The Discourse of Character Education: Culture Wars in the Classroom

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He is a rich man and the owner of a corporation, who understands himself as better and more important than all people, while he accumulates his money and power from the labor and deaths of others. Luthor drastically shapes and reshapes domestic and international politics; demonstrating the reciprocity between pacification and accumulation both domestically and in occupied territories.

Gender, Sexuality and Feminism

Superman does not have an alter-ego in Red Son. There is no communist Clark Kent trying to live a normal human existence, only the alien with superpowers.

Letters from America: the new culture wars

Additionally, being equal does not necessitate being identical in every way. Equality instead should be understood as equal in ability to thrive and to fulfill their potential to the fullest.

1st Edition

Luckily, Superman flies in to save her and everyone else. This is a dark turn for Superman during the middle portion of the comic wherein he feels he must rely on increasingly fascist governing policies to ensure security in the communist states. Liberalism is not only unable to save us from this possibility, but actually had a major role in its creation and continuation. Not even Superman can achieve this theoretical balance and ends up going so far as to surgically implant thought-reprogramming devices into the brains of detractors to create his own race of pacified cyborgs—pacification and security technology literally embodied.

This myth of an achievable balance between security and liberty makes possible the acceptance of all sorts of authoritarian measures by the populous because they are justified on liberal grounds. During the Cold War, Luthor-laboratory monsters like Superman II and civil unrest are presented as legitimate security threats to both citizens and the state.

The comic demonstrates how things determined to be a threat to the state are never value-neutral.

Political correctness

Throughout a majority of the comic, Superman is thought of as the primary threat to the United States and much of the world from the perspective of the both Americans and their government. Security is clearly demonstrated as an attack on social well-being in order to secure power and profit for the oligarchy. Whether Superman is an American capitalist or Soviet communist he presents a security threat and thus becomes the justification for American development of weapons of mass destruction, as well as the subtler forms of violence of pacification.

Neocleous describes the reciprocal condition of the state, insecurity, and violence as such:.

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Perhaps Superman was correct in faking his own death and leaving earth to its own devices; it is clear that it is the state that is the real supervillain to be vanquished and a new social order to be built by the proletariat from the ground up. If Utopia is really always on the horizon, a process of working towards both conditions for justice and reaching human potential as individuals and as society, then Superman had to leave when he realized he could not create a perfect society. Because a perfect society is a process of constant revision—not just a singular revolutionary moment. When Superman realized that he was reliant on pacification as security he can be understood as having realized that security versus liberty is not a balance to be achieved, but a cog in reproducing capitalist relations of exploitation; a form of perpetuating violence for more violence and onward for infinity.

The logic of security is anti-political, [44] and the logic of cultural texts is the liberty of expressing new and exciting ideas. Comic books may be commodified works of art that are mass produced by mega-corporations to sell action figures and movie tickets, but that does not limit their potential to help us think differently about how we understand the world around us and imagine the new world we want to build.


Thank you as well to Morgan Oddie and Michelle Smith for their encouragement! I am grateful to the reviewers for their helpful feedback and to the editorial board of Panic at the Discourse.

This project was funded in part by an Ontario Graduate Scholarship. Emphasis in original text. However, my analysis is of the revised text published as a single comic in Day, and Greig de Peuter, eds. Menzies, and T.

The Return of Character: Parallels Between Late-Victorian and Twenty-First Century Discourses

Palys, eds. Biography Meg D. In doing so, we might better understand the historical antecedents to stigmatising character discourses today, insofar as they leave the burden of responsibility for particular social outcomes in life and the labour market with individuals and their ability to cultivate their own human capital.

Abstract There has been an increasingly common trend in the UK to identify character skills and traits as the basis for various individual successes and achievements.

Sean P. Harvey

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Educating Character Through the Arts

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