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PostPosted: Tue Sep 25, 2007 2:54 am 
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Moore repeats this line in a different book at amost the same time...

Miracleman #16, p. 7, where the Warpsmith adresses the UN (of course only after she negotiated with the British Government ;) )

Warpsmith: "In conclusion then, I must inform you that your chemical, biological and nuclear stockpiles are completely disorganized."

US repr.: "[...] Does the young lady mean that our defenses are disorganized on a political level?"

Warpsmith: "A molecular level. We teleported them into the sun 15 minutes ago."


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 17, 2007 9:25 am 
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There seems to be many themes in Moore's work that he repeats.

In Swamp Thing, there are these themes of mankind destroying itself through the destruction of the environment and the depletion of earth's resources. Swamp Thing sees himself as as a self-appointed savior who can restore the environment and save humanity. He decides to not act because he feels humanity would just feel they could polute more if the environnment was restored - so why should he bother?

This is very similar to Veidt's attitude, except Veidt has the ego to think he can save the world from destruction.

I always thought that the ending of Watchmen might have been more true to life is Veidt's plan didn't change anything. There is a tiny bit of text that almost supports my theory that Veidt's plan may not have really worked. At the top of page 25 in the last chapter, the two last word balloons with the audio from the TV news reports read: " Could further attacks be imminent?" and "We think not. Imagine an alien bee, not very intellegent, that stings reflexively upon death. If..."

Its seems like the media is sort of coming around and beginning to downplay what had happened. Maybe in a few weeks the world would be right back on the brink of destruction again. Food for thought.

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PostPosted: Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:08 am 
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I'm strongly of the opinion that Veidt can make no legitimate claims to having saved the world from inevitable nuclear destruction, but only from a threat that he engineered, and at the cost of all those New York lives. The notion that he's saving the world is as delusive as the sailor's notion that he's saving his family in the Tales from the Black Freighter metanarrative. Rorschach describes Karnak as the "heart of darkness" at one moment, and Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness is a good intertext for Watchmen insofar as Veidt is a kind of Kurtz, a European paragon whose essay for the International Society for the Suppression of Savage Customs, a text "vibrating with eloquence," ends with the scrawl "Exterminate all the brutes." Check out the page in Heart of Darkness where this passage occurs and read bits of his essay; it could be Ozymandias talking about his relation to the average joe.

And as for having engineered a kind of peace, I think the important point is Manhattan's: nothing ever ends. Veidt is operating on the Hegelian premise that he's brought about the end of history; Manhattan debunks that notion in a sentence. (It's wonderful that Watchmen came out two or three years before Francis Fukuyama, transported into neoconservative rapture over the fall of the Berlin Wall, declared that history had reached an end. Talk about your preemptive debunking.) It may be that the peace he engineers will endure beyond a few weeks, but you can bet your butt that something will emerge he didn't foresee.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 21, 2007 2:43 pm 
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Such as Rorschachs journal? I've wondered if the New Frontiersman knew what they had, and found out the implications in it were true, would they still share it with the world?

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2007 7:26 am 
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They'd have a dilemma: Veidt's squid killed all the African-American characters in the book (except Sally's nurse in California), and the only two gay characters, and driven Dan and Sally to disguise themselves as blonds with Anglo-Saxon names, all of which the far right New Frontiersman could only approve; on the other hand, they now have to hold hands with the Russians.

But I think there's no need to put too much weight on the journal itself: the point of that panel, I think, is to point out that all sorts of contingencies exist which no one - no one left on earth anyway - can foresee. Whether or not Seymour picks up the journal is less important than what it shows, that Veidt's utopia has cracks.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:23 am 
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RLS wrote:
They'd have a dilemma: Veidt's squid killed all the African-American characters in the book (except Sally's nurse in California), and the only two gay characters, and driven Dan and Sally to disguise themselves as blonds with Anglo-Saxon names, all of which the far right New Frontiersman could only approve;


I always hold a view that Veidt plans, in a way to bring a world to Utopia, was through ethnic cleansing. I believe he has a vision of the world where aryans rule.

Just look at Veidt, he has white skin, blonde hair, of german decent. isn't that what the Nazi's once dreamt of?

Correct me if im wrong. I apologise if i offended anyone.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 4:07 am 
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It's New York! There were a lot of coloured people/asians/whatever living and working there. I think the given demographic of the victims represents a fair view of the population that would be affected by such an event.

I think if Moore meant to hammer home that Veidt's intention was to wipe out all non-Aryans he would have been a bit less subtle about it. (As I haven't registered it during the times I have read the book). I thought the idea was to shake the PTB into peace talks, not eradicate innocent ethnic groups.

Although the theme is very up-front on V4V, where Africa is obliterated and that non-aryans are incarcerated and "dealt" with.

Moore and Gibbons grew up in a Britain that was very different to that in the time these stories were written. There was a high degree of civil unrest mid-eighties as the children of earlier immigrant families began to face a pretty bleak future.

Moore and Gibbons are white comic creators, brought up on western comics. So here they are deconstructing a peculiarly white-dominated North American comic book tradition. (You should see the stick Hergé is getting for his depiction of black people in his Tin Tin books! And rightly so!)

The character, Long, is an obvious concession. He has a competent middle-class profession and white friends. Meaning "they" don't all pop luudes or flog cheap watches from a case on a street corner.

To obtain closure, the New York sub-characters, apart from the New Frontiersman stooges, are wiped out. I don't think it's an attempt to clean up the gene pool. (Horrible thought. Urk!)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:37 am 
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Junky_dude wrote:
I always hold a view that Veidt plans, in a way to bring a world to Utopia, was through ethnic cleansing. I believe he has a vision of the world where aryans rule.

Nah, that would be HJ's dream-come-true.

I think RLS would agree with you, Soupy... I understand and jive with the points that both of you are making.

How many female characters have at least one speaking line in Watchmen that are not objectified as sexual obects? Almost every single female either: has heterosexual sex, is the object of a sexual fantasy, has lesbian sex, talks about lesbian sex, is paid to sleep with a blue man, sleeps with an owl man, or is a romantic love interest of a blue blue man, wants to sleep with a shrink, has sex with her husband's business partner, is raped and loves her rapist in the pages of these books.

Watchmen was written when conspicuous consumption was in and a capitalistic nationalism was the "in" thing. I think Adrian is supposed to represent the typical comic book hero. I think they were writing his character to appeal to an audience who expected that type of hero, and I think he was meant to be displayed as a real person with real conceits, but mainly a man of virtue (so the "reveal" at the end is more of a shocker.)

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 8:45 am 
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Let's also not forget that this was written in 1985. It doesn't seem like a long time ago, but as far as ERA is concerned, that's an eon. Plus with Moore being born and raised in a pretty "blue collar" English city, I'm guessing he was surrounded by many men who objectified and degraded women. I'm not saying that Moore is a mysoginist, but when your surrounded by those attitudes, some threads might pour out of your subconscious now and again and into your work.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 9:07 am 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Let's also not forget that this was written in 1985. It doesn't seem like a long time ago, but as far as ERA is concerned, that's an eon. Plus with Moore being born and raised in a pretty "blue collar" English city, I'm guessing he was surrounded by many men who objectified and degraded women. I'm not saying that Moore is a mysoginist, but when your surrounded by those attitudes, some threads might pour out of your subconscious now and again and into your work.


If anything, the portrayal of female characters in Watchmen, especially the costumed ones, is a comment on the state of the comics industry.

As to Mr. Moore himself, he is as enlightened a liberal as they come. As such, I have difficulty believing any stereotyped portrayals were an unconscious act.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:10 am 
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Broken Finger wrote:
As to Mr. Moore himself, he is as enlightened a liberal as they come. As such, I have difficulty believing any stereotyped portrayals were an unconscious act.

There was another very enlightened, ahead of his time, liberal writer by the name of Gene Roddenberry. His late 60's show Star Trek had women in mini-skirts and go-go boots and frequently had female officers cowering and crying and looking up to the strong Captain Kirk to make them "feel safe." Virtually every female role in this series had an overtly sexual aspect to her. I know, some of the anti-feminist traits of that show were network driven, but mysogany popped up too often in the wirting, subtext and costumes to be blamed solely on NBC. We are all a product of our surroundings and the times we live in - it's hard to shake it off completely no matter how enlightened we think we are.

I'm sure most of Moore's sterotyped portrayals were planned and, yes, they serve a literary purpose. But it is possible some of these character's subtext are a bit of a reflection of the times and Moore's upbringing.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 10:18 am 
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Broken Finger wrote:
If anything, the portrayal of female characters in Watchmen, especially the costumed ones, is a comment on the state of the comics industry. As to Mr. Moore himself, he is as enlightened a liberal as they come. As such, I have difficulty believing any stereotyped portrayals were an unconscious act.


Alas, I fear the state of the movie industry of 2009 will have no propblem being faithful to the state of the comics industry in 1985.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 12:53 pm 
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Soupdragon wrote:
It's New York! There were a lot of coloured people/asians/whatever living and working there. I think the given demographic of the victims represents a fair view of the population that would be affected by such an event.

I think if Moore meant to hammer home that Veidt's intention was to wipe out all non-Aryans he would have been a bit less subtle about it. (As I haven't registered it during the times I have read the book). I thought the idea was to shake the PTB into peace talks, not eradicate innocent ethnic groups.

I don't think it's necessary for Moore and Gibbons to hammer home the subtext for that subtext to be present: don't we admire Watchmen for its subtlety?

And I don't think the fact that the real New York is racially diverse is entirely the point. We're dealing with a representation, and have to read it on its own terms. Within Watchmen itself, we see a limited range of African-American characters, all but one of them in New York, and all of those characters die. When I teach Watchmen, I have students focus on the representations of race in the novel to point out how racially homogenous Veidt's utopia is.
- Malcolm Long, Gloria Long, Bernard, and the watch seller die.
- Hira Manish dies.
- Veidt's Asian assitants die.
Add to these deaths the deaths of Joey and Aline, the only openly gay characters in Watchmen, and you start to trace the racial and sexual dimensions of Veidt's utopia. I also think it's significant that Dan Dreiberg and Laurie Juspeczyk both change their names and appearances to be more Anglo-Saxon ("Hollis" is not only a tribute to Hollis Mason but also a name that loses the eastern European resonances of their original names; kind of reminiscent of Stanley Lieber changing his name to Stan Lee). And Rorschach, who's probably Jewish (his mother's maiden name is Glick, which Budd Shulberg used as the name of his Jewish-American protagonist in What Makes Sammy Run?), is vaporized, one more body among the foundations of Veidt's utopia.

The Holocaust is referenced throughout the book, most visibly in the Krystallnacht concert. Hollis Mason refers to the Holocaust by way of a metonym in Under the Hood to trivialize the birth of the American superhero. The name "Millennium" has associations with Nazi Germany, and if you look at the models on the Millennium posters, they're plainly Aryan white (and dressed in the Classical costumery typical of those late Victorian paintings emphasizing the racial whiteness of Classical Greece - paintings by Alma Tadema and Lord Leighton, among others). The only minor characters who survive the squid are the white supremacists. Even the Gunga Diner disappears.

I know what Veidt's rhetoric is, but you have to look at the evidence of the massacre to get a sense of what his utopia will be in practice. It takes some of the wind out of the sails of the utilitarians who argue that Veidt saved billions by killing a half million when one points this stuff out, but it's nevertheless textual evidence that one has to take seriously. I suggested in another post that Heart of Darkness is a relevant intertext in Watchmen. Veidt is another Kurtz, writing hymns to civilization while perpetrating massacres.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:30 pm 
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DoomsdayClock wrote:
Broken Finger wrote:
As to Mr. Moore himself, he is as enlightened a liberal as they come. As such, I have difficulty believing any stereotyped portrayals were an unconscious act.

There was another very enlightened, ahead of his time, liberal writer by the name of Gene Roddenberry. His late 60's show Star Trek had women in mini-skirts and go-go boots and frequently had female officers cowering and crying and looking up to the strong Captain Kirk to make them "feel safe." Virtually every female role in this series had an overtly sexual aspect to her. I know, some of the anti-feminist traits of that show were network driven, but mysogany popped up too often in the wirting, subtext and costumes to be blamed solely on NBC. We are all a product of our surroundings and the times we live in - it's hard to shake it off completely no matter how enlightened we think we are.

I'm sure most of Moore's sterotyped portrayals were planned and, yes, they serve a literary purpose. But it is possible some of these character's subtext are a bit of a reflection of the times and Moore's upbringing.

I'm not sure I can properly respond to this without making fun of Star Trek. Many times. You've already stated your fondness for...it, therefore, to save some hard feelings, I will concede the point. ;)

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But it is possible

Yeah, it's possible, but taking the many levels and layers of Watchmen into consideration, is it likely? I think not.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:40 pm 
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Mannie Bothans wrote:
How many female characters have at least one speaking line in Watchmen that are not objectified as sexual obects? Almost every single female either: has heterosexual sex, is the object of a sexual fantasy, has lesbian sex, talks about lesbian sex, is paid to sleep with a blue man, sleeps with an owl man, or is a romantic love interest of a blue blue man, wants to sleep with a shrink, has sex with her husband's business partner, is raped and loves her rapist in the pages of these books.

That's kind of an empty point if you think about the male characters. Dreiberg has a sex scene with Laurie, it's speculated that Veidt is homosexual, it's confirmed that HJ and Metropolis are gay, Rorschach is asexual, the Comedian raped one woman and impregnated another, Doc Manhattan is a giant nude man, Rorschach is averse to sex... the list goes on.

Take a look at the "Lost Girls" segment in the "Alan Moore Interviews" section of the site. The man himself says that in his opinion, characters need some kind of sexual element or attitude toward sex to be truly well-rounded. So it's not really a gender-related or sexist thing so much as it's a character development thing.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 1:58 pm 
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Broken Finger wrote:
I'm not sure I can properly respond to this without making fun of Star Trek. Many times. You've already stated your fondness for...it, therefore, to save some hard feelings, I will concede the point. ;)

You can. I make fun of Star Trek all the time. After 40 years there's been good Trek and bad Trek... and some horifically bad Trek. I'm not one of these blind Trekkies (or Trekkers - nobody jump down my throat) that likes all Star Trek. I like Star Wars, too, but I'm smart enough to know episodes I - III are gigantic turd sandwiches.

But my post had very little to do with Trek, anyways. Also, about the Moore/mysogony thing. I'm thinking out loud a little here. It's not really anything I feel deeply about. Just broadcasting an idea that popped into my head.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:05 pm 
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Curiosity Inc. wrote:
That's kind of an empty point if you think about the male characters. Dreiberg has a sex scene with Laurie, it's speculated that Veidt is homosexual, it's confirmed that HJ and Metropolis are gay, Rorschach is asexual, the Comedian raped one woman and impregnated another, Doc Manhattan is a giant nude man, Rorschach is averse to sex... the list goes on.

Wait wait wait: who speculates that Veidt is gay? Rorschach, hardly an impartial witness; the novel doesn't offer much in the way of specific evidence of his sexuality, and where it does it's plain that his sexuality is far more complex than the straight-gay binary can accommodate. And what makes you think that Rorschach himself is asexual? He's a bundle of repressed desire, which is not the same thing.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:25 pm 
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RLS wrote:
Curiosity Inc. wrote:
That's kind of an empty point if you think about the male characters. Dreiberg has a sex scene with Laurie, it's speculated that Veidt is homosexual, it's confirmed that HJ and Metropolis are gay, Rorschach is asexual, the Comedian raped one woman and impregnated another, Doc Manhattan is a giant nude man, Rorschach is averse to sex... the list goes on.

Wait wait wait: who speculates that Veidt is gay? Rorschach, hardly an impartial witness; the novel doesn't offer much in the way of specific evidence of his sexuality, and where it does it's plain that his sexuality is far more complex than the straight-gay binary can accommodate. And what makes you think that Rorschach himself is asexual? He's a bundle of repressed desire, which is not the same thing.

Okay. But that's still beside my point.

My point is that pretty much all of the characters in Watchmen -- male and female -- have some sexual element to their character that is shown in the book.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 2:47 pm 
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My bad, but those characterizations of Veidt and Kovacs leapt out at me.

A propos of your point, I think the issue is not whether characters have sexual appetites in the first place but rather whether their sexual identities define them. I agree with Mannie to a degree: if you look at Moore's original proposal for Watchmen (when the Charlton characters were still the subjects of the proposal), he admitted that he had fewest ideas for Nightshade; at the same time, he had a strong sense of how all the other characters would work. He and Gibbons found a way to make Laurie's character important - after all, she proves to be the thermodynamic miracle that restores Manhattan's interest in humanity - but she's still in many ways more of a plot function than a character, and her role as object of desire is more important than it is for any other character in the book. Women don't generally enjoy much scope in adventure comics, and as I see it, Moore and Gibbons weren't as successful in demolishing gender stereotypes as they were in revising other tropes of the genre.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2007 3:17 pm 
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RLS wrote:
Women don't generally enjoy much scope in adventure comics, and as I see it, Moore and Gibbons weren't as successful in demolishing gender stereotypes as they were in revising other tropes of the genre.

Which winds back to my point. Was this intentional or was their treatment of gender sterotypes a product of the societal attitudes of the time?

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