For example, the idea that Captain America as presented in the MCU (or any character in big, colourful PG rated popcorn flick for that matter) is a new, revolutionary, un-problematic kind of hero is how we saw so many people unblinkingly and uncritically swallow ‘The Winter Soldier’ as some politically rebellious masterstroke of leftist defiance when it was actually a very careful, very safe, very neoliberal script that took tepid aim at something everyone agrees is bad (the Patriot Act) without offering any substantial commentary or praxis and while *still* stroking off American exceptionalism and perpetuating the inherently reactionary message of superhero vigilantism.
That’s my take at least. So why should I accept that people who like Steve Rogers are “better” and “more moral” than people who like [hot villain of the week], when I think that the entire thematic foundation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe is suspect and against my personal politics?
cephiedvariable on “ethical consumption”.
Literally the next line in this post is “I’m not saying ‘The Winter Soldier’ is bad” which is why I’m cutting the quote off here, because actually I think The Winter Soldier is bad, not just as a moral statement (see above), but also as a film (I literally watched it while trapped on a plane with unlimited free alcohol and nothing else to do and it still bored me so badly I spent the entire running time playing Minecraft on my phone… and I don’t even really like Minecraft), and also as part of the terminal disease of soulless hypercapitalist paint-by-numbers superhero franchises taking over literally every film genre (and thus not making room for other works).
I mean, don’t get me wrong, you’re still “allowed” to like The Winter Soldier—I like tonnes of shitty and/or objectively bad things—only that this whole Kids These Days fandom nonsense of busting a gut trying to prove your “favs” are “unproblematic softboi cinnamon rolls uwu” is really kinda… not good for a lot of reasons, including your long-term critical thinking skills. You can like Captain America all you want but Captain America1 is the literal physical incarnation of violent, post-colonialist neoliberal attitudes including-but-not-limited to American exceptionalism, Pax Americana, and the Truman Doctrine (and its descendants)—all of which have served to cause untold suffering to millions across the world for two-ish generations—and deluding yourself into believing tepid, rightwards-Overton-window-shifting “critiques” a la literally anything offered up in an MCU film are The Discourse is a train ticket straight to Centrist Apologeticsville, not actually Progressive Revolutiontown. Which, yanno. Is more-or-less oligarchic capitalism’s working-as-intended model, because Mammon forbid the Kids These Days figure out what real revolution looks like (hint: it’s not about what backpack you wear to ComicCon).
None of which is to say that progressive praxis in media consumption isn’t A Thing, only that y’all gotta start being a bit more self-reflective about honest with yourselves about when you’re doing it versus when you’re not. And stop using that shit as a Moral Cudgel to beat other kids over the head with in shipping wars on Tumblr because, trust me. That shit? That shit ain’t doing anyone any good, least of all you…2