I realize that this is being posted very late, I was in a small war with Agora and Agora fights dirty. But e-mails have cleared the way for this delayed responce to Tuesdays Carrie based presentation. Looking at it now it seems less like a responce and more like thoughts fed through a Ramblematic-5000. In that vein, enjoy:
This is a response to the presentation on the Dark Knight Returns in today’s class and the discussion around it. During the presentation the character of Carrie Kelley was the focus, a strong female character (which she most certainly is). However, on the very same page used as the prime example in the presentation, page 89 in the edition I’m using, we also have the picture of a woman in the news wearing a shirt saying “all this and brains too” whom seems to be only interested in the perception of the mayor as opposed to the way things actually are. The style that the woman is presented in screams 1980s but it also, like nearly all portrayals of the media in the Dark Knight Returns, seems farcical. It always seems to me as sort of an example of feminist movement as a failure, or as a woman not belonging in the man’s world. I’m probably being colored by my familiarity with Miller’s later writing (300 having virtually none, and Sin City having none that aren’t battered, a whore, or a soon-to-be-killed lesbian) but I certainly wouldn’t call it misogynistic either. Rather I think its an example of opposition.
Miller loves oppositions. This entire graphic novel is full of them. We have the character of Dr. Wolper whom exists to espouse the ideology of the hypodermic model of media consumption. In the ludicrous level of naivete that Miller gives him, coupled with the constant farcical scrunched facial expressions leads one to believe he’s a simple attack on that mode of thought, especially seeing as how it nearly destroyed the comics industry several decades prior. But then we are presented with the crazy gunman and the thug without a purpose on pages 89 and 90 as being clear examples that the media coverage, if not directly influencing their behavior is at least exposing them to the concepts (or person as the case may be) that is. Furthermore, we have a reactionary, vigilante force that is the Batman (seriously though, the Wayne fortune would probably be better spent on education and rehabilitation than squandered on crime fighting gadgets) as an example of justice and civic virtue, but the president whom built his reputation on such values (or perceived to have such values at any rate) is made to be the fool throughout the piece. This is clearly a younger Miller open to embracing the Modernist theory on multiple and potentially equally valid viewpoints (something that is less obvious in his later works).
However there is still on opposition that isn’t quite representational fair, the only positive African American mentioned is Detective Dale, whom is never actually seen on panel, and the only other African Americans in the first two chapters are a pimp that’s cutting a whore and a street corner conman. I think I went above 250 words if that’s alright.