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Posted by RazzaTazz (11948 posts) - - Show Bio

 
 

Pacifism is a topic rarely treated in comics.  The concept of finding an alternate solution to violence is one which is rarely used when characters are specifically designed to be adept at fighting.  My comic book reading is not encyclopaedic but the only time I know of when pacifism is referenced directly is ways back in 1974 in an issue of Wonder Woman (# 213 of the original run to be precise) in which an alien descends upon Earth and makes humans into “pacifists.”   In this issue humans are starving because they can’t hunt or defend their crops from locusts and crimes (though presumably not violent crimes) go unchecked because police are unable to use any force.  This is unfortunately the concept of pacifism which most people in the world have, that they oppose force at all means.  Such pacifists do exist, and while I identify myself as pacifist, I view this outlook as unpractical and idealistic.  

            Instead I view pacifism as rather an outlook which regards violence as the last possible outcome of a situation, there are cases when it is necessary.  As Kofi Annan said in reference to a Security Council resolution against in 2006:  “ War is not, and I repeat, war is not the continuation of politics by other means.  On the contrary, it represents a catastrophic failure of political skill and imagination – a dethronement of peaceful politics from the primacy it should enjoy…”   This is my interpretation of what pacifism entails.  War or armed conflict is unfortunately one of mankind’s most common forms of interaction, and one which if we get to that stage represents a failure of reason and rationality, but if we get to the point where everything has failed then it is still something which has to pursued (that is to say you should still defend yourself.)  Suffice to say that stopping locusts from eating your crops is something which does not entail real violence.  

            So in terms of being a pacifist, how does this apply to Diana?  She is after all one of the most capable fighters in the DC Universe, even without her superpowers.  It is the fact that she chooses not to resort to violence as a first resort but rather as a last resort which makes her a pacifist.  There was one issue in volume 2 (#81) in which Wonder Woman confronts Tony Sazia because one of his henchmen has neglected to pay child support payments to one of Diana’s co-workers at Taco Whiz.  Although she is attacked she does not retaliate except to stop further attacks from happening.  Instead she sits on his desk and answers his phone for him (most of the people who were calling him would not want to talk to Wonder Woman.)  Eventually he agrees to pay all the back payments just to be left alone.  Diana could have just punched a hole in his wall and held him upside down waiting for the money to fall out of his pocket, but this way utilized a reasonable amount of imagination and reasoning to solve a problem as opposed to violence.  

            Of course many heroes comprehend this and regard Wonder Woman as something separate in terms of heroes.  In fact this in my mind is why she is a member of the DC Trinity, her pacifistic message meshes well with the idealism of Superman and the realism of Batman.  Both of those characters wished they lived in a world where violence does not exist.  Diana tries as much as she can to make this a reality.    
 
(This is my 200th blog on CV by the way)

 

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#1 Posted by FadeToBlackBolt (23389 posts) - - Show Bio

Batman is as much of a Pacifist as Diana; he prefers to use Psychological torture than beating the Hell out of someone; though he lacks the insane durability of Clark or Diana, and so often has to resort to violence more. I'd argue the same for Clark, but as with Diana, when his villains start wrecking stuff; countries are in trouble, and so talking has to take a back seat to putting the threat down quickly.
 
I'm not a Pacifist at all; I'm the opposite tbh, I'm a Misanthrope who wants humanity to end, but I do see your point. Though that's a more extreme Pacifism as well. Are you familiar with Vash the Stampede from Trigun? He is the defining fictional Pacifist of the last 50 years, and he carries a gun at all times.

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#2 Posted by fodigg (6244 posts) - - Show Bio

I think it's difficult to portray pacifism in a medium that uses physical violence as a metaphor for conflict--almost any kind of conflict. Just recently in Secret Six we had Catman and Bane fighting for literally no reason while having a philosophical debate. Because 1) metaphor for conflict (in this case Bane wrestling with his doubt) and 2) comics need fight scenes or they won't get published/bought.

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#3 Posted by Do I have to give a name? (1045 posts) - - Show Bio
@RazzaTazz said:
No Caption Provided

Pacifism is a topic rarely treated in comics.  The concept of finding an alternate solution to violence is one which is rarely used when characters are specifically designed to be adept at fighting.  My comic book reading is not encyclopaedic but the only time I know of when pacifism is referenced directly is ways back in 1974 in an issue of Wonder Woman (# 213 of the original run to be precise) in which an alien descends upon Earth and makes humans into “pacifists.”   In this issue humans are starving because they can’t hunt or defend their crops from locusts and crimes (though presumably not violent crimes) go unchecked because police are unable to use any force.  This is unfortunately the concept of pacifism which most people in the world have, that they oppose force at all means.  Such pacifists do exist, and while I identify myself as pacifist, I view this outlook as unpractical and idealistic.  

            Instead I view pacifism as rather an outlook which regards violence as the last possible outcome of a situation, there are cases when it is necessary.  As Kofi Annan said in reference to a Security Council resolution against in 2006:  “ War is not, and I repeat, war is not the continuation of politics by other means.  On the contrary, it represents a catastrophic failure of political skill and imagination – a dethronement of peaceful politics from the primacy it should enjoy…”   This is my interpretation of what pacifism entails.  War or armed conflict is unfortunately one of mankind’s most common forms of interaction, and one which if we get to that stage represents a failure of reason and rationality, but if we get to the point where everything has failed then it is still something which has to pursued (that is to say you should still defend yourself.)  Suffice to say that stopping locusts from eating your crops is something which does not entail real violence.  

            So in terms of being a pacifist, how does this apply to Diana?  She is after all one of the most capable fighters in the DC Universe, even without her superpowers.  It is the fact that she chooses not to resort to violence as a first resort but rather as a last resort which makes her a pacifist.  There was one issue in volume 2 (#81) in which Wonder Woman confronts Tony Sazia because one of his henchmen has neglected to pay child support payments to one of Diana’s co-workers at Taco Whiz.  Although she is attacked she does not retaliate except to stop further attacks from happening.  Instead she sits on his desk and answers his phone for him (most of the people who were calling him would not want to talk to Wonder Woman.)  Eventually he agrees to pay all the back payments just to be left alone.  Diana could have just punched a hole in his wall and held him upside down waiting for the money to fall out of his pocket, but this way utilized a reasonable amount of imagination and reasoning to solve a problem as opposed to violence.  

            Of course many heroes comprehend this and regard Wonder Woman as something separate in terms of heroes.  In fact this in my mind is why she is a member of the DC Trinity, her pacifistic message meshes well with the idealism of Superman and the realism of Batman.  Both of those characters wished they lived in a world where violence does not exist.  Diana tries as much as she can to make this a reality.    
 
(This is my 200th blog on CV by the way)

 

Speak softly and carry a big stick? 
 
Gratz on the milestone btw.
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#4 Posted by ReVamp (23015 posts) - - Show Bio

Gratz on 200th blog Razz!

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#5 Posted by Nova`Prime` (4172 posts) - - Show Bio

Excellent blog and a great look at what the term really means. To many people believe that if we ended conflict the world would be a better place. The only problem with that is you have to have a global consensus and that is likely never to happen and sometimes you deal with people on the world stage that only recognize one thing and that is violence. Would it be nice to end a conflict before it started by just talking it out, you're damn straight it would. But then there are those times you can stop conflict before it starts with the threat of violence and other times you need to enact that violence.

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#6 Posted by cosmo111687 (1583 posts) - - Show Bio

I think this is why Diana's murder of Maxwell Lord carried such resonance. That was a case in which murder was justifiable, and yet the decision still weighed heavily upon her conscience and continued to follow her wherever she went. She understood it to be justifiable, and yet she couldn't help but feel it effect her. There's something to be said for a character who's morality is so esteemed that a single murder should effect her so deeply. There aren't many other superheroes, from Marvel or DC, who would react quite in the same way.
 
It's also interesting how this issue is handled in Hawk and Dove. Dove is meant to be a representation of pacifistic ideals and will resist using violence whenever possible. She'll even step in and provide a counter-balance to Hawk whenever his/her aggression goes over-line. But I think that's a bit more of a 2-Dimensional representation of a pacifistic character than Diana.

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#7 Posted by dondasch (932 posts) - - Show Bio

The characterization of what Diana did to Maxwell Lord in no way constitutes murder to me.  Plainly and simply, Maxwell Lord, through his mind control of Superman, had risen and become as clear a threat not only to her directly, but to the world at large through what he could force Superman to do.
 
Frankly, Diana is the type of person who will confront and eliminate any threat she sees, whether it be to a single individual or untold numbers.  She will simply do what Superman cannot, which is take a life, and what Batman will not, which is do all the heavy lifting and allow the criminal to face justice through an overmatched police and judicial system.
 
Superman will always begin a confrontation using pacifistic means, i.e., he will try and defuse a situation verbally rather than physically because he relies so much on his strength primarily and his core beliefs secondarily, as taught to him during his formative years with the Kents.  Batman will view a threat by trying to learn as much about it as possible, and attack it at any point of weakness, using his mind primarily and his physical gifts secondarily.  Diana will give a threat one chance, and one chance only before she assesses it as overtly hostile to the lives of innocents and makes the decision to remove the threat.  That, in essence, is the core of Diana, which is love, and that is why she made such a fine Star Sapphire and ended up leading the organization.

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#8 Posted by fodigg (6244 posts) - - Show Bio

I don't think WW murdered Max Lord. That was clear self defense. He did everything he could to put her in a position where she had to kill him and was dumb enough to think a warrior princess of the amazons wouldn't. That was really stupid. 
 
I'm strongly against "heroes" who kill casually. I prefer heroes with a hard "no killing rule." That said, this was pretty clearly self defense.

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#9 Posted by BATPANEXE (52 posts) - - Show Bio

Congrats on your 200th and well attended to as always blog.

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#10 Posted by Feliciano2040 (665 posts) - - Show Bio
@dondasch said:
Diana will give a threat one chance, and one chance only before she assesses it as overtly hostile to the lives of innocents and makes the decision to remove the threat.  That, in essence, is the core of Diana, which is love
Uuuuuhhh, what does love have anything to do with that ?!
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#11 Posted by dondasch (932 posts) - - Show Bio

Love has everything to do with what Diana is.  As I've mentioned, it is her capacity for love that drives what she does and that love feeds into pacifism, in my opinion.

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#12 Posted by MrDirector786 (44075 posts) - - Show Bio

I agree completely with the blog. Pacifism doesn't necessarily mean no use of force at all, it could just mean only using it as a last resort. It's too bad that so many people out there seem to think that violence is cool and hate when characters don't kill. Like Superman gets so much hate just because he doesn't kill. Killing or using violence doesn't necessarily make someone cool at all.

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#13 Posted by the_stegman (39733 posts) - - Show Bio
@FadeToBlackBolt:  
 

I'm not a Pacifist at all; I'm the opposite tbh, I'm a Misanthrope who wants humanity to end, but I do see your point. Though that's a more extreme Pacifism as well. Are you familiar with Vash the Stampede from Trigun? He is the defining fictional Pacifist of the last 50 years, and he carries a gun at all times.

actually, i'm both a Misanthrope AND  a pacifist, the main thing i dislike about humanity is their uncanny ability to kill and go to war with one another for purely vain and greedy motives, i don't want to be like that so i'm opposed to the taking of human life (no matter how petty it is) of any kind
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#14 Posted by Hawkeye446 (3975 posts) - - Show Bio

Wow, that was a great blog Razza! Very factual, etc... Nice work :) 
 
@The Stegman said:

@FadeToBlackBolt:  
 

I'm not a Pacifist at all; I'm the opposite tbh, I'm a Misanthrope who wants humanity to end, but I do see your point. Though that's a more extreme Pacifism as well. Are you familiar with Vash the Stampede from Trigun? He is the defining fictional Pacifist of the last 50 years, and he carries a gun at all times.

actually, i'm both a Misanthrope AND  a pacifist, the main thing i dislike about humanity is their uncanny ability to kill and go to war with one another for purely vain and greedy motives, i don't want to be like that so i'm opposed to the taking of human life (no matter how petty it is) of any kind
I like your view on the world.
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#15 Posted by deactivated-599b4bc7465db (1759 posts) - - Show Bio

I wouldn't say she is a pacifist but I do think that she's extremely compassionate and has a very nuanced view of the world that the other members of the JL don't have. Its a necessary aspect because her stories are so political and deal with such heavy concepts like war. She certainly will fight if necessary,i mean she is probably DC's best warrior, but she also doesn't rely solely on it and its not going to be her first route to solve a problem. Diana is also diplomat so she knows how to settle disputes and take on multiple points of view and exist in a world filled with paradoxes that aren't really present in say Batman's universe.