Sometimes I give up trying to deal with old uni acquaintances who were so drawn in by the left vs right propaganda argument in mainstream media that they look down on almost all popular media. The above picture was a comment I left on a friend’s wall after they linked to this opinion piece about Frank Miller over on the Guardian’s website.
Last week, I posted about how Mr Miller seems to have changed quite a bit since he became well known in the 1970s and 1980s after he posted his thoughts about the Occupy movement over on his blog. However, Rick Moody on the Guardian decided to use Miller’s sudden outburst as a way to decry all popular media, with action films, comic books and comic book films the main casualties.
It was the all too familiar argument I had been inundated with when studying for my degree: that popular media is forever pushing the right wing agenda, trying to program the minds and attitudes of the proles. Sewn in with that point of view is stuff like this:
“At least comic books themselves are so politically dim-witted, so pie-in-the-sky idealistic as to be hard to take seriously.”
Now, as I pointed out in the screen grab from Facebook, the author clearly hasn’t seen anything to do with the Civil War storyline from Marvel a few years back, which dealt with the themes of the holocaust and fascism. He also seems unwilling to look into the nature of how many vigilantes, such as Batman, are portrayed.
The great irony in the academic seeking out popular media products and labeling them as right-wing is that it is so horribly familiar to the the perverse nature of McCarthyism. This sort of Ivory Tower thinking is just ridiculous. Yes, you will find political elements in all texts, but if you’ve got people of certain political persuasions writing stuff, then things will leak through.
At the same time, this sort of attitude treats the audience as extremely passive and as idiots. And here is a huge problem, because the simple fact of the matter is that if you treat people like idiots, they will inevitably act as idiots – self-fulfilling prophecy on a societal level is the real problem.
So if academia should be complaining about anything, it’s how the general public are treated as if they were dimwits all the time. But again, the irony is that those in their Ivory Towers are far too busy saying that “normal” people are stupid. And so the cycle continues.
Yet how did my “friend” from uni respond to by above post?
So, he likes art house and indie basically. Fails to understand that Hollywood has always been about making a profit. Fails to grasp the point I made about comics and instead draws on what is essentially the art house film equivalent of a comic. Well done.
Yes, Marketing Execs are a huge problem, but there’s plenty of credible entertainment released that doesn’t fit in with their rose tinted vision.
Right now, I am so glad that I finished my degree.