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August 12, 2011 7:32 PM   Subscribe

"I assume capes aren't functional because they can get snagged on things." A fascinating article by Jon Ronson profiling costumed avengers in the real-life superhero movement. Also: Why Doesn't Batman Kill? and Teaching Philosophy With Spiderman.

Jon Ronson and the RLSH previously.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (90 comments total) 36 users marked this as a favorite

 
"I assume capes aren't functional because they can get snagged on things."

NO CAPES!
posted by eriko at 8:06 PM on August 12, 2011 [22 favorites]


And then there are cheers and gasps and applause: Phoenix Jones has arrived. He is a superstar here. He sees me and we hug—two brave warriors who have been through a great adventure together.

"Thank you for making our city safe!" a woman in the crowd calls out to him.

"You're a very cool man!" someone else shouts.


Wow, I feel lame for admitting this, but that Phoenix Jones article actually made me tear up a little bit. Thanks for this.
posted by Nixy at 8:08 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


Also, I personally approve the one female superhero's moniker: The Nyx!.
posted by Nixy at 8:12 PM on August 12, 2011


Loved this:

Every superhero has his origin story, and as we drive from the hospital to his apartment, Phoenix tells me his. ... One night last summer, someone broke into his car. ... The robber had left his mask in the car, so Phoenix picked it up and made his own mask from it. "He used the mask to conceal his identity," he says. "I used the mask to become an identity."

Also:

"How are you feeling?" I ask.

"I'm in a lot of pain," he says. "The cut's still bleeding, internally and externally. A couple of my old injuries are flaring up, like some broken ribs. I'm having a rough night."

"Maybe you're going too hard," I say.

"Crime doesn't care how I feel," he replies.

posted by Alt F4 at 8:14 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


The incredibles anyone?
posted by roboton666 at 8:21 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


I am finding myself ostentatiously nodding at everything the crack dealers are saying, I suppose in the hope that if the shooting starts, they'll remember my nods and make an effort to shoot around me.

This may be my favorite sentence in anything ever.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 8:38 PM on August 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Also, I personally approve the one female superhero's moniker: The Nyx!.

Oh, my.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:45 PM on August 12, 2011


I have the weirdest boner right now.
posted by GooseOnTheLoose at 8:53 PM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


I know I shouldn't approve of this kind of thing, but I'm proud of peeps who both embrace their geekitude and standing up for the little guy and fighting crime, even without any damn superpowers.
posted by jenfullmoon at 8:58 PM on August 12, 2011


Maybe my priorities are messed up, but... in that whole article, they just harass drug dealers and users. I find that the bulk of my sympathies are not with the glory-seeking protagonists, but with the dead-end, no-options-left dealers and users. Although, the superheroes are pathetically tragic in their own right, so maybe they're two sides of the same coin.

I don't want to breathlessly romanticize the plight of the street life, or whatever, but... a real superhero would attack the cause of these problems, not cause ineffectual further problems for the lower-level victims of the system. The alleged prevention of a rape by Master Legend is the only thing I felt I could cheer for, here.
posted by gilrain at 9:02 PM on August 12, 2011 [14 favorites]


This is a sex thing isn't it?
posted by The Whelk at 9:06 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well it is NOW....sheesh....
posted by Greg_Ace at 9:07 PM on August 12, 2011


I'd love to say that this is great, but... when I heard that people were doing this, I thought, "It's all fun and cosplay until someone gets hurt." And here's Phoenix Jones, getting hurt; even though his costume is supposedly "bulletproof", he got hurt by a guy with a car key. (I'd previously heard about his getting a broken nose.) He can't seem to keep from getting seriously hurt--he's pissing blood, folks--and he's got two young kids.

If those drug dealers had decided to throw down? They'd all be dead or permanently injured. So many of these people seem to have gotten the idea from Watchmen; did they totally miss what happened to Silhouette or Dollar Bill? Does it take Alan Moore himself crossing the Atlantic and saying, look, blokes, even as a guy who looks like Rasputin and worships a Roman snake puppet, I think you're fuckin' nuts, please stop?
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:10 PM on August 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


Also I lived in Belltown for a while just this year and hearing it described as crime-ridden quasi-projects is pretty funny, at least considering the rent I paid to live in a very yuppie building. There's some bad parts but it's not, say, Baltimore.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 9:12 PM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


In my mind, it's the dealers who made a "heroic" decision that night. They decided to forego a likely-lucrative night of profits, money they'll to support their families, to avoid hurting or killing what they see as misguided or silly bystanders. The superheroes got to feel a glow do-gooding and stroke their egos. What lasting good was done? Were the dealers given other options for their futures? Were their users helped out of addiction? Were their families fed without the use of drug money? No, the only good done was that the dealers decided they didn't want to kill some people needlessly interfering in their business.

I just can't see it as "good".
posted by gilrain at 9:15 PM on August 12, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait, Batman doesn't kill? Then what was this about?
posted by Splunge at 9:22 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


superheroes aren't real
posted by philip-random at 9:23 PM on August 12, 2011


Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:31 PM on August 12, 2011


Dr. Manhattan.
posted by The Whelk at 9:34 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Awesome post, good article, respectable movement.

But seriously, fuck this guy: There's New York City's Dark Guardian, who specializes in chasing pot dealers out of Washington Square Park by creeping up to them, shining a light in their eyes, and yelling, "This is a drug-free park!"

Really? This is a drug-free park? Not only is any other crime more worth fighting with his super-time, but he chooses to phrase his Crime-Stopping-Action-Words around some bullshit non-law like a douche. THIS IS A "DRUG FREE" NATION. MARIJUANA DEALING IS LEGAL NOWHERE WITHIN ITS BORDERS.

GRRARAARRRRRRR

And he shines a light in their eyes? Is that the kryptonite of stoned pot dealers?

This is his specialty?
posted by troll at 9:36 PM on August 12, 2011 [9 favorites]


Batman's cape is to bewilder people and make him a more difficult target. For reals.
posted by neuromodulator at 9:44 PM on August 12, 2011


And because most pot dealers aren't actually dangerous or violent, he risks little! It's perfect.
posted by gilrain at 9:46 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


If those drug dealers had decided to throw down? They'd all be dead or permanently injured. So many of these people seem to have gotten the idea from Watchmen; did they totally miss what happened to Silhouette or Dollar Bill?

This happens in Kick-Ass too - which is extraordinarily violent but also depicts would-be real life superheroes being kinda nuts and meeting horrible ends.
posted by Bwithh at 9:54 PM on August 12, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Jaywalker! You will use the crosswalk on my watch, villain!"

And I'll stop now.
posted by gilrain at 9:55 PM on August 12, 2011


yikes, creepy
posted by Bwithh at 10:01 PM on August 12, 2011


Sorry, this is not cool. How much more good could these people be doing if they would channel their energy into, say, tutoring kids, or getting involved in local government or community organizing, or...etc. These folks are not only fighting not the causes but the symptoms, but they're doing so in a manner that draws attention to themselves for some sort of ego-satisfying reason, I can only surmise.

Furthermore, and most importantly perhaps, they are putting themselves in danger unnecessarily. This Phoenix character has kids and he's going out at night harassing criminals? Seriously, he needs to cut that shit out. This is the real world.
posted by dubitable at 10:04 PM on August 12, 2011 [7 favorites]


If those drug dealers had decided to throw down? They'd all be dead or permanently injured. So many of these people seem to have gotten the idea from Watchmen; did they totally miss what happened to Silhouette or Dollar Bill? Does it take Alan Moore himself crossing the Atlantic and saying, look, blokes, even as a guy who looks like Rasputin and worships a Roman snake puppet, I think you're fuckin' nuts, please stop?

Seriously—and actually I thought the (not really) subtext of that part of Watchmen was that Alan Moore also thought that dressing up as superheroes was a way that all these folks were exposing their pathology?
posted by dubitable at 10:06 PM on August 12, 2011 [3 favorites]


These folks are not only fighting not the causes but the symptoms

Also part of the Watchmen subtext! It's like they read it and agreed with Rorschach
posted by The Whelk at 10:08 PM on August 12, 2011 [11 favorites]


So many of these people seem to have gotten the idea from Watchmen; did they totally miss what happened to Silhouette or Dollar Bill?

Dollar Bill's demise was also responsible for the Minutemen (in the Watchmen series) to stop wearing capes altogether, since his cape getting stuck in a revolving door allowed him to be shot by the bank robbers.
posted by ShutterBun at 10:08 PM on August 12, 2011


Also part of the Watchmen subtext! It's like they read it and agreed with Rorschach

If so they need to start shooting people in the chest with their grapnel gun and burning them alive and whatnot. </ TOTALLY A JOKE PLEASE DO NOT START DOING THIS SHIT>
posted by dubitable at 10:10 PM on August 12, 2011


NO CAPES! is the FIRST! of all cape threads.
posted by maryr at 10:13 PM on August 12, 2011


I like the one guy who calls himself "Knight Owl" to avoid being derivative or getting sued or something, except he has an obviously stylized Nite Owl mask on his chest.

Also part of the Watchmen subtext! It's like they read it and agreed with Rorschach

No. Rorschach was effective. Well, on the micro level. These guys are cosplaying except with added physical danger. Usually the danger in cosplay is limited to your dignity.
posted by Justinian at 10:24 PM on August 12, 2011


Shut Up, Crime!
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 10:57 PM on August 12, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jeez, Ghost looks like the movie stereotype of a violent criminal. If I was being mugged and that guy ran up, I'd be more afraid of him than the guy mugging me.
posted by abcde at 11:00 PM on August 12, 2011


While I fully support all fetishists to let their freak flag fly, I really hope these guys replace furries and adult babies as the go-to fetish groups to make fun of on the internet.
posted by munchingzombie at 11:02 PM on August 12, 2011 [2 favorites]


Wait, Batman doesn't kill? Then what was this about?

did you rtfa?
posted by wayland at 11:18 PM on August 12, 2011


Have any masked villains arisen to become arch-nemeses?
posted by Knigel at 11:59 PM on August 12, 2011 [4 favorites]


They need super villains!
posted by ian1977 at 12:01 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have had some friends involved in the 'superhero' movement. The movement is bigger than it seems, but the media is only really interested in the flashy, crime fighters. Some people are helping homeless, some are digging gardens.

Seeing these guys on their documentary and thinking this is the movement is about the same as thinking Dog the bounty hunter or LA ink are representative of their fields.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 12:01 AM on August 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am trying to picture what the RLSV would do that would be on the same scale as the RLSH. All I can picture is someone dressed up as The Confabulator walking up to drug dealers and telling them to keep up the evil work.
posted by ian1977 at 12:02 AM on August 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


hearing [Belltown] described as crime-ridden quasi-projects is pretty funny

It was pretty darn seedy before the massive dot-com gentrification; although it's pretty yuppie now there are a few unreformed spots here and there. It's not the neighborhood I'd think needed patrolling if I were going to do the RLSH thing, though.

How much more good could these people be doing if they would channel their energy into

I get your point, but that's not really an argument that holds much water, unless you also apply it to all those people playing WoW or sitting around reading Metafilter when they could be tutoring etc.
posted by hattifattener at 12:05 AM on August 13, 2011


Or a guy named 'The Toe' and his thing is to toe the line. Well versed in the laws of man and rules of society, The Toe knows exactly what he can get away with without getting arrested and or punched.
posted by ian1977 at 12:05 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Also I lived in Belltown for a while just this year and hearing it described as crime-ridden quasi-projects is pretty funny, at least considering the rent I paid

I work in Belltown four days out of the week, and it gets pretty sketchy after dark, even with the high-priced rents. Businesses are closing up, and parts are now sketchy during the day.

It's not Pioneer Square, granted, but Belltown's not always a picnic.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:19 AM on August 13, 2011


"It was a drunk driver. He was getting into his car, so I tried to give him a taco and some water to sober him up. He didn't want it. Eventually he got kind of violent. He tried to shove me. So I pulled out my Taser, and I fired some warning shots. Then the police showed up..."

Neighborhood watch.
Auxiliary Police.
Volunteer firefighter.
Homeless outreach, in a way maybe not drawing attention to yourself?

Plenty of ways to help society without risking degradation or harm to someone.
And groups are really better. Coordinated effort protects people far more than they think.
But masked vigilantes typically devolve into a gang. The Slickers were one of the most effective vigilante groups in the U.S. (they spanked people who stole horses, showed results pretty quickly) but wound up getting out of hand.

Batman doesn't kill, and Batman will not allow one person to kill another.

Good piece. One of the things I've always thought integral to Batman is that he's trained physically and in martial arts not just to protect himself or to beat up thugs, but to be superior enough to mitigate the risk of killing them.

Which relates to the RLSH thing. For example: I can do some very interesting things to someone just poking their carotid sinus. I am well trained. What I can't do just by looking at someone is tell whether they have carotid sinus hypersensitivity and can have a heart attack or whether, if I just tickle the artery or apply pressure, they'll have a blood clot which can cause a stroke.
Hit someone right in the liver (Bas Rutten loved this) or break a rib and puncture something, hit them in the head right, and you can kill them. Max Baer, Ray Mancini, happens in boxing all the time.
Phoenix Jones took two shots just above the belly button. If he took the keys in the right upper quadrant he might not be walking around. He puts the wrong guy in a headlock he might kill someone.
Cops (et.al) take that risk, but they're trained (not only physical skills but verbal), have equipment and backup.
Not that I don't think the guy shouldn't help his neighborhood or defend himself (although going out looking for it stretches 'defense' a bit) but police have a lot of things that protect them from their own ego (procedure, uniform dress, etc). And ego kills. If getting attention dressing up in a costume waging a one man war on crime isn't ego I don't know what is.

Does look fun though.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:26 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which relates to the RLSH thing.
Clarify: as far as Phoenix goes. Not the broader thing psycho-alchemy mentions.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:28 AM on August 13, 2011


"I assume capes aren't functional because they can get snagged on things."

Capes are meta-functional because they make it easier to show movement in static images.
posted by martinrebas at 1:16 AM on August 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


How much more good could these people be doing if they would channel their energy into

I get your point, but that's not really an argument that holds much water, unless you also apply it to all those people playing WoW or sitting around reading Metafilter when they could be tutoring etc.


My argument absolutely holds water. Ostensibly they want to do some good in the world, or so the claim, right? That's what distinguishes them from us sitting around posting here on MeFi or playing WoW, to use your examples—I don't claim I'm doing anything other than messing around right now.

But these people claim they want to do good. If so, then they should use their brains and figure out what is actually going to do some good in the world, rather than this dangerous, incompetent vigilante nonsense.

Not only are these people doing something stupid but they are being disingenuous, because what they are doing is, actually, much more like WoW—with a strong exhibitionist and "let's put ourselves and others in dangerous situations unnecessarily" component—when you remove the veneer of moralistic BS.

I have had some friends involved in the 'superhero' movement. The movement is bigger than it seems, but the media is only really interested in the flashy, crime fighters. Some people are helping homeless, some are digging gardens.

If that's the case, and we are talking much more about a group of community volunteers just, you know, wearing costumes, then I still think it's a little weird but I'm down with that. However this vigilante crap irks me.
posted by dubitable at 1:19 AM on August 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


But these people claim they want to do good. If so, then they should use their brains and figure out what is actually going to do some good in the world

This is why I scoff at incompetents feeding the poor here in Los Angeles when they could do so much more good feeding the poor in Somalia.
posted by Justinian at 1:56 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Much as I liked Smedleyman's links to historical American vigilante groups, it bears remembering that the most influential masked avengers in American history are the KKK. Phoenix seems like a great guy, but as a general rule people in masks should not be given license to do violence.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 2:40 AM on August 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Jon Pertwee's cape was better than all of them.
posted by joannemullen at 2:45 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, Smedleyman is back! When did that happen- he's like, all the superhero MeFi needs!
posted by hincandenza at 3:14 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Batman kills all the time, and the comic is an unreliable narrator.

This may not be canonical, but the canon is unreliable. Just PR from a company that wants you to believe Batman is a good guy. And who owns this company?

Bruce Fucking Wayne.
posted by BurnChao at 3:50 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right, what do those people think, feeling badass by fighting evil anonymously in real life, hiding behind masks and stupid pseudonyms? Don't they know that's what the Internet is for?!
posted by Skeptic at 4:08 AM on August 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Oh, god. Phoenix Jones and the Rain City Superheroes.

They're jerks.

Seriously. They come into my restaurant in Belltown because it's open all night. One or two of them will maybe order a soda, but mostly they take up a bunch of space, don't buy enough to cover the wages of someone going over to check on them, say ignorant, sexist, racist stuff, and basically treat the place like it's their own private clubhouse.

They brought this reporter in, back during ECCC. They took over my entire back room for two hours, and never ordered a thing. We didn't even get a mention out of it.

Why do I let them keep coming in, then? Their existence alone makes me laugh.

And, by the by, yes, that means my place is in Belltown. I'm a short, fat woman who walks alone there at all hours of the night. I have never felt unsafe for a moment, never been threatened outside of my restaurant (inside is a different story, but bad incidents are rare enough that they become instant gossip, rather than being ho-hum, and we'll tell a good tale for weeks before something else happens). I lived in a scarier neighborhood in Tallahassee, FL. This article is ridiculous.
posted by MadGastronomer at 4:09 AM on August 13, 2011 [44 favorites]


Wow, finally some bit of Americana I can relate to on a direct basis, and not through Hollywood; been to Belltown, been approached by folks with, ummm, goods, seen a situation where, well, at the very least, didn't warrant the touristy maps, cameras and the general please-rob-me vibe we were carrying. Wonder what we'd have done had a masked saviour showed up; we had already met some strange characters by that time in the night, including one dude who spoke in such a thick mafioso accent that it was almost as if he had just dropped out of Godfather or something. Offered us good "clean" girls and a ride in his stretch limo. We refused.

At the very least, getting sloshed and taking a leisurely stroll at 2AM at Stewart Street (that counts as Belltown, doesn't it) is an experience entirely different from what you get at Geylang or Jln Ramlee or Mongkok (all unsavoury places to drink, in this part of the world)

Speaking of vigilantes and Geylang... tangentially related, but here's what a vigilante does in this part of the world, photographs men scouting for services in the local red-light district, and puts their pictures up on her (their) blog. No branding or costumes, but a similar role, in a sense.
posted by the cydonian at 4:36 AM on August 13, 2011


These people love adrenaline and attention.

More than one had kids. Jesus man, want to make a difference in the world? Go home and play pokemon with your kids.

And that Dark Guardian douche in Washington Square park is just silly. There is a mobile police unit parked on the south side of the park 24/7. It's like he decided to patrol Knott's Berry Farm. Why don't you take a trip down to Brownsville and see how it goes? Or better yet, take off the costume and go volunteer at the Bowery Mission.
posted by milarepa at 5:09 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


We begin in Pioneer Square. We're a small team tonight; Pitch Black and Ghost are Phoenix's only companions. The bars are closing, and drunk kids are piling onto the streets, but there's still a frustrating absence of crime. But then, from somewhere up the street, we hear a shout: "I'm going to fuck you, bitch."


"Let's go!" yells Phoenix. He, Ghost, Pitch Black, and I start to run frantically toward the mystery commotion.

"It's the YouTube guy!" a nearby teenager shouts delightedly. "Can I get a picture?"

Phoenix screeches to a halt. "I'll be right with you guys!" he calls to us. He poses for the girl.

"Phoenix!" I sigh.

The real-life superheroes like to portray their motives as wholly benevolent, but if they were driven purely by altruism, they'd have become police officers or firefighters or charity volunteers. Something else is evidently propelling them—a touch of narcissism. It's an odd sort of narcissism, of course, when the narcissist disguises his face, but the lust for fame and glory is unmistakable. By the time Phoenix has had his picture taken, the potential criminal and victim are nowhere to be seen.



This.
posted by likeso at 6:04 AM on August 13, 2011 [11 favorites]


Suddenly we notice a man across the street drop a small, clear bag on the ground at the feet of another man.

"Yahtzee!" yells Phoenix. He rushes across the road. "What did you just drop?"

"Pretzels," says the man, picking the bag up and showing it to us.

There's a silence. "Good," says Phoenix.
Is there a word for "simultaneously hilarious and disturbing"?
posted by Flunkie at 6:32 AM on August 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


the real-life superhero movement.

aka The How to Never Get Laid movement.
posted by jonmc at 6:34 AM on August 13, 2011


Maybe someone should remind them that Catwoman got the idea from Batman.
posted by localroger at 6:35 AM on August 13, 2011


Why no capes? Capes are expensive. To hang right it need to be cut on the bias, uses a lot of material, use a cheap material and it will just look silly. (my mom made me an incredible satin magicians cape years ago, don't know where it went, miss it badly every Oct 31)
posted by sammyo at 7:06 AM on August 13, 2011


I'm not sure why Watchmen keeps coming up. 'Mazing Man sounds more like it.

I'm not 100% how I feel about the whole RLSH thing. It seems like people have a lot of different motivations and expectations of what they'll do and get out of what they're doing. I think a person who's largely trying to be the local public face of their particular cause -- a person who went around handing out condoms in night clubs, let's say, or brought food to the homeless -- that kind of makes sense to me, and seems like a general good: Yes, you're only treating a symptom and no, you're not really solving the problem long-term even for the people you're helping out in the moment, but you are bringing a benign attention to your cause. People might tune in to hear about the goofy person in the tights (or, if you have the gym body to pull it off, the sexy person in the tights) and walk away thinking a little about whatever you're supporting. Walk away slightly more inclined to think of protecting themselves when they meet a stranger in a bar and mutually decide to have happy fun times, walk away a little less callous when they see a person who's down and out...whatever. I can't find a reason to put that kind of thing down.

The people who want to put on masks and have confrontations with bad guys...um. I would be immediately very skeptical of a person who wore a mask with the intent of fighting people in anonymity. A story about a guy in a mask who stalked parks looking for trouble would, in any other context, be a generally agreed upon cause for some alarm.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:14 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm all for vigilante justice, why does there even need to be a superhero angle?
posted by grog at 8:00 AM on August 13, 2011


Reactions to this post and comments, in order:

1) Well, that FPP text is serving up an Edna Mode reference opportunity like a batting practice fastball.
2) Annnnnnnnnd first comment!
3) Edna Mode is AWESOME!

Carry on.
posted by dry white toast at 8:15 AM on August 13, 2011


Alan Moore knows the score.
posted by mobunited at 8:58 AM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you haven't seen Jon Ronson's appearance on the Daily Show, you totally should. The man is as delightfully awkward as his writing hints at. Imagining him nodding at crack dealers is a perfect Jon Ronson cupcake with sprinkles.
posted by redsparkler at 9:03 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure why Watchmen keeps coming up.

Read the bits at the end of the first few chapters, the excerpts from Under the Hood, the autobiography of Hollis Mason (the first Nite Owl). They're all over the place in terms of preparation, motivation and ability, and a couple of decades later, Dr. Manhattan (the only person with genuine superpowers, although Ozymandias seems to be at the pinnacle of human ability) characterizes them perfectly: "Friendly, middle-aged men who like to dress up. I have nothing in common with them."
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:21 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"I've almost got this open, just give me a second here..."
"HALT, evildoers!"
"What the -- it's Mr. Xtreme! Run for it!"
posted by stinkycheese at 9:35 AM on August 13, 2011


I gotta say, I love how much the negative comments here remind me of J. Jonah Jameson.
posted by Missiles K. Monster at 9:48 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


remind me of J. Jonah Jameson

To be fair, if you read the newspaper strip, you probably hate Peter Parker just as much as Jameson does....
posted by GenjiandProust at 10:27 AM on August 13, 2011


Guys, am I the first person to say that we should call this the "ReLiSH" movement? Then they can fight the evil agents of H.O.T.D.O.G.
posted by runcibleshaw at 11:57 AM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


MadGastronomer - you may want to be careful with that superhero group, as one of them may be a ticking time-bomb of fury.
posted by Zack_Replica at 1:09 PM on August 13, 2011


the RLSH

So in their most recent reboot, DC decided that Reserve Legion of Super Heroes sounded less corny than Legion of Substitute Heroes?
posted by straight at 3:25 PM on August 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zack_Replica - Oh, yeah, the little skinny guy who was in the other night in the really bad costume, talking about harassing strippers, definitely a ticking time-bomb of something.
posted by MadGastronomer at 5:07 PM on August 13, 2011


"When you wake up one day and decide to put on spandex and give out sandwiches, something's a little off," Phoenix says. "I call them real-life sandwich handlers."

I’d like a sandiwch.
posted by mistersquid at 5:39 PM on August 13, 2011


sudo handle me a sandwich?

I’ll stop by saying I did like the FPP and this thread. Thanks.
posted by mistersquid at 5:42 PM on August 13, 2011


Used to work with Zetaman. Nothing but a pathetic, henpecked jackass who said some really awful shit to my friend back when we all used to worked together. Homophobic, sexist fundie, wearing tights to make himself feel better about his shitty life. If he didn't have a kid, I'd wish for him to die in a motherfucking fire.
posted by i feel possessed at 10:56 PM on August 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


the real-life superhero movement.

aka The How to Never Get Laid movement.


I've been to a party with some RLSH present, and I was struck by strongly it was the opposite. Big buff mysterious guy doing dangerous things seems like hardcore catnip for the ladies.

If the situation were to be abused, I would think that some people doing this could probably manage to get laid with a different hottie every night, in a maner that totally would not be happening while without the mask and mystery and danger.
posted by -harlequin- at 10:23 AM on August 14, 2011


Oh, the kid in me squeals with glee. But gothic superheroin, Nyx, leaves me embarassed with goth shame. She just put on ALL of her club clothes, with out bothering to see if it matches/goes/fits and posed for the camera. I see 4-5 of her every weekend. I'm as unimpressed with the red mask as I am with every MyLittlePony/Biohazard goth with fishnet over their mouth.

Obviously, I don't have a lot of embarassment -FFS, I dress like a goth*. And I get it that superheroing is not about the clothing (mostly). But every comic book artist knows that the costume IS the identifier. Would you be able to pick her out of the goth masses on a Saturday night? Her outfit should be SPECIAL, dammit!

*Oh, gawds, I love "dress up". Was always my favorite game.
posted by _paegan_ at 11:14 AM on August 14, 2011


Much as I liked Smedleyman's links to historical American vigilante groups, it bears remembering that the most influential masked avengers in American history are the KKK.
Yeah, I was thinking about commenting that direction. This seems purely crime oriented, without political agenda.
But even with pure vigilante crime fighting groups, as with the slickers, it goes awry or gets political or whatever.

I would think that some people doing this could probably manage to get laid with a different hottie every night
Watchman covers that too!
posted by Smedleyman at 11:54 AM on August 14, 2011


The Slicker War began with a vendetta between the Turk and Jones families. The resulting "vigilantism" was a post-hoc rationalization as the feud enveloped more families. Surely neither side can be accurately characterized as a "pure vigilante crime fighting group." Their momentum and trajectory were determined from the beginning. I don't think it's fair to conclude that all vigilantism eventually devolves into a similarly chaotic fate.

Circumstances and motivations matter. Superheroism is a well fleshed concept, with 3 generations of comics that wrestle with the ethics of proactive citizen crime-fighting. It's not exactly high philosophy, but at least it provides a moral foundation and context for the RLSH movement.

Same as the Slickers? Nah.
posted by troll at 10:20 PM on August 14, 2011


Ok, I bend to your superior knowledge on the subject.

Has there ever been a pure anti-crime vigilante organization?
posted by Smedleyman at 8:26 PM on August 15, 2011


Holy crap, Smedleyman is back! When did that happen- he's like, all the superhero MeFi needs!

Oh great, now I've got Acquired Situational Narcissism.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:34 PM on August 15, 2011


I'll send you your cape and tights.
posted by The Whelk at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2011


Has there ever been a pure anti-crime vigilante organization?

I think the problem comes in when you get to the definition of crime. Back to the KKK - I think they fought "race-crime". So...
posted by maryr at 9:30 PM on August 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


..Did I just Godwin? What's the equivalent of Godwin for the KKK?
posted by maryr at 9:36 PM on August 15, 2011


Oh crap, you maryr'd the thread.
posted by localroger at 5:38 AM on August 16, 2011


Well, fuck, that's not the legacy I was looking for.

(I was looking for "That's what he said" jokes.)
posted by maryr at 8:50 AM on August 16, 2011


Ok, everybody go out and rent Super. That movie has the feel of reality in some moments, of what these guys are really like.

Blech, I hate Seattle and Belltown and am so glad I moved away. Last time I was there, my two sisters, brother-in-law (really big guy) and myself were followed for 6 blocks by a guy just harassing the shit out of us. It was about 4 in the afternoon. After he finally gave up, we came across a block long blood trail (unrelated to the guy) that ended in a blood soaked shirt.

But hey, if these guys really wanted to fight crime, they would head down to White Center.
posted by Belle O'Cosity at 3:45 PM on August 28, 2011


Added to netflix queue, thanks Belle.
posted by localroger at 3:48 PM on August 28, 2011


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