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Captain America Is No More the Man of Steel

Superman arrived this year, learning how to wear his trademark underwear finally. Inside. And with that kind of epiphany, America, or the US, has suddenly acquired a new image too.
“The superman exists and he's American.”
― Alan Moore, Watchmen
Image from Wikia

From playing the role of a superhero as well as a global saviour all along, now there is a big question mark on their authority. As people say, what goes around comes around. America has gone a long way around after starting assembly lines, setting up McDonalds, redefining democracy, exporting baseballs and Hollywood, plus subjugating the Injuns and so on.

The last century belonged to them. The equation has changed considerably today. Change is indeed the only constant element.

Apparently the days of America are numbered—not for anything, but it is just following the law of nature. One of the laws proves that civilisations follow a life cycle of birth and death. And notably, no one can play God to all the people all the time.

Superheroes, Saviours and Cinemas

In my childhood days I was so obsessed with Superman. I even got a tattoo of his ‘S’ sign on my wrist when I was hardly 15. (Amerikan Thinking Manipuri Living, kapilarambam.blogspot.in/2012/06/amerikan-thinking-manipuri-living.html) In the Man of Steel, Superman says it stands for hope in his native Krypton, and Lois Lane adds what it really stands for on the earth. A new idea! 
Captain America is not here to lead the country.
Image from Captain America

Then, in those teenage days, we came across movies like Independence Day, Clear and Present Danger, True Lies, Armageddon et cetera. There was always a familiar motif. It looked like America was the prototype of the world. The world wins if it wins, and correspondingly loses if it loses. We did have a stereotypical view of America as the saviour of the world. Many people hated the Russians for the obvious reasons, while many more people fall in love with rock n' roll instantly. And undeniably the fact was that we can relate it to ourselves. In another word, the picture trims and frills the garbs of American hegemony.

Whistle-blowers, Protestors and Others

In the wake of 9/11 we saw a new development. Suddenly, it was like film makers have realised America was the real bad guy and not some camel-riding Arab men or the vodka-scented Communist Russians. The 2010 movie, Green Zone, illustrated how America is no more a man of steel, but rather it is a dumbfuck (How to Say Hello Dumbfuck in Different Fonts, kapilarambam.blogspot.in/2012/12/how-to-say-hello-dumbfuck-in-different.html) who is hell bent on robbing oil and spreading false hopes of democracy across the world.

“It's an odd state to be in, blowing the whistle on your home country.”
―Michael Ondaatje
Image from Solidarity
In recent years, we have as well seen more than a couple of whistle-blowers, who have unravelled the true colour of America. These anti-heroes have cured the amnesia of the average American nationalists who always overlook their ever decreasing power in the 21st century. It will be, however, superficial as much as immature if we omit its influence entirely. The impact of electronic online surveillance proves its latent and lethal power. [One of the latest news from BBC: The US National Security Agency (NSA) secretly monitored 60 million phone calls in Spain in one month, Spanish media say. 28 Oct 6:30 pm IST

The Edward Snowdens, Wikileaks and Co has been the biggest pain in the American ass. Thanks to the company, the world has learnt how the US has been manipulating the world. If seeing is believing, Michael Moore shows so clearly in his works—and so does Noah Chomsky in his lectures, writings and documentaries (Watch Manufacturing Consent / read here http://www.chomsky.info/interviews/1992----02.htm). And there are scores of movies depicting the same degree of resistance against the establishment and the state of affairs America is tangled with, much to the annoyance of its power stakeholders.

Now we have no Harrison Fords and Bruce Willises to show the heroic acts. But we don’t know how they are ever going to learn the reality properly. There is some nostalgia as evident from the recent movies like White House Down and Olympus Has Fallen.

Remember the Vietnam protests. The Cold War. Then Afghanistan, Iraq and so on. So, never say never.

New World Order, with Aliens and Space Objects

Vietnam preceded the Cold War which predated again, the contemporary invasion for oil. Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan serve the best destination equally for American patriotism and business conglomerations. They call it the war on terror. How many farcical plays, by the way, has America produced in the last couple of decades?

The bottom line is our lack of faith in them, and this is going to persist until they come clean for a considerable amount of time. Besides, they have to leave more countries to their own devices. A map, shown below, shows several countries where America has been poking its nose into since 1950.

Dark spots showing the countries under American military intervention since 1950
Image from Wikimedia Commons

You know the kind of movies with universe-affecting catastrophes. Earlier, when America was affected we were intended to feel like it affects the whole world. Or imagine those cinematic inserts showing some random foreign faces with the name of the country written below, to show how a particular catastrophe bears on different parts of the world too. Now we can easily identify that kind of tricks. In another way, it looks like the aliens have invaded only America in the entire world—or the Americans are overly anxious, overly imagining they are being targeted while the whole world laughs at them for their infantile fears of aliens and space objects. The fact is that the situation is changing.

Potential superpowers (US is the only existing superpower)
A slightly edited screenshot from a Wikipedia page
We can admit that we are seeing movies with narratives somehow different from those in the 1990s. And it is interesting.

The End

There is one more perspective. The Americans are simple people who made movies for themselves. Who would know the whole world is watching their movies? Ignorance is such bliss. Its people cite economic reasons, inequality issues and the diversity of population and the like for the ignorance. That is, though, a completely different story.

We have seen the latest arrival of Superman without underwear. Unsurprisingly, when the people from outer space arrive, America is going to be the first host. If not, Holywood is going to invent one. All is just a matter of time, until a new country comes up with its stories on greatness and power and all.

The original thrill has gone a while ago. The United States is just another developed country. Once a sole superpower, its image is going up, up and away slowly. The audience has been watching the Great American Show, while China is fantasising about the prospects in this new century of the new millennium.

Concluded.

“Not knowing when the dawn will come I open every door.” ―Emily Dickinson
A night shot from Tamenglong, Manipur, taken by Leimaram Herojit

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