Thursday, April 30, 2009

You Heard it Here First, Folks

 This site was formed after the story Landon and I were creating, Symphony of Babylon, was put on indefinite hold. That story was a Watchmen-styled take on the politics of the Marvel Universe, with all the names changed to protect the innocent (and avoid a lawsuit.) The villain was based on Doctor Doom, who was going to finally establish himself as the "ruler of the world," America included. This was based originally on a short story I wrote ten years ago, a biography of Doom that was a study of dictators, and how one could rise up in America. 

 Landon and I never finished the story, but Washington is intent on writing it for us.

 In the wake of "President" Obama's press meeting today about the bankruptcy of Chrysler, a talking head on CNBC made a comment about the possibility of a "Dr. Doom" to enforce these matters. And what else did our "President" say? He called for a "common sacrifice" because "we're all in this together." 

 Now, I finished my version of this story months ago: A Show of Hands: A Cautionary Tale of Heroes In Exile. Am I psychic? No. You might have heard it here first, but I heard it from Leonard Peikoff's The Ominous Parallels. (Incidentally, Peikoff has claimed that a "pope"-like figure could arise. Obama likens himself to Conan, he's more like Thulsa Doom.) He heard it from Atlas Shrugged and We the Living. And Ayn Rand heard it herself during the Soviet Revolution. It's amazing what you can see when you think in principles.

 "It can't happen here? The HELL IT CAN'T!" 
           (Click to Enlarge Image)

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Hat tip: Linkara's Blue Beetle tribute

I just wanted to give a hat tip to Linkara, who's featured at That Guy With The and his recent Blue Beetle tribute. I've been following him for a while and I've really liked a lot he had to say (especially his "One More Day" commentary). But in this tribute he pays homage to the most recent Blue Beetle series (which I now effectively feel guilty for not having bought, since it died of low sales). He not only covers what made this new series so special but he also gives a great history of the character, from the 40's through the life and death of Ted Kord up until the birth of the new Beetle, Jaime Reyes.

Side note, what's the deal with
Ditko characters being killed off and replaced with Latinos/Latinas recently? Jaime Reyes as the Blue Beetle, Rene Montoya as the Question. Seems like a pretty big coincidence for one year is all.

But this tribute is entertaining, informative, and thorough, and he even treats
Ditko/Objectivism with respect for once.

I could not in good conscience avoid giving this a hat tip. Check this out and check out the rest of his stuff while you're at it.

Monday, April 27, 2009

HEROES Finale: WTF???

Politics aside, and with the benefit of suspension of disbelief, I STILL walked away from the Heroes season finale, shaking my head in bewilderment. WTF?????

It was going SO well; there were consequences, and Hiro's time powers were restricted, so there was no risk of "time travel" and undoing everything. (The power taking a physical toll on him was an added touch that made the stakes that much higher.) But then, this insult to intelligence. Sylar kills Nathan which was a sensible move for the writers, within the context. Matter of fact, I think it was right. Nathan had sold out everyone, so his last moments were an act of penance, and heroically so.

Sylar is captured by the good guys. Angela, however, dreams that Parkman "saves" him. But Nathan's dead. Is this a weakness in Angela's ability? Of course not. We just have Parkman make Sylar the shapeshifter, believe that he IS Nathan.

C'mon. Really??? WTF???

It is a good twist on Angela's dream. However, we are supposed to believe that this is going to work? C'mon. This is SYLAR. Did they not see the risk they were taking? I understand the political risk involved, though I'm not fond of the return of "The Company." But REALLY? For an illuminati, they're not very smart. How did they think they were going to control him? What if he remembers (which is already the setup in the teaser for next season)? Sylar has defied every attempt at being control and manipulated. Admittedly, he also defies all their attempts to kill him...but did they really think they could control him? Would have been smarter to have him escape...I's just getting silly...

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Sanction Withdrawn

"I am speaking to those who desire to live and to recapture the honor of their soul. Now that you know the truth about your world, stop supporting your own destroyers. The evil of the world is made possible by nothing but the sanction you give it. Withdraw your sanction. Withdraw your support. Do not try to live on your enemies' terms or to win at a game where they're setting the rules. Do not seek the favor of those who enslaved you, do not beg for alms from those who have robbed you, be it subsidies, loans, or jobs, do not join their team to recoup what they've taken by helping them rob your neighbors....Do not struggle for profit, success, or security at the price of a lien on your right to exist. Such a lien is not to be paid off; the more you pay them, the more they will demand...Theirs is a system of white blackmail devised to bleed you, not my means of your sins, but by means of your love of existence."

-John Galt

To Hidden Heroes...

"The last of my words will be addressed to those heroes who might still be hidden in the world, those who are held prisoner, not by their evasions, but by their virtues and their desperate courage. My brothers in spirit, check on your virtues and on the nature of the enemies you're serving. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, your love–the endurance that carries their burdens–the generosity that responds to their cries of despair–the innocence that is unable to conceive of their evil and gives them the benefit of every doubt, refusing to condemn them without understanding and incapable of understanding such motives as theirs...don't exhaust the greatness of your soul on achieving the triumph of the evil of theirs." -Ayn Rand

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

"Brother, you're asking for it!"

Do I even need to comment on what's wrong with this commercial? At first, I thought it was a parody that would end with a "green" appropriation of "progress." But this is closer to something leading to Anthem.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Gus Van Horn's Hero Link-o-Rama

A blogger by the name of Gus Van Horn has two recent entries regarding superheroes and Objectivism that I found interesting. The first one, "Getting Write With Jesus?", discusses the influence of religion in superhero comics and science-fiction. What I found interesting and relevant to this site is the question he asks: "Is having one's world, or nation, or even just one's existence directly threatened by an enemy a necessary plot element for a story of heroism?".

His answer?
"No. Just watch The Pursuit of Happyness. Is having super powers? Or being armed to the teeth with lasers and nuclear weaponry? Or being born of a virgin? Or having mystical powers? No, no, no, and no. Just read Atlas Shrugged, which does have other elements of science fiction, although I would not classify it as such."
Horn also claims that "the problem being "answered" by God, so to speak, is that most writers in our culture today do not really understand heroism or romantic realism."

Well, I agree, which is why this site is here!

Horn addresses heroes again the next one, "Why Super Powers?". He references another blogger, Doug Reich, who blogged an entry called "Why Super Heroes Need Super Powers."
Horn then refers to another blog entry about the "inanity" of super-powered versions of the heroes of Atlas Shrugged, while linking to yet another set of links on the topic, Reason Online's "Rorschach Doesn't Shrug: The Watchmen's Hero as Objectivist Saint" and Witch Doctor Repellent's blog entry, "How Not to Understand Objectivism."

I found this issue personally interesting, since I've been mentally revisiting the Symphony of Babylon project that Landon and I had planned. I've been thinking about my own issues with that story as opposed to the original intent of the short story on which it was based. That story was meant to be a look at the politics of the Marvel Universe viewed through the biography of Doctor Doom and his ascension to world power. In that story, the major heroes were gone, leaving mostly characters of a political or a legal nature. (I even wrote away Doom's mystical inclinations.) The one major exception was the presence of Franklin Richards, who is believed to be, potentially, the most powerful being in the Marvel Universe, almost "god-like." The end of the story would have had him triumph as a symbol of Objectivist/Libertarian ideals. The problem with that, as I look back on it now, is similar to Horn's objections to a "superpowered" version of John Galt. The added irony is that, when I wrote this in '99, I had not yet read Watchmen. Now, I'm struck with the realization that my version of Franklin Richards would have been analog to Dr. Manhattan, but with a different ending (and, admittedly, not as effective as Dr. Manhattan; despite my ideological differences with Moore, his use of a lone superpowered character was better integrated to his theme. Touche...) But in Landon's story, although the superpowered characters were reintroduced, the real story centered on Agent 76 (Captain America), and the ending was more ambiguous for the hero, less triumphant in victory, but still, a victory from within, not without. Now, I'm not so hard-core as Horn about superpowers; me, I like a bit of the fantastic. But I draw the line at "godlike" beings who solve our problems for "us." Landon's ending was much better, in that it centered less around the deus-ex-machina approach and more on the triumph of the mind and the spirit.

Anyway, enough yammering from me. There are links to explore above...

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hero of the Day: Navy SEALS


Hostage captain rescued; Navy snipers kill 3 pirates

From the article:

U.S. forces moved to rescue Phillips after seeing him in imminent danger on the lifeboat, Gortney said. A fourth pirate was negotiating Phillips' fate aboard the nearby USS Bainbridge.

"While working through the negotiations process tonight, the on-scene commander from the Bainbridge made the decision that the captain's life was in immediate danger, and the three pirates were killed," Gortney said. "The pirate who surrendered earlier today is being treated humanely; his counterparts who continued to fight paid with their lives."

The three pirates, who were armed with AK-47 rifles, were killed by shooters who were aboard the Bainbridge, Gortney said. 

The on-scene commander gave the shooters approval to open fire after seeing that "one of the pirates had an AK-47 leveled at the captain's back," Gortney said.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Quote of the Day

“The world has no use for another scared man. Right now, the world needs a f---ing hero.”