Throwback Thursday: Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

We’re going a little deeper into the archives of science fiction this week, to pull out the 1964 Stanley Kubrick film, Dr. Strangelove or: How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. The black-and-white visuals and Cold War imagery give the movie a dated effect, but I’m realizing how distressingly relevant the underlying message still is.

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At the top level, the movie is a satire of mutually assured destruction and nuclear war. A rogue American general named Jack D. Ripper, consumed with paranoia, orders an unprovoked nuclear strike against the Soviet Union, and a fleet of bombers take to the air.

When news of the strike reaches President Merkin Muffley, he descends to the underground War Room, joined by the maniacal General Buck Turgidson, the Soviet ambassador Alexei de Sadeski, and the title character, a nuclear scientist from Nazi Germany now serving the United States. De Sadeski reveals the existence of a Soviet Doomsday Device, which will automatically destroy all life on Earth with a cloud of radioactive gas if an atomic strike on the USSR is detected. The Americans and the Russians work together to recall the bombers, but one, piloted by Major T.J. “King” Kong, has been damaged and cannot receive the radio signal, and prepares to deliver its payload.

Earth’s last hope is the failure of Kong’s bomb, spray-painted with the name “Hi There!”—which jams in the bay. But the dedicated pilot climbs on top of it, and jumps up and down on it until it deploys. Kong rides the bomb to the end of the world, gleefully whooping and waving a cowboy hat in the film’s most famous scene.

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Anonymous submission to MakeAGIF.com

The Americans pause for a moment of silence, before planning to resume the Cold War after the apocalypse when they emerge from their bunkers. The credits roll with a montage of mushroom clouds set to Vera Lynn’s “We’ll Meet Again”.

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There Are No Women of Color in the Galaxy?

Readers, life is great! The Rogue One trailer was cool, Captain America: Civil War was awesome, and there is a brand new set of Splatoon based Amiibo. Included are a set of the Squid Sisters who are very adorable, and a recolor set of the original girl, squid, and boy. Imagine my excitement when I saw that the new palette for the boy was a Black Inkling! I was incredibly hyped. But then as I looked back at the girl Inkling, I made an unfortunate observation: there is a striking lack of women of color in a lot of our media.

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How Captain America: Civil War Could Give Us More Diversity in the MCU

Avengers

We need things to look more like this.

Okay, Marvel, I have been patient, but it is time for more diversity in your movies. No more blonde actors named Chris starring in everything. Yes, I know there is some diversity in the MCU, but really, it’s only good in comparison to DC Comics, who aren’t as strong at diversity. But Civil War is a perfect opportunity for the MCU to become just as diverse as its comics.

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Superheroes and Monsters in a Complex World

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I know he’s a Nazi ghoul bent on world domination, but maybe there’s another side to this story?

The great joy of geek culture—whether it’s sci-fi, fantasy, or superheroes—is the ability to tell grand stories. Where else can we seriously consider the end of the world, or the responsibilities of ultimate power? These are the stories that always offer an escape from mundane reality, letting complexity fall away in favor of a clear mission.

In the past decade, these stories have dominated pop culture, from the way everything from Avengers to Game of Thrones has become inescapable—perhaps the public has grown weary of the multipolar diplomacy that has characterized the post-9/11 era. But these stories are letting us down. The relief offered by the simplicity of defeating comic book villains is no longer enough; we need to ask for more.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Rape, Agency, and Marvel’s Women

It seems that when you want to make a woman into a hero, you hurt her first. When you want to make a man into a hero, you hurt… also a woman first. (x)

Vague spoilers for Jessica Jones and a trigger warning for rape throughout this post.

jessica jones netflixI’ve spent the last week watching Marvel’s Jessica Jones miniseries on Netflix. (I’ve still got a few episodes left, so no spoilers for the finale, please!) While it’s very good, it also seems to buy into a common problem that plagues female characters, especially the hard-boiled/hero types: whether mentally or physically or both, its women have been violated.

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Oh Captain, My Captain: Sam Wilson Angers Rightists

Summer has ended, and Marvel’s “Secret Wars” has too. Yeah, I know they’re still putting out new “Secret Wars” issues, but with the All-New, All-Different lineup in stores, we’re able to think of the event in the past tense, at least as far as Marvel’s twisty timeline goes.

After a brief introduction in the spring, Sam Wilson now takes up Captain America’s shield and prepares to live up to the title in his own right. Captain America: Sam Wilson #1 is available now, and hoo boy, people are mad. All the people who generally get mad when anything good happens in the world are mad. It’s a blast.

Under chyrons like “Target: Conservatives” and “Captain America now fighting for illegals”, Fox News has decided to cast its lot in with HYDRA, Red Skull, Adolf Hitler, and the other opponents of the Star-Spangled Man. It joins a number of other right-wing publications denouncing the new Cap, in a near-perfect echo of the comic’s text.

Compare!

st3hzAnd:

captainsocialismIt’s so perfect, I’d almost suspect viral marketing.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Male Fighters, Loss of Agency, and Masculinity

A few weeks ago I wrote about raised female warriors and their fight for autonomy. Since then I’ve been thinking on whether male characters are ever given a similar kind of tragic backstory where they‘re kidnapped, as children or even as adults, and their agency is taken away and they are forced to learn to fight and kill on the orders of their captors. I managed to find a few that could fit this trope—Matt Murdock (Netflix‘s Daredevil), Oliver Queen (Arrow), Bucky Barnes/the Winter Soldier (MCU), and D‘Avin Jaqobi (Killjoys). All these characters have their freedom and autonomy taken away (to differing extents) and, as such, they present a lot of opportunities for nontraditional portrayals of masculinity.

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Spoilers for Arrow, Killjoys, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier below.

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