1. For the most part, if I link to an article or an essay here in the DDD's semi-regular "Suggested Reading List" column, it means that I either endorse it or have otherwise enjoyed it. Greg Hatcher's essay for Comic Book Resources, entitled The Day Captain America Betrayed Me, ostensibly about last week's public outcry over the revelation that Steve "Captain America" Rogers has secretly been working for the Nazi-affiliated HYDRA organization all along, is a rare exception.
Not that it's poorly written (with the possible exception of the lazy bait-and-switch title), or aggressively annoying, or anything like that. I even quite enjoyed the first part, where he describes his youthful trauma at a much earlier "shocking" comic book revelation. Mostly, my issue with this essay stems from Hatcher's somewhat condescending and superior tone, such as in when he informs his readers:
Guys, this is how ongoing adventure serials WORK. They’re TRYING to shake you up and get you invested. It’s what you do when you have long-running serial adventure characters.
Agreed, Greg. But in your haste to belittle all those angry comic book readers who have taken to the Internets to vent spleen over this storyline, you seem to forget that public fanboy freakouts are just as big a part of "what makes ongoing adventure serials work"! Why pooh-pooh people for reacting passionately when a passionate reaction is obviously what the creators were after? It's all part of the fun, isn't it?
Before moving on to our second and third entries, I would just like to say that, yes, I am aware that my argument could very easily be turned against my own lambasting of Greg's lambasting of those who are currently lambasting Marvel. I know that. Also, I would like to thank Greg for publicly responding to the comment I left at his site, which you can see at the above link.
2. Put on your Deep Thinking helmets, folks, because the Oxford University Press blog is asking us to contemplate the "Realism of Social and Cultural Origins". Before exploring the widespread but rarely acknowledged influence of commercial and engineering interests on the sciences, essay author Aitor Anduaga details the philosophical foundations of scientific realism:
Until now, the most known type of realism in science has been the operational one. The Stanford School philosophers, Ian Hacking and Nancy Cartwright, held that scientists are justified in believing in the existence of theoretical entities only when they’re able to use them to produce effects. They called this fact “operational realism.” Thus, the existence of an entity, such as an electron, can be established only through manipulation and experiment. What convinces scientists that they’re seeing electrons is no empirical adequacy of theory, but the fact that they can manipulate in a direct and tangible way to achieve certain results. In fact, Hacking’s most famous motto says: “if you can spray them, then they’re real” — that is, an entity is real if we can manipulate it; so, manipulability is evidence of existence.
The philosophical implications of this "operational realism", particularly in regards to psychiatry and political science (which in some ways is a form of mass psychiatry), are pretty astonishing, particularly when viewed through the lens of paracultural and parapolitical historical analysis. I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to stumble into your own epiphanies about how Hacking and Cartwright's fundamentalist positivism connects to historical technocratic/cybernetic efforts to quantify the ineffable, such as MKUltra and the like.
3. This is a very revealing and educational ten minute look at the ideological roots and the racial underpinning of the insidiously propaganda-manufactured "conservative" longing for a return to America's mythical, pre-Civil Rights "Golden Age". Watch and share, as 2000 hits is far too few for a video presentation of this quality and caliber.