What If Spider-Man Were A Libertarian Assh*le, His Uncle Ben Had Guns, And Other Stupid Sh*t From This Idiot
So once in a while, we have to call out rightwing grifters who try to use culture to peddle bullshit.
Today, it's former Vice "journalist" and self-described "disaffected liberal"/conservative (like Dave Rubin) YouTuber Tim Pool. Pool has 1.3 million followers on Youtube, and is part of the Ben Shapiro School of Influencers Who Can't Think Good and Do Other Stuff Bad Too.
This past weekend, Pool tweeted something so fundamentally stupid that it needed to be responded to:
While many smarmily responded with the old "tell me you don't know comics..." (myself included) meme, this is peak libertarianism. In Pool's mind, Spider-Man should have remained a self-centered jerk who refused to use his powers for anything but selfish gain. Spider-Man was at no risk if he stopped the burglar, but we’re supposed to imagine that an old (good) man with a gun should have confronted a burglar. The illogical theory also ignores two key factors: That Uncle Ben was likely killed because he was surprised by the burglar (making the whole gun-toting pointless) and that most petty criminals like burglars are not eager for a murder rap. It's for that reason the cops (and Spider-Man himself) clearly put more effort in finding a murderer rather than they would have if he’d just stolen the Parkers’ car stereo.
This moral of responsibility has been a core tenet of every adaptation and version of Spider-Man dating back to his origin story in 1962's Amazing Fantasy #15, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Ditko, who also created Doctor Strange among many other characters, coincidentally was a life-long Ayn Rand Objectivist and would in theory have closely aligned with Tim Pool's professed political views.
But Ditko, unlike Pool, understood the flaw and consequences of this type of selfishness common in libertarianism:
Amazing Fantasy#15, Marvel Comics
Amazing Fantasy#15, Marvel Comics
Sam Raimi's adaptation of the origin in 2002's Spider-Man also made that same point:
Of course, this isn't the first time the point has glided over Tim Pool's overheated-by-an-overused-beanie head. When he tried to use failed art analysis about Thanos from 2018's Avengers: Infinity War with progressive commentator/YouTuber Sam Seder, it was met with the rightful level of WTF and dismissal. (We'll spare you most of Tim Pool's stupidity in this debate.)
To this day, even years later, this stupid analogy keeps haunting Pool.YouTube
Then there was the time that Tim Pool said the Netflix show "Squid Game" was actually a critique on communism instead of unfairness in current systems like capitalism, which is the opposite of what the creator the show intended and made publicly clear.
Pool even went so far as to insult Hwang Dong-hyuk, the creator ofthe hit series, who has stated he was trying to "raise this question about what we can do to change our systems to a fairer one" by putting it in an artistically entertaining way.
"It just goes to show this is a person who made a great show but was really dumb and didn't understand what they were actually critiquing communism."- Tim Pool
This can, by some, just be dismissed as silly distractions. But the late Andrew Breitbart had a real "the worst person you know made a good point" moment with his often-quoted mantra: “politics is downstream from culture.” The slogan was an inverse of James Carville’s famous “It’s the economy, stupid!" to dismiss what people like Carville deemed "culture wars"/"identity politics" issues.
But Carville was wrong.
Conservatives like Breitbart's successor, Steve Bannon, saw how art and entertainment about subjects like the civil rights movement or women's equality changed policies over the years. They watched as the culture accepted the LGBTQ community through art and how that led to the policies that eventually normalized the community. It made gay marriage possible and allowed the LGBTQ community the ability to live free and openly. Conservatives learned that the culture wars affect policy; you can see it in the rise of Ron DeSantis, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, and Trump's presidency. Powered by QAnon, GamerGate, Comicsgate, toxic fandom in geek culture, and Ben Shapiro or Dennis Prager's empires of bullshit, their only policies are regression and causing cultural harm. The bearded clown named Gary in the Tim Pool video above hosts a YouTube channel named Nerdrotic where he espouses toxic crap about "woke" ideology in Star Wars, comic book movies and TV that later turns to DeSantis opposing "Woke Disney."
This rhetoric when left unchecked can cause great damage, as seen during the January 6th hearings (where Tim Pool was actually shown in a compilation of people inciting violence) or the recent turning back of rights for women and LGBTQ community. It's why we cannot ignore them and must oppose them. It's the right thing to do and failure to do so is no different than Peter Parker ignoring the burglar that eventually led to the death of his beloved uncle, Ben Parker.
Always remember: "With great power there must also come great responsibility."
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Your friendly neighborhood Puerto Rican Political Freelance Writer for @wonkette. Pop Culture observer, Amateur Movie reviewer & Comics fan. Former Active Duty Marine. All opinions are mine only.