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  1. #1
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Default Thread Drift: Spider-Man and Social Justice

    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Well, right.... I mean, yeah, that's what I'm saying! Being an actor/model does not preclude MJ from also writing. It's neither inconsistent with her character, nor unbelievable. Since Peter is already kind of a "gig economy" sort of person, it stands to reason that MJ could be, too.



    On that front, I'm curious how conservative fans reconcile liking a character who is literally a social justice warrior. Like, I can understand liking characters who only protect their self-interests like Venom or Punisher, but... Spider-Man is purely about selflessly helping other people, so how does that square up? (Edit: I mean, I know Ditko was famously libertarian, and there's a certain amount of that in the character, but it's not his dominant theme)

    It's gotta be the eyes. Everybody loves the Spidey eyes.

    Edit:
    i’m with you there. there’s some absolutely awful people who seem to love spider-man (and superman for that matter) and i have to wonder...what the hell is it that attracts them to a character who stands for everything they hate?

    are they just cherry picking what they like (he’s got mad cool powers) and ignoring the rest (his general sense of inclusion)? idk, maybe the fact that superheroes are literally vigilantes that take the law into their own hands and solve problems through violence is appealing?

    then i found this impressive display of olympic level mental gymnastics on the inter webs and it all made sense:
    https://westernfreepress.com/greates...-soldier-2014/
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  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by boots View Post
    i’m with you there. there’s some absolutely awful people who seem to love spider-man (and superman for that matter) and i have to wonder...what the hell is it that attracts them to a character who stands for everything they hate?

    are they just cherry picking what they like (he’s got mad cool powers) and ignoring the rest (his general sense of inclusion)? idk, maybe the fact that superheroes are literally vigilantes that take the law into their own hands and solve problems through violence is appealing?

    then i found this impressive display of olympic level mental gymnastics on the inter webs and it all made sense:
    https://westernfreepress.com/greates...-soldier-2014/
    That essay is very much picking the cherries... but I guess I can see it from that view, kind of... you could look at superheroes as comparable to soldiers, wherein Spider-Man / Superman / Batman / Captain America are "freedom-loving patriots" more than "SJWs"... plus, there's Iron Man's pro-registration side in Civil War personifying the fear of an intrusive "big government"... I suppose there are probably lots of examples of how one could slant the stories that way.

    But on the other hand, this is a genre of characters created by liberal Jewish socialists. It's obviously a power fantasy, but these characters are compassionate with their power. They're inclusive and philanthropic. "With great power comes great responsibility" sounds like it could've come from Karl Marx as much as Uncle Ben... but on the other hand, conservatives think of themselves as the side of "personal responsibility."

    The stories are usually vague enough -- intentionally -- to allow for cherry-picking either way, and I suppose that's the beauty of it. Sometimes I think superheroes are one of the few things that demonstrate people can find common values again... but that's really living in a fantasy world!

  3. #3
    Incredible Member CrazyOldHermit's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    On that front, I'm curious how conservative fans reconcile liking a character who is literally a social justice warrior. Like, I can understand liking characters who only protect their self-interests like Venom or Punisher, but... Spider-Man is purely about selflessly helping other people, so how does that square up? (Edit: I mean, I know Ditko was famously libertarian, and there's a certain amount of that in the character, but it's not his dominant theme)

    It's gotta be the eyes. Everybody loves the Spidey eyes.

    Edit:
    You're unfairly painting conservatives with a very broad brush.

    For starters, "social justice warrior" is a sarcastic label. It's applied to people who think they're freedom fighters, so smugly self-assured and proud of themselves that they'd think of themselves as some kind of grand warrior when really they range from someone retweeting the popular hashtag of the week to a protestor screaming hysterically about some perceived slight. Someone who is an actual social justice warrior, like Spider-Man, is not the issue.

    Furthermore, it's typically conservatives who are pushing the law and order issue with greater support for police departments. A vigilante like Spider-Man who is able to cut through the red tape and kick criminal ass has great appeal to a conservative audience. It's part of why superheroes were able to survive the CCA in the first place.

    And above all, having conservative values has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you believe in the goodness of helping other people, or on being able to relate to an upstanding working class citizen like Spider-Man. It's apolitical, unless you ascribe to the ludicrous notion that people with different political beliefs are all automatically immoral monsters salivating at the thought of ruining the world, in which case I would recommend growing up.
    Miller was right.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Separate from the Overton window political spectrum, it's interesting to read about the impact Judaism specifically (edit: particularly American East Coast Judaism) had on superheroes -- Superman, Batman, and the Lee/Kirby characters. "Up Up and Oy Vey" is one book in particular I'd recommend, written by someone who was a hardcore comics fan, then got in touch with his Jewish heritage, became a youth pastor or something, and then wrote about it from that point of view. If you grew up Jewish, it may all be obvious! If you didn't grow up Jewish -- I didn't -- it was pretty eye-opening. I was of course generally aware that the creators "happened to be" Jewish, and I'd read Kavalier & Clay and other things, but... well, it's just interesting when you look at the comic heroes from a broader social context.
    Remember that Jewish people are all across the spectrum too and comics in general didn't actually openly have Jewish characters until Chris Claremont introduced Kitty Pryde. Kitty is the first overtly Jewish superhero in American comics. And of course Claremont, who is also Jewish, made Magneto into a Holocaust survivor. Fun fact: everyone knows that the Thing is Jewish but it wasn't until the 2000s that it was openly acknowledged in Fantastic Four comics that Ben Grimm is Jewish. And Stan Lee from all I read was secular Jewish, i.e. non-practising. He certainly never wanted Spider-Man to identify with any faith in page. If you read Spider-Man and MJ's wedding whether in the Annual or the newspaper strip, the word "god" is not to be found anywhere, and it was a ceremony at City Hall.

    I don't think the intent was to make Peter look selfish, but the relationship does look one-sided, when the only thing that seems to matter is HIS work. Of course, from the reader POV, the only thing that DOES matter is the Spider-Man work... her stuff IS a side story and it IS largely unnecessary to the main narrative.
    I don't know, to me there's a certain poignancy in the fact that MJ can't really walk entirely in Peter's shoes. And she needs to represent something human and mundane to contrast against Peter. There's one comic where MJ feels insecure about the fact that her work seems so unimportant and trivial compared to what Spider-Man does. Them being co-workers would make them another version of Reed and Sue and other superhero/superhero couplings.

    Anyway, I think there are a lot of ways to make lateral moves so you can combine both ideas. And always keep in mind, MJ feeling or being more "essential" or "relevant" and so on is secondary to the larger question of her marriage with Peter or if she was suited. Even if she was...Marvel would have gotten rid of the marriage.

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by gregpersons View Post
    Well, right.... I mean, yeah, that's what I'm saying! Being an actor/model does not preclude MJ from also writing. It's neither inconsistent with her character, nor unbelievable. Since Peter is already kind of a "gig economy" sort of person, it stands to reason that MJ could be, too.



    On that front, I'm curious how conservative fans reconcile liking a character who is literally a social justice warrior. Like, I can understand liking characters who only protect their self-interests like Venom or Punisher, but... Spider-Man is purely about selflessly helping other people, so how does that square up? (Edit: I mean, I know Ditko was famously libertarian, and there's a certain amount of that in the character, but it's not his dominant theme)

    It's gotta be the eyes. Everybody loves the Spidey eyes.

    Edit:
    Many conservatives aren't against characters who want to do the right thing. The criticism of social justice warriors isn't that they want to help people, but that they're not effective at it, and that there are serious tradeoffs to what they want to do.

    Spider-Man comics don't really deal with the tradeoffs, aside from what Peter agrees to give up.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    The criticism of social justice warriors isn't that they want to help people, but that they're not effective at it, and that there are serious tradeoffs to what they want to do.
    Mets, whilst that certainly is a criticism, do you really think that's the primary motivation the people who throw that term around the most? Do you think that's the motivation when outlets like Breitbart use the term?

  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    Mets, whilst that certainly is a criticism, do you really think that's the primary motivation the people who throw that term around the most? Do you think that's the motivation when outlets like Breitbart use the term?
    For the most part, yes.

  8. #8
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    In regards to the OP, I've found that opponents of so-called "SJWs" or the incorporation of such themes in fiction tend to have poor critical thinking skills and an utter lack of self-awareness.
    Doctor Strange: "You are the right person to replace Logan."
    X-23: "I know there are people who disapprove... Guys on the Internet mainly."
    (All-New Wolverine #4)

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    For the most part, yes.
    So Breitbart isn't a far-right outlet, they just wish the "social justice warriors" were more effective at accomplishing their goals? Is this really what you believe?

  10. #10
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    If Spencer can have the one and only Captain America pull up at a Pride parade, then so should Spidey.
    heroine addict we love you come back

  11. #11
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    So Breitbart isn't a far-right outlet, they just wish the "social justice warriors" were more effective at accomplishing their goals? Is this really what you believe?
    yeah, that’s a huge stretch

    usually the people using sjw are also against “sjw’s” politics, not just their individual effectiveness. you can’t always cite the origin of a term as to how it’s commonly used (eg “cuck”)
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  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Snoop Dogg View Post
    If Spencer can have the one and only Captain America pull up at a Pride parade, then so should Spidey.

    there was one dude here who thought the suggestion of a gay peter parker in an AU would mean straight white male genocide
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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee View Post
    So Breitbart isn't a far-right outlet, they just wish the "social justice warriors" were more effective at accomplishing their goals? Is this really what you believe?
    I haven't said anything about the political stance of Breitbart, but I do think the disagreements between conservatives and sjws are largely about effectiveness. We might arguing past one another if we're coming at this with a different impression of what the goals are (IE- the goal isn't just to make a product more diverse, but to make better products, make more money and reach a larger audience.)

    I'll note that idiots on the right can take stupid positions, and be very wrong about predictions about what will be effective and what won't (IE- there were plenty of videos about how Captain Marvel will be a flop.)

  14. #14
    Astonishing Member boots's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mister Mets View Post
    I haven't said anything about the political stance of Breitbart, but I do think the disagreements are largely about effectiveness. We might arguing past one another if we're coming at this with a different impression of what the goals are.

    I'll note that idiots on the right can take stupid positions, and be very wrong about predictions about what will be effective and what won't (IE- a cottage industry of videos about how Captain Marvel will be a flop.)
    yeah, but idiots on the right aren't just arguing that captain marvel will be a flop, they're arguing that captain marvel is an attack on men's rights and forced progression. sjw is not code for "well meaning but ineffectual", it's code for "degenerate" in those circles.

    sjw may have begun as an updated "do gooder" or "tree hugger" but it's become weaponised in a way they never were.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    Remember that Jewish people are all across the spectrum too and comics in general didn't actually openly have Jewish characters until Chris Claremont introduced Kitty Pryde. Kitty is the first overtly Jewish superhero in American comics. And of course Claremont, who is also Jewish, made Magneto into a Holocaust survivor. Fun fact: everyone knows that the Thing is Jewish but it wasn't until the 2000s that it was openly acknowledged in Fantastic Four comics that Ben Grimm is Jewish. And Stan Lee from all I read was secular Jewish, i.e. non-practising. He certainly never wanted Spider-Man to identify with any faith in page. If you read Spider-Man and MJ's wedding whether in the Annual or the newspaper strip, the word "god" is not to be found anywhere, and it was a ceremony at City Hall.
    It's true. Only more recently have (some) comics creators openly acknowledged the Jewish origins of superhero comics. Stan Lee and other early creators wanted their characters to be successful, so they of course would never have coded anything too specific in any of the characters aside from a perceived "standard" audience (ie, young hetero white man).

    Point being that, regardless of the denominations characters are given in the story context, the Jewish influence is intertwined in core aspects of superhero stories -- in everything from dual identities, the "-man" suffix, and so on -- and just that it's an interesting lens to look at the characters through. (It also makes it even more ridiculous when racist fans react to casting changes or new characters with "Spider-Man is white! Superman is white!" -- it's like... no, not really.)

    Several books have been written on the subject that explain it better than I can; I'm just recommending it! Here's a free article though for anyone curious.

    I don't know, to me there's a certain poignancy in the fact that MJ can't really walk entirely in Peter's shoes. And she needs to represent something human and mundane to contrast against Peter. There's one comic where MJ feels insecure about the fact that her work seems so unimportant and trivial compared to what Spider-Man does. Them being co-workers would make them another version of Reed and Sue and other superhero/superhero couplings.
    Oh, I totally agree! It's why "Renew Your Vows" doesn't totally scratch the itch for me. I don't think Peter should be coupled with a fellow superhero, just that there are distinctly human ways to be a hero, and I like May and MJ best when they embody those ideals in more grounded, humanistic ways.

    (May running FEAST, for example, is a direction for the character that I adore)

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