Wednesday, October 14, 2015

I Have To Do Some 'Splaining

First of all, Marc... I wasn't trying to argue that Germany was responsible for US postwar behavior, either in reality or in Captain America 2. We apparently see the movie very differently. To me, when Cap discovers that Hydra has taken over SHIELD and the entire US government, he is discovering that there is no moral difference between the US and the enemy he fought in Cap 1. For a patriot like Cap, a guy of superhuman moral purity, this is one hell of a discovery. The scene between Cap and the crazed Nazi scientist in the mainframe is based on reality. The US did recruit Nazis at the end of WWII, and some of these guys were very nasty. Recruiting them does not say good things about the US government.

Cap 1 is about a struggle between good Yanks and bad Germans, and it has much of appearance and feeling of American movies made during the war. Even the colors -- sepia brown, black and white and gray -- look like a 1940s B&W movie. But the moral divisions didn't run cleanly along national boundaries, as I am sure you know. There were collaborators in all the occupied countries, and there were people in the US and UK who had no problem recruiting Nazis for postwar work at the same time that Allied troops were going into the death camps and finding bodies stacked like cordwood.

Before the war, there were people in the US and Europe who liked the fascists, because they saw them as allies against the USSR, communism, socialism and the labor movement. And before the war ended, the US and UK were moving to a confrontation with their wartime ally the USSR and with the European communists who had been a lot of the resistance against fascism. (See the history of Greece right after WWII.)

(I am not saying that the USSR was a socialist or communist society. I think it was a state capitalist society and a nasty police state. But it had dangerous rhetoric.)

So this is the way I see the two Captain Americas. Cap 1 is the popular history: good Yanks and bad Germans. Cap 2 is a much more ambiguous reality. Cap realizes that the US government is the same as Hydra. In fact, the US government is Hydra. Everything he has believed in and stood for is untrue.

I may give the Marvel movies too much credit, because I enjoy them. They cost a mint to make, which means they have to please the people with the money to fund them and a gigantic, diverse audience. So they need story lines that everyone likes, and that is not likely to be an honest story line.

Now, Foxessa... I can't justify my dislike of the American professional middle class and fiction about them. I clearly suffer from a prejudice. I'm not sure where it comes from. (Though the period of my childhood, when professional people were falling over each other to denounce their neighbors as communists may have something to do with my prejudice. I can remember that period just a little. It was a time of fear and cowardice, and I think it has left deep marks on American society and culture.) In addition, speaking as an artist, I am much less interested in personal problems than in social problems. Many of my stories -- possibly most -- are about people in conflict with their social roles.


Blogger Foxessa said...

Well, I can truly understand that viewpoint, because in so many ways I share it.

But somehow, when it come to -- NOTE here, the descriptor -- GOOD fiction, I am always willing to make exceptions, it seems.

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