The Wintry Truth

Captain America

I just finished watching the movie Captain America 2, The Winter Soldier. The motion-picture is your standard American patriotic trying to give a monochromatic view of good and bad, ignoring all the gray shades in between. In it the white American narrative can never be bad. It is always some renegade traitor within the ranks who gives a bad name to all the values, like free speech, equality and sanctity of life, which the white civilization has come to hold dear for itself, over the years.

Captain America — 2 (The Winter Soldier)

There was a scene in the movie which compelled me to write this post. The scene is describing how the villain from the last movie, Hydra, is still alive. He is a Nazi renegade who wants to destabilize Hitler and take over power himself. He has his own ideas of how the world order should be. In the first movie he is defeated and killed. But in the second movie the monster resurfaces again. A Swiss scientist formerly employed by Hydra gives the explanation for that. Hydra is the idea that humanity cannot be trusted with its freedom, and it needs to be taken away from them; if not unwillingly then willingly. Hence, Hydra has been feeding crisis and weeping war. Now when the scientist whose consciousness has been kept alive in a data-bank of tape-drives, is explaining this, he also gives a presentation from his archives. In that presentation there are video clips of riots, wars and funnily (or scarily) enough, of Julian Assange. This small clip of Julian Assange as an agent of Hydra upset me. This was a personal attack of a very subtle nature. Nowhere in any American superhero movies have the enemies of American state been so explicitly shown unless they are long dead. I have not seen any reference or a video clip in any American superhero movie to Osama Bin Laden or Ayman Al Zawahari. There are references to the war in Iraq and Afghanistan but nothing like this.

I have seen my share of propaganda movies, having studied some of them quite closely. I have seen Nazi propaganda movies. I have studied how propaganda works in Communist countries. I also saw the whole documentary on by VICE where they tour North Korea and have a glimpse of how propaganda works there. Being an Indian, I have also seen religious propaganda being misused by communal elements to further their own agenda to devastating effect. The biggest propaganda was a video CD that was widely distributed in 1992 A.D., about how the ancient King Ram (in his child form), whom many people consider a god, came and opened the locks of Babri Masjid and miraculously installed the an idol of himself. This propaganda directly was used to recruit _kar sevaks_ and also to justify the falling of Babri Masjid. Similar propaganda was used to further lies albeit through newspapers during the post-Godhra riots. I have also seen propaganda movies being circulated among Muslims to foment discontent and religious extremism.

This clip of Julian Assange in the movie forced me to come to the conclusion that this was propaganda to justify the actions of the American establishment. The clip is not even half a second in the two hour long movie, but it creates an impression on your brain, on your sub-consciousness, an impression that you are unaware of. If the clip is any longer or more detailed, you might go home and research Julian and find out more about him, but the clip is long enough for you to notice his face and short enough for you not to go probing into the details. Since the clip is clubbed along with other videos of war and civil unrest, you are more likely to associate the face with dictators, tyrants, despots rather than whistle-blowers.

There are a couple of other things in this movie worth pointing out, as well, but I shall simply state one. In one of the scenes, the black sidekick asks Captain America how to differentiate between the good guys and the bad guys. The answer to that is very simple: The ones shooting at us are bad guys and the others good guys. That is the gist of neo-conservative politics being fed to innocent children as they watch Captain America and similar movies while being doctored in the capitalist propaganda, in a very subtle but similar fashion as North Korea brainwashes its ideology onto its young.