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17.9.11

Power Is A Put-On

In the past few years, there has been a virtual tidal wave of superhero movies.  I confess to enjoying them.  I particularly like Batman.  Always have.  I like that he doesn't have super-powers.  I like Iron Man for the same reason.

But superhero movies and comic books teach us something.  They implant strong symbolic messages deep in our psyches.  In fact, one really enjoyable film is M. Night Shyamalan's 'Unbreakable,' with Bruce Willis and Samuel L. Jackson.  It gets into a lot of the meta-types and symbols in comincs.

There's something in particular that I notice about the comics.  Superheros have one particular weakness that no one ever talks about.  They have one thing that can stop them cold, but none of the bad guys ever figure it out.  And it's pretty much the same weakness in every one of them, with few exceptions.

They all need a uniform.

Think about it.  Superman has his tights.  Batman has his armor.  Iron Man has his suit.  Thor, Captain America, Spider Man...you name it.  Without their signature clothes, they are completely powerless.  If they ever use civilian clothes, and they are forced to use their power, they almost always cover it up with clumsiness and bungling.

Of course, they tell us that no one can exercise power without government support.  Batman works with Commissioner Gordon of the police.  Iron Man has his military-industrial complex support group.  Even Superman works with and supports US federal hegimony throughout the world.  But in every case, they can not project power without their uniform.

Even in 'Unbreakable,' the Willis character is a security guard with a uniform, and when he starts to realize his superpowers, he dons yet another uniform (a cape substitute using a pancho-brilliant).  Once the character begins to realize his own innate power, he resorts to projecting it through a uniform.

In fact, the only superhero I can think of who doesn't use a uniform is the Hulk.  He is a rather interesting character.  His power comes from inside himself, and when he projects it, he loses his clothes, not changes them.  He is hunted and hounded by government and military, rather than controlled, or at least in cahouts with them.  There are many layers to the Hulk that I find compelling.  However, in the end, his power comes from an accident in a government lab, and his father was a government scientist, as is Bruce Banner.  So not entirely free.

The X-Men, which involve human mutations that find themselves with great powers start to break the mold of government control, but they still have uniforms.

Even the bad guys have uniforms.  As it was so well put in 'The Dark Knight,' in a throw-away line, they wear war-paint.  They use uniforms to project and signify their power.  Even the musical themes change when the uniform comes out.  The scenes in 'Spider Man,' where his love/hate relationship with his powers are symbolically centered around the uniform.

Why do cops, soldiers and TSA goons all have uniforms?  Because we are trained to see those types of clothing as powerful.  A cop without his uniform is just another meat-head in khakis and t-shirt, just like the rest of us.  But stick him in a uniform, and he will shoot, taser and berate us by virtue of the power in his uniform.

Take a high-school dropout with little or no prospects, and who operates on barely more than automatic cognitive function.  Indoctrinate him and give him a decent paycheck and bennies, and slap a uniform on him, and you have abusive brutes.  They feel like superheroes in their nifty little tights and ID cards.  Sew a couple of patches and a flag on them, and watch out!  They have power and purpose by virtue of their togs.

Oh, and if you get the least little out of hand, they run to 'Uncle' and cry like you stuck them with a hot iron.  Then 'Uncle' comes along and beats you into submission.  If need be, 'Unicle' drags you in front of yet another uniform, a black robe animates by yet another powerless weasel, for further processing.  And the black robe uniform likes us to think that it is the highest authority, with unlimited power over life and death.

When it comes down to it, all government is, is a vast warehouse full of uniforms by which puppeteers can project power and control over the masses.  We are trained, even by things as seemingly innocuous as comics, that uniforms mean power.  Those pieces of cloth, cut and colored in a certain pattern, and placed on callous troglydites, transform normal, everyday people like us into powerful heroes defending truth, justice and the American Way.  The somewhat humerous part is that the uniform animators are even more clueless about abstract concepts like truth and justice, than the average Joe.

As for the American Way, well shucks, anyone can drop bombs and torture.  Just has a certain 'authority' to it  if the person holding the live wires to your genitals has a uniform.

Even the uniforms come in ranking levels of power.  Just put some nifty logos, pins and baubles on them, and you you have increasing layers of authority.  "I have more power than you because I have this little pin on my collar and this little stripe on my sleeve."

'Men In Black' make quite a tadoo out of uniforms.  In fact, it is the black suit that 'authorizes' them to be initiated into the inner circle.  Will Smith obtains occult information and experiences a new level of existance by simply putting on a uniform.

We are trained from birth that uniforms contain power, and convey that power onto the person wearing it.  When you are young and watch your dad kow-tow to uniforms, you learn.  When you read (hahaha!) the comics or watch the movies, you see that uniforms allow us to project power.  When you join the junior sports league, you can't play without a uniform.  When someone asked you what you wanted to be, you probably rattled off some occupation with a uniform.  I wanted  to be an astronaut, because I liked the bulky white uniforms.

The westerns were the superhero movies of yesteryear.  The good guy's uniform had a white hat and a tin star, while the bad guy's uniform was black and didn't have jewelry.  But if your uniform was buckskins and feathers, you were the ultimate baddy...or a comic drunk, if you watched F-Troop.

'Hogan's Heroes' was a comedy of uniforms.  The whole show revolved around uniforms.  All the characters had distinctive uniforms that told us something about who they are and how much power they have.

Our training is so deep that it is very hard to uninstall.  Think about it any time you confront a uniform.  What was the first feeling, not thought, you had when you saw the uniform.  Coming from Houston, I fear cop uniforms, because those uniforms killed a lot of people and beat the rest to pulp.

Uniforms are neither good nor bad, in themselves.  The important thing is becoming cognizant of how we respond to them, and how they are used to control us.  It one of the deepest and most pernicious forms of mind control today.  And it's so bleeding simple, that it's almost laughable.

It's everywhere you look, on the streets, on TeeVee, in the movies, everyone is parading uniforms as projections of power.  Without, those people are nothing.  They are just regular folks, taking out the trash and mowing the lawn.

Put a uniform on them, and everything changes.  Now they can molest you, violate your most personal liberties, and even main and kill you, all with impunity.  They have 'authority' by virtue of their clothes.

That's it.  Just clothes.

Why does Superman never fly without his uniform?  Why does Spider Man never spin a web without the official togs?  Why is Bruce Wayne just a rich, spoiled playboy until he dons the armor?

It used to be, when I was young, that officials in uniforms were outranked in every way by civilians.  Seems that has fallen by the wayside these days.

"You'll dress only in attire specially sanctioned by MiB special services. You'll conform to the identity we give you, eat where we tell you, live where we tell you. From now on you'll have no identifying marks of any kind. You'll not stand out in any way. Your entire image is crafted to leave no lasting memory with anyone you encounter. You're a rumor, recognizable only as deja vu and dismissed just as quickly. You don't exist; you were never even born. Anonymity is your name. Silence your native tongue. You're no longer part of the System. You're above the System. Over it. Beyond it. We're "them." We're "they." We are the Men in Black."  - Zed

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