Friday, September 30, 2011

DCU, EU, and Panarchy in the [anywhere]

I have decided to give you three or so thoughts a day, each thought relating to a different location, for four days (this one a day earlier than planned).

DC UNIVERSE: This week saw the release of the final batch of comics in the September relaunch of updated/hipper DC Comics series.  And if DC made it through this month without too many embarrassments, I think it’s in large part due to observing a principle (consciously or not) very similar to that that made the Lord of the Rings movies good adaptations: There is nothing devastating about subtracting/streamlining stuff, but if you add something, it had better not seem whimsically contrary to what was supposed to be there (leave out Tom Bombadil if you like, but don’t make up a wacky talking dog or have Gollum turn out to be a robot Frodo's dad built).

So, yeah, maybe Superman and Flash have never been married – and Young Justice never existed – but if they avoid quirky, dumbass moves like declaring that Flash was always a famous rock musician...or that Penguin was always Alfred...or that Riddler has always been a Gordanian philanthropist, I bet they won’t really alienate too many people, besides those like me simply too old and weary to carry on.

In short, it sounds like they really didn't get too creative, if you know what I mean.  Now make new stuff instead of vandalizing the old and everybody wins.

(Meanwhile, at Marvel: I predict we will never, never see Scarlet Witch or Quicksilver on screen because of the potential ambiguity about whether the characters belong in the Avengers stable or the X-Men stable, with all the inter-studio copyright issues that would raise.  But you know who else joined the Avengers in the early days in the comics, doesn’t belong to the X-Men stable, and would work very well on film?  The Vision.  Him plus Ultron in an Ant-Man movie perhaps?  Bit of a Dr. Manhattan + Mr. Data vibe?  None of this is to be confused with the punk band X, who I’m very, very pleased to be seeing tonight.)

EUROPE IN GENERAL: Many people complained, I notice, that during all the econ talk in the last GOP debate, no one really said much about Europe, undergoing its own momentous meltdown.

PANARCHY: The end of the Euro or even the EU would be a good thing from the point of view of those of us who think local tends to be more efficient than big-and-centralized or homogenous.  A nineteenth-century solution (which, for obvious reasons, I brought up at the recent seasteading event I attended) was panarchy, the idea that instead of insisting (as anarchists do) on a world devoid of government, we simply give every individual a choice as to which of the world’s many competing law codes he will subscribe to – as long as everyone else gets a heads-up about which he’s picked before doing business with him. 

You see how that process might be facilitated by nations-on-boats – not to mention the more mainstream idea of “charter cities” in otherwise poor or badly-governed nations, an idea to which the seasteaders are also warming.  I say all this as a guy whose favorite presidential election was 2000, just because it taught people to cope with protracted uncertainty and showed them how ambiguous the whole process is – perhaps even inspiring some people to wonder if we could function with no president at all (yes, we could). 

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