Narrative

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The Tohaa heard the distress call from their allies, the humans.  Wotan, a critical gate which jumped deep into humanity’s territory, was exposed.  A Daraani corvette rushed to Wotan and beheld a great fight.  But then, the Tohaa heard a message come from the Nomads:  “Aid us or lose your ship.”

The Nomads, longtime rebels of the two greatest nations of humanity, PanOceania and Yu Jing, was the instigator of the Wotan emergency.  It was reported that the Nomads were ferrying Shasvastii.  But the commander of the Daraani corvette winced.  “We submit.  Whom would you like us to strike?”

“The Yu Jing State-Empire,” said the Nomads.

Very well, thought the commander, vengeance is a good enough excuse as any, since the Yu Jing State-Empire did strike the Tohaa medical facility on Flamia Island.

“We do not wish to disturb you, good Nomads.  We will declare vengeance and strike Yu Jing.”

The Tohaa, acting vassals of the Nomads, went on to harass the Yu Jing frigate, and limped away from Wotan, afraid for their lives.


That is the narrative that the Tohaa acting commander in the Wotan campaign has chosen for this faction.  I did not like it, and said as much on the private Wotan-Tohaa forum, but that is our direction.  I don’t want to sabotage what my fellow Tohaa players are doing, but I certainly do not feel compelled―this being a hobby, and not literal war―to also do what they are doing.


As it relates:  Who is the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s most popular character?

 

That guy.

Most browsing shows the favorite hero is Captain America, though Iron Man tops the charts in several websites.  A handy majority people I know, or have known, liked Captain America best, too.  They know Hulk could crush Cap in a fight, but they still love Cap.

captain-america

Why?

American patriotism is low.  American international favor is probably lower.  Dismally incompetent and/or corrupt Presidents, dismally incompetent and/or corrupt Congress, and wars fought for seemingly no purpose, and public education which teaches no history but slavery and colonization, has made an extremely demoralized electorate.  The American Left thinks the country is bigoted and needs to be punished, and the American Right thinks the country is degenerate and needs to be punished, and most folks can’t even say “America” without slurring to a mocking “‘Murrica” instead.

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Do people like Captain America because he represents us “vulnerable” and “just like the rest of us”?

I’ve heard that reason before.  I don’t buy it.  Hawkeye and Black Widow are just as human.  Even Tony Stark is just an average-bodied man beneath the suit.  And Captain America is actually a super-soldier, as a matter of comic fact.

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Is it that Captain America is a deplorable Straight White Male™ in a White Supremacist™ world?  Well, no.

Even in Seattle, where I live, a trendily europhobic, heterophobic, masculophobic haven of self-hating skinny white men and frumpy frowning women, a college diversity club’s wet dream―most people I talk to, if they like Marvel movies, like Captain America best.

I’ve seen enough box office reports to know that internationals like the characters, too, and having worked in many Asian and East-Indian homes around the Microsoft/Google campuses here, I can say I’ve seen firsthand the number of nonwhite kids sporting Captain America’s shield.

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Was it just good filmmaking?

Could be.  Marvel movies have plenty of problems, for a highnose filmgoer.  But people keep coming back.  Back in the first Avengers move, everybody was buying Captain America shields.  That was with Loki and Iron Man carrying most of the story, and Iron Man and Hulk carrying most of the action.  And even then, most people I talk to toss up “best Marvel movie” somewhere between the first Avengers, the first Iron Man, Guardians of the Galaxy, or the second or third Captain America movies.

Good filmmaking needs likeable (or at least “interesting”) characters, so we’re back to that.

Film Set - The Avengers

I think I know why Captain America is such a hit, because I remember when I was sold on Captain America.  It was this scene right here.

My two older brothers were and are big superhero comic lovers, and it was through those guys―and my best friend, Luke―that I knew anything about comics.  I’d heard buzz about the coming Marvel movies, as everyone did after Sam Jackson showed up at the end of the first Iron Man, and heard one of the movies was… Captain America.

Dumb.  Could there be a stupider superhero?

At the time, I was bored with the superhero genre, because I noticed that superheroes were always either full of themselves (Iron Man), or moping loners complaining about how hard it is to have superpowers and how much of a bummer it is to have to use them (every other superhero).  You either got pricks or mopes.

And then I saw that, where a normal guy, the hero of the film, jumps on a grenade.  Presumably sacrificing himself, you could note, for not even his friends.  For strangers, jerks even.  I’d never seen that.  But I’d heard of it in real life.

“Sold,” I told my brother Jordan, “I”ll watch that.”

Captain America not just all perfect all the time, either.  The first movie throws a bone to leftists of “haha America dumb” with the song & dance number, and the third movie shows Captain America lying to his friend, but these are the exceptions, not the rule.

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Contrasted to other current stories like Game of Thrones.  I can’t stand Game of Thrones.  Not because of sexism and violence, but because the purpose of the story of Game of Thrones is to utterly destroy any hope the audience has in a coherent fantasy following heroes whose lives should follow a familiar track.  In Game of Thrones, you have principal characters walking around in the “realistic” fantasy, saying such things as, “Killing is the sweetest thing there is.”

Malicious nonsense.  Genghis Khan said things like that, but historical European life was not as horrible as Game of Thrones would have you believe.  Yes, our ancestors could be horrid and violent, but they weren’t just horrid and violent.  I’d recommend the Lindybeige channel or the Twelve Byzantine Rulers podcast if you’d like to check me on that.

What’s more, I think, is that stories like Game of Thrones sail straight past the purpose of stories.  Stories don’t exist merely to thrill and dazzle.  You have to know nothing about humanity to think that.  Stories transfix a reader by a person’s ability to step into someone else’s life.  If someone else’s life finds its greatest sweetness in killing, then that’s not the one to go making our favorite story, is it?  What kind of society can thrive on meal like that?

Even Star Wars didn’t make it on thrills and spectacle.

I really do think that one of the reasons Marvel movies do so well, despite their cringey jokes and pathetic villains and macguffin stories, is because people love the heroes.  They don’t just love the “characters”―it isn’t like some dunce Will Ferrell clown we’re watching again and again here―but we want to see these men jump at danger for their neighbor’s behalf.  It is a staple of western culture that western culture, in its masochism, is trying fast to destroy.

But that’s a trail for another post, or perhaps another blog.

 


In the narrative of the Tohaa, thus far revealed, there is a clear split between a potential narrative track of Good-Guys Tohaa and Lying-Assholes Tohaa.  Good-Guys Tohaa are those presented in the Infinity story who were the eligible inheritors of the T’Zechi, ancient mentors.  They were those Tohaa who exulted in the Unification of their world governments.  They were those Tohaa who, like the best of Star Trek, sought to explore and develop the galaxy for its own sake.

Lying-Assholes Tohaa are those Tohaa who are exhausted by a fight against the Combined Army.  They want to sacrifice Humanity as a buffer against the Combined Army.  They potentially tortured the minds of the species whom they exalted, like the Chaksa, to be obsequious meat shields.  It is a machiavellian and orwellian, and ultimately cowardly, existence.

You know, I look at the “narrative campaign” that Beasts of War and Corvus Belli offered us, and think, man, we could actually make a dent in the story.  As players.  That’s really cool.

And Corvus Belli handed Tohaa a silver-platter occasion to take a portion of the Nomad’s station, with delightful Tohaa-friendly missions like Hunting Party and CQB Firefight, and two theatres that the Nomads couldn’t possibly defend… a narrative opportunity to stabilize the Human Sphere, and punish the rebels who harbored forces of the Combined Army.

shanquiangfrigatedaraanicorvetteboardingwotanspaceyujingtohaa

But in the chapter of Wotan, what will be Tohaa’s mark on the Infinity universe?  Cowardice and vengefulness.

It’s pathetic.  I wish I was playing PanO instead.  And I’m sad to say I won’t be giving Wotan much more attention.


I have a little tournament tomorrow with some newer players out in Tacoma, I’ll try to write as nice a report for that as I have for Wotan.

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