Alan Moore gave a surprisingly inspiring interview to Russia Today

Originally published at: Alan Moore gave a surprisingly inspiring interview to Russia Today | Boing Boing


That puts the Watchmen series in an interesting perspective, doesn’t it? I know he didn’t have anything to do with it, but it seems to me that they got it pretty right there, in this light.

Anyways, looking forward to watching this… also, obligatory…


I was going to contradict Moore’s point about masked hero with the example of Zorro, but learned Zorro was created by an American 3-4 years after Birth of a Nation.


While I greatly enjoy Moore in either his super-crank mode or a more reflective and optimistic version, it just as greatly upsets me that he would even give the time of day to RT, a state propaganda org whose explicit function is to fuck up society for the benefit of of Putin and his gang of kleptocrats.

Providing (comparatively) anodyne filler content to surround and draw an audience for the truly vile stuff contained deeper within it is shrugging complicity at best, and active promotion at worst. Either way, a big enough problem that whatever fun this interview might offer is surely cancelled out owing to its very origin.


Where did the klan imagery come from though? It always looked like something out of the Spanish Inquisition to me. I thought the Superman thing looked closer to ancient Rome.

That fucking movie. There was never another piece of propaganda that was so able to convince the baddies that they weren’t the baddies. Triumph of the Will doesn’t even compare.


Weren’t all those gentlemen highwaymen in the UK usually masked?

Edit: also the Molly Maguires & Irish Mollies?


Even more surprising is how delightful and optimistic Moore comes off in the interview. Moore’s (frankly valid) disillusionment what the comic book industry has left him with a reputation as cantankerous curmudgeon. His daughter has tried to correct this image, and I think this interview does a strangely wonderful job of reminding you that there’s a side of Alan Moore that revels in delight, and takes genuine joy in the magic of the world.

I think a big part of the misconception is that Moore can come across very differently in text than he does when he speaks. I think that when you watch him on video, you can see a certain irony and playfulness, even when he’s expressing righteous anger.

When people quote him in text – especially out-of-context – it’s a lot harder to see that playfulness.

I don’t agree with everything Moore has to say – I think he’s been unfair to a lot of fellow comics creators, including his own former collaborators – but I think his reputation as a humorless curmudgeon was always a misreading of his words. He may be a curmudgeon, but I don’t think he’s ever been humorless.


Moore may be on to something with tracing masked men back to Griffith’s Birth of a Nation but a short search will get you to one of the first popular characters with a secret identity, the Scarlet Pimpernel, who predated Birth by a decade, and Zorro, one of the earliest masked heroes, is not quite “white,” being born in California as part of New Spain so he’s almost “Mexican,” first appearing a couple of years after Birth.

I’d date masked men back to the dime novels idolizing Jesse James and other such outlaws. Of course, bringing it back to Jesse James makes this argument a kissing cousin of Moore’s since James fought for the Confederacy and rode with the notorious Quantrill. Yet, I believe there’s more to the links between dime novels and comic books and the Wild West’s outlaws and superheroes than there is between them and the Ku Klux Klan.



But I don’t know… Seems like something Moore would know either way?

But what is his ethnicity. Don’t forget that the racial caste system of Meso and South America and the Caribbean are very different from the American “one-drop” racial caste system. People who had more Spanish heritage were very much considered white and at the top of that caste system. I can’t say, as I don’t know enough about Zorro, but as someone upthread noted, Zorro came out after The Birth of a Nation.

A former confederate soldier…

He robbed a union train…

He was a PRO-CONFEDERATE guerilla…

Yes. Dime novels did a lot of work mythologizing the acts of genocide committed by white Americans. Just because they were read by children doesn’t mean they did not normalized the mass slaughter of Native Americans and Black Americans.

They are connected via white supremacy. You can’t white wash that shit.


The reality is that most news organisations fall under the state propaganda model, the private ad-driven click-optimising funding model, or a blend of both.

While we could write off all new networks as such (and perhaps be justified in doing so) I find it more useful to utilise our abilities as discerning individuals towards finding and sharing the bits of good journalism that happen to be found within either model.

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Granted, but there are some that are objectively worse than others. And pieces like this, well, let’s not pretend they’re ‘good journalism’. They’re cultural dressing. Alan Moore’s views on superheroes might be interesting to many of us, but they are not serving to uncover, or inform the general public about the inner workings of their society. They are the sugar coating that disguises bitter pill of misinformation and propaganda and makes it go down easier.

And I won’t argue that, at their core, the NYT, CNN, or OAN don’t operate exactly the same way. Of course they do. But the shitty parts of the NYT are at least LESS overtly shitty.

I’d be almost as upset if Moore had given this sort of interview to Fox News. I’d be equally, or maybe more upset if he gave it to OAN. Pretending The Washington Post and RT are ‘the same’ is supremely disingenuous. One’s standard corporate bullshit. The other’s trying to actively start a civil war (and is getting close to succeeding.)


That’s cause they kind of are.

The long and the short of it seems to be that the First Klan largely cribbed costuming from Mardi Gras/Carnival traditions. Where in costumes related to or referencing the something from the Inquisition are a thing.

And then pop-culture depictions leading into the Second Klan saw them adopt that specific costume. A lot of the rest of it, from the naming with the First Klan to the organization and title names with the Second Klan were inspired by fraternal orders and “secret” societies. Where in wacky costumes were very much a thing. Check out the Odd Fellows.


And don’t forget the Scarlet Pimpernel: An English aristocrat who helped other one-percenters escape the unwashed rabble of the French Revolution. No way was that character not feeding into white supremacist and classist sentiment.


But the KKK and other white supremacist groups SAW themselves as avenging heroes, which was the whole core of the film. No doubt they were pulling on figures like the Scarlett Pimpernel with themselves in the role of hero. They literally thought they were saving white America. We should not underestimate how influential the film was. It was screened at the white house and would go on to influence other films and no doubt other popular culture in the coming decades.

His point still stands. I don’t think it’s particularly helpful to try and extricate every bit of American pop culture from white supremacy, as I don’t believe that’s possible. Even Black pop culture was shaped by white supremacy, because it was and is the reality of American culture.


Wait, whose point? Moore’s? Because yes, I’m agreeing with that. I mentioned the Scarlet Pimpernel because it came up in gmoke’s post, and it reinforces Moore’s take.


My bad, I misread… not enough caffeine so far this morning!


Here’s a fun and informative chat between Alan Moore and Stewart Lee.


I like the Rebecca Rioters; cross-dressing toll-booth smashers of the 19th Century.

They are very odd fellows, indeed. I wonder how they got around to deciding on their ceremonial garb?

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