Layla in Alaska

Layla in Alaska

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veleda-k:

laylainalaska:

[snip snip]

I loved a lot of what CA:TWS did, thematically. I think it’s a very strong movie and a much more thoughtful movie than you typically get from summer blockbusters. But it’s also a movie that wants to provide unambiguous good guys and bad guys in order to offer a summer blockbuster viewing experience, and it brushes away a ton of moral complexity in order to do that.

If you just look at the scene between Steve and Fury from a Watsonian, inside-the-text perspective, it’s a very strong character scene for them, in which two flawed and different people are butting heads over what’s right, and both feel equally justified. I love that kind of thing! But from an outside-the-movie, Doylist perspective, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable because it’s pretty clear (based on the rest of the movie) that we’re supposed to be taking Steve’s side here and cheering him on, but Steve is whitewashing some AMAZINGLY troubling stuff under the empty catchword “freedom”, and is also being set up as the voice of reason to Fury’s paranoia, and that’s, yeah. Not okay.

This reminds me of something that has bugged me every time I’ve watched the film. Steve says that his generation did some things they weren’t proud of, but they did it so people could be free. Well, why the hell does he think Nick Fury is doing what he does? Does Steve think Fury lies awake at night chortling over creating an age of surveillance and fear? Fury is acting like he is because he thinks that will keep people safe. That doesn’t make Fury right, but it does mean that Steve’s defense is pretty damn weak.

And tell me, did rounding up Japanese-Americans and confining them in camps actually make anyone more free? Spoiler: no, it really did not. Surprisingly enough, it made those American citizens notably less free.

"We have to do these terrible things for the sake of ~future generations~" is a well worn excuse. There are plenty of ways Steve could have disagreed with Fury in that scene, and I think he chose a pretty hypocritical one.

And all of this is actually quite fascinating and sets up some great character conflict! But as laylainalaska noted, this scene is less about setting up a situation in which two well meaning but flawed points of view come into conflict, and more about the audience taking Steve’s side.

Yeah, I dislike that line of Steve’s about freedom because it’s one of those lines that just strikes a wrong note for the scene it’s in. It’s too glib for the situation, too soundbitey. It doesn’t feel like an actual person is saying it, but rather, like it was thrown in there as a moral sop to the audience. It’s one of those occasions when you can feel the hand of the writer reaching in to tell us what we’re supposed to be thinking, and I have a knee-jerk resentment of that kind of thing.

…. Either that, or Steve actually is someone who gives glib, soundbitey answers to complex questions. He’s got a few lines like that in Avengers, too.

(Source: ink-phoenix)

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http://potofsoup.tumblr.com/post/95132074042/im-the-asshole-that-potofsoup-ink-phoenix

scrollgirl:

potofsoup:

im-the-asshole-that:

potofsoup:

ink-phoenix:

No but

I see a lot of gifsets and comments about Steve’s iconic line in CA: TWS “This isn’t freedom. This is fear,” but

What about the shit that Fury throws in his face before that?

Fury: "For once we are way ahead of the curve." 
Steve: 
"By holding a gun to everyone on Earth and calling it protection."
Fury:
 ”You know I read those SSR files. The Greatest Generation? You guys did some nasty stuff. “
Steve: “Yeah. We compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well. But we did it so that people could be free. This isn’t freedom. This is fear.”

The fact that Fury throws that back in his face will never not be flabbergasting to be. I’m so upset I’v’e used a double negative. Steve is well fucking aware of the shit they did. Steve did that shit two years ago in his head, and now look, the world he was prepared to die to save hasn’t fucking changed one bit.

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^^^^^^^^
"Steve isn’t a Greatest Generation man because he hasn’t lived enough to romanticize that period." YES THIS.

I’ve been thinking about the line “Yeah. We compromised. Sometimes in ways that made us not sleep so well.” Steve’s experience of WWII is relatively clean of moral ambiguities. I wonder what Steve thought about his role in WWII after he wakes up and finds out about the Holocaust, the firebombings all over Germany and Japan, Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and the US role in post-war Japan and Germany. Those things all happen *after* his fall. What specifically did he compromise on? And what is this freedom that he was willing to compromise for? Freedom from fascism seems too simple an answer.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^66

THIS. THIS. Okay like there was a lot of SHIT going on when Steve was at war. Napalm and chemical warfare were starting to REALLY ramp up and the whole leaving guys behind, eugenics and containment camps in the US, etc etc but arguably the worst things came after Steve was frozen. 

There’s a lot of ambiguity here, actually. Because what is Fury referring to? Is he referring to the SSR files that Steve had a hand in? The tactical missions and taking out Hydra, and possibly covert ops? Or is he referring to things that Steve would have only been implicitly agreeing with, or may have had little to no knowledge of? Things that happened after Steve was frozen or were out of his control/above his security clearance?

The worst part about WWII is that we DIDN’T fucking learn. We learned nothing from the Great War or from the escalation of Germany’s tactics or how you can’t beat force with more force. 

The Manhattan Project was supposed to be The Be All End All of warfare. You build an atomic bomb that has the capability to destroy an entire city and people rationilized using it by saying that if they used it, no one would ever want to use it again.

HM. WHERE DOES THAT SOUND FAMILIAR.

'My father preferred the weapon you never had to fire. I prefer the weapon you only have to fire once.'

EXCUSE ME.

But, the thing is, we didn’t stop at the atomic bomb. We had to get into nucluer warfare because we didn’t just want to destroy a city, we wanted an entire country or the world in ruins type of power. (Is anyone thinking of the tesseract here because let’s be real I think it’s pretty easy to make the connection.)

It’s really likely Fury is thinking about this when he tells Steve about how The Greatest Generation really wasn’t all that great. It’d be sort of impossible for him not to. But Steve is an outsider to all that. He was a soldier - albeit one who probably had more sway than a standard commissioned officer because Captain America - and he had a very specific task.

His task was to take out Hydra. Really, he had jack shit to do with World War II. And I don’t know how much info we have on what he specifically did, but I can’t imagine him being okay with HALF the stuff that was going on in the war. (Bucky and the others knew, of course, but there was absolutely an unspoken agreement between the boys that We Shall Not Speak of it.) For all that he was a soldier in the war, Steve really had very little in the way of having to rationalize that the US did until he was unthawed. It was all so fresh that he didn’t have TIME to analyze it beyond making the ‘is this right or wrong’ decision, and in war that can be a really gray area. 

There’s so much in that scene, because Fury and Steve are so different - Steve and anyone who grew up living through the backlash from WWII and the Cold War and Regan. Steve represents an America that hasn’t yet fallen into, let’s be honest, panic.The decades after World War II were marked by fear and panic about another country creating a bigger stronger weapon than they had, but STeve grew up in a time where America was at her height, military wise. No one messed with the US (which is why Pearl Harbor had such a HUGE impact. THe US thought it was basically impenetrable.)

YES, let’s keep talking!!  I’ve bolded your sentence because that’s the key, isn’t it?  HYDRA was invented to be a cleaner, more unambiguously evil enemy, and I can see the logic behind that — let’s make it more less messy, and easier for you to cheer on the good guy.  I’ve seen people point out elsewhere that that’s why Steve’s in the European theater and not in the Pacific, and why, really, Steve *had* to go down in 1944, before all the *really* horrible stuff was done or has come to light.   But Steve wasn’t even fighting the Nazis — by fighting HYDRA, it’s so clean cut. He goes from being a propaganda symbol to fighting pure evil.  This is why I always frown a bit at the “I don’t like bullies” line and the “we did it for freedom, not fear” stuff above.  Because it’s *never* that simple. How is Steve defining bullies and freedom?  What gives him the right to define it? If Steve doesn’t like bullies, what about the fact that he’s essentially bullied into being a propaganda mouthpiece?  What does he think about all the “bullying” of the Japanese internment camps?  Considering that he was fighting against fascism, is freedom conflated with democracy in his mind?  Forget the surveillance state — what does Steve think about the rise of corporate power?

What I love about Steve is that he’s usually portrayed as someone who *would* care, and wouldn’t shy away from standing up for what’s right.  But in the flow of the story, it’s easy to just take the simplified version and not question it further.    Especially since Steve himself is the very embodiment of the issue of eugenics.  (You can’t really talk about Hitler’s eugenics without getting into the fact that US’s own eugenics programs were going strong.)   Steve grew up in a country where he was seen as “unfit” (see: chronically ill steve rogers), and if he were a woman of color, might have been force-sterilized.  And his way out of this was through half-volunteering (being hand-picked by Erskine and told later what he was picked for — does that count as volunteering?) for a a eugenics program with high experimental risk.  The same program that generated “More Evil Than Hitler” Red Skull.  Talk about the sense of American exceptionalism necessary to say, “hey, it worked because this poor IMMIGRANT kid had the HEART and the GUMPTION to embody AMERICA.”  Let’s ignore/erase his past of being bullied by American society, let’s ignore the co-opting of his body by the military.  Let’s all pretend that this is part of a singular narrative of the American Dream.

So really, Steve himself is the compromise.  And given how much trouble he has in TWS figuring out what he should do with his life, wondering if he’s allowed to do something besides work for the military or SHIELD, I’m not sure whether he got the freedom he compromised for.

The above commentary is much closer to my reading of Steve Rogers than the OP’s meta. (I apologize in advance if I diverge too far from the above commenters’ interpretations of canon.) While I agree on a Watsonian level that “Steve isn’t a Greatest Generation man because he hasn’t lived enough to romanticize that period”, on a Doylist level that doesn’t even matter because Steve Rogers is fandom’s Greatest Generation man. He’s our romantic fantasy of What America Should Be, and CA:TWS is our white liberal fantasy of how we can “fix” our broken society. (Hint: it starts with fixing a man’s disabilities until he embodies Hitler’s Aryan ideal. It’s okay, it’s ~ironic. Step two: give him the respect owed to a WWII veteran without him having actually fought in WWII.)

I don’t disagree with anything Steve Rogers says or does in CA:TWS, but I’m frustrated by comparisons of Steve vs Fury that ignore race and historical context. We’ve already established that Steve has absolutely jack shit to do with WWII. What can he possibly say about freedom that an African-American man who lived through the Civil Rights era couldn’t say better? It’s extremely problematic, IMHO, to position Steve as “pro-freedom” and Fury as “anti-freedom”. The only Latino character is retconned as a double-agent for a white supremacist regime. Howard Stern, a Jewish-American politician (“Stern” is predominately a Jewish last name), is a card-carrying Nazi. Add all this with the Age of Ultron spoiler that the Jewish-Roma children of two Holocaust survivors have apparently cooperated with HYDRA, and honestly — I’m not shocked that there are people confused about which character is the Nazi, Sam Wilson or Grant Ward.

When I say “representation matters”, I don’t just mean having a solo female superhero film or more characters of colour — I mean changing the way these stories are being told, changing which characters get to play which roles, changing who gets to speak for me, who gets to be “right”, who gets to take action and be the hero. Just watch the news and tell me that CA:TWS is a story that’s a genuine reflection of our world’s problems, rather than an oversimplified version which conveniently exchanges an old white man as political authority for a young white man as moral authority. Tell me that black and Latino men are the ones banging the drums for more militarization, more surveillance, more violations of their human rights, and that young white men are the ones clamouring for a revolution. As much as I love Steve Rogers, he’s become a white liberal fantasy that potentially undermines the voices of minority groups, and I’m really really glad that Sam Wilson will be Captain America soon — not stuck as the Model Minority who does what Steve does, just slower. It’s about damn time that we can hold up someone other than a white guy and say, “Listen, that’s our Captain speaking, the man who embodies freedom and justice. This man is everything America should strive to become, this is the leader we need to follow, and nobody else can compare.”

Yeah, I read the original post and kind of balked A LOT at the comparison the OP was making, or rather the way they were drawing it, so I was happy to find thoughtful commentary on it!

Because, uh. Steve’s generation is the one that firebombed Dresden, that dropped the bomb on Hiroshima, that interned the Japanese (and the Aleuts, many of whom died), etc. Steve’s not wrong to challenge Fury on Project Insight, but Fury’s not wrong to point out that Steve’s generation got up to some amazingly dark, immoral stuff in the interests of “freedom” — which Steve goes on to defend.

I loved a lot of what CA:TWS did, thematically. I think it’s a very strong movie and a much more thoughtful movie than you typically get from summer blockbusters. But it’s also a movie that wants to provide unambiguous good guys and bad guys in order to offer a summer blockbuster viewing experience, and it brushes away a ton of moral complexity in order to do that.

If you just look at the scene between Steve and Fury from a Watsonian, inside-the-text perspective, it’s a very strong character scene for them, in which two flawed and different people are butting heads over what’s right, and both feel equally justified. I love that kind of thing! But from an outside-the-movie, Doylist perspective, the whole thing makes me uncomfortable because it’s pretty clear (based on the rest of the movie) that we’re supposed to be taking Steve’s side here and cheering him on, but Steve is whitewashing some AMAZINGLY troubling stuff under the empty catchword “freedom”, and is also being set up as the voice of reason to Fury’s paranoia, and that’s, yeah. Not okay.

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ourblackproject:

The Black body, more so of women, have stood on the opposite side of the narrow Eurocentric standards of beauty. Black hairstyles have defiantly rebelled against and even when straightened added creative magic of Blackness and Boldness. 

Black hair, whether relaxed or natural, locked or shaven is beautiful. Black women are beautiful. 

(via misamandry)

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