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First post, I suppose.
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scifitwin wrote in 35minutes_ago
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Discussion topic: How well do you think the giant squid plan will work?

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Shall I christen this comm with it's first actual comment?

It really comes down to what time scale you are looking at. Because in the short time, it achieved its aim: Squid equals no more Cold War. The Nuclear Apocalypse didn't happen. And there is, for a while, world peace.

In the long term, though, utopia is an impossibility (Hence the word and it's source). Sooner or later things are going to begin to fall apart. Eventually there's going to be problem and war again, even if they are never as potentially apocalyptic as the Cold War.

The real issue here is how long Veidt's inevitably temporary peace lasts. Certainly, having him around to rebuild and pull strings on the global scale is going to help things along. But as time passes with no more "alien incursions", people will eventually forget the fear that united them, and focus more on more current issues. Given the epic scale of the squid's damage, psychic and what-not, I expect it'd be decades really before things majorly fall apart, and given how Adrian pulls strings, probably not until after his death. But still: eventually, things will fall apart, it's just a matter of how long the peace lasts.

Incidentally, to touch on the movie for a moment: This very fact adds a really creepy subtext to something that was never acknowledged in the movie. In the end, there's world peace, Rorschach is dead, Dr Manhattan is gone, and Adrian still has the device to mimic his powers. And if he feels people are forgetting the togetherness necessary for world peace, well...

Anyway, to get back on topic, how well the plan worked depends on whether you see to prevent a nuclear apocalypse (Possibly, with the proviso that we have no idea how likely this outcome was given the differences in the Watchmen world), ending the Cold War (Yes, at least in the current form), or bringing about world peace (Only temporarily).

All that said, I've always seen the coda to the GN at the New Frontiersman office to be a comment on how long Veidt's utopia lasts - but not on the literal "will Rorschach's journal unravel Veidt's work" level (There's been a lot of discussion on the level of credibility a right-wing tabloid publishing the ravings of an escaped criminal and murderer with known mental issues would have), but on a metaphorical level. The world has been given peace, even if it is unaware of the true giver. What happens next to this peace is in the hands of the people.

Which leads into a debate about if Veidt's surprisingly naive optimism or Blake/Rorschach's pessimism about human nature is more accurate, but that's for another post.

To sum up the tl;dr, it worked well in the short term, is doomed to failure in the long term, and is up to society and what aspect of human nature that wins out that determines how far away that long term is.

I like your idea about Adrian still having Dr. Manhattan's powers to use when he needs in the film. The final shot, of all of the Veidt-labelled machinery rebuilding New York, really reiterated that idea that the world was now at the mercy of one man (despite that Veidt Industries probably wasn't rebuilding cities in other countries - how multinational was his company?). The question here is how long will Jon, as well as Laurie and Dan, feel ethically compelled to keep quiet about Adrian if he is to trigger more Dr. Manhattan-bombs?

I've always been pretty skeptical about the 'peace' that the world is left in at the end of the book. From a happily-every-after point of view, I'd like to agree with you that the New Frontiersman publishing Rorschach's journal really won't change anything and that Veidt's decision was a pretty ultimate one. But how peaceful can a world be if everyone is paranoid about another alien invasion? Like you said, in reality the war has ended, but now the world thinks they are in a much bigger one. The world's at peace but I doubt it's a very comfortable peace for anyone; for different reasons, everyone (perhaps maybe Veidt?) views it as a fragile peace.

I think, in terms of preventing a Cold War and maintaining America's security, the fallibility of Veidt's plan was his choice of target. I just found it hard to believe that Russia was so easily convinced that their enemy was attacked by aliens at the height of the war, and were so willing to join them against this 'new threat'. And again, the film's Veidt really didn't seem to fix that either, by using Dr. Manhattan, purposefully seen by other countries as the symbol of America's strength and nuclear power. He attacked many cities, New York and California amongst them, but again, I don't think Russia would be so quick to help their enemy when it was an American icon who was responsible for it all.

Well, I'd imagine that depends on if the world denegrates enough during Adrian's lifetime to a state he deems that necessary. And if Jon actually keeps a close enough eye on Earth to see what happens...

There's also the fact that, IIRC (My copy of the GN has been borrowed by my housemate, who wanted to read it after we saw the movie) the place the squid landed was set up to look as if it had shown up by an paranormal research institute started playing with things it didn't fully understand which, I suspect, Adrian was using to give people the "if we stay away from that, they won't come back" excuse.

We're getting back into discussion of human nature here, aren't we? And just how accurate Machiavelli was when it comes to the power of fear. That said, given recent times it seems that nothing brings people together like grief and horror. Whether the disasters have been natural or man-made. But again, with time that fades. Veidt just moved things back to a more peaceful starting position.

Also, the novel and the movie both gave me, at least, the impression that Russia was sort of playing chicken with the US in regards to war. If America loses Dr Manhattan, it also loses it's big gun, and Russia no longer has an opposing force to push against - especially if the US Forces have turned on themself. But yeah, it remains a question.

Seconding your comment here. Interestingly enough today I picked up a book called Watchmen and Philosophy (yet to buy it, but will do so sometime) and there was the most interesting chapter (Chapter Five, for the curious) that picks up points along the lines of what you have mentioned here, except the author goes on a more philosophical driven dissertation of the characters. Particularly, of course, that of Adrian Veidt.

Adrian was seen as a consequentialist, but yet the classic utilitarian philosophers would be most appalled to have him associated with them considering the sort of act he commits (i.e. how utilitarianism looks at picking an option that gives the highest benefit, or in the most classic sense, in terms of happiness - but how can one justify killing millions to save billions as any form of happiness? Though the world is 'saved' the sheer horror of the squid isn't easily erased, and the so-called united world will be one living in fear).

I have forgotten the depth of the argument put forth by the author - I will comment again on this post upon procuring the book so as to share it with everyone here - but I must say this discussion is most interesting as the 'opening' post to the comm, and most apt considering it's the major deviation between comicverse!Watchmen and movieverse!Watchmen.

Random unrelated: drakyndra I had the liberty of looking at your LJ profile. Wow, fellow Unimelb student! Hello there. I'm no longer there (now in USYD) but wow, the possibility of meeting a fellow Unimelb kid on the same comm :) Or as Dr Manhattan puts it, a miracle.

I can't say I'm particularly well educated when it comes to philosophy - one of my friends is majoring in it, and a few of my classes touch on it, but for the most part I'm only really familiar with the vague outlines. But I'd have to say: You can't be real happy if you are dead. But that's a personal perspective. So it'd depend on how much people prioritise quality of life. This is starting to sound way too much like Euthanasia debates from school.

That said, I'd be interested to hear what the book has to say.

Obviously, Unimelb produces students with phenomenally good taste in comics and fandom. I wonder what this miracle will bring?

I am not exactly that well-versed in phil either. It's a fringe interest of mine - although I'm getting more and more into it, hence the curiosity and picking up of that book in particular. And I think the author brought up the point you mentioned too - re deadhappy. Deadhappy. LOL.

Not a problemo. I'm definitely sharing with this group, as it concerns itself with comicverse!Adrian and I would want to see what others think of the author's view.

I'd like to think that apart from just good taste in comics and fandom, the ability to constructively discuss comicfandom is definitely a pluspoint. I am not geeking out here. Seriously. But oh damn do I love srs bznz in fandoms.

Well, there are the fandoms I like for the srs bznz. And then there are fandoms I like for the sheer fun factor like the glorious crack that is Batman: Brave and the Bold. And occasionally you get the rare fandom that has both...

This is a bit tangential, but a lot of Veidt's optimism seems to come from his idea that the new era he wants for humanity will be a great civilisation like what Alexander tried to create, or like his vision of what Egypt was under the pharaohs. He's modelling off civilisations that are thought of as past successes for their achievements and what they've left behind.

So he's working towards a new era that will produce things like the Egyptian pyramids he seems to love so much, maybe, and I think individuals aren't as important to him as the overall state of civilisation. He wants peace so civilisation can continue, and unity as a bright and shiny picture of everyone working together towards this new world of his. I still think his plan is doomed and short-sighted, but it fits in with his weird perspective on Humanity with a capital H instead of individual humans. It works in his head because he's such a big picture thinker, and the small picture human conflicts that I think would rise from his plan in the real world don't occur to him, or are future problems to be solved when the larger, more obvious issues have been dealt with.

More or less thinking aloud here, because I'm definitely in the camp that wonders how the world's smartest man could come up with that plan and think it would work in the long term, and this is the only solution I can come up with that works for Veidt, because it ties into his feeling of separation from other people and the way he words a lot of his comments about his plan.

I can't really disagree with anything you actually say there. Which is something that has always vaguely bothered me when reading Watchmen fic set post movie/GN (Yes, I know). You'd get characters bitching about how the Utopia was horrible and flawed because there were still rapes and theft and what-not, which completely ignores the point that Veidt wouldn't care about the occasional rape or murder, so long as society as a whole is without war and more or less working together. While he might talk the talk, Veidt isn't about the perfect Utopia so much as Utopia on average.

But you'd have to be a big picture thinker to even begin to weigh up a millions vs billions of lives debate. You can't do that without being very distanced.

I think Veidt says that himself at some point, or at least alludes to it. I know for sure that in that Watchmen Sourcebook RPG thing he says he doesn't believe that humanity could exist in a world without adversity without stagnating.

Future fic that deals with the consequences is rough ground, and yet I still want fic with him worried about everything collapsing around his ears (as Veidt character porn more than a "haha, take that Adrian, your plan sucks" thing, which I think is the kind of fic you're talking about). The problem is that it'd have to be a really serious threat to make him anything but confident that he could deal with the problem, and writing a serious threat that doesn't take over the narrative would be tough.

I know for sure that in that Watchmen Sourcebook RPG thing he says he doesn't believe that humanity could exist in a world without adversity without stagnating.

As terrible as it is, I actually agree with that. If nothing else, look at all the technological and social progression that has come in the wake of wars.

Future fic that deals with the consequences is rough ground, and yet I still want fic with him worried about everything collapsing around his ears (as Veidt character porn more than a "haha, take that Adrian, your plan sucks" thing, which I think is the kind of fic you're talking about).

THIS. Oh, this exactly. I've just never seen anything of this type written by anyone who actually liked Adrian. The fics are pretty much all excuses for the ~next generation~ of vigilantes - or a resurrected Rorscach - to be badass. And tend to ignore the interesting moral ambiguities. I like moral ambiguities, dammit!

Oh, those fics. Part of my fascination with Veidt is that he's arguably the most disturbing example of one of the scary bits of superheroes that Watchmen made clear to me. They're all vigilantes who want to enforce their views on the world, and in practice it's an ugly thing that plenty of people hated enough to riot over it. Veidt was the liberal one who thought he was a hero, but in the end he still comes from the same "someone should fix things and that someone is me" place that Rorschach comes from. The whole "yay, some new heroes/Rorschach is back to fix everything by breaking some fingers" thing misses what I thought was interesting about Watchmen entirely. Not that it's a new missing the point at all, 90s comic books were very good at it too.

But that aspect of superherodom brings up another problem: If it is within your power to alter things for the better, is it acceptable to stand aside and not do anything? Veidt isn't the best example of this, given the debatable good of his actions, but it is a current moral debate that is relevant to those in power (Social Work for one).

I know I've said this elsewhere, but one of the major problems with 90s comics is they took too much of the "Heroes can be morally ambigious and do horrible (but badass) things" from Watchmen, and not enough of the "Villains can be well-motivated, at least partially admirable and also competent" parts.

Yeah. I think the one who does the best with that in Watchmen is Malcolm Long when he tries to break up the fight at the end because he just can't stand by and watch it, and he's not a hero in any conventional sense.

Comics could only benefit from more Veidts. Hell, more characters totally unlike Veidt aside from the sympathetic villain with real motivations that aren't to do with dead loved ones or insanity aspect would be fine.

PS, do you mind if I friend you? I had a lot of fun talking, and I just noticed you're also Australian.

Feel free to friend away. But expect to hear lots of babble about my random RL goings on. And assorted anime fandoms du jour.

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