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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 12/11/19

Superheroes for the 99%

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Message Dr. Lenore Daniels

A mericans are facing a multitude of crises. The most crucial crisis is climate change, that is, the elimination of most life on this planet. Terr a forming of Mars has yet to begin, and the one-way trip won't be affordable for everyone.

In the meanwhile, catastrophic change, already underway, in part, thanks to the powerful forces of corporations that spend days and nights peddling a business model of operations, is deadly for life on this planet.

There are climate migrants, for exampleover a million and a half people, according to the UN High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR). Severe weather is one of the forces driving people away from their homes and homelands, and we should expect the severity and frequency of hurricanes and tropical cyclones to increase in the coming years. Along with homelessness facing the displaced, rising sea levels effect food production. As if we don't have one too many people suffering from hunger or from the lack of a nutritious diet.

Most of this year, I spent time working as senior volunteer for a non-profit organization and was struck by the way those I encountered perceived thinking about the world beyond family to be futile. Outside of the proverbial four walls of home, the powerful and indecipherable exist. Best to stay focused, therefore, on the family, that is, the safety net that will keep thought about the outside in its place. F ence yourself in the me-and-mine box.

And there are the believers in the divine plan. Climate change is part of that divine plan. Climate change, therefore, is insurmountable. It's blasphemous even to consider action to prevent the worse. Silly for activists protesting the inevitable plan being scripted from above.

In the US, where fires caused by drought has yet to destroy homes, schools, neighborhoods, or displace so large a number of people as to disturb the fairly comfortable existence of householdsin certain parts of the US, citizens have spent billions of dollars to sit in the dark and fantasize about powerful superheroes who defend the powerless, them, that is, the movie goer, from powerful elitists, otherwise referred to as the 1%.

According to one film critic, it's class warfare they are going to see, presented to them on the big screen. Class warfare, writes the critic, is driving the masses to the movies.

In response to Trumpism, white supremacy, capitalist greed, to the meanness of spirit exhibited in policies such as the one proposed to strip some 700,000 citizens from food stamps, Americans are turning to the movies, to Hollywood. In the dark of a theater, Americans, the critic surmises, some Americans believe their interests, their concerns about racial injustice, economic disparities, and climate change are finally being heard. Represented! Finally! Others appear to be waking up to the articulation, so it seems, of whispered thoughts.

Are the superheroes fighting a class war for us?

According to the critic, these films unravel the American myth: the dream resides with the billionaires! Case in pointthe one billionaire, allegedly, voted by the American public to sit at the seat of the most powerful, floats, in fact, on the backs of those sitting in the movie theater, awaiting the arrival of a superhero. At the White House, behind that Presidential seal, the most powerful assures the continuation of capitalism. Greed. His own financial interests.

In the meantime, with incomes rising to overflow, right along with sea levels, the capitalists want to assure the American public that they are not heartless as Trump. But don't examine too closely the conditions of workers on the floor of an Amazon warehouse.

The billionaires, as the film critic notes, "protect themselves." In other words, capitalists look out for their own interests.

Our film critic names the 2019 films Americans are spending cash to see. He mentions the Korean film, Para site , an up the downstairs drama, the horror film, Us , a critique of the privileged class, by the incredible Jordan Peele, and, of course, Joker.

Arthur Fleck, played by Joaquin Phoenix, suffers from a mental illness. B arely receiv ing adequate help, he's informed about budget cut s: Services to the most vulnerable , always precarious, you know. P rofits, profits, profits! Your much needed medical care will be cut! Sorry!

P rofits destroy, totally. Fleck in his home dances to the tune heard outside his home. Nothing is private and safe; everything is public and insecure.

One day, while listening to the radio, Fleck hears the voice of Thomas Wayne, inheritor of family wealth and Bruce's father. Wayne' s thoughts enter Fleck's home: T he poor are nothing but a bunch of clowns! Clowns! Fleck's occupation is that of a clown.

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Activist, writer, American Modern Literature, Cultural Theory, PhD.

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