(urth) OT - Watchmen on trial

Dan'l Danehy-Oakes danldo at gmail.com
Mon Mar 21 16:55:05 PST 2005

On Mon, 21 Mar 2005 17:48:50 -0600, James Wynn <thewynns at earthlink.net> wrote:
> >Blattid said
> >No. [The Watchmen is] not a "profoundly fascist" work. It is a profound
> >work_about_fascism. Gaaaaah.
> I'd be interested in your explanation of how it was "about" fascism rather
> than founded on it. I'm not sure how you can say Alan Moore did not
> **embrace** the most fascistic elements of the comic book superhero genre 
> in "The Watchmen". Are you suggesting Ozy is presented as anything but
> a hero?

Absolutely, yes. I almost have the feeling that you've read _Watchmen_
with far too much attention to the "superhero" aspect of the story and not
enough to what's going on with the other characters.

The only people in _Watchmen_ who are actually portrayed as in any 
way heroic are some of the people who die on the streetcorner when 
Veidt's monster materializes - the ones who, in the shadow of Armageddon 
(though not the Armageddon they are expecting), show compassion and 
caring. The shrink who _has_ to help the fighting couple (Joey and her 
girlfriend), the newsbutcher who shares his coat with the kid, etc.

Ozymandias and his actions are portrayed as morally ambiguous - _he_
thinks he's a hero because, inna final analysis, he believes that his plan
has worked.

But is he? He kills the Comedian (the _apparent_ facist - who cries his
eyes out when he realizes what Veidt is doing) to protect his secrets.

> I'd say it is perfectly fair to view Alan Moore's "The Watchmen" as a 
> suite with Frank Miller's "The Dark Knight Returns" (also knee deep 
> in the most sinister regions of Nietzsche).

I wonder if you understand Nietzsche half so well as you think you do.
"Beware when you wrestle with monsters..." might stand as the motto
to TDKR.

> In a shameless rip-off of this theme, 

This is simply insulting. Moore had plotted _Watchmen_ LONG before
TDKR was published.

> Moore has Mr. Manhattan justify
> Ozymandias' actions for exactly the same reasons that Com. Gordon justified
> Batman's ("it's too big"). Then M.M. turns the only true common-man hero in
> the story (Rorschach) to a pile of dust to stop him from undermining O's
> scheme.

Yes, Osterman - another character of high moral ambiguity - kills 
Rorschach, because if Rorschach spills the beans about Veidt, then 
the people who have already died will have died for nothing. If 
not, then the cold war ends without turning into the all-out nuclear 
heck that has seemed inevitable since Tricky and Gerry went down
into their bunker. 

This isn't to say (on my part or Moore's) that Manhattan is _right_ to 
do so: rather, he is, is inhumanly, making a nigh-mathematical 
calculation about the hedonic/utilitarian value of keeping Veidt's 
secret as over against revealing it. The Comedian, who is a bit of
a prophet in the scheme of _Watchmen_, says it clearly: he tells
Osterman "you're losing it," years earlier, in Vietnam.

> P.S. I own all 12 comic books from "The Watchmen" series. I appreciate the
> landmarks that that series and TDKR represents in graphic arts fiction. But
> I could say the same for "The Birth of a Nation" for cinema arts.

You want to know a classic that's facistic as all hell?

Read _Dune_ and pay attention to what's actually going on.
Master race, fuhrerprinzip, the whole works.

You probably do not want to know what that odor is.

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