It’s time for some comics again. Whenever I read comics, I note anything that seems interesting to me and collect it until I another comics post is up. Like, now. Today we talk about things that end on –y, like humanity, democracy, authority and anarchy.
I talk about humanity a lot here, especially about the fact that we in our culture often blame humanity for all the problems in the world, based on the assumption that humans are simply flawed, so that no good can come from them. The world must be screwed if humans are the dominant species. I point this out because (as I mentioned before but it’s a point I’m willing to repeat endlessly) seeing it this way would mean there is no hope for us because we are inherently flawed. Instead, I suggest that the problem is our culture, since there are many human cultures that are not destroying the world and don’t seem to have the same flaws as us. Still this meme is repeated again and again because it keeps us from believing in change.
So, humans have limitations even if they have reasons. This harks back to the popular idea of “humans are the best, but they are too flawed.”
Basically the same idea. Humans are horrible, but they are good, too, so don’t despair yet.
So, when I say other cultures don’t destroy the world or perceive themselves as flawed, I’m talking about tribal cultures. It’s interesting to see how here humans are described as inherently “tribal”, which I’d agree with completely, even if our culture denies that. The comic even goes so far as explaining that the world for ‘people’ is the same as the tribe’s name. I wouldn’t follow the implication it then makes and eventually this all just sets up some Gotham gang war, but I still find it fascinating that some interesting (and important) piece of trivia is hidden in Batman comic.
And then again, it is boiled down to the basic principle again: “The biggest threat to humanity [is] humanity.” I find it so fascinating that no one even blinks at such a sentence, although it really implies that we’re all doomed. But maybe no one blinks at this idea anymore either.
Democracy is another concept in our society that seems to be self-evident and the only way to do things. Well, you know what? Bruce Wayne? Not a fan of democracy. Brilliant.
And I love this so much, but it’s Ales Kot (and Marco Rudy with the most amazing art), so it’s no surprise. An alien race that went beyond democracy because it didn’t work out for them.
Then he goes through the motions anyone faces when criticizing society. “What do you want? Anarchy?” And then, just like that, Kot lets an alien propose a “fluid system” that’s “in harmony with nature” in a comic about Captain America’s former sidekick. (Ales, if you read this, contact me, we could work on something together!) Seriously, this reads like everything I more or less believe or at least challenges you think about it. Read this.
And we’ll end with another comic that’s always brilliant and challenging, the dystopia of Lazarus by Greg Rucka who thinks more about things than you and I do. Here he gives us a heart-breaking moment of questioning authority (the heartbreak comes from the context) when you are told to kill you brother. Do you always do what you’re told? Should you? Go, and read some comics, I tell you that.