive relations. A view of traditional Africa that defies all logic and historical experience but gives Black people a view of the past that can be imagined as the technological future. This fits the imaginative rethinking of ancient Egypt as an answer for our future. Our situation is so dire that we will reach out for this Hollywood fantasy as if it can be helpful, healing, and a lens through which to view history. There is dialogue about freedom, but in no way reflects the past or gives positive advice for us.

“The King of Wakanda is a friendly associate with the CIA.”

Lies can’t get us where we need to go. Let’s take a quick look at this film. It is a replay of the conflict of the 1960s between cultural nationalism and revolutionary nationalism, the US organization of Karenga and the Panthers of Huey Newton and Bobby Seale. The story is about who is going to control the Kingdom of Wakanda. The point of conflict is the Panther as a metaphor for a Black liberation change agent. The cultural nationalist is the King of Wakanda, who uses their special natural resource plants to become the Black Panther. He is a friendly associate with the CIA. The reference to the actual Black Panthers, meaning the child of Wakanda who grew up in Oakland, is a sort of gangster living a Fanonian fantasy that violence will change the world. He too is the son of a member of the royal family. This guy was trained by the CIA and begins the film in alliance with a white South African fascist. The big lie is that to be a Panther one has to be of “royal blood,” and not simply a victim of the system who stands up to fight back. Another big lie is that the CIA is an ally in the fight for a better world.

In 2018 we live in a moment of spontaneous movement and there is the possibility that another version of the real Panthers will likely emerge. Some original Panthers are still incarcerated and being brutalized by the system they dared to oppose. A movie like this has the bait to pull us in like fish about to be hooked by the system. People see the film and feel good, but isn’t that what people say about first getting high on drugs. We know how drug addiction turns out.”

Nick Barrickman’s Feb 22 ‘Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther: A hollow “defining moment” cloaked in identity politics’, at wsws.org contains a lot of other commentary on the film, and might be the most scathing of all.  Plus…it allows me the chance to embed some Tweets (smile). A few bits and bobs:

“With the use of this resource (vibranium), Wakanda has developed into a technologically advanced nation, concealed from the rest of the planet via a cloak of invisibility. Its ruler, King T’Challa/Black Panther (Boseman), defends his kingdom decked out in a bulletproof panther suit.

The premise that in today’s world a black superhero represents some kind of social or moral breakthrough is itself absurd. The United States, after all, elected Barack Obama as its head of state twice and has seen a highly-privileged section of African-Americans—no less reactionary than their white counterparts—in some of the highest offices of the state (Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, Eric Holder, etc.). The presence of blacks at the head of capitalist states, from the US to South Africa, has done nothing to improve the lot of the masses of working and poor people, black or white.

More fundamentally, the use of race as the basis for evaluating a film, or any other creative work is artistically bankrupt and politically reactionary. The pedigree for such conceptions can be found in the theory and practice of Aryan art, which flourished under the Nazis.

[wd here: agreed, but it apparently uses class distinctions liberally.]

Bobby Seale, co-founder of the Black Panther Party, has joined in the general establishment promotion of the work, sending out tweets encouraging his followers to see the film.”

After a few paragraphs on its blockbuster status for Disney globally already, and speculations of spin-offs, theme parks, and the like…

“Absolutely revolting, but not unexpected, have been the paeans surrounding the film in the mainstream press, with the New York Times leading the way, as usual. The New York Times Magazine featured a lengthy article (“Why ‘Black Panther’ Is a Defining Moment for Black America”) hailing the film for being “steeped very specifically and purposefully in its blackness.”

The article quotes Jamie Broadnax, creator of “pop-culture website” Black Girl Nerds, who enthuses, “It’s the first time in a very long time that we’re seeing a film with centered black people, where we have a lot of agency… [The cast members] are rulers of a kingdom, inventors and creators of advanced technology. We’re not dealing with black pain and black suffering and black poverty.” In other words, Black Panther is a sort of “feel-good” movie, “refreshing” because it focuses on the exploits of a monarch and his retinue and ignores the riff-raff below.”

Barrickman then rightfully gags at this Andrew Stewart diary at Counterpunch with a title so cringeworthy I don’t even want to bring it.  Next he reflects on the actual content of the film is a long section you might find interesting.  Again, some notes:

“While the distribution of vibranium could apparently have an immense positive impact on the development of humanity, the Black Panther fights to keep it locked away behind the walls of his country, using it only to develop advanced gadgetry and weapons.

This vision of an “ideal” society is a glorified reflection of ex-colonial countries where the benefits derived from control of scarce and valuable resources go to a fabulously wealthy privileged elite.”

“The most shameful point in the film comes when a Wakandan tribal leader explicitly promotes national isolationism and anti-refugee sentiment, declaring that, “if you let refugees in, you let their problems in.”

On top of this, Coogler couldn’t help but promote illusions in American imperialism with the inclusion of a “good” white character, the CIA operative Everett Ross (Martin Freeman). Ross assists T’Challa in saving Wakanda from Killmonger by remotely piloting a heavily armed unmanned airship, echoing the drones used to kill “enemy combatants” in America’s wars in the Middle East and Africa.

According to star Chadwick Boseman (4 2, Get On Up, Marshall), a major inspiration for the personality of T’Challa/Black Panther was none other than Obama, “a leader [who] can hold his tongue and hold his ground” (Rolling Stone).”

“One is not surprised to see journalist Ta-Nehisi Coates, an acolyte of Obama and proponent of the racialist outlook that courses through Black Panther and its marketing campaign, receive special thanks in the film’s credits.”

Ta-Nehisi Coates Retweeted:

And finally: ‘Get Me Outa Wakanda!’, Bruce A. Dixon, BAR managing editor, 22 Feb 2018

“For those of us aiming to build a better world, this movie is nothing short of enemy propaganda.

#GetMeTheHellOutaWakanda

In the Black Panther movie, all the Wakandan players are royalty, their counselors, their advisors or their rivals. All the strikingly beautiful and capable Wakandan women take orders from men. The only unambiguous good guy is the Frodo looking CIA agent. The homicidal Killmonger character is calculated to sully the very notion of black rebellion against unjust authority, while Pan Africanism and humanism are defecated upon from multiple angles. Cinematic bar fights, car chases and battle scenes are a dime a dozen, and worst of all Wakanda isn’t even rendered in any visually inspiring way.

#TheThirstIsReal

The movie disrespects its audience and is a standing insult to science fiction and afro futurism. As Dr. Jared Ball points out, we can’t just go make and market another movie to compete with this one. Disney/Marvel Studios put tens of millions into the promotion of this thing alone, and for now millions of people are buying their message. That’s called cultural hegemony.

Those who would drink from this nasty water for “affirmation” and “black joy” must be deeply desperately thirsty. And evidently thirst confuses before it kills.

The only good thing I got from this movie was the motivation to look for and find some real, respectful, challenging and innovative science fiction and afro-futurism, preferably written by some black women to wash the rancid taste of Marvel’s superhero industrial complex from the inside of my head. [snip]

Special thanks to Dr. Johanna Fernandez for the title #GetMeOutaWakanda.”

Readers might ask themselves, for instance, in which other African nations might the hegemon’s CIA spooks be ‘heroes’ for rare minerals and other high value resource extraction by Africom and local comprador grifters?  Is the film by way of a hedge against black internationalism?  But of course, in this nation at this time, with the advent of Russiagate, libruls now love both the CIA and FBI witlessly.  #GoFigure.

Crossposted from: café babylon

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The Aspie Corner's picture

People bitching about the cast of the movie, much like "SJWs ruining Star Wars" in response to The Last Jedi, are totally missing the point.

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Modern education is little more than toeing the line for the capitalist pigs.

wendy davis's picture

@The Aspie Corner

unless i'm missing your point, very possible, of course. but i just peeked into the root, and was seriously disgusted by what i'd read there. mainly, tangential to your point, is that only 'racist white colonizers' object to the movie', and so on. at the grio, a columnist loveloveloved the production, except for how the men murdered the women w/ such ease.

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Big Al's picture

Heh, ain't that how it is.
How are we conditioned by propaganda? Let me count the ways.
Give me a while.

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wendy davis's picture

@Big Al

ah, i tried to think how old seale is by now, but i sure wondered how the just released and still incarcerated panthers would take it. maybe they're so old and beat down they wouldn't see it for what these authors did. ha; as in: 'don't look a gift horse in the mouth'. neeeeiiggggghhhhh....

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mimi's picture

(redacted some overbearing stuff)
and all that came to my mind was:
Shut down the internet, shoot down the film producers and all those who praise that movie, go kill yourself.

I can't stand black folks selling out and selling themselves. These assholes have no respect of their ancestors and their suffering. Idiots all of them.

All of it disgusting.

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wendy davis's picture

@mimi

of miss 1% beyonce's con act at the stupid bowl a coulple years ago. oh, those militant feminist panthers w/ designer threads and bandoliers of bullets! and iirc, they kinda rose from the dead (metaphorically) after a shootout. similar to bulletproof vanadium second skins. christ in a canoe.

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mimi's picture

@wendy davis @wendy davis
ok, I want to see the full movie and (yep, I am that out of the world, that I don't know how to see thefull movie on my laptop). I tried Netflix (never used it before), but couldn't find out how to search for the movie, apparently they offer a list and you can't search on your own for a specific movie.

I feel so stupid, because I am. But heck.

Ah, forgettabout it. I can go to the movies today and see it the old-fashioned way in my neighborhood movie theater. I sure will regret that. Smile
I owe it to myself to not rant about a movie I haven't seen in full. So ....

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wendy davis's picture

@mimi @mimi

we're such technophobes we wait for movies on our inter-liberry loan 'aks'. a freidn of the café sent me an ipod he'd loaded w/ music, wth? i can't figure it out. something w/ netflix and 'how to stream our flix' or something... de bonne chance, darlin'.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

thanatokephaloides's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I think I'll stick with Luke Cage.

And Marvel (and DC) need to "stick to" COMICS. Leave the making of motion pictures to those whose primary medium is film.

At least, IMHO.

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"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

mimi's picture

@thanatokephaloides
Snoopy and Donald Duck. They had character and courage and smarts. Not those pumped up muscles and bossom packages.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi Popeye has very big muscles because he eats his spinach regularly. Smile

I like superhero fiction.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

GreyWolf's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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Song of the lark's picture

@mimi simple minded revenge drama with satisfying clutter of bodies. My whine about Black Panther is that once again technology is going to save us. It’s not going to.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Song of the lark isn't this a bit like John Galt? In this case, it's the miracle mineral; in Galt's case, it was the miracle machine. The miracle machine protects us from poverty and environmental degradation; the miracle mineral protects us from colonialism, imperialism, and racism.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

lotlizard's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal  

Welcome to the woke hotel Wakanda
Such a lovely place
Such a lovely face
They’re livin’ it up at the woke hotel Wakanda
What a nice surprise
Holder’s FBI’s

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@lotlizard Those images keep popping up. What a disgusting narrative, eh?

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@thanatokephaloides @thanatokephaloides @thanatokephaloides Can't entirely agree. The first Guardians of the Galaxy was a far better film than the Guardians of the Galaxy comic was as a comic. The first two X-men movies were decent, as was their later reboot/time travel X men movie (X-men: Future Passed?). They did a great job on Ironman, and the first Avengers movie was excellent. Captain America and Captain America Winter Soldier gave me a far greater appreciation of Cap as a dissident than I ever got from the comics--and, as you probably know, they recently launched a storyline in the comics that said Cap was always a Hydra agent, basically rendering all of the previous storytelling completely pointless and wrecking the character.

Basically, you can have crappy storytelling in any medium; in this era, good storytelling generally has to dodge the iron hand of the CIA, the DoD, and all others promoting right thinking by all citizens.

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8 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

i hadn't seen this as a diary to compare other marvel comic movies so much, but to consider the critiques by these authors who try to see behind the curtain of the 'blockbuster film', beloved by whites and blacks sooooo much, it's grossed $___ multiple millions already. and as that it's a Major Disney Capitalist Success, the formula seemed to have worked.

side note: it took me some time to see that every time i edited a comment, another @__ showed up; now i try to remember to delete them.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis I'm sorry that I hijacked your diary. That was not the intention. I find your discussion fascinating, for all that the subject is stomach-turning.

I'm sick of this poisonous pseudo-revolutionary blackface the rich and still largely white establishment is putting on, while using the social capital of as many black celebrities and politicians as possible to pass off the counterfeit as real. (After all, if Bobby Seale and Barack Obama both say it's good, it must be good, right? No matter what the content of the movie actually is.) Looks like they've now added black writers and directors to their credibility Marines, along with black actors, athletes, politicians and media talking heads.

The Age of Obama is fundamentally a wretched thing. I feel almost ashamed that I so wholeheartedly devoted myself to helping it come about.

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

it was just that i wanted the focus to be on this essentially imperialist disney drama. a longtime commenter at the café had jested that the vanadium was CIA crack, and that the anti-panafricanism message needed to...be delivered by a black man. obama's wars were so much kinder than herr hair's doubling down on them. and as to michelle's face being preferable, yes, i do get that as to character, but looking at either of them has for a long time made me sick. first election, i held my nose and voted for him as the lesser evil, as well. mccain/palin? oh, yeah. but since mcgovern, there hasn't been a prez i was glad to vote for.

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lotlizard's picture

@wendy davis  

since McGovern, there hasn't been a prez i was glad to vote for.

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wendy davis's picture

@lotlizard

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wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

that you might want to create your own diary on sci-fi film compariosns, likes, not-likes, etc., yanno?

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis I did that for a while in my open thread, but it was not at all popular, so I stopped. Smile

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

might it be cuz too few people love sci-fi action movies? i admit i don't, although we've been watching a couple series that were on the teevee...somewhere. 'fringe' just bowls me over, i swear.

but i'll stick this in for posterity again just in case others might still see it: as in, we were right. but put a black comprador as monarch, it changes everything, as a café commenter laughed.

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snoopydawg's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

I love Agents of Shield up to this last season. Most of the movies have been fun to watch too.

What I don't care for is that Black Panther is being pushed on us. Every day there's a new article about the movie or the actors. I'm getting an identity politics vibe from this. I thought the second review hit the gist of what I'm thinking the best. I will watch it once it becomes available on my device,but no way would I pay to go see it. I'll hold off saying anything about how much it appears that the CIA is involved with the movie.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@thanatokephaloides The first Tobey Maguire Spiderman was also a good movie and a loving tribute. They've completely screwed Spidey up now, though. I almost cried when I saw the 97% Rotten Tomatoes rating for something that completely gutted the character.

I wonder where detroitmechworks is? He's a great one to talk to about comic books, and would enjoy this discussion. I miss him.

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9 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

that Donald Trump has.

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9 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

and the power differential seems to be part and parcel of the extant class wars; 'the rabble class doesn't matter'. can't wait for the disney theme parks, though, can you?

the wiki says that the costumes were designed by yves st. laurent, dona karan, and a japanese designer who was unfamiliar to me. woooot!

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lotlizard's picture

@wendy davis  

can't wait for the Disney theme parks, though, can you?

It’ll be Tomorrowland, Adventureland, Frontierland, and Fantasyland rolled into one big beautiful timey-wimey Black African ball.

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Without trying to get angry and divisive about something. That's kind of a rhetorical question.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

mimi's picture

@Timmethy2.0
why does everything made these days has to be science fiction? What is so great about it other than that the producer and script writers are too coward to present serious issues seriously and have to hide in fiction? Isn't our daily life already so scientifically made of so much fiction that at least in the movies we could get something real?

Oh, ah, a rhetorical question. Ok. That was my rhetorical answer.

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@mimi

why does everything made these days has to be science fiction?

Except, of course, those items advertised as science fiction -- all too often these end up being grisly horror-fests instead!

I haven't seen the likes of 2001: A Space Odyssey since that film came out.....

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10 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

mimi's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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Song of the lark's picture

@thanatokephaloides Harry Potter are wishful fillment. We are tired of ordinary reality.

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@mimi write themselves. Lot less work to edit than to create. And that whole genre turns me off big time, always has. But then, I too tend to take some movies seriously and can be a harsh critic, my ex husband used to find it really irritating sometimes. But there were other times we'd both be harshly critical, he on the poor editing, me on a trite and corny script. And most movies these days to me seem really trite and corny, I have not gone to a theater in years and I just don't miss it. Why pay to go and why ruin it for others who aren't so critical.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@mimi I guess it depends on how you define reality, and whether or not you think people can consider real issues by writing fiction.

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4 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

snoopydawg's picture

@mimi

and that's why you said it's a bad movie? If yes, what didn't you like about it?

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@Timmethy2.0

Can't we just all enjoy a good movie Without trying to get angry and divisive about something. That's kind of a rhetorical question.

Some of us are of the opinion that Black Panther isn't all that hot a movie, and are discussing why we think that.

Do you think the film was decent? Then defend it! Tell us why you think it was a good movie!

Please remember: this is c99, not Daily Kos. We don't do discussion-free zones "safe spaces" here.

Smile

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11 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides @thanatokephaloides
movie before last:

A true story about the police shooting of Oscar Grant in East Oakland where Coogler grew up. It's an antidote to anger and divisiveness. Ryan Coogler was the director of both movies.

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Beware the bullshit factories.

mimi's picture

@Timmethy2.0
Isn't it strange that so many people in this country hate, yet they tell each other constantly they love you too.

Confusing.

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@mimi
Very underated, unlike so many other un-empathetic words.

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5 users have voted.

Beware the bullshit factories.

mimi's picture

@Timmethy2.0
anything anymore.

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5 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@Timmethy2.0

and one of my friends from oakland said it was really fine.

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4 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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wendy davis's picture

@Timmethy2.0

dunno to what degree/s, but these authors seem to have been variously disgusted and furious, but caring enough that they're on missions to show how 'dangerous' the film is toward building a better world. that's all. and i sure did want to honor their deconstructions, as i said at the top.

given the NY slimes' rubbish, it's as though the stenographers of the librul portion of the imperium think this is signed, sealed, and delivered as far as their virtue signalling LOVE for it (and of course black people).

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Timmethy2.0 Comic book movies, or superhero movies, are a serious business. Like heroic literature always has since the days of Homer (yes, I'm comparing comic books to Homer), they exist to teach people, particularly children, the basics of morality. They examine the nature of power, and what its right use is.

They deal with far more serious issues than your average rom-com or thriller, which are, IMO, far better candidates for just enjoying.

But of course, at the end of the day, any viewer can approach any movie however they like.

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8 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Timmethy2.0 Hollywood puts out Gods of Egypt; they (rightfully) get accused of whitewashing. They put out Black Panther and people go out of the way to take offense. Why can't we enjoy a very good movie without dragging Identity Politics crap into it?

Yes, on Rotten Tomatoes, the audience score comes in at 73%. But triggered Trump supporters jumped on to kvetch, just as they did with Star Wars. One has to expect that from people who also get triggered by coffee cups every year. (Along with the "Why doesn't liberal Hollywood make a movie with white heroes called 'White Panther'?")

As for the film itself, I really liked it. For a mainstream white hero living in violence glorifying America (along with a "kill the blacks for no reason" scene), watch Logan.

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wendy davis's picture

@SancheLlewellyn

because it IS identity agitprop politics writ large.. see all nine of the black transnationalists' whose critiques i'd brought.

did you even read the OP and extras i'd brung?

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@wendy davis by a young woman at my college; she claimed Aliens was sexist because it did not portray Ripley as a meek, motherly type and instead had her go off to kick xenomorph butt (or other body parts). Ironic to say the least, since Ripley was a strong female character--as were the other women in the movie--I mean, plenty of actual sexist movies out there (such as Fatal Attraction). Also, she claimed the alien was female (laying eggs), destroying it made Ripley and company misogynst (and I suppose the children of IT would be also, as Pennywise (in the book) was revealed to be female and about to spawn a swarm of IT-lings).

Silly review, for sure. The woman did not deserve the sexist backlash she got from other students (comments like "get a brain cell, wench"), but still my point: some people go way out of their way to find a way to be offended.

I, like the majority of viewers, really enjoyed this movie. (My wife considers it one of the best movies she has seen in a long time--so judging from a sample size of one, black folks also like the movie.) I would call it a reverse Lion King--though in this case heroes and villains are not 100% pure good or evil. I felt T’Challa’s uncle was doing the right thing for the wrong reason (or perhaps vice versa), and Killmonger (who was also a stone cold killer) did promise a journey to hell on the road of good intentions. All in all, a great story, lots of action, and bad-ass female characters to boot.

I never read the comic books so I don't know how true it stuck to canon but hey, African nation means lots of black people in it. And any movie that can trigger that many squirrel eating Trump supporters has done something right.

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wendy davis's picture

@SancheLlewellyn

but thanks for the longer explanation. but it's not about liking it, to these authors and me, it's about seeing the deeper meaning at play. here's a sample of one, as well, that seems to prove exactly how well the propaganda factor worked:

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@wendy davis I kept thinking of the "Unobtainium" from the Avatar movie (or as a friend of mine called it, Dances With Smurfs.) Although I liked that movie as well, the question remains: why not look for "unobtainium"--a metal that can float--inside those giant floating rocks, rather than under thay huge tree? But I digress.

As for the Brookings statement, do they blame African nations for not keeping their resources all to themselves? Do they forget the history of colonialism? Anyway, gotta run. On second thought, Wakanda manages the rest of the world the same way the Land of Oz does: stay hidden and keep the interlopers out. But in the end they do emerge. I found that message hopeful. Maybe Ozma can do the same? Smile

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@SancheLlewellyn Because it looks like Black Panther is a particularly disingenuous version of Identity Politics crap. Ta-Nehisi Coates-flavored version.

If the story is anything like these people have said, it's a nasty piece of work, politically speaking. However, if you want to ignore those aspects and enjoy it, go ahead. I don't see that as a problem. And whether I saw it as a problem or not, you could, of course, watch the movie however you like and believe whatever you like about it.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

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Arrow's picture

Warning totally not PC...

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6 users have voted.

I want a Pony!

mimi's picture

@Arrow

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wendy davis's picture

@mimi

zulu gourd dance, ivory coast, iirc after three minutes. i stayed for a few others, like this one:

shucks, i always wished i'd been able to take african dance classes. i went to massage therapy school w/ a woman who had, and wooot! could she dance!

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wendy davis's picture

@Arrow

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earthling1's picture

"Geronimo Three-Feather, astride a magical winged unicorn, fighting injustice and lawlessness, bringing freedom and liberty to peoples everywhere".
Coming to the big screen near you.
Gag me with a peace pipe!

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8 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@earthling1

and yale wouldn't have stolen his skull in a new version?

or crazy horse, who'd allegedly believed he couldn't be killed by bullets. maybe they'd give him bronzed haute couture kevlar skin....?

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

https://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/black_panther_2018/

I seldom go to the theater, so if/when it makes it to HBO maybe I'll watch just to see what the hubbub is all about. From the essay, it sounds like it's a mess.

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Donnie The #ShitHole Douchebag. Fake Friend to the Working Class. Real Asshole.

wendy davis's picture

@Citizen Of Earth

that's all i was hoping for in stringing this together. it'll hit our inter-liberry loan in a year or so, but i don't even reckon either of us would...borrow it.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Citizen Of Earth Wait--97%?

That was the same percentage the execrable Spiderman movie got--a movie so disgustingly authoritarian and classist that I was rooting for the villain right up to the point that he belted Spiderman across the face. It was shitty to young people, too. And really pumped how much more important and prestigious it is to work for the Department of Defense instead of for one's own community.

I wonder if Rotten Tomatoes is still honest. Funny that two extremely "warded" superhero movies would receive the exact same approval rating, as it were. Not enough evidence in itself, certainly, but I will keep my eyes open.

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10 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I haven't seen them all but Uncle Ben gets to die over and over again in new incarnations.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@SancheLlewellyn The most recent version.

This one.

It manages to screw up Spiderman, Ironman, and do damage to the entire genre--fairly serious damage--all in a mere 2 hours, 13 minutes.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I do have a friend who hates all Spiderman movies because they can't stay true to the comics, but I think the reboot a few years back (with Gwen Stacy rather than Mary Jane) did a good job. I haven't seen any its sequels, though. (And I know what happened to Gwen in the comics--it had a profound influence on Spidey himself.)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@SancheLlewellyn @SancheLlewellyn I was pretty much fine with that movie, but had a bit of a problem with the lead. He just doesn't look like, nor did he manage to give off, the vibe of a geek. Peter Parker is a science nerd. That guy seemed more like a skateboarder trying to decide whether he liked The Cure or The Clash more.

But at least they had him design his web-shooters, something that the Tobey Maguire movie--which otherwise I love--got wrong.

Aside from that one problem, I liked that movie quite a lot. It was nice to see Gwen Stacy (not that I have anything against MJ).

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2 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal (edited because I double-posted) I wish a lot more of them would stay truer to the comic book universe. Plenty of action, great--but most of them have way too much bloodshed in them. Heroes, villains, who can tell when the bodies pile up? (Looking at YOU, Logan . . .)

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@SancheLlewellyn In general, I agree, except with things like the Guardians of the Galaxy, where the original was pretty forgettable.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal I liked the big Groot as well, but little Groot is so damn cute!

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1 user has voted.
gulfgal98's picture

while I was visiting my mother, we decided to go to the movies. Black Panther was one of the choices, but we decided on something much more light hearted. I am glad we chose Peter Rabbit instead. It was a combination of live action and animation. Both of us thoroughly enjoyed it and marveled at the incredible animation in it.

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12 users have voted.

"I don't want to run the empire, I want to bring it down!" ~Dr. Cornel West

"There is no instance of a nation benefitting from prolonged warfare." Sun Tzu

wendy davis's picture

@gulfgal98

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6 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

obomba's love song to a prez portrait? hard to take one's eyes off it, at least for me. nor or Oprah for president? ya slackers!

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mimi's picture

@wendy davis

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to what I have been hearing about this movie. I have not seen it yet (I'm planning to) and I'll let you know how it strikes me. I'm going with a person who is very enthusiastic about graphic novels, comics, literature that is serialized and current, literature that is fantasy or science fiction but addresses current affairs, etc. etc. I don't really know all the right terms. Anyway, she liked this movie a lot even though she admitted there were serious flaws. She went as far as to say she thought this movie is important. If nothing else I'll have an interesting argument with her.

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7 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

@randtntx

dunno that this thread will be live after you've seen it, but...okay.

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2 users have voted.
wendy davis's picture

a man named Kehinde Wiley, and lo and behold, i discovered that this is supposed to be flotus. i'd seen it on coates' twitter machine, thought it might have been someone in the film anyhoo, it was painted by Amy Sherald. it really is remarkable.

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4 users have voted.
Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis Am I the only person who doesn't think that looks much like Michelle Obama?

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

wendy davis's picture

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

so there are at least two of us, lol. romanticized to the Nth degree, and how light her skin is, my stars. i read a bit at time about what obomba had said he'd had to 'negotiate' w/ the painter, even jived about not being painted on a horse. 'given the perceptions afoot', har, har, or some rubbish. but both are love songs to them, which of course is why coates had tweeted the images. and has dubbed #meToo Oprah president already.

but look at flotus: no forehead brow furrows, all acquired facial characteristics (and aging) erased. a flattering (i reckon) cartoonized image, no?

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@wendy davis I think she looks better in real life, frankly, but I like a face with some character. The perfect flawless looks (aka Catherine DeNeuve) I can admire like I would a painting, but I like people that look beautiful but not perfect.

And of course, by "perfect," I mean society's standard of perfect.

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1 user has voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

Despite having good movies. In Marvel Universe the CIA and secret agencies are the good guys.
In DC Batman is a vigilante. The DC heroes represent citizens turning to vigilante justice. The Marvel heroes sign away their rights to privacy.
Naturally, the MSM never saw a DC movie it liked.

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wendy davis's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain

i dunno what DC batman even is, i'm so out of the mainstream culture, but nice to know the marvel comics are 'the deep staters' are the good guys.

but may i park this here w/o offense? i'm just so tired, about to turn into a pumpkin.

chris lebron had retweeted this worthy essay (on a quick scan) (link goes to africasacountry.com):

night all. maybe 'a better world' is the worst illusion of all. and hope...dies last.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Battle of Blair Mountain Not always. Captain America: Winter Soldier is a good recent example. There are a number of Marvel movies that are on the side of the angels, IMO. That has been less and less true since CAWS though.

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0 users have voted.

The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt-out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Morire de cara sol.
--Jose Marti

I agree totally! They are all of the same shtick! Black or White or whatever! All these comic book movies carry the same old mainstream cultural political mores. And lowest common denominator wins dollars! It's sad how the comix have won. My parents, god rest their souls would have been saddened. They always pushed literature on us when we finished our comic books. Our environmental toxins are mimicking Rome's lead (Pb).

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hecate's picture

based on comic books are rubbish. However, there is a reason for such things.

We all have access to the bulk of human knowledge now, we can find nearly anyone and speak to them. We can make things appear, and make ourselves disappear, all with an ease that we couldn’t explain to our own great-grandmothers. We can spend our days alone, locked in our houses, listening to the inner thoughts of hundreds of people thousands of miles away. Our thoughts and words make and change the physical world. No wonder we’re so obsessed with wizards and superheroes these days—they describe our lives to us more accurately than our literature does.

Who are we to have these powers? We don’t know what to do with them, who they should belong to. We’re tourists playing at being minor deities, except we don’t get to stop playing; this is our future now. Who do we have to become, now that we have all these new powers? What if we can’t make ourselves into the people worthy and able to use the technologies we invented? What if we fail this future? How could we not fail this future, when we don’t understand what it is?

You are reading this far from where you were born, in an unexpected world, on a device that didn’t exist a decade ago, facing a future none of us know how to live in yet. You are not disabled in a way that you once were, a disability you didn’t know you had is being pried away from you, and you don’t know who you are becoming. We don’t know where we are now, except that it’s many miles from home, and we have to make the future now.

We are scared of everything.

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wendy davis's picture

tweet upthread; he more than confirms some of the worst propaganda effects of the film, and adds some others. the link goes to 'I have a problem with Black Panther’, February 22, 2018 by Russell Rickford, africasacountry.com a few bits:

“Black Panther demands critical examination because utopian visions are unavoidably political; they are among the tools with which oppressed people attempt to draft a just future. Unfortunately, anyone committed to an expansive concept of Pan-African liberation — one designed to free African and African-descended people throughout the world — must regard Black Panther as a counterrevolutionary picture.

For in the movie, as in real life, those black people not fortunate enough to possess a fantastical energy source endure centuries of slavery, colonialism, imperialism, and subjugation. They are systematically underdeveloped and brutalized, even as their labor enriches their oppressors. Yet through it all the Wakandans remain detached, surrounded by luxury and comfort in what amounts to an enormous gated community. In other words, they behave like any other modern capitalist elite.

In the film, the character most resentful of Wakanda’s insularity is Killmonger, the African-American son of a slain Wakandan expatriate. Raised in a tough Oakland, California, neighborhood, Killmonger is a dark soul, a troubled child of the diaspora who vows to return to the land of his forebears, seize power, and distribute Wakanda’s unrivaled military weapons to oppressed black people across the globe.
In short, Killmonger is a revolutionary. The fact that he is presented as a sociopath is one of the most problematic aspects of the film.

On a superficial level, Killmonger serves as foil to Black Panther’s titular protagonist. As a political device, however, he plays a much larger role, for his character exists to discredit radical internationalism. In fact, Killmonger is the mechanism through which Black Panther reproduces a host of disturbing tropes.” the tropes:

Trope Number One: African and African American Estrangement
Trope Number Two: African American Pathology
Trope Number Three: The White Savior (including the white man's burden CIA savior)

“If Black Panther rehashes ugly images of African Americans, it also reaffirms the white savior type. In an especially grotesque twist (spoiler alert), the role is filled by a CIA operative who is brought to Wakanda for medical treatment but winds up helping the kingdom defeat Killmonger. The ironies here are legion. One strains to identify a greater foe of the African masses than the CIA, the agency that helped assassinate or subvert some of the continent’s brightest lights, from the Congo’s Patrice Lumumba to South Africa’s Nelson Mandela.

Framing America as a guardian of African interests camouflages the conglomeration of western forces, from global banks to multinational corporations, that have continued to leech Africa’s wealth long after the formal end of colonialism. It also masks the stunning extent to which US militarism has penetrated the continent on behalf of a ceaseless “War on Terror.”

toward the end:
“However, the disavowal of radical internationalism may be the film’s greatest sin. For by caricaturing the philosophy, Black Panther repudiates the global consciousness that remains essential to combatting war, domination, and exploitation in Africa, America, and beyond.”

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wendy davis's picture

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