Sleeper Heroes

Who knew Ramzy Kadyrov was so sage?

Chechnya’s authoritarian leader Ramzan Kadyrov has ordered images of American comic superheroes at children’s centers and playgrounds to be replaced with “real heroes” of the North Caucasus republic.

The November 20 announcement came after Kadyrov earlier this week visited a new high-rise residential complex in the city of Kurchaloy, where he criticized American comic and film figures painted on the walls of a children’s center.

“We need to remove the images of these fictional characters, these are fantasies,” Kadyrov said of the images of Captain America, Thor, Iron Man, and Superman during the November 16 tour of the new facility. “In the history of religion and people, there are many real heroes from whom you can and should take an example, otherwise children think that only these heroes exist.”

Indeed. American culture is toxic, sadly, and America is a cautionary tale for those outside the West. 

Those of a certain age can recall when we learned about and celebrated genuine America heroes and legends, and many of them actually deserved it.

Gregory Cochran has said we used to have heroes of achievement, now we have heroes of suffering. It’s as if we turned on a historical dime from a mostly Hellenic to perversely Christian culture. Note how even the spandex heroes in the movies must suffer, from pangs of conscience, from abuse, from repression, from childhood trauma, from the oppressive nature of their gifts.

Comic book heroes don’t seem to be replacing the genuine historical heroes for us, but replacing the very idea of heroism. Kids don’t emulate these characters; even the very young now are too sophisticated not to view them with jaded understanding. The beauty of this product for those who seem determined to cram it down our throats for eternity, is precisely the absurdity of the characters and their unreal nature; they are not an affront to a slacker like me. We live in the age of affront, and minorities taking offense at more and pettier things is maybe just part of that; the individual takes more and more as an affront, and there is no greater affront than another’s superiority.

Teddy Roosevelt actually did amazing things. Emulating such characters isn’t easy. Emulating Captain Marvel means you dress the role for Halloween.

Comic book heroes serve a purpose, deliberately or not: they are here to destroy heroism. That could be seen as very beneficial to a powerful elite invested in a docile and distracted populace.

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