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Author Topic: Castro vs Superman  (Read 7682 times)
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TELLE
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« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2006, 09:04:19 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
This attitude is changing, as many young people growing up in Latin America take pop culture seriously, and do not consider it "trash" culture or disposable. Elan Stavans, author of THE RIDDLE OF CANTINFLAS and the comic book A LATINO HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES shows, featuring Superman and Captain America besides masked wrestlers and the Mexican Calavera figure.


Julian, thanks for your "on the ground" perspective!

Is the above book any good? Is it academic or more popular?

Ariel Dorfman, one of the authors of How to Read DD, wrote another book, The Empire's Old Clothes, about popular superheroes and characters like Babar and the Lone Ranger.  In the book he writes: "the superhero's triumph is based on the omission of the working class, the elimination of a community or collective which could transform the crisis and give it a meaning or new direction."
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« Reply #9 on: February 11, 2006, 12:24:37 PM »

I have a book by Ariel Dorfman and Manuel Jofré called Super-Homem e seus amigos do peito (Superman i sus amigos del alma), with the same subjects. Didn't read it yet, I was reading Superheroes and Philosophy, with a chapter by Mark Waid... but it might be interesting for you.
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« Reply #10 on: February 12, 2006, 09:01:50 AM »

Quote from: "TELLE"
Julian, your Miami sounds so much more interesting than what I see on CSI!  Thanks for the "on the ground" perspective.


If you want some good Miami books that get across the real "Banana Republic" weirdness of this town, try Carl Hiaasen; the movie adaptations, predictably (yes, I *AM* looking at you, STRIPTEASE) don't ever do his work justice.

Dave Barry lives in Miami and has a Cuban wife, but he isn't a "Miami" writer most of the time. Nonetheless, he too, is worth reading, especially BIG TROUBLE; as with Hiaasen, his stuff doesn't translate to movie form well.

There was a comedy "open ended" story by a bunch of Miami writers, NAKED CAME THE MANATEE, which is worth checking out.

Quote from: "TELLE"
Is the above book an academic text or more "popular"?  Sounds interesting.


LATINO HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES is a book that covers Latino history in the United States, and it covers area that is broad, but fairly shallow - good for beginners that are interested in a funny, graphic treatment of the subject, but probably not a good resource for writing a graduate school level paper on the subject.

Quote from: "TELLE"
Ariel Dorfman, one of the co-authors of How to Read Donald Duck, also wrote The Empire's Old Clothes, about children's books and comics, including Babar, Lone Ranger and Superman.  He wrote it after fleeing Chile due to the US-backed Pinochet coup (ironically he moved to the US!).  Quite extensive chapters on superhero formulae and story structure.  Among many more insights, he writes: "the superhero's triumph is based on the omission of the working class, the elimination of a community or collective which could transform the crisis and give it a meaning or new direction."

Food for thought.


The counter to Dorfman's claim, superheroes being Ayn Rand figures for a sinister ultra-individualism, is the concept of the superteam and "group power." The Fantastic Four, Justice League, and so forth are all great because they are a team, and with such groups, teamwork and teams being greater than the sum of their parts is the norm.

Many pulp heroes in particular are reliant on cooperation and working in groups. Doc Savage would never go anywhere without his Fabulous Five, as did the Shadow with his giant agency and spy network.

If ANY hero is a model of the Ayn Rand concept of "sticking it to the organization," it would have to be James Bond, not Superman. Bond is a businessman in a faceless bureaucracy that always finds little passive-aggressive ways to fight back; the way he flirts with his boss's secretary and destroys Q's gadgets, for example; sure, it isn't gassing subways the way Rand would have it, but he's clearly an individual overman stifled by the organization.
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« Reply #11 on: February 12, 2006, 03:13:54 PM »

Thanks, a friend has recommended Hiassen, but I've never really been tempted.  I may have to reconsider.

Like crime fiction?  I read Miami Blues and liked it (good movie too).  Anyone like Elmore Leonard?

As for superteams, I really don't see a corporate superhero team as comparable to a mass movement.  They are more like armies or governments (or paramilitaries or posses).  From what I've read of the Authority and other dystopian, post-Moore team books, it is not a big stretch to make this explicit.

Of course, superteams may teach kids other things, like teamwork, tolerance, beauty, love, etc. (and the 60s JLA certainly had huge moral overtones) but Dorfman's points still are hard to refute for me.

And I thought Mr.A was the ultimate Randian hero (followed closely by the Question)!  Did anyone read Peter Bagge's Spider-Man one-shot?  Genius.

Superman Forever: it sounds like it may be the same book, with a different title.  I will check my copy to see if it has a different title in Spanish.
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« Reply #12 on: February 12, 2006, 06:18:32 PM »

To be honest, I miss the idea of Superman being a sort of savior for the working class. I like the cosmic adventures he has, too, but there was just something cool about how the Golden Age Superman operated--except for the killing, that is.

Heck, the Golden Age Superman would even put Green Arrow to shame with his respect for the working man.  Smiley
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« Reply #13 on: February 20, 2006, 06:06:34 AM »

Quote from: "JulianPerez"
sure, it isn't gassing subways the way Rand would have it.

I have never made it more than a few chapters into Atlas Shrugged, but Doesn't objectivism involve rather strict rules against "initiating force"?
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