Wednesday, July 4, 2018

The Fourth World Of July!


I well remember the late Christopher Lee said that he read J.R.R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings annually. I was struck by such dedication to a single and clearly influential piece of literature. Then it occurred to me that I almost do the same thing with another piece of classic fantasy literature -- Jack Kirby's Fourth World. While I haven't read it every year, I do manage to read it at least every other year. But now in this time, a time when my country confronts both outrages and absurdities on a daily basis, when threats to the very fabric of civil society are under attack, I find solace in the wisdom in Kirby's epic. His tale drew its inspiration from evils put down by a new world order, but evils which never ever expire. Now they wriggle and writhe and threaten to rear up again, in new clothes and in new places and Kirby's sage insights are a heady balm to help buttress the spirit and focus the mind to confront the lunacy which seeks to make itself the new normal.


The new forces against liberty are lead by the man who now alas holds the highest office in the land. He is a proper villain, a lazy lout, a liar and a coward who uses his forked tongue to weaken the world order which has been established since the end of the last great war. He is stunted emotionally and intellectually and is driven by a host of passions, many of which he has no control over, which make him think himself the hero of the drama, but sadly that's far from the case. He is a man who requires constant reinforcement to his fragile ego and gains that added vigor by attacking anyone who stands up to him and who he sees as lesser. He is a man in all probability controlled by a foreign power, either unwittingly or otherwise -- a traitor to the land he purports to lead. History will not speak highly of his tenure and the truth will find its way forward despite all efforts to mutate "truth" into a commodity and not an absolute virtue.



That villain is aided by a cadre of greedy folks who have for years argued for principles they clearly never believed in. Principles of liberty and personal choice which ring hollow now that the power resides in the hands of a broken man who doesn't adhere to them but still uses phrases which make mockeries of our those cherished values. All that matters to this mob is money and power and hurting the weakest members of the society is seen as a boon to this new breed.


Those who stand up to this villain and his lackeys are often hamstrung by their own passions which reveal a lack of clarity. They too seek power and are likely motivated by greed and for the moment mouth the homilies which will gather a resistant force. One hopes that among these resistors are some who have escaped the general grasping for power and truly have the needs of the greater good in mind.


There is a small light glimmering still in the structures of government and order which in wisdom were established long ago. Those norms of behavior which limited the darker aspects of human nature are slowly being swept away but still there are legal and political structures which stand for the moment as a bulwark against the assault of the villain and his cronies.


Struggle seems inevitable. A fight is coming, a battle in the streets which will harm everyone connected to it. Hopefully that fight can be contained to non-violent methods, political means which will prove the true tenor of the nation and oust the villain from his perch. At times it seems that the power and loathsome desires of the villain are winning the day, but always there is the long game in which right will ultimately assert itself. But it will not come by means of fire and fury, but by the ballot box, a tool which for now still presents itself as a remedy.


The outcome of all this is by no means assured. The villain is dangerous and deadly, but also such a buffoon that one hoped he would be laughed out of power. That might still happen when inevitably the darkness descends and the virtues which make this nation great are once again ascendant in the face of that evil. We live in dark days, not hopeless days by any means and for now the nation stands. But the embers of a deadly fire are being stoked in the seats of power and only a thorough cleansing wind can sweep them away. The Fourth World saga shows how the evil takes root but it also shows how heroes arise in the face of that threat. We must be those heroes. And on this Fourth of July, a day dedicated to the establishment of freedom it's a perfect time to read and remind ourselves of what Jack "King" Kirby said so eloquently in his Fourth World books -- we are the ones who stand against the night to come, we are the ones live in the light and we are the ones who must resist the dark side.

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9 comments:

  1. I often wish the King was still here to comment on these times.

    But as you often remind us, Rip, he already has.

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    1. I was especially struck this reading how on point so much of the Fourth World stuff is to the current problems. Kirby constructed the saga in the shadow of Watergate and his loathing for Nixon was a key element, and it goes to how similar these days are to those that his works are of such moment. The parallels between Glorious Godrey and the odious Trump are astounding, even the orange hair. The slogans of Apokalips are the very nonsense we endure in these days of "fake news" and "alternate facts". Sigh.

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    2. I've often thought of Glorious Godfrey in the past couple of years and how well that character illustrated the mindset of fascism, in light of the sort of behavior we see rationalized and "justified" by the American right today. But a good case could be made for comparing Trump with Virmin Vundabar instead. A preening, vain buffoon concerned only with the pomp and trappings of power, always trying to puff himself up to look more impressive while surrounded by incompetent lackeys. No matter how often he fails, they keep telling him he's a genius. Sounds awfully familiar!

      All that said, I think if Kirby could have depicted Trump as a Fourth World character it wouldn't have been anyone from Apokolips: he might have been one of the pathetic mob bosses of Intergang, willing to sell out the human race in exchange for short term profit and a little advantage over the other bosses. Kirby hated mobsters and slumlords more than anything, and you have to think he'd have seen Fred Trump's boy as one of them.

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    3. Good points indeed. I see aspects of most of Darkseid's aides in Trump. The cold-blooded manipulation of Godfrey, the small-minded puffery of Vundabarr, the cruelty of Granny Goodness, even the raging ego of non-Darkseid aide Funky Flashman is recognizable.

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  2. I have never read such baloney from a comic blog before. Obama was the WORST PRESIDENT in our history yet you pollute an otherwise nic blog with factless, baseless emotional oh geez why go one, you are a liberal, hence don't believe in logic or facts. Get a frikkin life.

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  3. Speaking for myself, if being “liberal” means being astute enough to spot a lying, crass, treasonous, privileged, racist, criminal, ego-driven piece of excrement like President DumpsterFire – then I’ll wear that title proudly Library Guy. Thou art barking & pissing up the wrong Dojo here…

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  4. شركة نقل عفش بالرياض وجدة والدمام والخبر والجبيل اولقطيف والاحساء والرياض وجدة ومكة المدينة المنورة والخرج والطائف وخميس مشيط وبجدة افضل شركة نقل عفش بجدة نعرضها مجموعة الفا لنقل العفش بمكة والخرج والقصيم والطائف وتبوك وخميس مشيط ونجران وجيزان وبريدة والمدينة المنورة وينبع افضل شركات نقل الاثاث بالجبيل والطائف وخميس مشيط وبريدة وعنيزو وابها ونجران المدينة وينبع تبوك والقصيم الخرج حفر الباطن والظهران
    شركة نقل عفش بجدة
    شركة نقل عفش بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة نقل اثاث بالرياض
    شركة نقل عفش بالدمام
    شركة نقل عفش بالطائف

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