The World Needs Heroes by Tom Knighton

416o02mglml._sy346_

The World Needs Heroes

By Tom Knighton

The world needs heroes.

If we learned nothing else over the last couple of weeks, it should be just how badly our world needs heroes. After all, the events in a church in White Settlement, TX illustrates just how important heroes are. One of that particular breed put the shotgun-wielding maniac down in just six seconds. Countless lives were spared.

Yet our society often denigrates the hero. Our fiction is filled with not just anti-heroes, but the non-heroic protagonist. Yes, I’m speaking to the male type of hero here, not because of some sense of sexism, but for other reasons which shall become clear in a moment.

And honestly, that’s perhaps the biggest reason we sometimes feel like we live in a world without heroes.

To be fair, we don’t. There are heroes out there aplenty. They’re your neighbor or co-worker, your husband or brother. They’re people who stepped up in the aftermath of 9/11 and went to war with the forces of evil.

But once those folks are out of the game, they often go back to being meek and mild.

That’s not surprising. After all, our society tells them that’s what they should be. Some reject that, but many more don’t. In fiction, that’s brought about by the fact that real, pure heroes are a thing of the past, something relegated to the dustbin of history.

Some will argue that art follows life, and to some extent that’s true.

However, life also follows art.

What’s more, we all know that the left knows this. They know it with a burning passion, which is why it’s so important for them to use art to undermine the institutions that they find antithetical to their Marxist positions. They undermine tradition, family, and yes, heroism.

They prefer moral ambiguity not because sometimes that’s part of life—it is, but not nearly as often as they like to pretend it is—but because it undermines the idea that sometimes life is black and white, that there are good guys and bad guys, and that it’s not always necessary to look at something from a different perspective.

As such, the push for years is the “morally-complex hero,” the guy who is neither good nor bad. He simply exists.

While it’s perfectly acceptable for a female protagonist to be unambiguously good, the same isn’t true about male protagonists. Then again, we live in a world where masculine virtues are denigrated and ignored. Whether this is a case of art following life or the other way around is largely irrelevant at this point.

What isn’t irrelevant is that a change is desperately needed.

The shooting in Texas illustrates quite well that a good guy can stop a rampaging scumbag if given the opportunity, but we never should have allowed our society to get to the point where we had any doubt that such a thing was true.

We need more heroes.

The easiest place to start that, though, is in fiction. Much as I love Liam Neeson’s character in Taken or the incomparable John Wick, both are men who do some pretty sketchy things in their lives. While I would never remove them from popular culture, there’s something to be said about the unambiguous hero as well.

I honestly think that half the reason Harry Potter did so well was that Harry wasn’t some little prat going on that he was the chosen one simply because Rowling wanted to give him some depth. Instead, he’s a kind, sweet kid who while less than perfect is still someone fans can root for.

Owen Pitt of Monster Hunter International isn’t perfect either, but he’s a genuine hero with little moral ambiguity. In the first book, his most jerk-faced moment was tossing Grant into shark-filled water. However, he’d forgotten about the sharks, so it was a mistake, but not a lack of morals that dictated the actions.

Our own esteemed hostess has a whole slew of legitimately heroic characters in her Shifter books (which I want to read more of [hint hint]) where they’re not perfect, but they’re not immoral simply because someone thinks that’s what it takes to make interesting characters. [The DST books too, Tom. Read that while you wait for Shifters to get rebooted somewhere around the middle of the year!-SAH]

The problem is, there aren’t a lot of them.

Now, I have little doubt this crowd can name a pile of them, both from the golden age and from more recent works. Please do, in fact.

However, the truth is that so many of our heroes aren’t just heroes. As a result, so many men aren’t valuing heroism.

So the place to start is in our fiction. Let’s stop vilifying men and making them less than heroic simply to score political points. The existence of strong men doesn’t negate the existence of strong women. The presence of strong men doesn’t immediately place them at odds with strong women either. The two can co-exist on the page just as easily as they do in reality. [In fact, strong men tend to like strong women and vice versa.- SAH]

We need them, though, because as Sarah has pointed out before, storytelling is an integral part of being human. Stories fill us and guide us. They teach us what is acceptable and what isn’t. Fable, parables, chivalric romances, are all basically just stories meant to instruct us as to the proper mode of behavior.

Stories do more than entertain us or inspire us, they teach us. They instruct us how to be better people. [Or, unfortunately, worse people, as we have proof daily – SAH] They always have, which is why holy books aren’t just dull lists of things to do and things not to do. They’re instead filled with lessons in story form because our minds are just simply better at remembering those.

As such, we need those stories of heroic deeds and heroic men as a way to help guide us as a people.

While I enjoy a good anti-hero as much as anyone, it’s time to dial that back as a society. Instead, let’s bring back the heroes of yesteryear. [And learn to be fearless and brave in defense of the people and things we love again. YAY – SAH]

You can click on the image above to buy Tom’s book, The Last Champion, or click on the title link.

384 thoughts on “The World Needs Heroes by Tom Knighton

  1. > hero

    When I saw stories talking about “sports heroes” I realized the word didn’t mean much any more.

    And even when used for something closer to its original meaning, it was usually in the sense of “waiting for someone else to come along and fix things.”

    No, you don’t need a hero. You just need some small number of ordinary schmucks Doing The Right Thing.

    1. It’s not a more main-stream sort of heroism, but Philip Rivers has my hard core respect.

      Nine kids, and he’s brave about it.

      Yeah, he’s rich, and famous, and not hard to look at, and don’t get me started on his good taste in ladies– but going against the culture like that is a big thing.

        1. *shakes head* Still plucks at the brainpan a bit to hear the phrase “openly Catholic.” Every time I hear it, I keep thinking “openly sane” will be next.

            1. Not in person, no. *chuckle* Without getting into the weeds of discussing the matter, lets just say I think of him as little as possible. I’ve enough on my own plate putting me and mine to rights. Won’t catch me saying a man should spend more time with his bible and less with trying to make others politically perfect. Why, that would be rude, it would.

                1. They don’t seem particularly worried. I mean, Taal COULD affect Metro Manila area if it decided to do the big kaboom, but when I asked they said they get some ashfall, but most of it is blown out to sea, they said. I was particularly concerned with my baby nephew’s health, but they’re keeping him indoors for now.

                1. Popes can certainly resign, and the man elected after such a resignation is as much a pope as if the original had died.

                  1. Shhh. Mary, I know.
                    But it helps me sleep at night.
                    Also I’m convinced it was a Vatican coup. Which is something else.
                    It’s like my telling myself this universe where Obama was president was SURELY not the real one, and any minute now, it would reorganized and all would be fine.

                2. Yeah, I’m kind of just avoiding going to church right now, because the ones I can get to are all socjusticy and I’d like to not spend my time with high blood pressure. My renal doctor would be very upset with me since they finally managed to get it under control… (and I didn’t have pre-eclampsia in the last trimester! There was much celebrating for that!)

  2. Many years ago I watched The Man in the Iron Mask (the de-cappuchino version). At the end, when d’Artagnan lay wounded and dying (is that a spoiler at this late date?) his second in command talking to the king pointed at d’Artagnan and said “All my life, all I wanted to be…was him.”

    That line rang with me. I grew up with heroes. I grew up on comic books and back then the heroes were heroic and the bad guys were bad (although some were redeemable). One knew which was which. Only for more than a decade The Power the Be had been systematically destroying those childhood heroes. (See my Batman Rant) as one example.) Leading me to ask “Where have all the heroes gone.”

    And, yes, I’m holding out for a hero.

    1. thanks for saving me from having to hunt down this vid. I was trying to think of another but was going to have to submit . . .saved! You’re my hero!
      okay, sorry

    2. I’m with you and Bonnie. He doesn’t necessarily have to be strong or fast–he doesn’t even necessarily have to be a “he”–but he does have to be “fresh from the fight…larger than life” and ready to put everything on the line for what’s right.

      1. “Not heroic enough… throw him back and try again.”

        I figure when you’re to the point of needing heroes, you’re probably past the point of being choosy.

        There was a song called “We Don’t Need Another Hero” in Thunderdome. If Max Rockatansky had been smarter he would have flipped them a salute and left them to their own devices.

  3. No! No, no, no, no, no! Heroes are dangerous! Heroes are destructive. They create false illusions of the efficacy of individual actions to redress social wrongs. It is only through collective action that we can effect social change. We must suppress this pernicious myth of individuality as embodied in a hero and instead direct aspirations to working within the collective. To build better society we must suppress our individuality, suspend our individual judgement, ad immerse ourselves within the movement, obeying our leadership and building from the working classes, following the enlightened voice of Big Brother.

    Phooey.

    1. Pretty good recapitulation of the Lefty mindspace. I try not to let that stuff stay in my head very long, its corrosive and leads to pitting of the brain-pan.

    2. Heroes are dangerous! Heroes are destructive. They create false illusions of the efficacy of individual actions to redress social wrongs.
      Hence, the enforced retirement of Mr. Incredible. Double Phooey.

        1. A good bit of the time I’ll bet its because they quite literally can’t not. Cannot stand by when they could do something to help. Some people just have that reflex.

          Not that they don’t recognize its dangerous. Especially these days. But, well. Heroes gonna hero. *chuckle*

    3. But isn’t Big Brother a hero? Fearlessly leading the Vanguard of the Proletariat into Communism?

      1. Big Brother is a fantasy. A composite creation, like Betty Crocker, only out of Fascism by Bureaucracy. In my experience creatures that are the product of market research are not heroic…although it might be fun to tell the story of one that, to the horror of his creators, BECAME a hero.

        1. Then again, notice that every People’s Democratic Republic plaster’s some Maximum Leader’s mug all over everything- Stalin, Mao, the Kims, and so on.
          For all their talk about collectivism, they sure love their personalities.

              1. There are a couple of quotes that speak directly to this topic:

                G’Kar: “There is a greater darkness than the one we fight. It is the darkness of the soul that has lost its way. The war we fight is not against powers and principalities; it is against chaos and despair. Greater than the death of flesh is the death of hope, the death of dreams. Against this peril we can never surrender. The future is all around us, waiting, in moments of transition, to be born in moments of revelation. No one knows the shape of that future or where it will take us. We know only that it is always born in pain.”

                G’Kar: “They were the bad guys, as you say, we were the good guys, and they made a very satisfying thump when they hit the floor!”

              2. Oh, and how could I forget:

                READ J. Michael Straczynski’s ‘Becoming Superman’ — the story of what he endured, and how he overcame it, is the classic Hero’s Journey.

                After you read it, you will never again believe that the Left’s ‘victims’ are parasites, robbers, rapists and murderers because they ‘never had a choice’. ‘The One’ had a childhood as fucked up as any of theirs, and chose the side of Right.

              3. Babylon 5 is so full of heroes I can’t name them all. Maybe that’s why after 20 years it’s still the best show that’s ever been on the idiot box.

                Delenn is a hero pretty much all the time.
                Marcus is driven to be the perfect paladin.
                Sinclair and Sheridan, also pretty much full-time heroes.
                Ivanova, a Tragic Hero with some comic moments.
                Garibaldi alternates between Hero and Fallen Hero.
                G’Kar endures much, and becomes a hero.
                Londo is a hero some of the time.
                Lennier starts as a paladin and becomes a Fallen Hero.
                Vir has his heroic moments.

                Kosh, Lyta, Neroon, Franklin, Lochley, Zack, Hague, Byron, Dukhat, Draal, the Narn volunteers, Captain Ericsson and the crew of White Star 14…the list goes on and on.

                You don’t have to be a hero all the time. Once, at the right time, can be enough.

          1. *chuckle* I’m a few days late to this but when I saw the title I knew there’d be a few vids of the song in the thread. ^_^

            (PS: I’ve lost your email somewhere so I didn’t get to email you and wanted to, but tis open news now: I’ve a new son; we’ve named him Rowan.)

      1. You had to go and do it. You had to post The March. Now the monster got out and there’s fucking claw marks everywhere. It’ll take an hour to settle it down.

        Its a hard thing to be a Scot in this degenerate age, I tell you. I spend half my energy keeping that thing in its cage some days, I really do.

        God help them if they ever come in earnest.

      2. There is JUST one problem. The song doesn’t fit the Poles in the video. If it had been a Field battle it would but the Poles are attacking a city. The song fits the CITY defenders NOT the Poles.

        Yes, Yes, I know the Poles were attacking a Russian city and they were trying to get their land back BUT the song does not fit them in the video.

      3. Best song! Gets so much mileage in our household. When I’m having a hard time working out my significant other will put it on and that gets me going. It’s also been used quite a few times during D&D during boss fights where the party needs that extra push to win.

    1. For a little variety – this one was written for the 2000 Summer Olympics. Now imagine it with scenes of various US and/or Australian military actions…

  4. I’ve read the theory several places that this is one reason that superhero movies are so popular. Captain America and Wonder Woman and even the brooding Batman are allowed to be unironically heroic, whereas more “realistic” characters all have to be at least somewhat repulsive.

    As a side note, it’s interesting what we decide is sufficiently realistic and not sufficiently realistic. Yeah, “no man is a hero to his valet” and all that, but air-ducts aren’t big enough for someone built like the Rock to crawl through, and we still use that trope.

      1. He had a talk about that with the hacker.
        He talked about being THAT man. The one who steps up because nobody will or there is nobody else.
        Not a bad scene.

    1. I remember hearing about realism in the development of the game Portal. People complained because the player’s character could fall infinite distances (and I mean thst VERY literally) and walk away unharmed. In response, the developers put springs on the soles of her shoes.

      The complaints stopped.

      1. I recently found a video on how the longfall boots work – or more precisely, how they DON’T – from a scientific perspective:

        1. The developers acknowledged that the springs were an absurd solution. But the fact that there was even the most basic nod toward the dangers of falling was still enough to remove the complaints.

  5. Some time a go, some idiot was “whining” about superheroes being “inheritably Fascist”.

    Of course, part of his whine was about the “above the law aspect” of the superhero but he IMO missed the point.

    The “superhero” is a descendant of the “wandering knight/warrior” who comes upon a problem and deals with the problem. He could have just ridden on thinking “not my problem”, but he fights the evil either to defend others or to avenge the death of others.

    Of course, the “man with super-powers” is a descendant of heroes like Hercules.

    1. Related to this and the mention of folks built like the Rock– anybody watching Witcher?

      I have a hard time getting past how flippin’ BUILT that dude is. And don’t get me started on him doing an interview and this totally different accent is there. ^.^

      1. The Witcher is hilarious. I watched the whole thing, its a riot.

        Google “toss a coin to your Witcher” for song mashups and remixes. Young Relative is all over it.

        I’m told there is a four minute video of nothing but Gareth grunting and saying “fuck!”

              1. In the original Polish, his name translates to Buttercup. They decided that was too effeminate in English, so it was changed to Dandelion.

                ‘Jaskier’ is Polish for buttercup, as it happens.

                -Albert

              2. Yep. It’s actually the ORIGINAL, untranslated name 😀

                (Why they felt the need to translate it to begin with is beyond me, though. Jaskier is actually quite a cool name, meaning aside.)

                I got stuck partway through episode five, alas–the show was enjoyable, but Yennefer’s, erm, form of entertainment and/or fertility ritual put me right off. (Look, I couldn’t help but read that scene–after she turned everyone loose–as mass rape. It really put me off a character I was already struggling with. And yes, I *know* Yennefer is bonkers, screwed up, and makes pretty much everyone else in that group of characters look like they’re stable and well-adjusted. But…it really put me off. I may still give it another go, but…)

                Other than the bit that put me off, it is a delightful mix of serious, grimmity-grim dark fantasy and utter silliness. Actually, I can’t help but think it could do with more silliness (though I suppose they were erring on the side of grimdark–I gather the books are chock-full of “Geralt is apparently the only sane man in the world” silliness, and I may need to check them out.)

                And I never really found Henry Cavill particularly interesting (he was okay as Superman, but the movies themselves were so blah, I didn’t really pay much attention)…but he makes a PERFECT (and incredibly smoking hot) Geralt. I am especially impressed by his vast range of frowny faces and grunts that do indeed convey a variety of meanings.

                1. He’s not to my taste for hotness, but really is awe-inspiring in how they managed to emphasize how freaking solid that guy is.

                  I keep getting the impression of those old cartoons where they’d show football player characters, and then take off the “pads” and it was cloth-thin, they’re actually built like that.

                  1. Yeah, he is most definitely a beast. I do wonder if the actor wasn’t more motivated than for other roles–he’s apparently a HUGE fan of the books/games, and so possibly was perfectly happy to put in the insane hours required to look like that…

                    I mean, next to Geralt, even the same actor as Superman looks rather…slim…

                    1. K, now several episodes in, getting the “hot” factor.

                      Guy is in bed with a prostitute and conveys totally not pervy?

                      And conveying both confidence and recognition of vulnerabilities/ weaknesses/ failings/ total lack of stupid pride in that elf episode?

                      Whoof.

                      I still think he looks over-developed.

                2. I suspect it was to prevent his having a cool name. Naming a character “Dandelion” is a strong indicator of that — I presume “Buttercup” has a similar vibe.

                  1. In support of this, one of my husband’s D&D groups had a guy start a character named “Jaskier” so while DearHusband was greeting the guy, I trilled over Discord “heya, Buttercup!”

                    Dude nearly broke something laughing. (He knows me from the Navy, although at a remove where he’s shocked I have a personality sometimes.) Yes, he knew what the name meant, and yes thought aobut it because of the show/game, but it’s also a cool name.

      2. That on Netflix? We don’t do that, nor stream anything else. Old-fashioned and already have interests exceeding a day’s available time by factor of two.

        Besides, it sounds like the set-up for an Abbott and Costello routine …

        Hey Bud, watch’er watchin’?

        Witcher.

        Witcher?

        Yes, Lou, I’m watching Witcher.

        If you’re watching Witcher then watch’er watching?

        1. But he does do a good job of it all the same…I hadn’t done much more than play the first 20 minutes of the first game, because I am ambiguous about “dark” fantasy and it’s love of heroes that make your skin crawl.

          I must say, though, that at least in the tv show Geralt is…kind of unambiguously heroic. He scowls horribly about it the entire time, but aside from the plot of the first episode (which clearly messed him up), he’s pretty straight-up heroic (and will not kill something just because someone else says it’s a monster, which I quite liked).

          And while I’m not sure one could call the bard a hero…every moment he’s on-screen is comedy gold (who’d have thought Henry Cavill would play such a great straight man? I have no idea who the actor playing the bard is, but he’s HILARIOUS) and in the midst of the rest of that show trying hard to be grim and gritty, he’s solid gold comedy heroics.

    2. How ironic. Heroes (as he defines them) are inherently anti-fascist. Fascism holds the government’s control over others required:

      “For the fascist, everything is in the Government, and nothing human or spiritual exists–much less has any value–outside of the Government.”

      [My translation from Gentile’s La dottrina del fascismo, using “government” to translate “Stato” because for too many nowadays, “the state” and “the government” are the same thing.]

    3. Off the top of my head, I can’t think of ANY heroes who are unquestioningly ABOVE the law. Not without the universe immediately saying this is a problem.

      There are heroes who operate OUTSIDE the law: aka outlaws for one reason or another, but that’s usually because they’re stuck in this situation, or the corrupt are in power, but they’re trying to redress the situation and set things right.

      One of the best stories of heroes treading too close to ‘above the law’ I’ve seen was the Justice League Unlimited storyarc about the Justice Lords and Cadmus.

      1. “Outside The Law” would be better but there is a strong case for there being a problem with the way the Superheroes operate in the Marvel/DC universes.

        See James Daily, Ryan Davidson “The Law Of Superheroes” for a good discussion on the topic.

        Oh, Marion G. Harmon, creator of the Wearing The Cape series, had read that book and used it in creating the Wearing The Cape universe.

        All of the Superhero teams operated under special laws & regulations (in a very good sense) and definitely operate in association with Law Enforcement and some serve in the Military.

      2. This is similar to a discussion I had with Laura Montgomery regarding illegal space launches. She gave me the authentic legal code numbers to cite, its very cool.

        Short version, Valkyries don’t apply for launch permits when they fire on orbiting Bad Guys, or when they launch orbital weapons to deal with Bad Guy infestations on the ground. They just do it, because Alien Invasion trumps FAA permits. Then the FAA comes around and hassles them about it later. They play juvenile pranks on the FAA process servers, who are trying to fine a machine the size of a large supermarket with the firepower of the Soviet Union on board. Hilarity ensues.

        According to The Lore, superheroes are the people who obey the law when they can, because they want to. But they sometimes can’t, because they’re dealing with threats that mere nations don’t have the power to handle.

        Of late it has become fashionable in some circles to enmesh superheroes with governmental balderdash and red tape, which to me is applying “realism” in a very stupid and short-sighted way. If Captain Marvel has to leave Palmdale CA to go fight a frickin’ Kree battleship in orbit, is the FAA -really- going to come around later and try to fine her for an illegal launch? No way. They’re going to do everything they can to make sure they don’t piss her off, in case the Kree might send another battleship. In fact I’m sure they’d change the law to give Captain Marvel a personal exemption to whatever regulations might apply. The one thing you can be sure of is that politicians and bureaucrats will bend with the prevailing breezes.

        Is this government capitulation going to give Captain Marvel a swelled head? NO, because she’s the HERO and being a jackwagon is outside the hero rules. The essence of Heroism is self-control and self-motivation. Heroes do the right thing because its the right thing, not because some authority ordered it or because they’ll get in trouble if they don’t do it.

        This definition of “hero” is why the Marvel movies have done so well to date. They don’t screw with The Lore.

        Leftists write “hero with feet of clay” dreck and try to pretend its all edgy, but really it is a projection of their own degeneracy. They can’t stand the idea of a man/woman who can’t be bought, can’t be cowed, and will go down fighting to their last breath for what’s right. Pretty much the antithesis of Leftism.

        We can see you, Lefties.

        1. The following is part of the background material for the “Wearing The Cape” game (based on Marion Harmon’s Wearing The Cape series).

          The speaker (talking to the US Senate) is a historian as well as a new superhero (super-strong & super-tough with no flight power).

          Note: “breakthroughs” is the common term for superbeings in this universe.

          Quote

          “A few nations may successfully co-opt their breakthroughs, turn them into a new arm of police and military power. Those nations will survive in something like their current forms. America may be one of them, but only if this country keeps the faith and trust of its newly empowered citizens, if it allows us to serve the greater good, or not, as we see fit and within the law, rather than attempting to coerce our obedience. No man or woman will keep faith with a nation that does not keep faith with them.”

          End Quote

          In the example you mentioned (if it happen in the WtC universe), Captain Marvel would likely be told by the US Military that’s there’s a problem and the US Military would be informing the FAA that she’s taking action.

          Red Tape? Hope/Astra complains about “After The Fact Reports” but her membership in an Official Superhero Team means that the authorities inform her (and the Team) of a problem and they act.

          Yes, there are rules they have to follow but IMO they are sensible ones.

          1. Doesn’t this have the ring of Truth to it? “No man or woman will keep faith with a nation that does not keep faith with them.”

            Yes, particularly when they don’t -have- to. The kind of rules Heroes must follow are the simple ones, such as “CHECK YOUR BACKSTOPS!!!” and “You don’t get to be an asshole just because you’re bigger.”

            I’ve been having quite a lot of fun with government agents meeting up with the Valkyries and slowly coming to the realization that Normal Regulations don’t apply.

            Example:

            Brunhilde left the proceedings and wandered over to the two giants. “Hey troops, what’s up? Hiya Sergeant, are my girls treating you right?”

            “We were just discussing things, ma’am,” said Sergeant Mills formally. Brunhilde was dressed in a snappy business suit and overcoat like Charlotte’s, it fairly screamed ‘VIP’ to his well-practiced eye. She also carried a very large sword in a baldric over her suit, the hilt protruded from her overcoat and the point stuck out the back. The incongruity was rather shocking, and she was strolling around within striking distance of the Prime Minister. “Do you have, uh, clearance for that weapon, ma’am?”

            “This is Brunhilde,” said Göll helpfully. “Queen of the Valkyries. She doesn’t really need clearance.”

            “The gentleman is having trouble with the concept ‘armed civilian’, Brun,” said Sigrun. “He doesn’t want to take our word for it that we’ll behave.”

            “Pity,” said Brunhilde with a grin. “You’re going to have to accept that there’s nothing you can do, Sergeant. It’s a brave new world. Did you get briefed on who we are and why we’re here?”

            “I was told robots, big spiders and a dragon, for a photo op. That’s pretty much it, ma’am. Nobody said anything about giant women carrying chainguns under their arms like purses. If they had told me that, I’d have brought a Leopard tank.”

            “Wouldn’t help,” said Göll smugly. “I can take a direct hit from a Leopard.”

            “What are we supposed to do then?” demanded the outraged Sergeant in disgust. “Go home and leave you to it?”

            “Do your duty,” said Brunhilde shortly. “I’m doing mine, I don’t see why you should get a free ride. Have you not been wondering why we’re even here?”

            “Above my pay grade ma’am. Your people are breaking every weapon law on the books. You all need to disarm, right now. I suggest we make a pile in the middle of the lawn, my men will secure these weapons, and then we can talk about diplomatic immunity as it applies to giant robots and space aliens.”

            “Okay!” said Göll brightly. She dropped her gigantic chaingun on the ground with a crash and deposited the ammunition backpack next to it. “There you go.”

            Mills examined the weapon sourly. It was roughly the size of a Harley Davidson. “I don’t suppose you’ll move it for me?” he asked, without much hope.

            1. Your world and I’d likely read the stories.

              The thing is that in the Wearing The Cape universe, there was something called the Event that happened world-wide.

              After the Event, breakthroughs started to happen. People started to gain super-powers World-Wide.

              Many were willing to help out others but a few were major dangers.

              For example, the city of Rotterdam was all but destroyed by a single breakthrough calling himself Seif-al-Din. An Islamic Terrorist with the “power” of an evil Angel. He was killed by other breakthroughs but he wasn’t the only Super-Villain being born.

              While many breakthroughs in the US made themselves popular by helping out and taking up costumes & code-names of Superheroes, others used their powers for criminal purposes.

              Plenty of people were scared about these super-beings and what they might do. Governments that listened to their citizens got extremely concerned about “what to do”. Other governments attempted to take control of the new super-beings.

              Phantom, IMO you’re seeing things only in terms of “Superheroes Are Great And Always Work For Good”, but if there are super-beings in the world, some of the super-beings won’t be Good People simply because super-beings are people first and gaining super-powers won’t make some one “good” if they aren’t already “good”.

              Sorry, but in the Real World if people gained super-powers randomly, then a certain percentage won’t use those powers for good.

              Of course, in the Wearing The Cape universe, there is one Super-Being who believes that Humans & Civilization is a Blight on Earth and “Doing Good” means eliminating Human Civilization.

              So in a world where Super-Beings exist, Society will have to adjust and Super-Beings who are truly Acting For The Good will have to work with Society and their Governments.

              Your “Heroes” may always Be In The Right but in something similar to Real Life, Governments will be in the Right to be concerned about Super-Beings in General and will be in the Right to be especially concerned about Super-Beings with the arrogance to say “We’re Right & You’re Wrong” even when they claim to be Heroes.

              1. “Phantom, IMO you’re seeing things only in terms of “Superheroes Are Great And Always Work For Good”…”

                That’s the comic book world. Villains are bad, heroes are good, and it is all very unrealistic. IMHO, that’s what a comic book ought to be. They work best that way. Otherwise you end up with The Watchmen, a terrible comic IMHO. (I have the original, I’ve always been annoyed by it.)

                My books, the characters are mostly interacting with the authorities by way of pranks and making fun of them. The thrust of the narrative is that with great power comes a great need to keep your hands to yourself. The Valkyries do nothing as much as possible.

                1. Never felt the urge to read Watchmen because from what I’ve heard it is a very very cynical look at comic book superheroes.

                  Wearing The Cape is a truly IMO realistic look at how super-beings could operate in the Real World.

                  And so far the stories are fun.

                  Especially when Hope/Astra jokes about Superman wearing glasses to “fool” people to think he’s Clark Kent.

                  On the other hand, one magic-user in the series creates glasses so her monstrous-looking friend (a good guy) can look human.

                  She calls them Anonymity Spectacles. 😆

          2. The Cloak Society trilogy is good, but one thing I noticed was the child custody issue.

            All right, one underage hero was the orphaned son of two heroes. It is possible though tricky that his parents figured out a way to ensure their teammates, not their relatives, got custody. But two others were simply abandoned near the HQ when their parents decided their powers were Too Much. A hero spotted them, swooped in, and promised to look after them. Perhaps there were legal shenanigans that the children weren’t privy to, but I was concluding that the superpowers of the universe were such that superheroes were just given custody of kids with superpowers. to contain the kids.

          3. Wearing the Cape is a really, really excellent series. Head and shoulders above the bulk of indie-published superhero stories, at least so far. 🙂

            It’s also emphasized repeatedly throughout the books that, when all is said and done, outside of dealing with super-powered villains the superhero teams are really, really flashy search-and-rescue teams. That’s the bulk of their work, and the bulk of the laws and regs they operate under.

            One of my favorite scenes in the first book is when, after a massive earthquake, the teams encounter a young supervillain gang-member who is working himself to the bone trying to put out fires–he has water-based abilities–and rescue trapped people. They immediately bring him in under their charter, etc so that he can operate without getting caught in the red tape, and so he doesn’t get in trouble.

            1. Riptide.

              Admittedly, when we first met him, he’s fighting a fire that threatens a hospital where his nephew is a patient.

              But after the hospital is safe Riptide helps out in search & rescue and other disaster relief.

              IE While he may not be a “cape”, he’s still doing the job.

              Of course, who wouldn’t accept him when he joins the official capes in a fight against terrorists and to help rescue the President. 😉

              Of course, in the game backstory about Riptide, while he was involved in criminal activities, he was never a murderer.

              Although, he never talks about his breakthrough event but I suspect that a rival gang tried to drown him so we don’t know what happened next.

              1. Maybe his story is merely one of the redemptive effect of good examples and fellowship. Until then he’d likely never done anything altruistic* and didn’t realize what a high it could be.

                *Suck on it, Randians — altruism is not always bad.

        2. I could see a non-idiot FAA employee (one who doesn’t have the bureaucrat mentality) asking the Valkries politely if they would please inform the FAA of what they’re going to do, at least if they have any advance warning. Not because of any “rules are rules” attitude, but because human pilots might freak out when they see a missile zip through the airspace they thought was totally clear… and pilots freaking out is a good way to have an unfortunate incident. And it would be a shame to have to interrupt their fight against evil aliens to go rescue a 747 whose pilot freaked out, did exactly the wrong thing with the controls, and put it into a stall at 30,000 feet…

      3. > OUTSIDE the law

        Hard not to, now that there are two de facto sets of laws; one for the nomenklatura, one for everyone else.

        I once had respect for the law, until I learned how things work. When the law isn’t the same for everyone, there really isn’t any law any more.

        1. Exactly. Now take it to its’ logical conclusion: When there really isn’t any law any more, the “legal process” is no longer a solution, it’s lipstick on a pig.

      4. There is the factor that many superheroes are impossible, and others very difficult, for mere humans to control. If the law depends on the good will of superhumans to obey the law or enforce it on each other, they are above the law in one sense.

        1. Mary, ALL law, is dependent on the goodwill of those who have the monopoly on force. Mr. Harmon had Ajax put it rather well to the Senate:

          “The lecture continued. “However valuable Karl Marx’s social and economic theories might be, his prescriptions were fundamentally
          flawed. He was also not looking at the true source of power. Mao Tse-tung less famously said, ‘Power is in the barrel of a gun,’ and he
          was closer to the truth.
          “Historically, gentlemen, force—military and police power—has been the defining power of a state. Call it the socialization of force,
          if you will. The leader of any state is the man or woman who can point most of its guns at someone. This is true whether the state is
          democratic or despotic, and the modern age has produced military weapons with power far beyond what any merely private citizen
          can hope to possess or wield. Tanks. Artillery. Missiles. Planes and bombs. Modern industry has given the modern state an almost
          complete monopoly on force, even in nations where citizens retain the right to keep and bear arms.
          “But that was before the Event.”
          “I don’t understand.” The chairman spoke for everybody.
          “Gentlemen, my new friend Atlas—the young man sitting beside me who can punch through walls, outfly jets, shrug off hits that
          would drop an elephant—is a tactical weapon capable of matching an armor division. You cannot stop him from going where he wants
          to go, or doing what he wants to do when he gets there. And he is only one of the more extreme examples of superhuman power we are
          seeing every day. And you cannot disarm him.
          “And that last fact, gentlemen, is what makes this moment so dangerous for all of us. You cannot disarm him. You can only try and
          contain him, at great cost, or kill him, at greater cost. And although most breakthroughs are not like him, or like myself, many of us are
          exhibiting powers which make us weapons in one way or another, at least as deadly as a gun. Many more of us, like Minuteman and
          Blackstone here, can go where they want to go and do not have to stay anywhere they don’t want to stay, which makes even passive
          restraint impossible. We are armed and dangerous and you cannot restrain or disarm us—you can only deal with us. On the day of the
          Event, force was randomly, capriciously, privatized.

          1. force was randomly, capriciously, privatized

            And the above means IMO that the “Super-Heroes” can’t be seen as Comic-Book “Always Right” Super-Heroes.

            Some of them would be good citizens and use their powers for the common-good (as Society would See It).

            Others would use their powers selfishly not caring what the laws may say.

            Still others would use their powers in the Name Of What They Consider Good no matter how many people (innocent or not) get killed.

            1. I like how it’s handled in the Wearing the Cape books. Even with Astra–most of the time, Hope is an *extremely* good kid (like me, she was an abnormally well behaved teen, lol). But even she ends up in a situation or two over the course of the series where she must choose between following the law, and doing the right thing that will save the most people. (Sure, it’s still a clear-cut, obvious distinction about what is the “right” choice, but…it could have had major repercussions on her personally and those close to her should she be caught.)

            2. Especially since the best way known to produce a breakthrough in WtC is large scale disasters and acts of war.

              1. And one of the villains wants more breakthroughs and is willing cause disasters to create them.

                One of his successes, code-named Grendel, wants to have a “few words” with him about that.

                Grendel/Brian lost his family in the event that triggered his breakthrough.

          2. Moot point.

            You can hand guns to all sorts of people. You can even hand swords to all sorts of people though the learning curve is steeper. You can — well, you can try to cut a deal with whoever has a superpower.

            There is no such thing as a real monopoly of force that is anything like what superheroes have.

            1. Which was precisely what Harmon said. You will have to find some way to keep them believing they can live in the existing society, or they will try and replace it with one they can live under.

              Which is also precisely the situation conservatives are facing here today.

              1. Definitely, Ajax’s (Harmon’s character) speech was longer than I wanted to post here.

                But the theme was “breakthroughs want to live in the current society and some want to be of service to the society. Please don’t force us to fight society for our freedom.”

                Of course, Ajax realized that (and said so) that the existence of breakthroughs was scary to society and government.

              2. Steve, they’ve ALWAYS tried to replace it. It’s part of their beliefs and why they attract the mal-adjusted. 100 years ago they were more competent and had more power (partly due to the tech of the time.)

      1. My #1 favorite movie is “The California Kid” from 1974.

        #2 is “The Born Losers” from 1967.

        “Strangers can be trouble” seems to be baked in to a lot of cultures, and ours has its share of it. And sometimes they just point out trouble that’s already there.

        “Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
        go ahead and cheat a friend.
        Do it in the name of Heaven,
        you’ll be justified in the end.
        Won’t be any trumpets blowin’
        come the Judgement Day.
        On the bloody morning after,
        one tin soldier rides away.”

      2. Shane. Marvelous book, terrific movie.

        The book is a lesson in writing character POV.

        That trope is not only the basis for about a third of what Louis L’Amour wrote, it is also the basis for almost seventy-five percent of Fifties TV Westerns and such subsequent series as The Fugitive, The A-Team and The Hulk.

        1. One of the real shockers for me was how many younger folks disliked The Mandalorian _because_ it was an episodic, stranger rides into town show.

          They wanted the stranger to have a strong story arc, not a weak story arc as a frame for weekly events. Stuff was not allowed to just happen as a story within a story.

          I mean, arc stories are not the norm of all Western storytelling. There is nothing wrong with knights errant or picaresque adventure. But noooo.

          1. The best thing about the Mandalorian was that it was a straight-up, classic western. I *loved* that. (Space westerns are my favorite.)

            I saw several folks complaining that the one episode was the plot of the Magnificent Seven/Seven Samurai lifted wholesale, and my response was “You say that like it’s a bad thing…” I twigged to the plot in the first five minutes, and actually squeed, because it’s a fun plot. (And this one had a happier ending, because there were only TWO samurai, and one was the protagonist and the other one was too damn cool to kill off, thankfully.)

  6. . The two can co-exist on the page just as easily as they do in reality. [In fact, strong men tend to like strong women and vice versa.- SAH]

    I don’t know if it’s EASY co-existence…. but happy, yes.

    1. Things that are worthwhile are rarely ever easy. A strong partner *will* challenge you from time to time. *chuckle* But there will be days you need the other’s strength, and days they need yours.

      No confident, intelligent, and capable person wants to carry around another adult who is unwilling to pull their own weight. Children are there to be loved and raised to be responsible, respectable adults. Once you’re all grown up, though… It’s much better to be with someone you can trust to have your back when things get interesting.

      1. There was a very stupid (short-lived) live-action fantasy TV series where in one scene the Noble Hero has to tell the love interest “please don’t hold onto my sword arm”. 😦

        Oh, I don’t know if the writers intended it, but I saw only one reason for her to be the “love interest”.

        She was the Good King’s Only Child and the Hero was one of his Knights.

        IE The Good King wanted him to marry her to rule the Kingdom because she would destroy the Kingdom out of stupidity. 😈

        1. I remember that one fondly. Having read scripts of the episodes, the stupid was intentional. Sadly, not enough people got the parodies.

          It was totally hilarious if you knew what you were looking at, and for the 80s it was stuffed with ahem eye candy for the ladies (much of which belonged to the villain of the piece who was, it must be said, Hot Stuff. Not that the ever-so-blond Hero was all that bad, he just didn’t stand up to 6 foot plus of solid muscle with a wicked grin and a voice that melted socks. And, this being the 80s, Big Hair and creaky black leather costumes).

          The Princess having a borderline fetish for leather pants and assorted other oddities helped – I do wonder where the writers intended to take the thing because it was fun. It was just more suited to a more Brit-Aussie style audience (it has a small cult following in Australia. Don’t ask.)

          1. Hmm. One of those series/movies I missed entirely due to tech schools with no TV in the Q room, overseas tours, etc.

          2. I’ve never even heard of this one. And it has Jeff Conaway in it, no less! (Who is mostly known to me as Zack Allen of Babylon 5, and also that guy in Grease.)

            I must see if I can download it somewhere, or if it’s streaming…

    2. Easier than if one or both are weak. Part of the definition of a hero is having strength enough to practice self-restraint. Self-restraint includes leaving space for others to prosper. Indeed, a primary distinction between hero and villain is that element of self-restraint.

      Think about it as the difference between living with the Hulk or with Captain America. Hulk is far stronger but is no hero.

  7. Far too often, characters who are pushed as heroes get protagonist-centered morality. Or in other words, everything that the hero does is right. And if it’s suspiciously similar to what the villain is doing, then there are reasons (often tying blame back to the villain) why it’s okay.

    Brandon Sanderson had fun with this trope in one of his stories, which he wrote in a way that dismissed the rather ugly behavior of certain rough characters. Mercenary humor. But then those characters were revealed to be villains, and it turned out that the behavior was a tell.

    Heroes should have flaws. But those flaws shouldn’t compromise the ethics and morality of the character. Or if those flaws do, then the story must be about the hero rising above them, and possibly seeking redemption.

    1. I guess my comment about Brandon Sanderson’s “Stormlight Archives” got eaten. All of the newly emergent Knights Radiant adopt heroic ideals and gain power by adhering to them. They are also all “broken”, or flawed in some way. There are different (and sometimes conflicting) ideals for the different orders of Knights, but the conscious and deliberate celebration of heroic virtues is a welcome contrast from much contemporary fantasy.

    2. “Heroes should have flaws. But those flaws shouldn’t compromise the ethics and morality of the character.”

      YES, thank you. Heroes have flaws, and problems, and bad things happen. They do the right thing ANYWAY.

  8. I think my favorite of Pratchett’s creations is Vimes. Horribly flawed, angry, stubborn… but good. A fighter and protector. He takes his flaws and tries to bandage the ones he can, and weaponize the ones he can’t. And sheer, stubborn Vimishness to stand in front of the dragon, if that is what must be done.

            1. Carrot, being full-on Carrot… (From Men at Arms)
              ~
              ‘I should like you to tell me,’ said Carrot, ‘about events in this Guild House the night before last.
              ‘Dr Whiteface stared at him in silence.Then he said, ‘If I don’t?’
              ‘Then,’ said Carrot, ‘I am afraid I shall, with extreme reluctance, be forced to carry out the order I was given just before entering.’He glanced at Colon. ‘That’s right, isn’t it, sergeant?”What? Eh? Well, yes-”I would much prefer not to do so, but I have no choice,’ said Carrot.
              Dr Whiteface glared at the two of them.’But this is Guild property! You have no right to . . . to . . .’
              ‘I don’t know about that, I’m only a corporal,’ said Carrot. ‘But I’ve never disobeyed a direct order yet, and I am sorry to have to tell you that I will carry out this one fully and to the letter.’
              ‘Now, see here-‘
              Carrot moved a little closer.’If it’s any comfort, I’ll probably be ashamed about it,’ he said.
              The clown stared into his honest eyes and saw, as did everyone, only simple truth.’Listen! If I shout,’ said Dr Whiteface, going red under his makeup, ‘I can have a dozen men in here.’
              ‘Believe me,’ said Carrot, ‘that will only make it easier for me to obey.’
              Dr Whiteface prided himself on his ability to judge character. In Carrot’s resolute expression there was nothing but absolute, meticulous honesty.
              ~

      1. OTOH, there’s little chance of them being recognized.

        Which brings to mind:
        Talleyrand was the greatest statesman of his age, and his age was one of the most dangerously eventful in Europe’s history. Such was his renown as the archetypally cunning diplomat that when his death was reported in 1838, the reaction of Metternich, his Austrian counterpart, was: ‘I wonder what he meant by that?’

      1. Well, look at Okubo Tokugawa in Larry Correia’s Grimnoir stories. Definitely not nice… and we eventually find out he’s the one trying to save the whole world from alien invaders, which would technically make him the *good* guy, while the apparent good guys are doing their best to oppose him.

        Yeah, a little explanation and negotiation would have done a lot to smooth things over, but it would have taken a very long time to explain to Tokugawa why he might care about the opinions of a bunch of gaijin.

        1. When Tokugawa was alive, he was too arrogant to listen.

          Death apparently humbled him quite a bit, as evidenced by his appearances in the second and third novels.

            1. I’m not sure I can concur on that; History is replete with tales of unsettled ghosts, Hamlet’s da being but a mild for instance.

                1. John Updike write a short novel about that. It’s a bit grey goo, but fleshes out Gertrude and Claudius. Hamlet’s dad . . . a great Viking, not so great a husband.

          1. Having been selected by the power-giving alien to be its champion and the defender of the world, and having ALREADY saved the world TWICE, from his perspective it would be reasonable for him to assume 1) he knew best and 2) he had the moral right to sacrifice whatever (and whoever) he needed to safeguard the world.

            And when he was proven wrong, he accepted it and lent what help he could to the good guys. Gotta respect that.

        2. But in all fairness to the good guys, it’s later revealed that the real bad guy had an agent in Tokugawa’s camp unsuspected, so maybe his efforts would have failed after all without their interventions…

          1. With or without the agent, Tokugawa was likely doomed to failure. The brief prologue seems to suggest that while Tokugawa had won the first couple of confrontations, more and more powerful scouts for the enemy would keep appearing until Tokugawa finally lost.

        3. You can be attempting a “good thing” and yet be bad.

          One version holds Hitler was intent on securing his rear so he could depose the Soviets. While defeating Stalin, whose body count far exceeded Adolph’s, was undoubtedly a noble enterprise, that does ot ennoble Hitler’s project.

          1. Pretty much the words said to the oncet foolish bard in one campaign… Seriously, bard, lawful good *could* be an interesting choice and colorful character. *headdesk*

            He *did* improve after Pratchett, though. Some.

      1. Why do I have a sudden urge to grab a stopwatch and see how long it takes you to find that image and post it here? 😛

          1. Took me a minute to stop laughing enough to write this response. It was one of those moments where you just KNOW what’s coming somehow. 😛

              1. Yeah, I’ve noticed. I just sensed somehow that you were going into your “I’ve got to show them this!” mode.

                I was seriously tempted to go for an “I’m in your head” joke, though.

                  1. I actually JUST noticed it. I didn’t even consciously realize you had that mode UNTIL you mentioned the Vimes image without posting it. Then something went “click” in my brain and I suddenly recalled that you’d done this sort of thing more than once before…

                    1. I mean I just noticed that you’d go back and find images AFTER mentioning them, that is. Not your tendency to share in the first place. That was a bit more obvious.

                1. I was seriously tempted to go for an ‘I’m in your head” joke, though.

                  Never say, “I’m in your head” to an erstwhile-gob.

    1. He is my favorite. Also, in many ways like dad. And like what dad tried to raise me to be. (And yeah, dad didn’t see why a woman shouldn’t have masculine virtues too, including being taught to be a gentleman. As it turned out, he was right. If women are to have a public life, they need at least some male virtues.)

      1. I wrote a whole book about masculinity, only to realize that there’s absolutely nothing wrong with women having the exact traits I described for men.

        Which I guess means I need to write a follow-up to that one in my copious free time.

        Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  9. A common accusation is that interest in Standard Issue Heroism is somehow “childish”. Even in discussions among people who CCW there is a strong element of sneering at the idea of stopping a threat that doesn’t effect you personally (admittedly trying to head off a number of very bad outcomes).

    But what is never addressed is why children would find this subject so interesting. Following the logic we would have to sneer at the idea of walking as well, because toddlers are so interested.

    1. Last time I saw anyone in the CCW community say they wouldn’t stop a threat that wasn’t threatening them personally, the guy got his ass handed to him by pretty much everyone else there.

      Glad to say that’s far from universal.

      Sent from Mail for Windows 10

      1. You are running with some ignorant mofos. Should have been in my CHL class here in DFW about a month ago.

        Guy saw a woman being beaten (with lethal intent, judging by duration and injuries) by her ex. He intervened with a gun and stopped the guy, who survived. The law said it was a good shoot, because TX criminal law allows deadly force in defense of another, so no charges.

        A common misconception is that TX law has a “no criminal liability, no civil suit” law. Not exactly.

        “You can be sued civilly by the bad guy you shot, or his surviving family. There’s a statute in Texas that governs whether or not you’ll be held liable for damages in such a suit. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 83.001 says that if you use force, or deadly force that’s justified in self-defense, defense of others, or defensive property, you’re immune from civil liability for personal injury or death that results.

        Note: This statute doesn’t prevent you from being sued, having to answer the lawsuit, and appear in court. It only prevents you from being held liable in money damages. So even if you were never charged with a crime, you had your case dismissed, or you were acquitted by a jury, you still have to answer that civil lawsuit and show the court that your use of deadly force was legally justified.”

        https://www.uslawshield.com/texas-can-you-be-sued-in-civil-court-for-self-defense/

        Guy was sued three times, twice by the criminal and once by the woman he saved. Pick your jaw up; I’ll wait. The cost of a good self-defense attorney is $25k up front at minimum.

        Do you or your buds have 75k lying around? Is the near certainty of bankrupting your family worth defending some stranger (who may not be grateful)? Think fast.

        In the real world, unless the law defends and allows heroism, it’s going to be in short supply.

          1. So people who are used to having their civil liabilities in such situations covered by their employers? Or who have qualified immunity?

        1. Except that the losing side of a civil suit generally has to pick up the tab for the winning side.

          That was tort reform passed back in the early and mid nineties.

          1. And again, reality intervenes. The “loser” plaintiff is a felon with no money, or equally broke others, who are rendered effectively judgement proof. The lawyers (who might have money) aren’t touched.

            1. Agree. The losing side should pay the other sides costs. Other side needs to be defined as not only the defendant, but those who took the case knowing they couldn’t win … his lawyers. Those who have the deep pockets.

              I know. Won’t hold my breath. One of the reasons we carry large general liability insurance.

              Just once I’d like to see the power of insurance lawyers go after the lawyers on the other side, who lie to their client that they actually have a chance. Not only can’t they then get paid because they lost, their client has no money (usually), but now they have to pay the court costs & lawyer fees of the winning side. One can dream.

              1. What they are hoping for is simple: the person being sued will cough up a settlement rather than gamble with a jury (and it is a gamble).

                1. Which is what happens. One of the reasons a lot of places require arbitration. Granted situations involving CCL & shooting, that option is not available.

            2. Again, there are still remedies. As long as you keep the judgment live you can attempt to collect on it once they’re out.

              Filed more than one affidavit for renewal of judgment over the time I worked in the justice system.

        2. I thought it was in New Mexico but one case where a woman was saved while her ex was trying to stab her to death, she eventually sued for *loss of child support*.

          (Which makes her sub-human and makes me wonder just a tiny bit if her ex had reason to go crazy pants with a knife in Walmart.)

          I don’t think she won at all, though, and I believe that the precedent of her loss clarified the law a bit.

          But it was the story our CCW instructor shared in order to suggest legal insurance as a good idea.

          Which is different from the sort of insurance that pays damages. It just pays your lawyer. Still seems like a good idea to me.

          1. In Texas, that would probably be enough because if the shooting was justified you won’t pay damages. Having to pay insurance premiums still frosts me. I’ve already written to the Gov and AG suggesting that changing the law so the perp etc aren’t even allowed to file on a justified shooting would be ideal.

    2. But but that’s The Police’s Job! [Sarcastic Grin]

      Seriously, while the idiot who talked about “superheroes being fascist” mainly pointed to the “above the law aspect”, there was IIRC an aspect of “not official protectors”.

    3. > sneering at the idea of stopping a threat that doesn’t effect you personally

      [raises hand]

      I carry a gun. I will use it in defense of myself or my wife. Anyone else around… they made the decision not to have a gun, or made bad life choices that kept them from having a gun. Quite often, these would be people who don’t think I should have a gun anyway.

      They can call 911 and let the paid, legally-protected enforcers of the law deal with it, because I’m not sticking my naughty nits into the legal meat grinder on their account.

      You need a gun? Carry your own damned gun, or wait for your government protection to show up. Hopefully you won’t be in one of the jurisdictions where they won’t respond until long after the last shot, because their primary goal is to go home safe at the end of their shift.

      1. It depends on what you’re talking about. During that shooting at the Walmart last year people with guns didn’t go running into trouble, they helped others get out of the store to safety. The only people I’ve heard talking like people with guns for self-defense are going to go all Rambo, or should, are anti-gunners.

        1. Difference between Walmart & people with guns not running into trouble & their actions of getting people out of the store to safety, they weren’t in immediate trouble … where the shooter was.

          The ones in the Church who pulled their guns or started to, regardless of if they actually shot., WERE in immediate trouble. The shooter was there. No running into trouble required. Those that acted were protecting themselves and loved ones with them. They protected others at the same time isn’t running from a place of safety into danger to someone else’s defense. They were already in danger.

          Although there are those who would say they didn’t protect themselves, because it isn’t protecting yourself unless the gun is actually being fired at them. I guess under the theory of carrying a gun means they get shot last? … I know! What? Not saying it makes any sense to anyone here.

          Both are heroes.

      2. Hopefully, you never find yourself on the wrong end of “he should have carried his own tourniquet”, or defibrillator, or just whatever.

        You could be next on the “food” list for that predator, or perhaps someone you love.

        Did you enlist in the armed forces, I did, once upon a time. And I don’t demand everyone else join up. Your view might wreck the volunteer concept.

        “Not my problem” ? Remember that. It -will- bite you on the ass.

      3. Left wants people to dial 911 and wait for the “officials” to arrive and to do nothing except cower until they do. Of course another view is that 911 is a Joke….

        via Public Enemy, not exactly members of what Hillary dubbed “the vast right wing conspiracy”.

    4. A common accusation is that interest in Standard Issue Heroism is somehow “childish”.

      Amazing how anything good from kids is “childish,” but they’ll draft kids toot-sweet to be their spokesmen, innit?

      1. Shortcut to figuring out of something is going to be Important(tm) in some way in the (possibly near) future:

        Are teenage boys fascinated by it?

        Which also means that even if we can’t figure out what exactly is wrong with it, there must be something terribad. Because boys are the most worstest thing that ever was.

    5. I think people sneer at the idea of “standard issue heroism” because they don’t consider anyone else to be better than them, so denigration is called for to reinforce that in the face of “Mr X down the street is a hero”.

      Yeah, it’s petty. But so is a lot of human behavior.

    6. A common accusation is that interest in Standard Issue Heroism is somehow “childish”.

      I believe this is the cue for someone to post Puddlegum’s “Four babies playing a game” speech from The Silver Chair. I would, but my Narnia books are still buried in a box in the basement.

      1. But because he’s awesome, here’s the quote you’re thinking of:

        “One word, Ma’am,” he said, coming back from the fire; limping, because of the pain. “One word. All you’ve been saying is quite right, I shouldn’t wonder. I’m a chap who always liked to know the worst and then put the best face I can on it. So I won’t deny any of what you said. But there’s one more thing to be said, even so. Suppose we have only dreamed, or made up, all those things-trees and grass and sun and moon and stars and Aslan himself. Suppose we have. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than the real ones. Suppose this black pit of a kingdom of yours is the only world. Well, it strikes me as a pretty poor one. And that’s a funny thing, when you come to think of it. We’re just babies making up a game, if you’re right. But four babies playing a game can make a play-world which licks your real world hollow. That’s why I’m going to stand by the play world. I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia. So, thanking you kindly for our supper, if these two gentlemen and the young lady are ready, we’re leaving your court at once and setting out in the dark to spend our lives looking for Overland. Not that our lives will be very long, I should think; but that’s a small loss if the world’s as dull a place as you say.”
        https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/tag/puddleglum
        (yes, eight year old me found Puddleglum awesome, prolly says something)

  10. Corwin, in the Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, is imho the best journey from a man that just wants power to a man that just wants to do the right thing, regardless of the cost to him. One of the absolute best character arcs I’ve ever read.

    1. Corwin was a greedy. self-involved punk. Carl Corey was a man, though it had taken him several centuries to get to that point.

      Getting Corwin’s memories back regressed him, and then he had to grow up all over again…

      “Whoooo are you?
      Who, who?
      I woke up in a Soho doorway
      the policeman knew my name.
      He said, ‘You can sleep at home tonight
      if you can get up and walk away.’
      Whoooo are you?”

      The Who didn’t release that song until 1978, else I would have suspected Zelazny of being inspired by it.

      1. True dat. Corwin was not a nice guy in the first couple of books. You could tell though that his time as Carl Corey though was moderating the Corwin of old. But by the end of the series he truly is a hero of the realm, even if what he did wasn’t completely necessary.

        1. Corwin’s behavior after being Carl Corey was so different his siblings half-seriously wondered if he was really a shadow of the “real” Corwin…

          1. They’re worth your time. Read them as a wee one. And again about fifteen years ago. Got different things from it. Still good, though. It’s not every book, and rarely any series that can do that for you.

                1. I could make some valid complaints about some of it, but A) it was justifiable considering one potboiler novel was split into five volumes, and B) it took me going on forty years to see that, and that was when I listened to them on audiobook, which gives me a lot of time to consider and criticize instead of simply vacuuming a story up.

                  I think Zelazny could chalk that up on the “win” side of the ledger, overall…

                  BTW, the last three books were serialized in Galaxy before being printed in novel format, and they’re substantially longer than the books. One of these days I need to follow up on that…

                  For someone just picking up the Amber series (5 volumes only, accept no follow-ons), a good deal of it might seem ho-num urban fantastic. That’s because Amber is where many of the tropes of that genre *came* from, like that Tolkein dude writing yet another magic quest thingie.

            1. I was startled by Zelazny’s reading* — I hadn’t “heard” the story as hard-boiled detective but that’s his take.

              When I originally encountered Nine Princes In Amber there were no sequels, so I spent several years reconciling myself to the literary choice represented … then the rat bastard published The Guns of Avalon and the others, over the next few years.

              Wiki reports that Amazon has a deal in place to develop it for streaming:

              In July 2016, Skybound Entertainment announced that it was developing The Chronicles of Amber as a television project, with Walking Dead creator and producer Robert Kirkman as an executive producer. Kirkman stated, “Chronicles of Amber is one of my favorite book series of all time, and one of my main inspirations for working in film and television. Getting to produce this project is the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. I can’t wait to share this amazing story with a new generation of fans.”

              In August 2017, Kirkman and Skybound announced an agreement with Amazon to develop television projects to debut exclusively on Prime Video, without identifying any specific project as part of the deal. As of November 2017, no indications of the Amber television project’s status or fate have been reported.

              Nothing at Amazon nor Kirkman’s IMDb credits indicates anything coming of this “development.”

              Zelazny is a now neglected craftsman; it is appalling that neither Lord of Light or Creatures of Light and Darkness are available i audiobook, nor that more of his work (particularly The Doors of His Face, the Lamps of His Mouth) has not been adapted for the screen. IMDb lists few** credits for him, although it does provide this insightful piece of trivia: “Zelazny earned an M.A. from Columbia in Elizabethan and Jacobean Drama. His master’s thesis was titled ‘Two Traditions and Cyril Tourneur: an Examination of Morality and Humor Comedy Conventions in The Revenger’s Tragedy.'”

              *Abridged, but by the author, so I cut some slack.

              **A video game, a 1986 Twilight Zone episode and the film Damnation Alley.

              1. Zelazny also did a reading of “A Night in the Lonesome October.” I bought the when it came out, was disappointed, and it left in the next trade pile, but one evening I was picking through the rack at a truck stop while on a road trip, and that was the best among a set of poor offerings. (truckers are massive consumers of audiobooks; they’d already picked over all the good stuff…)

                The book was “meh”, mostly because of the characters. I’m not a character-oriented reader, but every character in October was… flat. Not even cardboard cutouts. Zelazny presents the story through the POV of a non-human who doesn’t *care* about all the undertakings his master and peers are involved in, which leaves the “plot” part pretty flat, too. There’s Big Stuff going on, but the reader only sees indirect bits of it.

                The novel presents events “this happens, she said, the other happened, ho hum, who the hell cares”. But Zelazny’s voicing of the familiars brought them to life, and what was flat affect on paper was occasionally hilarious as he read it out loud in his Yankee twang.

                The difference was on the order of replacing Nameless Redshirt #4 from Star Trek with, say, Zathras from Babylon 5. Oy, then, now we’re getting somewhere…

                Still not going to be among my favorites, but not bad in the audio version, and a good example of missing your mark while writing. Which is about half of Zelazny’s work, as far as I’m concerned. But when he connects with the pinata, it’s worth all the rest…

            2. > hard-boiled

              Carl Corey had the stereotypical attitude/mindset of a “don’t piss on my leg and tell me it’s raining, bud!” New Yorker. That was the identity he was living when Flora(?) tried to kill him; when he started recovering both the memories of Corwin and his own lifetimes on Earth under other identities, Carl Corey was still his default POV even though he adopted Corwin’s goals. Corey got sort of overwhelmed by that since he didn’t *have* any goals; he lived a comfortable life, but he was just drifting through the centuries instead of having some kind of plan.

              So, no matter what he’s doing, he’s still viewing the universe as a 20th century New Yorker, not a demigod who is one of the dozen most powerful beings in Reality.

  11. For heroes, you are permitted Rey and Captain Marvel.

    That’s it.

    All the other heroes have to be torn down or retconned into losers to make them look better.

    Also, anything they do is heroic because it’s them doing it.

    Thanos is my hero for literally punching Captain Marvel out of the last movie and giving fans a point to jump off the franchise with some closure, but it’s all hers from here on out.

    1. It’s worth noting that SEVERAL different places I saw went utterly ape about X-Men being with Disney now, because– Rogue killed Marvel. (or close enough)

      Ape in a good way, I mean.

      1. If only…but somehow I doubt they’ll do it.

        And don’t get me started on Disney owning X-Men (too late). That acquisition screwed the Fox franchise out a conclusion with gusto. Here they had a once-in-a-lifetime second chance to portray the Dark Phoenix storyline – one of the best stories out of X-Men – and they botched it again because of Disney: The studios were sabotaging Dark Phoenix because they were afraid their precious Captain Marvel would be upstaged by another fiery female hero given the powers of a god and fighting in space, and who actually had a good character arc based on being unable to handle too much power.

        And now people are all excited because Disney – who RUINED the finale of the Fox franchise – has taken over? Gag.

        PS – They also ruined the Kree/Skrull War storyline to give Captain Marvel some refugees to save.

          1. I think they would have had a better chance without Disney mucking things up.

            X-Men and X-2 are still two of my favorite superhero flicks of all time. Days of Future Past was amazing, and Apocalypse could have been perfect with just a few tweaks.

            1. One phrase:
              “Have you ever tried just… not being a mutant?”

              *facepalm* Oh, yes, let’s try to copy-paste the already questionable mutants-are-a-stand-in-for-race with mutants-are-a-stand-in-for-behavior.

              And that sledgehammer was before the current woke muck– they still managed to do a great job on the really iconic stuff like Wolverine.

              Between that and what the comics pushed– destroying the heroes, basically– I couldn’t find the desire to sit down and watch the newer ones.
              It’s like Star Wars– they just wandered off.

              1. The X-Men have been a stand-in for TMInority as far back as the 90s Fox cartoon, and it wouldn’t surprise me if they were used for that even earlier.

                The Sentinel program, we can take as projection for what the Left wants to do to thinkers of badthought.

                -Albert

                1. I know they started out as a not-very-veiled metaphor for the Civil Right’s conflict– which worked better when the super powers were a bit less “nuke the neighborhood” and closer to “they’re armed,” but still functioned because the X-Men behaved differently to those they believed had wronged them, while the Brotherhood just treated all of “them” the same. You could identify good characters because they were OK with someone being a mutant, but not with their behavior.

                  It’s a setup that will work for any inherent difference in ability– some women hate men because they’re bigger and stronger, some only hate men that use that bigger and stronger to do harm. See also the Second Amendment fights, etc.

                  It doesn’t, however, work when the thing being objected to is behavior.

                2. Chuckle Chuckle

                  Marion Harmon touches on that “idea” in his background info for the Wearing The Cape series & game.

                  IE “Capes” (super-beings) are somewhat discriminated against but there is also a valid reason to be concerned about “Capes” as they can be very dangerous.

                  A school district got severely sued because they knew a student was a Cape but hadn’t informed parents & other students about her powers. They got sued after she reacted to bullying by starting to kill people in her school.

                  Many if not most US States have special boarding schools for young capes (high school and younger) because of valid concerns (and some not so valid concerns).

                  Note, not all Capes become/are Super-Heroes (or Super-Villains). Many get high-paying legal jobs because of their powers.

                  Oh, one of the characters in the series is called “Legal Eagle”. He was a law-student who had a parachute failure while sky-diving. He gained the power of flight and went into super-being law.

                  He’s the legal advisor of the Chicago Sentinels, the premiere American Super-Hero team.

                  1. ‘Cape’

                    One thing that irritates me is when people call anyone with superpowers a ‘cape’. That should be a specific term for a hero, and just having superpowers doesn’t make you a hero: that takes commitment, hard work in honing your abilities, and courage. And the cape is like a badge.

                    ‘Mutant’ and ‘metahuman’ are the correct terms for ‘people with superpowers’.

                    ‘Cape’ means ‘hero.’

                    1. Point and I “misused” the term “Cape” in the Wearing The Cape universe.

                      “Breakthroughs” is the in-universe term for super-beings.

                      Capes is the in-universe name for Breakthroughs who take up the role of being a Super-Hero (ie taking up the cape, even if many capes don’t wear an actual cape).

                3. To paraphrase Tolkien: applicability, not allegory.

                  Mutants can work as analageous to TREATMENT of others, but it falls apart when you try to make it a one-to-one comparison with any group.

                  And even the trite ‘discrimination is always wrong’ message falls apart if you try to push it too hard: quite beyond their devastating powers, mutants ARE an existential threat to humanity and the current order: the cold laws of evolution state that we will be replaced and our niche filled by something else.

                  How to defy the forces of history and biology and try to make peace is the driving question of the mutant storyline, and it always kept me coming back to see how those stories played out.

                4. To paraphrase Tolkien: applicability, not allegory.

                  Mutants can work as analageous to TREATMENT of others, but it falls apart when you try to make it a one-to-one comparison with any group.

                  And even the trite ‘discrimination is always wrong’ message falls apart if you try to push it too hard: quite beyond their devastating powers, mutants ARE an existential threat to humanity and the current order: the cold laws of evolution state that we will be replaced and our niche filled by something else.

                  Conflict seems inevitable and the trite: ‘just treat people as individuals!’ isn’t sufficient when no matter how good or bad individual mutants might be, mutants as a group are inherently a threat to the existing order and a source of conflict.

                  How to defy the forces of history and biology and try to make peace is the driving question of the mutant storyline, and it always kept me coming back to see how those stories played out.

                    1. -a lot of mutations give no advantage-

                      Sinister and Apocalypse had an answer to that: the Morlock Massacre and other attempts to eliminate the ‘dead ends.’

                      That’s something I wish they had explored a little more in the Apocalypse movie. Apocalypse himself touched on it by wanting to turn the world into a crucible where only the strong could survive and go on to create a master race, but if the movie had underlined it just a little more – Apocalypse mentioning how all the inferior mutants would have to be eliminated so as not to pollute the species – the unapologetic eugenics would have been the thing to get Magneto to switch sides: understanding he’d fallen in with someone as bad as the fascists who destroyed his life.

                    2. That was Apocalypse’s Thing in the Comics as well.

                      Survival Of The Fittest. Humans and weak mutants must fall to the Strongest Mutants.

                      Oh, there was a few scenes in the comics where Apocalypse saw the irony of him (at his weakest) facing stronger Mutants.

                    3. That would require someone who figures out that the “mutation” that makes humans so irresistibly powerful is our ability to look past genetic advantage.

                      It would be interesting, though.

                    4. What happens when Human Technology gives the Humans a Fighting Chance against Powerful Mutants?

                      Who then is the Strongest? 😈

                    5. Well, now, is the mutant smart enough to figure out how to catch you without the tech?

                      That’s where Apocalypse and other Darwinian villains go astray. Survival of the fittest means those who survive are the fittest. When they put their thumbs in the scale, they are changing the survival parameters, not improving evolution.

                    6. Nod, one Super-Villain wants to be “Master Of The World” but doesn’t really fear other Super-Beings.

                      Part of his plot is to destroy Human Civilization so Mankind loses the technology that could be used against HIM.

                    7. -That would require someone who figures out that the “mutation” that makes humans so irresistibly powerful is our ability to look past genetic advantage.

                      It would be interesting, though. –

                      Apocalypse’s answer: the ability to ‘look beyond genetic advantage’ and create safer societies with technology is what has allowed the inferior to thrive. Thus his plan in the movie to nuke humanity back to square one and let survival of the fittest reassert itself.

                      – What happens when Human Technology gives the Humans a Fighting Chance against Powerful Mutants? –

                      There’ve been storylines that show how a comparatively smaller group of powerful mutants can infiltrate and subvert technology.

                    8. ‘When they put their thumbs in the scale, they are changing the survival parameters, not improving evolution.’

                      Apocalypse: Yes, I agree: creating modern society and having sundry labor-saving and life-saving technology has changed the parameters of survival for the worst.

                      Much like the feminists like Hanna Rosin (spelling?) who argue that modern western society is suited to female survival and men have made themselves obsolete – and that it’s a good thing.

                      Thus: the natural state must reassert itself.

                    9. The term “natural” has no meaning as used in that sentence.

                      (I recommend C.S. Lewis’s Studies In Words — particularly the chapter on Nature, of course — for those interested in the philosophical reasoning behind that assertion.)

                    10. Apocalypse (extrapolated from the movie, I know there are different iterations/interpretations in the comics) would have a ready definition: the state of nature prior to technological civilization and which shaped the people who were able to create technological civilization.

                      Because everything that takes humanity away from reliance on the body/genetic capability and the X-gene which is expresses itself through those mediums is a harmful deviation which allows weakness and degeneracy to proliferate.

                      Everything from plumbing to medicine to personal firearms must go.

                      If better transportation is advantageous, then the X-genes for such abilities as increased speed, teleportation and levitation must be selected for and strengthened by a process of eugenics and by creating the necessary pressures to select and strengthen such abilities, even if a few thousand individuals perish during the trials. Likewise for any other service or phenomena which would otherwise be accomplished through technology.

                      Magneto was on the right track, but he didn’t go nearly far enough: the highest good is not the individual life or freedom of individual mutants, but the purification and strengthening of the X-gene to drive its potential to an apotheosis.

                      (In case you haven’t noticed, I’m arguing from a villain’s perspective)

                    11. Continuing to argue from a villain’s perspective.

                      Since individuals (even strong ones) might decide to make their offspring’s lives easier, then society requires strong long-lived leadership to keep the process (of the purification and strengthening of the X-gene to drive its potential to an apotheosis) on track.

                      Of course, since mortal leadership might fail to keep the process on track, it is better for the leadership to be in the hands of an immortal (like Apocalypse). 😈

                    12. Then, logically, we should all be anaerobic one-celled organisms because all the oxygen pumped into the air by blue-green algae disturbed the natural reducing atmosphere.

                    13. To which there’s an obvious answer:
                      Of course he’d use argument by redefinition.

                      He’s an evolutionary failure who is incapable of functioning. He can’t even compete with those he declares to be dead-ends without massacring them– which is a removal of data and a violation of the idea of survival of the fittest.

                    14. -Mary-

                      Apocalypse: Nature does not mean stasis. There’s a process to nature and to the Darwinian growth that attends it. Use of technology to separate from/shield from this process has set the species back – and technological civilization by its very nature* has this effect and so must be dispensed with.

                      A program of Darwinian eugenics, on the other hand, will work with and accelerate this process.

                      *chuckle – different uses of ‘nature’ – chuckle (yup, I skimmed the chapter)

                    15. “There’s such a thing as the main current. It’s a question of surrendering yourself to that. Making yourself the conductor of the live, fiery, central purpose. Becoming the very finger with which it reaches forward.”

                    16. Not via the argument you state for Apaco.

                      Honestly, pretty standard issue idiot thug who turned what he misheard about a process into “you’re chosen to be the bestest and anything that supports your desired goal is The Good.”

                5. The opening scene of Apocalypse – where the early mutants were clearly tyrannous false gods and demigods to be fought – destroys the whole ‘mutants are an analogy for discriminated groups’ right there.

                  1. Well, and the opening scene of Apocalypse–and even the whole thing in what little I recall of the character in the comics (I’ve never followed any Marvel comics particularly closely, they contradicted themselves too much, and it was too soap operatic)–totally gives the lie to the initial premise of “mutants are a new thing” as well. ::shrugs:: (They had the Eternals as well, the really, REALLY old, functionally immortal mutants who’d been around since forever, and were generally nuts, evil, or both.)

                    It was an entertaining story, so who cares about continuity* /sarc

                    *not that the comics have ever had any to speak of. And I swear Stan Lee just made up the answer of “It’s an analogy” because he was tired of people crapping on comics as ‘lowbrow.’ (Which they should be, because “lowbrow” SHOULD equal fun. It’s when they try to be ‘meaningful’ that all the life gets sucked out of them, because those people SUCK at it, by and large.)

                    1. Probably a form of the “ripped from the headlines” method of writing without having to work too hard– at least in my uncle’s old comics, they were an entertaining version of the Interchangeable Crime Show thing.

                6. And the opening scene of Apocalypse – where early mutants are portrayed as tyrannous false gods and demigods who have to be resisted – destroys the ‘mutants are always an analogy for discriminated groups!’

              2. I didn’t take it as: ‘The movie is saying mutation is an analogy’ so much as the parent-characters don’t know how to deal with this situation. I thought the humor arose naturally from the situation.

                1. It was a direct quote from the strawmen “homophobic” characters of the time.
                  Used by the same folks who get absolutely frothing when they meet folks who are same sex attracted but do not act on it.
                  Worse, it didn’t make any sense.

                  Roughly along the lines of setting up a situation where you could have someone say “and yet, it moves”– except they hijacked a fandom to do it.

                  Probably the first time I noticed the “gut it and wear the skin, demanding respect” effect.

                  1. That was the joke!

                    The line was played for laughs! And it made sense because it was the sort of thing those particular characters might say, when faced with a situation beyond their capacity to deal with: try to apply it to something else.

                    1. Ah.

                      The modern, left-wing definition of “joke” where you set up a situation to make a strawman that is so inaccurate it causes real life confusion when those who see it meet members of the supposed group, rather than even hitting the accuracy level of physical characteristics in a political cartoon.

                      And then everyone is supposed to laugh. And then make up stuff to create the characters in real life, because the darn hateful things never actually show up on their own.

                      At least when they had the Juggernaut run through an anti-mutant field and knock himself out, that was at least funny for the established characters, even if it was a big character change.
                      (He had magic based powers, not mutations.)

                  2. They weren’t meeting members of the same group in real life: it didn’t apply at all, and that was the joke.

                    The parents were frightened and confused, and the only character in that situation who could be called ‘hateful’ would be the brother who turned them in, and he had good reason: the movie opened with a mutant attempting the assassination of the president.

                    And Juggernaught wasn’t even in X2. That was X3.

                    1. Why not consider the possibility that you’ve explained it adequately and Bob grasps the issue cogently but simply does not agree with your interpretation?

                      It’s just a crappy movie based on a mediocre comic book, after all. These things are crafted by committee(s) of varying make-up over various periods of time according to the demands of a variety of editors who are more committed to selling stuff than to maintaining a coherent, consistent philosophical point.

                      Sorry; I just finished reading a history of Marvel and once the company went into receivership it is obvious that the ownership’s primary goal was maintaining cash flow and protecting merchandising value, whether in toys or movies. I still love them but I cannot deny that they are literary sluts.

                    2. Because if he didn’t agree, he would be responding in a way that indicated he understood the argument I’ve made in four or five different ways.

                      So far the main result is that I am persuaded, quite solidly, that Fox needed NO HELP AT ALL to screw up the X-Men.

                    3. I can dream that they’ll pull something like Marvel did– where they took a freakin’ terrible storyline (Civil War) and did it with characters that had been purified down to really good archetypes of the characters, where the entire cast is as pure as that one scene where Wolverine proved that he wasn’t a fake version– and turned the terrible nonsense storyline into a movie that had fanboys, casual fans and new people alike roaring with joy.

                      That magic in a bottle is unlikely, maybe they’ll manage to recreate it as some sort of a series type thing, but I can dream.

                    4. Having observed Hollywood for longer than you’ve been alive, and having freaking studied the industry history as a college student (as part of a larger program of study) the one thing I’ve taken away from it is that the wonder is not that more good movies don’t emerge from that sausage factory, it is that any emerge at all … the place is designed to produce crap.

                      All the more reason for joy when a miracle occurs and something worth your time (and admission fees) escapes. (We went out and saw Richard Jewell this afternoon and deemed it well spent — as almost any time spent with Mr. Eastwood is.)

                      And in many ways the comic book industry is even worse.

                    5. RES, you know better than to put a setup like that out in this crowd– it begs for the response of “you had to study to figure that out?” and related accurate dissing on Hollywood. (Realistically, yes, it does have to be pointed out– folks here are just likely to have noticed that the Beloved Classics were not most of what was released in a set year!)

                      I’m aware that the entertainment industry challenges Sturgeon’s Law from the WRONG direction– doesn’t mean I am going to give up hope that they’ll manage one of those rare gems again, especially with a shining example shoved up their nose, even though I know they have a lot of folks who are philosophically opposed to believing the map that is right there.

                      Go back to the roots, boil down the essence of the character, then build with bits from later advances that people loved. They’d manage at least a one in ten.

            2. If Disney remade Titanic they would have the ship slowed down in realization of the dangerous conditions and miss the iceberg.

  12. Planet Run by Keith Laumer is what I think of immediately when this subject comes up. I think it’s in the Baen Free Library or the old Free CDs in the book Legions of Space. I first read it in junior high, then found it as a free ebook

  13. At present, my favorite real-life hero has some fairly obvious quirks and flaws: He’s boastful, flamboyant, horny, and often given to overstatement … but after his string of mighty victories and his demonstrated love of country, those weaknesses often seem endearing. You get 3 guesses, and won’t need 2 of them….

    1. The Orange One is the sort of person I’d probably be greatly annoyed by if I had to deal with him in person, but he’s just the right man at the right time for the job. It’s hard to believe we got THIS damned lucky.

      1. There are reasons for that saying about the Author protecting idiots, small children, and the USA.

        I’ll admit I’ve been wondering what the plot twist would be, and wondering if the Orange Man is going to be the character to deliver it.

            1. He’s had to deal with NYC, NY, and NJ for his development and construction projects. That would cure anyone but Karl Marx of a love of bureaucracy and administration.

              1. C.S. Lewis talked of a student of his, a socialist in college, who was cured of his belief in the benevolence of officials by working as a teacher and facing the Ministry (I forget its name) for teaching. He reached out to Lewis to see if Lewis could help him get a job in the ministry. Some people don’t mind oppression and just angle to be the oppressors.

                1. Some people don’t mind oppression and just angle to be the oppressors.

                  Some people probably figure that oppression is inevitable and thus they are better on the -or side … and who knows, they might be able to work to ameliorate the oppression.

                  It is not a good bet, but it is reasonable given the premise. Puddleglum, of course, does not agree.

        1. I suspect people find him annoying in direct proportion to how far their head is up their butt.

          Reports indicate he treats employees (good employees, giving honest value for his wages) well.

          1. Given how many employee’s his organizations have. Not all have stayed. Not likely. Not one, not a single one, has come forward to dish out dirt. Not. One. To the contrary. Biggest example.

            When Epstein(sp?) broke. It was pointed out DJT had palled around at one time with the guy. DJT just said “Have met, about 10 years or so ago broke off with him because of a major disagreement.” That is it. Nothing else, at least at that time. It took employees at the location where the incident occurred to clarify what DJT, the boss, did and why. Harassment of an employee got Epstein a lifetime ban at all Trump enterprises, and an immediate ban/fallout from the boss himself DJT. Shutting down any attempt of digging up dirt on DJT.

            1. Shutting down any attempt of digging up dirt on DJT.

              As we’ve learned, they don’t need to dig up dirt on him, they just bleedin’ know the bloke’s no damn good and so they can manufacture “fake but true” evidence as needed.

              1. My suspicion is that what dirt there is on Trump–and I’d be willing to bet that there’s plenty, he’s a wealthy New Yorker and at least used to be kind of a playboy–if it came out in full would probably also hit the entire New York political, cultural, and social establishment, and they know it.

                Which demonstrates the real motives for going after the guy are personal and petty, not patriotic.

                1. Which demonstrates the real motives for going after the guy are personal and petty, not patriotic.

                  I’ve been observing the Democrat Party in action since the mid-Sixties and cannot recall a single incident that made me suspect them of being patriotic. While I’ve no doubt some among them might be, their philosophy is essentially anti-patriotism and any members who put country before party seem to soon find themselves on the outside.

          1. I wouldn’t bet on that. I think you’re younger than I. His divorce in the 80s made his ex wife sound loony. And he was amusingly afraid of upsetting his current wife even though the pee dossier was fake. Because she might find it humiliating.
            And no, I don’t buy the Stormy Daniels bullshit. Frankly all indications are that at least this time he’s faithful to his wife. As for the formers… well… the kids LIKE him and work with him. I’ve seen enough ugly divorces. The kids don’t stay friendly with the parent who isn’t fair.

            1. And there hasn’t been a hint of genuine scandal since whatever Porny Daniels managed to do. (We’d know: The legacy media would have found it and trumpeted to the skies.) I’ve said it before, but my guess is that Melania proved quite capable of keeping him fed and laid.

              -Albert

              1. I haven’t completely read it yet but there’s a book out titled “The Trump White House”.

                An early scene has Trump ripping into one of his senior people (in the White House) and Melania walks into the room & says “you shouldn’t be treating him like that”.

                Trump immediately stops it. While he doesn’t actually apologize, Trump later hands him some money apparently “paying him off for his (Trump’s) lose of temper”.

                Oh, plenty of people in the White House (and Trump’s senior people) like her because she always has something appropriate to say.

                1. Theirs wouldn’t be the first household to have a “Swear jar” although Trump’s seems to have a unique spin to it.

                  But I do not think I would believe anything in a book or news article about that* White House’s inner workings.

                  *Nor any other’s, at least not while it was in operation. Once all principles had finished careers, perhaps.

      2. He’s reportedly a great guy to interact with if you’re not falling over yourself trying to make him look bad.

        1. I can see that. Met a few guys like that, growing up. Great guys, all, but Lord help you if you *ever* got on their bad side.

          More than a few women of that stripe, too, come to think.

          1. Oh yeah. And frankly, that press dinner where they made fun of him years ago, you could SEE on his face the “You lot just effed up HARD.”

            On the bright side, it’s been a VERY good thing the arrogant twit-wits were that freaking stupid. Good for America, good for the world.

      3. He’s a standard Nooo Yawk City type- at least the old style hardass, not the Manhattanite literati type.
        I’ve known several.

  14. And thinking about The Rock’s recent movies, he’s always playing the hero. The ones I’ve seen have been solid movies, at least in part, or even largely, because you’re rooting for him to win.

    1. Did you ever hear why?

      He’s got a little girl.

      He literally took the role in that Disney movie because he knew his baby girl would love it.

      That is…hard core dad awesome.

  15. I was just thinking about the difference between a male and female hero… and the reason females are more ambiguous. I suspect it has a lot to do with values and loyalty. But what do I know, my brother recently told me that I thought like a male… and I am baffled a lot by my sisters and their logic. Yet I am female and not a poor imitation.

    1. To be heroic you must *do* something.

      A lot of people, by culture, training, or inclination, don’t think much of that.

      A good example would be Ripley from “Alien.” Instead of bursting into tears, crying, and waiting to become Monster Chow, she fought back. Apparently that upset a lot of viewers, who ridiculed the character as “a guy with tits.”

      I got the feeling a lot of the detractors were potential Monster Chow…

    2. Well, for one thing, a woman generally has to be more crafty than a man to get the hero stuff done. This will generally include some deceit.

        1. He CAN, but he doesn’t HAVE TO. The women have more need for it.

          And of course, dispositions tend to get exaggerated.

  16. Sadly, the man who wrote the lyrics to “Nobody’s Hero” passed away recently.

    Rest in Peace, Neil Peart. Thanks for over four decades of amazing music.

    1. Speaking of Neil Peart, I am a big fan of his and of Rush, who are my favorite band. So sad to hear the news of his passing. A true legend.

      Here is a double shot of some older Rush;, By-Tor and the Snow Dog and The Necromancer, songs which are both on topic to the post and as a memoriam:

      1. And for a song with some really awesome work by Neil that sometime gets lost in the mentions of songs like Tom Sawyer:

        1. Peart did the lyrics for one of my favorite songs, even though I’m not a Rush fan:

          “I strip away the old debris
          that hides a shining car.
          A brilliant red Barchetta
          from a better vanished time.
          I fire up the willing engine,
          responding with a roar.
          Tires spitting gravel,
          I commit my weekly crime.”

          Too bad it had to be sung by the Squeaky Squirrel…

          1. Red Barchetta

            Concur! Most excellent.

            YYZ, live, on Exit…Stage Left, is epic Peart drum solo.

            1. That pause in the solo with the loud cheer was Neil throwing his drumsticks high in the air and then catching them and continuing the solo. Saw him do it many times over the years, although he didn’t to it on the R40 tour (at least the night I saw it), no doubt due to age having caught up with him The R40 solo was during Cygnus X-1. Simply awesome.

              As an added bonus, the clip also has Hemispheres-Prelude prior to Cygnus X-1, as they went backwards through their career each show.

  17. The one of my created heroes that I think has resonated with my readers (because in person they have told me so) is Carl Becker, in the Adelsverein Trilogy and the follow-on books. He’s a bit damaged, PTSD from having survived the Goliad massacre of Texians, and from fighting as a Texas Ranger in the early days — but he is a decent, kindly person. Married a nice girl, raised solid children … and when he came to an end (somewhat heroically, having tried to defend his family against the Hanging Band) numerous readers told me that they cried. Because he was such a real, engaging, but slightly flawed, and believable character.
    He was based on a couple of real veterans that I knew; guys that I KNEW from their resume had seen and done some interesting and violent sh*t – and yet were soft-spoken, gentle, and devoted family men.

  18. And another video on the theme. Fan video of the song (and it’s really a shame that Within Temptation hasn’t done an official video of this one–it just begs for it) but really well done. (Wondering who the girl who poofs from place to place in a puff of smoke is, and what game that’s from.)

  19. Confession
    Arthur Guiterman

    I like my heroes brave and strong
    Their sweethearts fair and witty,
    Though cultured critics know I’m wrong
    And give me scornful pity.

    I like to see the right man win
    In moral tests or fistic,
    And that’s a modern mortal sin
    And vilely inartistic.

    And if more proof is needed that
    My case is past all mending,
    I like my villains squashed out flat,
    I love a happy ending.

    I’m wrong, though no one tells me why,
    It seems enough to say so,
    But, like you, gentle reader, I
    Am quite content to stay so.

  20. Just watched half of the season 2 first episode of Teen Titans.

    It is like the Platonic Ideal of all the themes Tom talked about in his post.

    Which is a real shame, as I have always liked the Teen Titans as a super hero comic and as a Saturday Morning kid’s cartoon.

  21. I’m writing my series and I realize that when the magical system that gave our characters their powers, they were looking for heroes. The people that run into burning building as the rats and cockroaches stream out to save lives. The ones that go out into the night with a lantern and a knife to kill the monsters. Or risk killing a nest of vampires just as the sun goes down.

    They’re just very careful not to choose the people that treat “hero” as a synonym for “entitled idiot.” Which a lot of “woke” writers think a “hero” is-as they don’t have heroes, no matter what they say. They have icons, perfect paragons that can never be questioned, or someone that they will use up their moral standing until nothing is left.

    A good hero, a well-written hero, has feet of clay. Their flaws are not excuses for failure, but motivations to do better. Their weaknesses are their insight into the human condition. And, it is only by falling that they can rise.

    1. There’s still the likes of Magneto, Thanos and Larry Correia’s Chairman from the Grimnoir books.

      A character can be heroic while fighting on the wrong side. That makes for an engaging and challenging villain.

      1. Magneto, when done right, has to be sympathetic. He’s the guy that in most other circumstances would be one you want to help-Romani, family died in the Holocaust, now he’s the member of a new group that he didn’t have any choice about that the world hates and wants dead.

        But, at the end of the day, he’s one of the men that looked into the Abyss…and blinked. He became one of the monsters, and it’s a long hard road back from that.

        1. Thing is, it’s not that he blinked. One does not win staring contests with elemental forces.

          Instead, he looked into the Abyss–and stepped into it.

        2. Exactly– Magneto has to be…seductive, for lack of a better term.

          Charismatic, powerful storyline, refuses to be beaten, brutal but not cruel– but wrong, and we must beat him.

          Again, and again, and again– and so long as he breaths, he’ll never stop.

          1. There’s a What-If comic in which Magneto was killed escaping Auschwitz.

            Apocalypse handed the X-men their heads because it turned out that endlessly fighting Magneto was the only thing that made them good enough fighters to take him down.

          2. Also, Dorothy L. Sayers observed in an essay that if you want to write a story about a devil, you have to give him the power to actually tempt people. Otherwise he’s a cartoon.

            1. Good Point.

              While I think the writers “went too far” with Magneto, there should be an aspect of him that makes his world-view tempting for the heroes.

          3. But the idiot writers tried to make him a Hero. 😦

            Oh, the idiot writers have brought back Cyclops. Still “Fighting For Mutantkind” but a slight bit more sane.

            IE Him and his team confront the Fantastic Four over “who is going to arrest Sabertooth (a real mutant villain)”.

            He wants to punish Sabertooth under “mutant law”, the FF says “NO” and Cyclops basically says “OK, I’m not going to fight you over it”.

            Still not going restart reading the X-Men comics. 😦

            1. They lost me with the whole “Kurt was brainwashed to be Pope so that Left Behind can be made to happen and then when everyone has accepted him he’s unmasked to show he’s the devil and …. um…. um… profit?”

            2. I enjoyed Magneto as a Hero With a Dark Past. But Magneto’s not exactly a model of characterization consistency, any more than any long-running character.

        3. I love Ian Mckellen’s portrayal in the first two X-Men movies. It’s a complex range of emotions that Fassbender never quite matched (although I blame the scripts for not getting him right)

          There’s the anger over what happened to him. There’s the sense of injustice and desire to protect others, there’s the fear that it might happen again. There’s the self-aware sense of the tragic as he believes conflict is inevitable and only one side can survive.

          And of course: there’s the sadism. Because you can’t deny that he really, really takes pleasure in striking back at humanity.

          1. Especially a humanity that would allow his kind to die, because it’s “easy” to ignore the screams. The sadism comes from all of that and has to be first and forefront.

      2. There’s also the Bizarros from the Byrne run of Superman. These are temporary beings who, because of their flaws, die within a day. And during that day, they are as heroic as they can be, and too stupid to realize the harm they do.

        Once in a fight between Superboy and a Bizarro Superboy, Superboy said they were endangering bystanders, and the Bizarro’s reaction was that the bystanders were just hanging around — that is, hanging on for dear life while dangling over empty space. (Superboy knocked them loose so they fell, and they stopped fighting to go rescue them all.)

  22. What the world needs now?

    What the world needs now
    Is love, sweet love
    It’s the only thing
    That there’s just too little of
    What the world needs now
    Is love, sweet love
    No, not just for some
    But for everyone
    No, not just for some
    Oh, but just for everyone

    Nurse! Insulin! STAT!!!

  23. For your discussion (especially the MGC writers looking for posting inspiration.)

    What is an anti-hero?

    The Daughter Product and my definition: A protagonist with heroic power but not heroic virtue. Some cultural variance may apply (But see Appendiz, Abolition of Man)

    When does an anti-hero “work”? (Hint: Light Yagami)

  24. Something came out in my discussion with Phantom about Realistic Super-Heroes.

    He had decided that Alan Moore’s Watchmen was the Model of “Realistic Super-Heroes” and he hated it (IMO for good reasons).

    On the other hand, I enjoy Marion G. Harmon’s Wearing The Cape book series and see it as a Realistic Series about Super-Heroes.

    So What’s The Difference?

    From his books & articles, it is obvious that Mr. Harmon loves the Comic Book Super-Heroes and seriously looked into how Comic Book Super-Heroes could/would operate in the Real World. I’d would also state that IMO Mr. Harmon has an optimistic view of the world & society.

    On the other hand, Mr. Moore has a very cynical view of Comic Book Super-Heroes (and the world in general). His view of heroes matches the bad view of heroes in general that Tom Knighton talks about in this article. It is interesting that Mr. Moore was shocked that his anti-hero Rorschach was highly popular with the readers. While called an anti-hero, Rorschach had strong moral principles and refuses at the end to go against those principles even in the face of certain death.

    So the difference is that Mr. Harmon loves the Comic Book Super-Heroes, has a more optimistic view of the world & society, and worked out how his super-beings (most good if not perfect people) could operate in the Real World.

    In Harmon’s world, things can look dark but in the end “all things will be well”.

    In Moore’s world, there are no Happy Endings.

    Which can be the theme of the Liberals’ world-view as well.

    I know which view I prefer. 😀

    1. Grumble Grumble

      Follow-up, I firmly believe that Mr. Harmon has a good understanding of “what is a Hero”.

      His Main View Point Character Hope (later called Astra) was trapped in her car (but was safe) thanks to a villain’s bomb destroyed an over-pass.

      Her concern wasn’t “how long will I be trapped here? I have important things to do”.

      She got worried about the other people who got hit by the debris from the destroyed over-pass. (Especially a little girl in a car that passed her car on the interstate.)

      So Hope somehow torn herself free of her car and displaying super-strength & enhanced senses went looking for others who were trapped.

      When the emergency people and Chicago’s Super-Heroes showed up, they found her “on the job”.

      That’s What Made Her A Hero Not the Super-Powers!

      Hey, where did this soap-box come from? 😆

      1. There’s a floating superpower that roams the world. Every now and again it gives a person the brief power to Produce Soapbox.

          1. That, too. But how can you call it an AMBUSH? They search out those who have need for them! Positively heroic!

      1. I purchased it but never sat down and read it.

        Know what I’m going to read this afternoon. 😉

Comments are closed.