politics of iron man

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by stj, Aug 12, 2008.

  1. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    If Iron Man flew to France and started shoving 'freedom fries' down Chirac's throat, then you could say the film was just an exercise in beating up political foes. But Taliban-esque organizations like the one depicted in the film are not considered enemies merely or even primarily for political reasons, nor are they merely the enemies of the US. Muslim fundamentalists are the declared foes of pretty much anybody who isn't another muslim fundamentalist, and even then that's no guarantee, as the fundy-on-fundy violence in Iraq demonstrated. Remember, just as it's silly to hate everybody the Bush Administration tells you to hate, it's silly to conversely embrace everybody the Bush Administration tells you to hate; the enemy of my enemy is not necessarily my friend, but can be an even more determined antagonist.

    You yourself pointed out that the rather blinkered review (Iron Man should have shot down the fighter jets that intercepted him--WTF?) missed some of the nuances in the film; the character of Tony Stark, either in the comic books or this movie, has always been an ambiguous hero haunted by his obsessive need for control, his manipulative ways, his single-minded view on conflict resolution, throwing all that money into weapons when it could go to great lengths to resolving the root causes underlying many conflicts. The Civil War event illustrated very well, I think, that where somebody like Captain America is meant to embody American idealism, Iron Man embodies American pragmatism, which can sometimes be an ugly thing.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  2. Temis the Vorta

    Temis the Vorta Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    And that is definitely a plotline I want to see pursued in the subsequent movies (either Iron Man, or Avengers, or whatever) - pursued in an even handed and intelligent way, which no doubt will set off some people who can't grasp what this plotline is about. By then Obama will be President, but they'll probably be bitching that he's a warmonger because he's putting the screws to Pakistan like a good President should. :rommie:

    Can't hardly wait! For the movies or the Presidency.
     
  3. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The entire POINT OF THE ORIGINAL POST was to take it INTO THAT TERRORITY.

    There's been a recent rash of "political-flame-war-starters" on the BBS. I'm not sure why, exactly, but it's getting really really tiresome.

    You think that the OP's posting was "OK?" I disagree, because (as has been stated previously) this topic has nothing to do with the purpose of this forum... it is simply doing an end-run around it by pretending to tie it to the forum topic.

    When someone posts a "political-ideology attack" they're engaging in an attack on any one who may happen to be part of the group they're attacking, aren't they?

    So... if calling someone a "nutbag" is flaming... calling something like half of the country worse things (and realize that many posters on this board are part of that "half" in question) is ALSO FLAMING.

    You can say "John is an asshole." That's flaming. Now, suppose that John is 6'2" and has red hair and you say "anyone who is 6'2" and has red hair is an asshole" ... and saying it to John's face no less (though that shouldn't matter)... that is ALSO FLAMING.

    (This example in this post is entirely a work of fiction. The characters herein are unrelated to any 6'2" tall red-headed guy named John, living or dead.) ;)
     
  4. T'Grinch

    T'Grinch Romulan Curmudgeon Administrator

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    Two things here.

    First, it was asked by the local mods that discussion on this stops. It stops here. This is SFF, not MA/QSF. Further off-topic discussion in SFF will garner a warning.

    Secondly, I chimed in on it in the thread located in here.

    That is sufficient for the matter.

    Finally, if anyone feels like arguing it via PM with me, that is fine. Keep it short though. I don't do novels.

    Thank you.
     
  5. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Trent Roman---I read a few Iron Man Comics when he was still in golden armor. So the recent stuff (later than 1970 or thereabouts) is lost on me, I'm afraid.

    The majority of my original post was devoted largely to rebutting the review linked. While watching the movie I really thought that turning the bad guys into Ten Rings instead of Taleban, and even more, making Stark hellbent on getting out of the arms business signified the plain intention to move away from the jingo/racist aspects of the origin. But this thread is a poll of the audience. And the audience is seriously pissed at the idea that beating up on Afghans is a bad thing. The question really is pretty much answered.
     
  6. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think I buy your premise. The Ten Rings are mentioned in the film, but it's never made out to be a notable moment. It might be explored in a sequel, but as it stands, making the Afghani villains part of a SPECTRE-like crime league (I could be way off-base here, but I've never read the comics and am only going on the evidence presented in the film) is a poor move.

    The film goes to all the effort to set the action against the real-life backdrop of the war in Afghanistan, but then makes that back drop so divorced from reality that it seems pointless. Perhaps this is in line with the way the comics portrayed the "Red Menace." I don't know. As I stated, I haven't read the comics.

    He says he is. But all he really does is spend his time and fortune building a super weapon with the Iron Man suit. The end message being that weapons this powerful are not bad, as long as they're in the hands of the "good guys." And, luckily, the good guys and bad guys in this movie are so unambiguously defined that this doesn't seem as troubling as I think it should.

    You've lost me.
     
  7. Trent Roman

    Trent Roman Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Quite. The film might gesture might gesture towards making Raza a mercenary warlord in the employ of a foreign power, either to tie into the sequel or as a technical disclaimer (or both), but it's a very brief, off-hand reference, and I don't think there's much doubt who the Afghani terrorists hiding out in caves were meant to stand-in for.

    He was referring to some of the responses on this thread, but I would hope that such blind jingoism is not representative of a broader audience.

    Fictitiously yours, Trent Roman
     
  8. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I see very little "blind jingoism" in this thread. I do see some broad generalizations of brave, honorable people who really don't deserve it, and others, because of probable idealogical leanings, are willing to give it a pass because of stances on the contentious issues in question.

    Blind, reflexive, ugly, unthinking idealogy on any issue, from any side, is useless at the very least, dangerous at worse, if it's not spotted for what it is.
     
  9. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Sitting in the theater, since it was emphasized that Stark's captors were armed by his own company, I put a lot of meaning on the Ten Rings name. (Of course, I knew what it meant, which not everyone does.) Nor were there easy visual codes like turbans, Osama-like beards, prayer rugs, Qu'rans, etc. I had even convinced myself there was a coy reference to the US creation of the Taleban (via Pakistan.) The discussion has made it painfully obvious that was stupid of me. Iron Man was about the thrill of beating up on Afghans. My bad for enjoying it. Unfortunately given the perfect isolation of people with views remotely resembling mine, there is no reason at all to think this thread is untypical.
     
  10. stonester1

    stonester1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Maybe for you. Perhaps you need to check yourself. It had nothing to do with my enjoyment of the movie.
     
  11. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The film might be about the thrill of beating up on its villains, sure. It is a summer popcorn movie after all. Of course, not all of the villains were Afghanis. And neither were all of the Afghanis in the film villains.
     
  12. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Exactly correct.

    One of the most obnoxious aspects of "political correctness" is the assumption that addressing any INDIVIDUAL in a particular way automatically carries over to every other individual who happens to share certain characteristics with that first individual.

    The truth is that the world is filled with good people, and with bad people, and with a whole lot of "in between" people. It's not "racist" to suggest that there are some bad people who happen to be part of a particular race or group. In fact, to insist that you can't acknowledge that... that every individual, regardless of race, creed, color, etc, can be good, bad, or somewhere in between... ie, that somehow it's race which is the deciding factor, not individuality... THAT is racist.

    This film happens to have a few bad guys of middle-eastern descent in it. To assume that this carries over into the assumption that the film is saying that everyone of middle-eastern descent is a bad guy... well, that's just stupid.

    Having arab "mafia" be the bad guys is no different than having American "mafia" be the bad guys, or Columbian "mafia"... and it doesn't tar the entire related population with that same brush.
     
  13. darkwing_duck1

    darkwing_duck1 Vice Admiral

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    "Iron Man" had Arab terrorists.

    There, I said it.

    SO FRAKKIN WHAT?

    There are no Arab terrorists?!?!?

    It's a nice updating of the origin to bring it into the 21st century, and at least the studio didn't fall to the same sort of craven PC crap that Paramount pulled with "Sum of All Fears" by substituting European Neo-Nazis in the film for the Arabs in the book.

    (The same craven PC attitude is probably why the "Debt of Honor"/"Executive Decisions"/"Bear and the Dragon" trilogy will probably never be made. Can't p-o the Arabs or the Chinese, now can we?)
     
  14. stj

    stj Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Since Afghanistan is not an Arab country, for the audience to see Arabs anyhow makes it perfectly plain.
     
  15. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't make that mistake, but given how the mainstream media (especially television) tends to equate everyone in the middle east with both Muslims and Arabs, can you really act so surprised?

    And my previous point still stands.
     
  16. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    At least they didn't go the 24 route.

    Tony Stark gets kidnapped in a unnamed middle eastern country by an unnamed terrorist group because the writers don't want to offend anyone. A nuke goes off in the middle of LA when the movie starts but people living there are still playing tennis hours later. Also Tony's friend from the cave comes back from the dead and it's revealed that he was evil all along.
     
  17. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    The "problem" with Iron Man (and I put it in quotes) is that it fuels the American fantasy of technology solving all our problems in a quick and easy manor.

    Another good example of this is the phrase "smart bombs." It lets us believe that war is easy, clean, and safe. We don't have to worry...the bombs are SMART!

    All this kind of stuff leads to the our current situation where we can have a war going on and the population at large doesn't even have to think about it. Forget the "we're in this together" attitude of WWII. Nope. These days the general feeling is "War? What war? Oh right...I remember, I guess."

    We are insulated and our view is sanitized so we just don't have to think about it. It's a real shame and an insult to everyone who's died on BOTH sides. How many American deaths have you seen on the news lately? They make it real easy to pretend they're all over there playing superhero...all action-movie stars who never die. That's a pretty poor view to hold, but it's an easy one to maintain these days.

    So, back to Iron Man...the film just fuels this fantasy of an "easy war" where ONLY the bad guys die because our technology can just fly in, blow them up, and fly back out. It's the whole Superman mentality.

    Now, I LIKE superhero movies. I like Superman. I like Iron Man. They're fine films and I don't want them to change. I'm just saying that Americans remain FAR too insulated from reality, and these films are playing into that a bit.

    It's not the films' fault, but there it is.
     
  18. Cary L. Brown

    Cary L. Brown Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I actually agree with a fair amount of your point there, but disagree almost entirely on one KEY point.

    It's generally the folks who are not "insulated" who are the most positive about these things. Folks who've spent time outside of their local cul-de-sac, folks who've traveled internationally and experienced more of the world... and yes, people who've served in the military... who are the least "anti-war."

    The people who believe that "smart bombs" are somehow supposed to be clean are almost universally the anti-war types. "Smart Bombs," however, are FAR CLEANER than the historical alternative... as anyone who knows the history of, say, Dresden can tell you. Taking out a target means destroying and killing... but it DOES limit the scope of the destruction necessary to accomplish the necessary task. If you want to take out a factory... you take out the factory, not the entire city in which the factory is located.

    For the record... I'm not "pro-War" as a concept, but I'm absolutely not "Anti-War" either. I can't remember it word-for-word right now, but there's a quote that I've always loved... and I'll paraphrase it here.

    "War is a terrible thing, but not the MOST terrible thing. Far worse is the state of being where a man sees nothing as being worth fighting, much less dying, over. Such men have their freedom only because of the efforts of far better men than themselves."

    I agree wholeheartedly.

    The thing is, it's usually the people who are anti-war who are the most likely to not understand the realities on the ground, and who are most likely to treat the soldiers as "fictional characters" rather than as actual human beings.

    I'm very much in favor of SOME form of compulsory national service. It wouldn't necessarily have to be the military... if you're a conscientious objector, there are other things you can do (peace corps, forestry service, whatever..) but EVERYONE who is able to do so should be required to spend two years of their life serving others in some organized, regimented form. If this were the case, the attitudes of the population would be far less egotistically-self-centered, and far more realistic about how the world actually works.
     
  19. Small White Car

    Small White Car Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    This seems to me to be little more than a stereotype. I could continue on about how anti-war types also drive Volvos and eat granola.

    Even if that's true (I have no clue) it tells us nothing about how people think who drive Fords or Mazdas or Outbacks.

    In other words, your argument strikes me as a stereotype that I doubt, and a even if it IS true, it only describes a small portion of the population, and thus tells us nothing.

    For example:

    What about 12 year old boys who know little more than World of Warcraft and Tom Clancey video games. According to you, they'd be mostly anti-war. I don't think there's any clear reason to think that about this group. Do you?

    Just to be clear, I'm not arguing the opposite of this point, I'm saying there's no point to be made at all based on these very simplistic criteria.

    EDIT: Perhaps this is the pot calling the kettle black. My original post could be criticized similarly. I like to think, however, that I made a vague point about vague people. You took a similarly vague approach, but then applied it to very specific types of people. I think that's where your argument breaks down, and where it differs from mine.
     
  20. darkwing_duck1

    darkwing_duck1 Vice Admiral

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    Only to hyper-sensitive, politically correct kool-aid drinkers...:techman: