Hybrid system – Chap. 3, Act 4, Strip 27

As was to be expected, Captain Emo turns out to be (seemingly) a democratically legitimized, hereditary monarch with huge levels of popular support – Hollywood’s standard way of squaring the idea of the rightful ruler, which is such an important aspect of many of our most cherished myths and legends, with the ideal of democracy. It works sufficiently well in the context of a movie, since you get to leave out all of those insolent little details – especially those pointless ‘what if’ scenarios, like ‘what if the Mandate of Heaven and public sentiment don’t line up perfectly?’. For the reality of the situation, see “Liechtenstein, permanent constitutional crisis of”.

Reality aside, by the standards of fiction Captain Emo is sufficiently legitimate as a ruler, or rather would be if he really would be who and what he pretends to be. Since that’s obviously not the case, anyway, the scriptwriter felt doubly demotivated to go into any details regarding the political system of the fabled undersea Kingdom. Stock footage of public manifestations of support works just as well, is cheaply available and easily adaptable to any specific cause or person – you just have to edit the text on the signs. The very same stock footage can be used to depict authentic displays of popular support as well as staged demonstrations in support of totalitarian systems, that ambiguity is particularly useful in this instance.

The Professor, for one, is already completely convinced, and that’s not a surprise either – in the world of movie scripts, it’s always the intellectuals who succumb to the lure of totalitarian utopias most readily, while the ‘simple men’ are the most difficult to corrupt. That it doesn’t work that way in reality would, actually, be one of the lessons of the 20th century the Professor ironically mentions, but scriptwriters love their mythological tropes just too much to let reality keep them from employing them.

More on Thursday.

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