Tuesday, October 21, 2014

1940s Super-Heroes : each an intoxicating - toxic - mix of muscles, magic, machine and mind

Comic Books in 1940 would never profess that "Might is Right" , rather that "Only Might can Do Right" .

But first : why then the need for a secret ID , if one is truly omnipotent ?

Well , remember that 1940 superheroes were merely the moral equivalent of that year's notorious enemy Fifth Columns : because while their great strength was impressive, their sneakiness was even more so.

While in perfect disguise as weak, meek , mild civilians, no police, military or intelligence service could destroy these superheroes in some predawn surprise attack.

With our workaday nerds and geeks instantly turned into cloaked avengers, sneak attacks of a sort were always the other way around --- now coming from the good guys.

So Superman : a Panzer tank disguised as a Peugeot.

But while these superheroes tried to avoid violence on the innocent, rather like a moral 1940 Norden bombsight, one can see that, once off the comic pages, that even their violence to physical structures were bound to kill real world innocent bystanders.

Surgical strikes by superpowers or superheroes rarely are.

More importantly, on a moral plane, exalting violence for social good allows others to equally and sincerely claim to also morally use violence for social good.

Many - perhaps most -  of those killing Jews, Romas et al truly believed their job were like that of social doctors , cutting out cancerous portions of the Aryan body politic to save its life.

Morality is in - or isn't in - all of us , any of us : morality does not come only SuperSized.

In 1940, Dawson's tiny team of unfits was certainly not super , but it definitely was heroic....

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