Thursday, December 4, 2008

Fight or Fuck!

This is a notion I've been considering a lot since the passage of Proposition 8, with a large numbers of people at odds. It's not a situation with an easy answer, but it's still worth a major consideration. We have two groups with ends that are seemingly

When cultures are in opposition, they have two choices: fight or fuck!

That's a thing I learned from one of my favorite writers, Alan Moore. If it needs explanation, let's look to his classic Miracleman series (known as Marvelman in the UK) Spoiler alert for those who plan on reading these wonderful stories. Italic
Marvelman was essentially a Captain Marvel (Shazam!) rip-off that flourished in England during the 1950s. Alan Moore revamped and revitalized the character in Warrior magazine, and the series was released as Miracleman in America. It was a dark deconstruction of a four-color world, set in the late Cold War 1980s. Along with the superhero in the sparkly blue tights, there kid sidekicks grown to adults, an aging nemesis, and an impending sense of doom.

The story featured Mickey Moran, an aging reporter, who through an accident of fate remembers after many decades that he had been empowered with the abilities of Marvelman. Filled with the twistedly morbid thrills of violent action and derring-do, the story was much more interesting in regards to the question of who was more important: Mickey Moran or Marvelman? Eventually, Mickey Moran gives in to let Marvelman take over.

Meanwhile, there's a war between two alien cultures, the Warpsmiths and the Qys. The Warpsmiths were an alien culture centered upon the principles of teleportation. The Qys were a race of creatures with many bodies which could be traded at any time, essentially a magical transformation. These two cultures had been warring for ages, with no end in sight.

When it came down to it, there would be decades of bloodshed ahead. When called upon to help, Marvelman is hard-pressed to find an answer, but Marvelwoman (I mentioned grown kid sidekicks, didn't I?) appears with a response: your cultures can either fight or make love. That is, they could either continue their thanatic path or they could approach synthesis, find a way to appreciate each other. Given this simple and primal logic, the two races form a truce, and the rest is for you to read.

With Promethea, which is essentially Moore's grimoire told as a superhero adventure story, Moore considers the concept of solve et coagula. That's the idea of taking things apart and putting them back together, possibly in new and different ways. It's a recipe for creativity in short, but it would seem to be another way to approach the situation of two warring cultures.

What this means to me, with regards to the ongoing culture war is that the two movements must meet in the middle. In the long run I believe this to be inevitable, but in the meantime many battles will be waged.

There's a lot more to discuss here, but the post is long enough for now.

Also notable is A.A.R.G.H (Artists Against Rampant Government Homophobia). Published by Alan Moore's Mad Love Publishing. It railed against Clause 28, a British law essentially striking the word "homosexual" from any official government discussion, and with the aim of making it impossible to discuss gayness in schools. If you can find this book, it's pretty wonderful, however Moore's own work, a poem called The Mirror of Love, has been re-published by Top Shelf with new artwork by the amazing Jose Villarubia, and is well worth a read.

No comments: