Douglas Milewski (dacuteturtle) wrote,
Douglas Milewski

Taking Over

There's a dominant narrative in fantasy and SF. TAKING OVER. The problem is that someone is trying to take over or has taken over. As everyone else in my culture, I didn't think much about this, but as I've gotten bored of this narrative, I've begun seeing it as racist.

Looking back, we see the origins of just this sort of story in Flash Gordon. In that story, Earth is in danger from the planet Mongul and Flash, our all-American blond haired star quarterback, is there to save us. We see all the normal tropes of the white male power fantasy: one guy rises up, saves every who can't save themselves, gets the girl (with many offers along the way), and defeats the OTHER. In this case, the other is the Mongols, who are clear representations of the Chinese.

In other words, Flash makes America safe from foreigners.

If you think I'm exaggerating, the height of white nationalism was in the 1910's through the 50's. Flash Gordon was conceived of and written in 1934. The story wrote of the fears and desires of the time. And these fears and desires haven't gone away. Instead, they've become encoded into the very structure of fantasy and SF today. Not only has theme stayed, it's accelerated. The generic fantasy story is that the other has taken over and the rightful (white) hero must restore his power.

They keyword here is rightful. It not that someone has earned a position, it's that there is an absolute cosmic law that they should rule, and the cosmos itself is conspiring to help them through destiny. The heir was literally born better. Does being born better, destined to rule the lesser, sound like anything familiar to you? White nationalism comes to my mind.

Some Examples (not nearly inclusive):

Flash Gordon
The Matrix
The Avengers
Star Wars

Let's look at A New Hope. This Black Guy is the villain, ordering a bunch of white guys about. He's EVIL and he's BLACK, and it's 1977. Fear of black aggression is building into a fevered height, just before laws get passed to imprison them at an unprecedented rate.

How about The Matrix. The OTHERS have taken over, and it's up to THE ONE, the GREAT WHITE HOPE, to finally defeat the OTHER so that men can be free. In this case, the other is the government itself. The government is in on it. It should come as no surprise that the Tea Party emerged within that next decade. The WRONG people are ruling. To get right, white people have to assume power again, with women stepping back, backing a man's power play.

In the Avengers, it's aliens coming along to rule us. Aliens. Outsiders. Foreigners. Fortunately, white people are up to the challenge.

An important question here is: am I taking an easily applied analogy and finding that it fits? Is the problem me? Possibly. It's important to ask that question of bias, and recognize that even the answer to the question could be biased. You should ask that question, too. Have I taken this too far? I don't think so.
Tags: opinionating

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