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Think of Joseph Campbell’s Monomyth as just another algorithm. There are those who knowingly exploit that, costuming it with or without agendas beyond profit, and there are those who’d rather not be codependent in thinking of something to say. That is what Alan Moore is on about in an interview elsewhere, the immediate aftermath having him largely attacked by comic book fans for his disrespect of superhero movies.

It drove me crazy how Steve Ditko was denigrated for being a devout objectivist by comickers, themselves utterly oblivious that the superhero genre itself is an objectivist’s wet dream. If they had the capacity for reading comprehension they would not require accompanying illustration, and if self-awareness were among their capabilities they would not require escapist fictions at all. There’s that saying about new truths beginning as heresy, but old truths die as heresy all the time. The moment they are taken as unflattering.

Far more interesting in that interview was his description of anarchism,

I have pursued this in a great many essays, concluding it will never come to pass as our culture does not breed responsible individuals. Inundation by self-placation does not manifest humility, only addicts wanting their egos stroked all the more. Because the world we dwell in today is one where nobody stands out for not helping other people. Shout-out to the anti-Capitalists who love their fashion; chase those dreams, as has Trump and every single egoist to have ever existed.

I would say that Moore learned too late in life of the absolute necessity for preaching outside the choir, because changing a system from within isn’t necessarily a thing that actually happens. Identity should inform culture, but what we’ve had for a long while now is the reversal of that. Instead of goods/services manufactured to meet existing demand it’s demand manufactured to meet pre-ordained goods/services, limiting both choice and profiteers. Partisanship is a fine example to this end. In spite of their many efforts at lying, cheating and stealing the two parties cannot get even half the population to vote, yet their voters are so pussy-whipped they cannot conceive what an alternative might be like, even as their lives depend on it. That is not demand but ignorance. The art of manufacturing consent is what William Randolph Hearst produced so that his paper mills would not lose out to the cheaper hemp manufacturers, done legally but unethically through demonizing marijuana with fake stories in what was later coined as yellow journalism. The US has more military bases around the world than those owned by all other nations combined and multiplied by ten, Americans divided between seeing nothing wrong with it and outright denying it. That is where marketing gets us, its demand whether for or against a thing manufactured whole-cloth. A drunk man’s actions are the sober man’s friendly fire.

The idea behind the formulaic in fiction is to avoid originality, trading noteworthiness for mass appeal. While today this is always done with profit in mind, it becomes glaring when messaging is attached. In the case of the MCU: pro-militarism, billionaires as problem-solvers rather than problem-inventors, etc. But it falls on deaf ears how the predominance of “might makes right” stories rely on the same logic used by rapists, murderers and American patriots. I don’t feel it’s incidental. Furthermore, story-telling dependent on the prospects of happy meals and whichever product placement endorsements and merchandised licensing is not going to travel very far ideologically. Maybe that’s what people want, to not be led farther than adverts, but then they must be compelled to own it. Susceptibility to marketing is nothing to be proud about, but then, the same can be said of anything else regarding modern culture.

It goes nowhere but away from who we might have been.