History is a nightmare from which I am trying to awake.
~ James Joyce, Ulysses
For two weeks I saw As everywhere. On tshirts, broken signs, torn stickers… or just lying there, on the ground.
Never actually the Avenger’s A, except in my mind’ eye. What connections was my unconscious making?
There are three heroes in Joss Whedon’s movie: Phil Coulson, Natasha Romanova and Clint Barton.
Then there are the projections of the Collective Unconscious: the vicious sky god, the rage monster, the personification of the techno myth and enCAPsulation of the Amerikan Fighting Spirit.
And the Villain? Witness the speech of the embodiment of the Patriarchy, and all Forces of Control:
And sadly, reality proved this to be true… with the Disney arm of Global Capitalism delivering this Patriarchal message:
The Disney Store is selling Avengers t-shirts for women with the slogan “I Need a Hero” and “I Only Kiss Heroes,” and an Iron Man t-shirt for boys that reads “Be a Hero.” This sends a harmful message about who can and cannot be a leader in this world. These shirts promote the idea that men and boys are meant to do the saving, and that women and girls are the ones who need to be saved.
Which is completely absurd because the *core hero* of The Avengers is Natasha Romanova (aka Black Widow). She recruits the Hulk, tricks Loki into revealing his scheme, and basically saves the world. As Alyssa Rosenberg describes her for ThinkProgress:
Black Widow, given a personal stake in the fight when Loki brainwashes Hawkeye, tells the villain who wants to know if she’s in love with him, “Love is for children. I owe a debt,” and leaves it at that. Her refusal to clarify leaves room for Loki to speculate, and ultimately to reveal more than he intended. All sorts of skill sets matter in a conflict this big and complex. And without making her a victim or a lesser member of the team, Black Widow’s reactions are a regular reminder that superheroics and space invaders have real impact beyond the financial support of the Cinematic Demolition Industrial Complex. Watching her come back to herself after being badly beaten in a fight is a reminder of how damaging these powers can be when applied to ordinary people. And hearing her tell Captain America in an unconvincing deadpan “It’ll be fun,” when she tries a hugely risky gambit without the protection of enhancement or godlike abilities makes the enterprise seem more serious. These things may be entertaining as hell to watch, but they’d be terrifying to actually carry out.
Ian Grey does an excellent job parsing through the reviews the film got, where seemingly every male critic saw only the Michael Bay-esque aspects of the spectacle presented, and missed the apparent subtly of Black Widow’s role because she wasn’t shouting about it, just getting it done. Witness the entertainment marketing complex displaying a complete lack of critical thinking… almost as if the role of reviews in the press is to repeat the message of the dominantor paradigm, regardless of the truth of the content being promoted.
Natasha is the embodiment of heroism: highly trained, empathetic, cognitively agile and unhesitatingly able to make ‘the sacrifice play’, literally in Cap’s face. And that deserves to be repeated until it sinks in:
Now, post-movie The Avengers we have Jonathan Hickman writing up a storm in the new run of Avengers (and New Avengers) comics… delivering, at core, this message:
Taking the FULL COLLECTIVE UNCONSCIOUS and showing it to us… to build a better tomorrow, together, today. A Mythic Global Frequency.
Tune in and WAKE THE WORLD. Because it’s asleep at the wheel of history and we have figurative seconds to change course if we wish to avoid the coming Crash.