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  1. #76
    Astonishing Member kjn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandy Hausler View Post
    I don't think racism is a necessary part of fascism, though it's common. Dictionary.com defines fascism as:
    governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism

    I don't know if Doom's form of government utilizes aggressive nationalism, but he otherwise seems to fit the definition.
    I wouldn't use a dictionary definition here, just as little as I would use a dictionary definition to explain the Theory of Relativity. Especially since fascism is much more something akin to a meta-ideology than a system of government.

    As for racism and fascism, racism is not necessarily a part of it. But fascism is dependent on inner and outer enemies that must be declared, blamed, cleansed, and victimised. And racism is one of the most readily usable tools for that.
    «Speaking generally, it is because of the desire of the tragic poets for the marvellous that so varied and inconsistent an account of Medea has been given out» (Diodorus Siculus, The Library of History [4.56.1])

  2. #77
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Maiden View Post
    My theory is that Doom is practices a kind of feudal socialism. The standard of living in Latveria is pretty good, there a are schools and health care for the citizens. There are no elections and whatever cabinet exists is on the whim of Doom. Sometimes you see a PM or maybe a local burgomeister but not much else.
    In Europe, the state investing in society and so on isn't exclusive to socialism. Bismarck did it. He provided health care and pension and stuff and he was an anti-democratic Iron Chancellor. You have other examples of that. King Henry II of England apparently invented and codified the Common Law, the system used in the English Speaking world, including USA. Napoleon of course had his famous code and he was very much a guy who was both tyrant and liberator.

    Dr. Doom was intended to be a mix of medieval and modern. Look at his outfit. He wears a knight's surcoat, with a Renfaire hood and two golden clasps and old-fashioned belt. The armor is very robotic and sci-fi but if you step back you can see that it's kind of a knight's armor. That's a common Kirby motif. Mixing the old and new, technology and occult, the past and the future. He did that all the time, in Mighty Thor, in Wakanda, in the New Gods.

    Doom is essentially a medieval King and he has a medieval king's attitude to ruling but he's also a dictator who came to power via revolution. I mean Doom didn't exactly topple a democracy like Mussolini or Hitler did. He toppled a corrupt tyrannical aristocracy and replaced it with his tyrannical, but incorruptible, aristocracy. There's that line in A Song of Ice and Fire novels: "A king protects his people or he's no king at all", so Doom has that medieval noblesse oblige. Which also leads to him being this ambiguous figure. There's that character in the books Stannis who says "I was trying to win the kingdom to save it when I should have saved the kingdom to win the throne". That's Doom. He thinks he should rule the world, so he also accepts it's his duty to save it and defend it, which is why on some day, against the right opponent and the given situation, Doom can be a heroic figure. I think if there's a historical figure like Doom, it's Napoleon. You know Napoleon according to legend was resentful because of his short height (he wasn't) and he had ambitions and so on. He was a Corsican who spoke French with an Italian accent. And Napoleon is definitely not a fascist, he was a hero to Jews and Poles, people massacred by fascists.

  3. #78

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    A rose is a rose by any other name.

    You may call it however you like. Feudal Socialism, Modern Aristocracy, Sci-Fi Principality, it doesn't really matter. It is fascism. Doom fits the definition of fascism to a T.

    It's funny how everyone is so willing to call characters like Punisher or even Batman "fascist", but the character that is an actual fascist only gets tame euphemisms.

    In my opinion, this unwillingness to see Doom as a fascist and this bizarre insistance in seeing the villain as an heroic figure is yet another sign of the damage that those last years of stories have caused.

  4. #79

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    How can Doom be noble and so petty that he'd make Franklin and Valeria witness the torture of their parents? He murders for trivial reasons and people who are not a credible threat to him or his kingdom. That's the problem when you create a character and bill him as resourceful enough to defeat gods. It's like how trained boxers are judged differently for assault.
    "I just don't get why you wouldn't want to break the law anymore" --Scorpia

  5. #80
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    A rose is a rose by any other name.

    You may call it however you like. Feudal Socialism, Modern Aristocracy, Sci-Fi Principality, it doesn't really matter. It is fascism. Doom fits the definition of fascism to a T.

    It's funny how everyone is so willing to call characters like Punisher or even Batman "fascist", but the character that is an actual fascist only gets tame euphemisms.

    In my opinion, this unwillingness to see Doom as a fascist and this bizarre insistance in seeing the villain as an heroic figure is yet another sign of the damage that those last years of stories have caused.
    You don’t get to define characters as being something they are not just by quoting Shakespeare. You need to actually demonstrate your thesis, because you are the one being radical and making a bold claim, not the people saying you are wrong.

    If you want to assert that the moon is made of cheese nobody has to pay it any attention unless you either go there and bring back a piece for your supper table, or do some actual demonstration as a proof.
    “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  6. #81
    Formerly Assassin Spider Huntsman Spider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kjn View Post
    There is another angle to the origin of superheroes, and that is that they were a cultural response (especially in the US) to a change in how justice was perceived and done. Instead of the idea of the idea of the posse, or the idea of exerting justice by and for yourself, it was something that became professionalised and turned to the domain of the state.

    It's similar to 19th century trend of romantic novels about the aristocracy, just as they were losing their political and economic stranglehold. A lot of those were romantic stories about marriages between the old aristocracy and commoners—fantasies about social movement, just as Batman are fantasies about justice.



    I think that's what Watchmen tried to discuss, but everyone took the wrong lessons from it.

    But I think you need to consider the mutable and corruptive nature of fascism when talking about this. You can literally find fascist (or authoritarian) trends everywhere, if you look enough. That doesn't make them dangerous, it is only in certain combinations that they become so. In a way, the costumes of the superheroes are there to signal that the fantasy of the superman who will lead us is in fact a fantasy.

    That doesn't mean you can't criticise or examine superhero comics from standpoints of ethics and values. You should! But sweeping statements isn't critique.
    You make some good points there, and I wasn't trying to say that the superhero genre as a whole is innately fascistic, more that there's a certain subtext that has unfortunately crept into the genre over time, which is almost unavoidable when the primary protagonists in said genre are explicitly "special" in comparison to and thus elevated above most other people within the context of the setting(s). And yes, I do agree that damn near everyone took the wrong lessons from Watchmen, with the 90s "Dark Age of Comics" being a case study in that.

    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    A rose is a rose by any other name.

    You may call it however you like. Feudal Socialism, Modern Aristocracy, Sci-Fi Principality, it doesn't really matter. It is fascism. Doom fits the definition of fascism to a T.

    It's funny how everyone is so willing to call characters like Punisher or even Batman "fascist", but the character that is an actual fascist only gets tame euphemisms.

    In my opinion, this unwillingness to see Doom as a fascist and this bizarre insistance in seeing the villain as an heroic figure is yet another sign of the damage that those last years of stories have caused.
    To be somewhat fair, Punisher takes it upon himself to be judge, jury, and executioner for anyone and everyone in his path that he sees as a criminal scumbag and his sole justification is that he's somehow never even wounded, much less killed, an innocent person by mistake or as collateral damage from that. Given how too many in real life have wielded the power of the state or the power given by the state to commit what amounts to extrajudicial killings of those deemed, without the burden of due process, to be criminal scum unworthy of life, this is far from what should be considered heroic behavior. Batman, while explicitly abhorring the use of lethal force and coming down hard on any would-be vigilante or hero without that sense of restraint or ethics, still pummels criminals half to death on the streets of Gotham City, criminals that largely come from a place of social disenfranchisement and/or mental illness, instead of using his wealth and superior resources to tackle the real socioeconomic causes of crime.

    Granted, he does a lot of philanthropy as Bruce Wayne to try to better the lives of the citizens of Gotham so they don't turn to crime in the first place or are less likely to succumb to recidivism, but of course that's not what people read Batman comics for, so we see him pummeling bad guys who just as well may be the products of a corrupt society rather than taking on said corrupt society in the first place. Same with the Punisher, in a way, as there aren't so many stories of him going after criminal corporate-types or politicians that don't have mob connections but nonetheless prey on innocent lives in ways that make them fundamentally no better, if not worse, than the scum he "mops up" on the streets. In a nutshell, both Punisher and Batman are called "fascists" and are sometimes written as such, unintentionally or not, because their vigilantism primarily targets comparatively powerless scapegoats for or symptoms of societal decay rather than tackling the rot at its source.
    The spider is always on the hunt.

  7. #82

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    Quote Originally Posted by Huntsman Spider View Post
    To be somewhat fair, Punisher takes it upon himself to be judge, jury, and executioner for anyone and everyone in his path that he sees as a criminal scumbag and his sole justification is that he's somehow never even wounded, much less killed, an innocent person by mistake or as collateral damage from that. Given how too many in real life have wielded the power of the state or the power given by the state to commit what amounts to extrajudicial killings of those deemed, without the burden of due process, to be criminal scum unworthy of life, this is far from what should be considered heroic behavior.
    So Punisher, Batman and whatever vigilants are fascist for that, but the character that does all those things, on top of rulling a totalitarian regime that regularly kills dissidents is merely a "feudal socialist"?

  8. #83
    Ultimate Member JKtheMac's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    So Punisher, Batman and whatever vigilants are fascist for that, but the character that does all those things, on top of rulling a totalitarian regime that regularly kills dissidents is merely a "feudal socialist"?
    No. Neither of them are. People that say that don’t know what fascist means and are using the word to mean other things. At a stretch they use it to mean ‘fascist tendencies’ which has a far more nebulous definition and doesn’t mean someone is a fascist.

    Because fascism is anti-intellectual there is no way to claim or point out fascism unless one uses intellectual rigour. Otherwise it is easy to devalue the word by applying it to everything and thereby loosing the most effective tool against it.

    In other words, calling things that are not fascist by that name is dangerous.
    Last edited by JKtheMac; 07-23-2019 at 04:37 PM.
    “And I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, 'If this isn't nice, I don't know what is.” ― Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

  9. #84

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    Quote Originally Posted by JKtheMac View Post
    In other words, calling things that are not fascist by that name is dangerous.
    True. But not calling fascists what they are is dangerous, too.

    Which boxes must a totalitarian warlord dictator check before we can call him a fascist?

  10. #85
    Incredible Member Kintor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    True. But not calling fascists what they are is dangerous, too.

    Which boxes must a totalitarian warlord dictator check before we can call him a fascist?
    Fascism is as much a source of power as it's an ideology, a way to legitimise the authority a regime. Mussolini, a former journalist before getting in to politics, authored (with some help) his 'The Doctrine of Fascism' to do just this. But that's a decidedly 20th century way of doing things, Doom is anything but defined by the narrow political sensibilities of the pre-war era. Instead Doom draws his power from a far older idea - The Divine Right of Kings. A squalid ideology like fascism is for the plebs, Doom needs no such crutch to rule, save for the grace of god that shines upon his reign.

  11. #86

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kintor View Post
    Fascism is as much a source of power as it's an ideology, a way to legitimise the authority a regime. Mussolini, a former journalist before getting in to politics, authored (with some help) his 'The Doctrine of Fascism' to do just this. But that's a decidedly 20th century way of doing things, Doom is anything but defined by the narrow political sensibilities of the pre-war era. Instead Doom draws his power from a far older idea - The Divine Right of Kings. A squalid ideology like fascism is for the plebs, Doom needs no such crutch to rule, save for the grace of god that shines upon his reign.
    This is what I meant when I said that some Marvel fans are far too into totalitarian warlords. You grow up reading that the only good Earths are those under a totalitarian regime, and this is the result.

  12. #87
    Incredible Member Kintor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    This is what I meant when I said that some Marvel fans are far too into totalitarian warlords. You grow up reading that the only good Earths are those under a totalitarian regime, and this is the result.
    I'm simply trying to make point. Authoritarian have been trying to justify their power ever since the first tribal chief, using every reason profane and sacred under the sun. Compared to the works of the western tradition alone fascism was just a passing fad, some fancy clothes and interesting memorabilia along the way but wholly unremarkable as a development in political thought. It's frankly silly that you keep trying to pigeonhole Doom into this narrow ideological band, he's a much more sophisticated tyrant (and monarch) than you give him credit.

  13. #88
    Astonishing Member Revolutionary_Jack's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    It's funny how everyone is so willing to call characters like Punisher or even Batman "fascist", but the character that is an actual fascist only gets tame euphemisms.
    FWIW, I have never called The Punisher or Batman fascist. I think there are problematic elements to both characters and queasy subtext, but I don't think that those characters are fascist, nor is there anything fascist for liking their stories. People who make extreme claims about both characters being that way are wrong.

    Rooting for a villain or seeing a villain in different shades of gray, doesn't make you fascist. Quite the opposite. The ability to empathize and understand a figure like Doom as a complicated messy human being, to understand why exactly some of his subjects willingly support him (because a lot of them do), is simply a way to explore how power works and functions in a comic book form, trying to understand what the pursuit of power does even to good people. The thing about Doom, as even Mark Waid showed in Unthinkable, is that there was a point in his life where he was a genuinely good person. In his childhood and before he left for America and so on. That makes it tragic. Some part of that goodness hasn't entirely died. And Doom would not be popular among fandom if he hadn't retained traits of that goodness which a number of writers have shown glimpses of. That doesn't mean he isn't capable of doing horrible things like the rampage he did on using the Silver Surfer board in FF#60 and so on. But you have to take the good with the bad.

    Dr. Doom is a war criminal, he's a tyrant and dictator, he kills dissidents without due process, and as Jack Kirby said, he's an extremist. That's true. And as Spider-Man said in "Doomed Affairs", he deserves to be brought to the Hague. On the other hand, Doom is unquestionably an improvement on the previous regime of Latveria, and his regime improved things a great deal over the previous regime in terms of quality of life and so on. And in the Marvel Universe, when you have HYDRA running around, when you have a universe and multiverse with Thanos, Beyonders and others, it's understandable why a lot of people, in and out of Latveria wouldn't mind having Doom around.

  14. #89
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    Quote Originally Posted by Missing Username View Post
    True. But not calling fascists what they are is dangerous, too.

    Which boxes must a totalitarian warlord dictator check before we can call him a fascist?
    He has to express the specific ideology of fascism. Note that I'm not defending Doom. Stalin was not a fascist, he was a communist dictator, and he was just as evil as any fascist. Genghis Khan was a monarchist, not a fascist, and he was just as evil as any fascist. Evil authoritarian does not equal fascist, though all fascists are also evil authoritarians.

  15. #90
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    Quote Originally Posted by Revolutionary_Jack View Post
    FWIW, I have never called The Punisher or Batman fascist. I think there are problematic elements to both characters and queasy subtext, but I don't think that those characters are fascist, nor is there anything fascist for liking their stories. People who make extreme claims about both characters being that way are wrong.

    Rooting for a villain or seeing a villain in different shades of gray, doesn't make you fascist. Quite the opposite. The ability to empathize and understand a figure like Doom as a complicated messy human being, to understand why exactly some of his subjects willingly support him (because a lot of them do), is simply a way to explore how power works and functions in a comic book form, trying to understand what the pursuit of power does even to good people. The thing about Doom, as even Mark Waid showed in Unthinkable, is that there was a point in his life where he was a genuinely good person. In his childhood and before he left for America and so on. That makes it tragic. Some part of that goodness hasn't entirely died. And Doom would not be popular among fandom if he hadn't retained traits of that goodness which a number of writers have shown glimpses of. That doesn't mean he isn't capable of doing horrible things like the rampage he did on using the Silver Surfer board in FF#60 and so on. But you have to take the good with the bad.

    Dr. Doom is a war criminal, he's a tyrant and dictator, he kills dissidents without due process, and as Jack Kirby said, he's an extremist. That's true. And as Spider-Man said in "Doomed Affairs", he deserves to be brought to the Hague. On the other hand, Doom is unquestionably an improvement on the previous regime of Latveria, and his regime improved things a great deal over the previous regime in terms of quality of life and so on. And in the Marvel Universe, when you have HYDRA running around, when you have a universe and multiverse with Thanos, Beyonders and others, it's understandable why a lot of people, in and out of Latveria wouldn't mind having Doom around.
    When it comes to Doom, it seems his fans are more willing to empathize with him than his victims. The reaction to Sue humiliating him in Slott's FF issue 8 being the most recent example.

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