Summary: The Left loves the Black Panther film. So will President Trump. It echos themes that he says will Make America Great Again, including racial homogeneity and the Wall. The film provides a mirror in which we can see ourselves more clearly — and gain a deeper understanding into America’s dysfunctional politics. See my full review here.
The day that changed America
On night in 2015, Donald Trump put Baron to bed. As he left, a comic book caught his eye. It was an issue of the “Black Panther.” He read it, and the course of American history changed. Trump read about the nation of Wakanda.
- The richest nation in the world.
- An ethnically homogenous and peaceful nation.
- With a strong ruler and the world’s most powerful military.
- The most technologically advanced nation in the world.
- With a wall (or force field) keeping out migrants from poor and primitive regions.
Trump saw that Wakanda was the model for our future — and that we can Make America Great Again by learning from the Black Panther. The Wall is the key to make it work, as it is for Wakanda. Trump came down from his penthouse aerie to share this insight with his campaign team. The result is history.
Stan Lee and writer-artist Jack Kirby created the superhero Black Panther, who first appeared in the July 1966 issue of Fantastic Four. He rules Wakanda. It is a nation in sub-Saharan Africa. Long ago a meteor crashed in it, made of the fabulous metal vibranium. With this wealth they built the world’s most technologically advanced society, both peaceful and stable.
Wakanda’s population consists of the tribes in the region of the meteor that after its impact unified to form a nation. This racial homogeneity gives it strong social cohesion, allowing it to survive the many traumas inflected on it in the comics.
Wakanda is a hereditary monarchy. The ruler is called the Black Panther. He (or she) gains superpowers by eating a heart-shaped herb. The office is earned through single combat among challengers. Much like entry into Harvard, the contest is “fair” — but the ruling elites has an edge. The royal line are trained from birth to win, and the super-herb is a lethal poison to anyone not in the royal line (Black Panther, Nov 2000).
The idea of hereditary monarchy might appeal to Trump, and perhaps to some of the other elite clans in America (e.g., Kennedy, Clinton, Bush). After all, we are moving in that direction.
For us, the most relevant aspect of Wakanda is its wall (later a force field). Like so many walls in history, it prevented Wakanda from being overrun. How many Africans, living in poor and war-torn lands, would have migrated to rich peaceful Wakanda if not for its wall?
Open borders would have presented immense challenges for Wakanda. They could have become a two-tier society, with natives each having an entourage of servants (a larger scale of America recent history, where the upper middle class now has servants cleaning its homes and caring for its childcare). Or they could have tried to assimilate a flood of poor immigrants, speaking different languages and from different cultures.
The Left loves Wakanda
Secure behind its wall, the racially pure society of Wakanda is loved by Leftists. See the 92% fresh rating for the Black Panther film, and the reviewers gushing about Wakanda. That is odd, since many aspects of it are loved by Trump, evil incarnate to the Left.
“Progress doesn’t stop just because Wakanda got the meteor privilege. They didn’t build that. We are all Wakandian dreamers.”
— Banner on the outside of Wakanada’s wall (from a comment by Gaza).
Lessons learned from the Black Panther
Trump was (probably) not inspired by the Black Panther comics, and the film is unlikely to inspire him now. But the description of Wakanda matches some aspects of dreams by many on both the Left and on the Right. This is easy to mock. Doing so ignores the significance of this.
It illustrates the incoherence of politics in America, with the fault lines defined as much by tribes (us vs. them) as ideologies or policies. Black pride and nationalism are OK, but not White pride and nationalism. Obama crushed whistleblowers, assassinated US citizens, and expanded the footprint of our wars — but Trump is the fascist militarist. The Left loves free speech and a free press, but the Right fights for both at US colleges against the Left. The core of both parties love more military spending and broad surveillance powers.
Both sides enjoy the food fight that pretends to be politics in America. If Trump says X, then the Left will disagree. The US polity is not polarized so much as irrationally factionalized. We are divided and so powerless, which further encourages our passivity and apathy. Every day it becomes more difficult to create the kind of broad alliance between progressives and populists that led to the New Deal.
Meanwhile the 1% continue to gain power and wealth.
A note from the past about our situation
Nietzsche foresaw our confusion, and hoped that from it might come new insights and new beliefs — from which we can build better forms for society. Let’s hope he was right in this, as he was in so many things.
“The traditions that provided a substitute for nature have crumbled. The soul becomes a stage for a repertory company that changes plays regularly — sometimes a tragedy, sometimes a comedy; one day love, another day politics, and finally religion; now cosmopolitanism, and again rooted loyalty; the city or the country; individualism or community; sentimentality or brutality. And there is neither principle nor will to impose a rank order on all of these. All ages and places, all races and all cultures can play on this stage.
“Nietzsche believed that the wild costume ball of the passions was both the disadvantage and the advantage of late modernity.“
— From Allan Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind.
See my full review of the Black Panther
Why the the Black Panther will be the most interesting film of 2018.
Update: others have also seen the obvious
Some reviews note the similarities between Trump’s vision for America and Marvel’s vision of Wankada.
“‘Black Panther’ Review: The Movie’s Hero is Trump, the Villain is Black Lives Matters” by John Nolte at Breitbart. Also see his follow-up analysis. Nolte gives some powerful insights.
“Black Panther: The Ultimate Alt-Right Hero” by Jack Kenrick at Squawker.
“‘Black Panther’: The Crown Weighs Heavy On The King In Marvel’s Most Political Effort” by Rodrigo Perez at The Playlist.
For More Information
If you liked this post, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter. See all posts about heroes, about book, film, & TV reviews, especially these…
- Are our film heroes leading us to the future, or signaling despair?
- The horrifying list of inspirational films about humanity building a better future.
- A new Man of Steel for 21st century America: a warrior superman.
- Captain America: the Winter Soldier – high-quality indoctrination for sheep.
- Review of Dr. Strange: a good film misunderstood by the critics.
- Jeff Beck reviews “Wonder Woman”, a contrary note amidst the ecstatic applause.
- “Justice League” is the film we need, not the one we deserve.
Trailer for the Black Panther
27 thoughts on “Trump wants America to be like Black Panther’s Wakanda”
It is far easier to hate white people than it is to not care whether someone is white or black or otherwise. I fear that the antiracist crowd got stuck on hating whiteness before they could make it to judging people by the content of their character instead of the color of their skin. It would explain the behavior we see here, where nonwhites are allowed or even encouraged to behave in ways that whites are despised for.
The left will like anything that isn’t white and I’m sure the movie is just as dumb as all the other comic book super hero movies. Fortunately I will not be wasting my money on it.
“just as dumb as all the other comic book super hero movies.”
That’s what the intelligentsia says about all popular genres. Only after a few decades do they declare the best of them to be “classics” worthy of study. As we saw with westerns.
In the real world, many of the early superhero films were both entertaining and meaningful. The first half of Superman (1978) was excellent, as was the first Spiderman trilogy and the first of the X-Men and Avengers films.
Just wait until Part 2, when the Traditional/historically black neighborhood of wakanda is gentrified by self-loathing lowT soyboys and their strong indelendent women partners.
The wall can’t keep out Progress. What about all those jobs that wakandians wont do?
All that technogy and not a single microbrewery or artisinal pickle shop?
Progress doesnt stop just because wakanda got the meteor privilege. They didnt build that. We are all wakandian dreamers.
That’s got to be Best of Thread Winner!
“All that technogy and not a single microbrewery or artisinal pickle shop?”
How do you know that? They might be on every street corner. With its Guaranteed by Vibranium Minimum Income, Wakanda might have an ongoing crafts and artistic renaissance!
“What about all those jobs that wakandians wont do?”
That’s a powerful question! Of course, without the Wall every Wadanda citizen would have servants from poor African nations. An entourage around each Wakandian. Hot maids giving foot rubs and sex! Only their Wall prevented this moral degradation (and the optics of Wadandian “servants” would have looked pretty ugly).
“self-loathing lowT soyboys and their strong indelendent women partners”
Ugh. This website is degenerating into a YouTube comments section. Well, there’s always the archives.
In America it is de rigueur to complain about comment sections that include people they disagree with. Any excess among the faithful is applauded, but excess by the heretics and pagans are criticized with microscopic care.
Worry not! The internet overflows with websites catering to your specific tribal identity (whatever that might be), with all crimethink ruthlessly suppressed. This isn’t one of those.
That’s rich. This is one of the more micro-managed comments sections I’ve come across. The “editor” regularly blocks mildly critical comments and spends an inordinate amount of time policing threads and arguing with the ones he doesn’t outright block. Thin-skinned replies and the editor’s delusional, self-indulgent view of himself that his politics are above the fray are kind of leitmotifs of this blog.
(1) “This is one of the more micro-managed comments sections I’ve come across.”
You need to get our more. A large fraction of websites are moderated — where each comment must be approved before posting — and anything the moderator doesn’t like never appears. The FM website does not moderate (excerpt for preset language criteria). Try commenting at Realclimate, Brad DeLong’s website, Lawyers, Guns,and Money — where challenging statements are routinely put down the memory hole.
I block very few commenters, and delete none.
(2) “an inordinate amount of time policing thread”
What does that mean?
(3) “arguing with the ones he doesn’t outright block”
This is in effect a “letters to the editor” section. So I respond to most comments. If you don’t like that, go elsewhere. I block very few people — perhaps one per month.
(4) “of leitmotifs of this blog.”
Nobody forces you to come here, and you don’t pay for the privilege. Perhaps you’d be happier reading something else on the infinite ocean of the internet.
This is a blog comment section but feel free to call it what you want. You block comments regularly for no other reason than disagreement, which is fine and your right to do, it’s just weird that you think that means you’re not catering to some tribal identity by doing so.
“You block comments regularly for no other reason than disagreement”
False. There are over 50,000 comments here. Since the content here mostl challenges accepted wisdom, most of the comments disagree with the content. I block very few. Far fewer than most similar website, and vastly fewer than those (which are, I believe) the majority who moderate all comments — individually approving them. The FM website does the opposite. Everything gets posted. Nothing gets deleted (except for the usual gross racism etc), and very few commenters are banned (perhaps 0.1%).
Most of the people banned are for trolling or lying. Again, standard reasons for bans on the internet.
People making stuff up, like you, aren’t banned.
“it’s just weird that you think that means you’re not catering to some tribal identity by doing so.”
See the wide range of attacks in the comments on posts — by both Left and Right. So what’s the “tribe” represented here?
This Wakanda reminds me of the San Francisco Bay Area. Wealthy and technologically advanced, with a de facto ‘wall’ of ridiculous housing prices. A bastion of liberal thought, social acceptance, and environmentalism, yet with the overwhelming opinion about the externalities of large populations on infrastructure, resources, and pollution, to the effect of “Out of sight; out of mind.” It must require a remarkable level of cognitive dissonance to be a NIMBY environmentalist.
I recently had a conversation at a bar with a man who was absolutely livid that California might soon require his little East Bay town to meet certain housing construction goals, as if his personal need to enjoy a quiet little community (essentially unchanged since the 1980’s despite being only a 30 minute subway ride from the downtown job center), outweighed the regional housing needs of millions.
Wow. That’s a brilliant analogy! Worth some thought.
Oh Larry. I’m definitely not a part of the intelligentsia, just ask my ex-wife. I still laugh at Weird Science and Ace Ventura Pet Detective – breath mint? I take it back Dead Pool was funny, but the rest suck and are corny and dumb.
That was meant as a slight joke.
Also, few in the America admit to being in the “intelligentsia”, even if they are. And they eat junk food and watch popular entertainment just like the rest of us. They’re not little Platos walking thru university gardens in white togas, eyes on the infinity.
Another aspect of the fictional Wakanda is that they remain free by force of arms. In addition to the “Wall” they have a very powerful and effective military/ security forces. It also seems weapons are everywhere including the hands of the civilian population.
And the “Left” loves it? Seems they hate all the things Trump might like, or what they imagine he might like until it fits their SJW agenda. Why can’t a good idea be a good idea based upon it’s own merits instead of viewed through the rose tinted glasses of identity politics?
Larry you have to realize what you are dealing with – I laugh at Weird Science, Ace Ventura Pet Detective and fart jokes.
I’ve not seen “Weird Science”. I don’t find fart jokes funny. I thought the two Ace Venture films were hilarious.
Well then you are weird.
No more personal replies. That is one of the firm rules here. You can comment on what people say, not who they are. There is too much of that out there.
In this respect, this is a safe space in which people can share their views. Their opinions can be attacked, but not them. I don’t care, but I have found that many commenters are sensitive to this — rightly so.
This is the only warning.
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