Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

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Mongrel
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Tue Feb 26, 2019 9:16 pm



I think this essay is covering something that most of us here have already understood on some level. But having it as a pictoral essay that crystallizes and describes everything in a clear and sequential manner is very nice.

Reminds me a bit of a book I have from the early 2000's, which remains distressingly relevant: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Rebel_Sell which is still fairly available and worth the read if you can get it cheap. The criticisms as listed in the wiki page ARE valid, and the book is certainly not without faults, but I don't think they invalidate the central thesis.

Being from 2004, there's nothing in there explicitly about nazis of course, but it's interesting to go back to it and seeing how - in its own way - it hits a lot of the same notes as Powell's essay, where our modern-day self-imagined 'rebels' embrace a consumerist conformity to reinforce personal insecurity and a weak sense of self.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Yoji » Wed Feb 27, 2019 7:01 pm

Just the whole thing with the Punisher skull on everything has been bugging me for a while now.

Like, seeing them with a Thin Blue Line overlay is like... you know who Frank Castle was, right? A vigilante? Anti-hero? Perpetrator of extrajudicial killings? I'm not a law person, but I'm guessing it's not exactly within the bounds of the law (or hell, even the Constitution) to kill a man with a fucking drill press.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Blossom » Wed Feb 27, 2019 8:12 pm

He's the guy who shoots the bad guys.

That's what every cop sees themselves as.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:32 pm

the problem with Punisher (and I mean this) that keeps it from being actual art like everyone who loves Punisher says it is, is that Frank is never shown fucking up and killing an innocent person, or missing a shot and hitting a little girl in the brain, or having a psychotic break and killing a bunch of Jews because they control the media. He's always 100% accurate in both his aim and his kills. He only kills absolute scum pedo rapist sub-humans.

In real life, a vigilante is going to kill innocent people, he's going to accidentally miss and hit kids (or just shoot them through walls, because in real life bullets go right the fuck through walls) and he's probably going to be a crazy fucker who blames the lizard jews for 9/11.

This is the problem I have with Rorschach, too, though at least he's shown as more crazy and less "oh no feel sad for poor poor ptsd dead child war man."

Anyway, so they're both (especially Frank) this like ideal "super vigilante" which only shows the "good" sides of being a vigilante. Society won't punish the wicked, so Frank does. Frank never misses or hurts anyone innocent because he's the literal best soldier ever. His bullets magically do not go through walls and kill families of five because he knows the exact caliber of bullets to use in every situation. Innocent people don't ever wander into his late-night ambushes because that would show that violence has bad effects. Everyone and everything Frank interacts with is 100% deserving of him murdering them without any moral grey area because otherwise it might show that Frank is, you know, a fucking bad guy who kills people who might not deserve it.

It's maximum full-bore alt-right fantasy wankery. It's "I can stop a mass shooting with my gun because I am a hero" mindset.

I don't hate the Punisher as a character but the fact that his authors never show him just fucking gunning down a bunch of tiny children by accident is so fucking stupid. Dark and gritty my ass, Frank has more magic plot fairies than any other superhero ever.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Wed Feb 27, 2019 9:36 pm

I mean, jesus christ. Every other pajama costume superhero ever has had arcs where it's brought up that by demolishing buildings all the time maybe you're hurting innocent people? And Frank somehow eternally avoids this plotline because if they actually did it to the Punisher it would, you know, maybe cast some doubt on the wisdom of his vigilante killing spree.

Shit, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe there's a ton of issues showing Frank accidently shooting kids and then shrugging it off and using math as a justification or whatever. (Well, I kill 2.7 kids per year, but I also shoot 16 million rapists, so I should continue my mass slaughter) But I have never heard of that EVER being brought up as a thing in Punisher comics. Ever. Again, I could be wrong. But when you have Spider-Man, the friendliest superhero ever, being constantly questioned as a vigilante and Frank is just glorified, well, maybe that shows that Frank is actually a fucking idiot's wet dream fantasy.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:34 pm

I think it was the classic case of something being presented as deliberately morally ambiguous in an effort to nudge the reader towards questioning their beliefs, but then the usual happened where people just decided to confirm their own biases instead.

Also, Marvel likes making money, so any popular character has to somehow always be a face. Think about how many current cape heroes started out as heels who face-turned. I mean Wolverine was originally supposed to be this berserker mercenary introduced as an antagonist and was basically the forerunner of the Punisher.

Yet even Wolverine has had a lot of arcs where he's had to reckon with his violent past/nature. The Punisher? Fuck, he's pure whitewash.

...

P.S. Han shot first.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Büge » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:43 pm

Yeah. Media in general's been in love with the vigilante antihero for half a century at least. Dirty Harry came out in 1971, and it was probably the first of its kind to really popularize the archetype. I think I read in a twitter thread that outlined how the trope just reinforced the idea that the checks and balances in place were impotent at best, and the only way for law enforcers (officially recognized or otherwise) to get results was using more violent methods than the legal system prescribed.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Wed Feb 27, 2019 10:45 pm

And by pure whitewash I do mean racism is involved.

Remember that Frank Castle was introduced during the peak years of White Flight, as the US's national panic about rising crime was headed through the roof and blacks were being very deliberately linked to these fears.

The same themes come up over and over in that era. Dirty Harry had only come out a few years previously, and films like Death Wish were extremely popular. And when you watch those movies, no matter who the final villain is, most of the "thugs" and "punks" you see the protagonist pistol-whip along the way to the finale are blacks or other minorities. The man Dirty Harry has on the ground in arguably the most famous vigilante scene in film history is very, very black.

EDIT: Buge fuckin' scoopin me here on the Dirty Harry reference. Argh.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Bal » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:39 pm

The issue with Punisher killing innocents is, traditionally, that they could barely get away with him killing criminals. Stan Lee was somewhat famously horrified to hear Frank described as a hero (I cannot recall by whom), as he considered him at best a kind of well meaning but fundamentally broken psychopathic killer. On the Netflix show (I haven't watched Season 2) he doesn't normally even use a gun near innocents. I think the Hotel shootout comes closest in season 1, and those floors had been cleared out.

However, you're all absolutely right that the imagery here is fucked, and the results are even worse. A cop, or anyone really, thinking of themselves in the same light as Frank Fucking Castle is terrifying.

EDIT: He did try to (unsuccessfully) kill The Runaways one time, but I honestly don't read Punisher.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:42 pm

People have this idea that violence can be laser guided. In real life, all violence, and I do mean this 100%, results in some kind of collateral damage to the innocent. You can never "just" hurt the bad guys.

Now you know me, I'm not a pacifist. I actually consider "hard" pacifists to be morally wrong. But I'm also not blind to what violence actually is.

Also, presenting psychopaths as protagonists is always going to confuse people into thinking they're heroic. Here are some examples off the top of my head of absolutely insane human beings who a lot of people think are really cool and "know how to get shit done":

Rick Sanchez
Travis Bickle
Frank Castle
Walter White (holy shit this one in particular annoys me as Walt is a egomaniac bumbling fuck-up who only survives due to dumb fucking luck and plot armor and is in no way effective outside of like, three scenes)
Walter Joseph Kovacs

I'm not saying these aren't interesting characters but they are not heroes. At all. In any way. But they all kill people and ignore "da rules" and that's so cooooool I'm soooo coooooool
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Wed Feb 27, 2019 11:52 pm

P.S. Han shot first.


I'm... honestly not sure why you posted this? Are you saying Han Solo is a mass murderer on the same level as Frank Castle? I mean I know that's not what you're saying but I don't know what you're saying. Are you taking a jab at my anti-pacifist stance?
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Thad » Thu Feb 28, 2019 12:44 am

Friday wrote:
P.S. Han shot first.


I'm... honestly not sure why you posted this? Are you saying Han Solo is a mass murderer on the same level as Frank Castle? I mean I know that's not what you're saying but I don't know what you're saying. Are you taking a jab at my anti-pacifist stance?

I think he's saying retcons are bad and Frank is best presented in his original version, as a Spider-Man villain.

I never liked Punisher so I can't say much about him. I will say that I don't really see anything wrong with Rorschach's portrayal in Watchmen; what's wrong, as you alluded in your later post, is that a lot of readers missed the point. Which I think describes Watchmen in general. Great book; too many people badly misunderstood it.

I'd add Archie Bunker to the list of characters people have completely misunderstood, while we're at it. (And his British equivalent, Alf Garnett.)

(And of course there's pretty significant overlap between Rorschach and Travis Bickle. The "And I'll look down, and whisper No." monologue is pretty clearly based on the "Someday a real rain will come and wash all this scum off the streets" monologue.)

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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Thu Feb 28, 2019 2:40 am

I think he's saying retcons are bad and Frank is best presented in his original version, as a Spider-Man villain.


Oh yeah I fucking forgot that Frank was originally portrayed as a crazy fucker whose brand of vigilante justice almost got Spider-Man killed.

Anyway, I'm not shit talking any of these characters, yeah. I just hate that people miss the point so hard and so consistently when it comes to villain/semi-villain protagonists.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby mharr » Thu Feb 28, 2019 5:03 am

Other 'kill them all and let God sort it out' protagonists include basically every videogame avatar except Frisk.

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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Thu Feb 28, 2019 7:33 am

Friday wrote:
I think he's saying retcons are bad and Frank is best presented in his original version, as a Spider-Man villain.


Oh yeah I fucking forgot that Frank was originally portrayed as a crazy fucker whose brand of vigilante justice almost got Spider-Man killed.

Anyway, I'm not shit talking any of these characters, yeah. I just hate that people miss the point so hard and so consistently when it comes to villain/semi-villain protagonists.

Yeah, that was what I was poking at.

Han is only peripherally related to the concept of the vigilante, though he does have a lot of overlap with Western protagonists. But that's a whole other discussion.

Thad hit it on the head; Frank Castle was designed as a nutcase villain (I also seem to recall other similar characters of the era, like The Mask Killer, who mercifully did not endure), and that's not just "overlooked", but swept straight under the rug. The pictoral essay I linked actually has a comment by Punisher co-creator Gerry Conway about this, where he explicitly says he never thought of Punisher as a hero, but as a symbol of societal breakdown.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Fri Mar 01, 2019 2:58 pm


it's unclear how Stern, who lives in California, became president of the Detroit, Michigan-based group.
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby beatbandito » Fri Mar 01, 2019 3:42 pm

Just caught up with the Punisher talk, I think it's been pretty clear for a while that people who overuse his symbolism consider themselves to be preparing for his same situation. Specifically this one:

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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Mongrel » Fri Mar 01, 2019 7:00 pm

The scarier version of that is to ponder how badly such people subconsciously "want" to suffer such a tragedy so that they finally have the excuse they crave to "go off".

Of course some manage it anyway, by latching on to a larger or nearby tragedy and making it "theirs" (get fucked, Rudy).
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Friday » Fri Mar 01, 2019 8:57 pm

People love their violent revenge fantasies.

That's really all The Punisher is. A violent revenge fantasy.

(I don't mean to imply that I'm above loving violent revenge fantasies. Kill Bill is one of my favorite movies after all.)
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Re: Pros and Cons of Punching a Nazi Just Square in the Dick

Postby Brentai » Fri Mar 01, 2019 9:22 pm

End of the day though, The Punisher is 100% a violent federal felon and a representation of contempt for the justice system and especially for the Fifth Amendment.

If that's the iconography you want to associate yourself with, that in itself is fine. But you have no business passing judgement on other criminals, you have no business talking about any sort of amendment rights, and most of all, you have absolutely no business calling yourself a supporter of the law. We have put together a police force to protect ourselves FROM your hypocritical lunatic ass.
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