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Does reading comics exempt me from being an anarchist

+1 vote
My anarchist friend was telling me that I cannot be an anarchist because I like to read Batman and Judge Dredd comic books. He said Batman is bourgeoisie that beats up proletarians and that Superman just cares about enforcing the American way but I told him Superman was originally created as a criticism of wealthy slum lords like Superman's nemesis Lex Luthor is a filthy rich slum lord. He said since Judge Dredd is a cop and I enjoy reading Judge Dredd comics then I'm a cop supporter and anarchists hate cops and cop supporters. Judge Dredd is a street judge and a clone that was programmed to be ruthless and to become a street judge. I'm not a cop supporter. I like to read comic books. So what? Does anarchism really have strict rules over who can be an anarchist?
asked Apr 26 by Comic book fan
anyone can call themselves an anarchist....and anyone else can disagree.

i try to not concern myself much with other people applying (or not applying) a label to me.
Ur friend doesn't sound very fun.  anarchy does not have rules, at least as far as I'm concerned.  I enjoy fiction too, and whilst sometimes my beliefs do impact my enjoyment, I often just turn a critical eye to what narrative the media might be pushing, what the message is, and what I think of that.
also i think 'exclude' would be a better word than 'exempt', but im just a nitpicker
there are definitely some who do think they hold a monopoly on defining what is and isn't "anarchist". they are typically dogmatic ideologues. fuck em.

you can poke around this site to see what others have said about this. use the search box at the top of the page, and search for things like "define anarchism".
"He said since Judge Dredd is a cop and I enjoy reading Judge Dredd comics then I'm a cop supporter "

your friend is a moron. sorry, i had to say it.

2 Answers

+3 votes

not at all, a lot of people call themselves anarchists and do a whole lot of nothing, or have some views many others would consider contradictory to that self identification. lots of other people don't self Identify as @s but mount a whole lot of direct action type resistance to the state and capital.

that being said, this is from the 1954 comic book code, its always good to be aware of and critical of what you take in.

  • Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  • If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
  • Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
  • Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates a desire for emulation.
  • In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
answered Apr 26 by DonnieDarko (850 points)
Wow, thanks for that Comics Code Authority info, unbelievable. Disgusting, really. But has it really been respected? Thinking about all the comics I've read I think there is a subtle subversive message being transmitted by the creatives, passing under the radar of the Code. The very idea of the super-powered vigilante primarily concerned with preventing supervillains from achieving world domination... goes fine with anarchy.

I am a huge comic book fan. Here in France it gets the respect it deserves as an art.
i'm guessing alan moore (probably among many others) didn't have much respect for it. though whoever made V for vendetta into that hollywood crap movie might have tried to retro-fit.
Here's one of my favourite passages: Adam Warlock is asked "will you lead us in revolt?"
He answers: "No! Please... hear me out! In the past, I have worn the mantle of leadership and have been forced to suffer the weight of others' leadership! I know power and the path on which it leads one! It is an old track! many have gone down it and always with the same result!....(after a story about a power hungry caveman)... That was the way it began and how THEY say it always will be! the strong must always lead and exploit the weak! I do not believe this! I seek an alternative, I rule no one, so no one rules me!"

The aliens mock him and say he is afraid and just masking it with "flowery words." They go have their revolt, get into trouble and Warlock has to come save their butts. They ask why he aided them after they mocked him. He says because they were in need, period. They ask why he would not lead them before, to which he replies:

"For the same reason I'll not lead you now! Each of you is a leader within himself. Fools allow others to rule them. Wise men rule themselves."

Written by the legendary Jim Starlin, Marvel Comics Strange Tales 179, 1975. Approved by the Comics Code Authority.
bear in mind this is the 1954 version. I haven't looked at others intensely, but they still basically require them to be apple pie American.

well it wasn't "enforced" as it wasn't a government thing. the CCA formed as a private group to avoid government regulation. if a comic passed inspection they would get a seal of approval. DC marvel and the other big companies all followed the code because if you didn't have the seal, many comic stores wouldn't carry it because parents wouldn't allow their kids to buy it. dc stopped in 2001 I think. but ya there were people not following it.

idk, I don't see a subversive message in the supervillain thing, just because they never do anything about the supervillains that are already in power. I feel like the "heroes" motives are to strike down one supervillain to retain the hegemony of another.

"I feel like the "heroes" motives are to strike down one supervillain to retain the hegemony of another."

Good point. I can't imagine the moral dilemmas those heroes must face sometimes. The anarchist heroes I mean.

+1 vote

Yes.

(kidding)

Whoever told you that sounds like they must have super powers of anarchist-identification. Maybe they are a comic book character? Like in the Archie & Jughead lineage.

I am not super familiar with the particulars of any of those comics, but so what if you read them? I read lots of books that are not anarchist books, and whose conclusions or assumptions I disagree with or am critical of, but I still enjoy them. I watch TV shows and movies that are definitely. not. anarchist. Guess what? I enjoy them and it doesn't affect my ability to be an anarchist one bit.

Your self-righteous friend seems to think we should live in an anarchist world where we only do anarchist things with anarchists. Or something similar. They are ignoring the fact that we live in a world that is not only populated by anarchists, and that we can't be pure. One can watch Dirty Harry and still hate cops.

answered Apr 27 by ingrate (21,340 points)
"that shot was like what anarchists think the next riot will achieve."

LOL!!!!  literally, out loud! that should be a meme.
ingrate - two things (yeesh, both huge).

one - the outside world = non anarchist/de-anarchizing (why search for the known word, when you can just make your own!)... i feel that all the time, but i also think it's ridiculous, and the best thing about the crimethinc tendency to reclaim the Real World as anarchist was to challenge that perspective, which i think makes me more insular and impatient, etc.

two - again, the fun part is different from the "but everything is like this" because it's what we (again, arguably) have the most say over, the most choice about, which i think gives it a different kind of access to our/my soft underbelly. when i think about detective shows as being a kind of propaganda that i choose to beam at myself while i'm consciously paying more attention to other things... it makes it hard to watch them anymore, for one thing. which is easily done in that instance, but other enjoyment activities are not so easy to let go (i'm reminded of many in my life who've had one coping skill, like exercise, and when they are injured, they lose their shit, for example).

also ingrate (ha) I do appreciate you pointing out that some media might be decidedly not anarchist, but prescriptive lines seem, troubling

part of the reason that prescriptions would be counter-indicated (as well as not anarchist! lol) is that people get different things out of different things. i watch a show that has a strong female lead (fucking netflix terminology) and perhaps for me that offsets the fact that she works with a cop to figure out who did things. or i watch a show on cops and try to use the information it provides about cop protocol to prepare for if/when i get arrested. as i said explicitly before, this is not about setting rules for others, this is about being aware of and wary of the balancing act we're doing all the time, especially when we're (arguably) most vulnerable--ie taking it easy.

i mean, trying to "be" anything to me is a joke, i very strongly identify with egoism because I haven't gotten anything good out of labeling myself or having anyone else label me. To me "being an anarchist" is more about being against the coercive life, and pondering coercion and force more deeply than an-caps tend to, but whether anarcho-capitalists are "real anarchists" or not is a level of abstraction that isn't worth dealing with. Lifestyle anarchism is interesting but to me that should be about using a deeper understanding of the modern socio-political system to live a better life and avoid getting trapped in shitty social situations. Hack your bosses.

If any political or anti-political label is going to interfere with anything that I want to do in life, then I'm gonna throw it in the trash right away.
i like your comment, nihilist, especially the last sentence.

i would even go so far as to say any label applied to me - other than my name/nickname, or maybe "dickhead" - interferes with my desire to be without labels.
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