Seduction of the Innocent

Starfire and RobinThere’s an episode of the Teen Titans animated series when the Titans are trying to protect Starfire from some aliens who are attacking her (though they’re actually after Starfire’s sister – long story). At one point the aliens pull out some badges and say “You’re under arrest!” And the Titans’ immediate reaction is “oh no! – that means the aliens are the good guys!” (As indeed they turn out to be.)

Thus the show teaches two rather dubious lessons: a) cops are always good guys [even extraterrestrial cops about whose society of origin we know nothing]; and b) those who represent themselves as cops are always cops. Talk about tv shows having a bad influence on children!

I can’t recall the Timmverse DC cartoons (of which Titans wasn’t part) ever promoting attitudes quite that screwed-up.


8 Responses to Seduction of the Innocent

  1. Currence April 20, 2009 at 12:06 am #

    Odd. Aren’t superheroes supposed to be operating outside of the law, ignoring legal restrictions and requirements, etc. with the aim of achieving true justice? (Not that that’s all well and good, but a kids’ show wouldn’t be expected to problematize the Superhero like Watchmen, The Dark Knight, the X-Men films, et al.)

    • Roderick April 20, 2009 at 1:03 am #

      The Timmverse shows sometimes dealt with those issues a bit (e.g. some of the Gotham cops approving of and working with Batman, others disapproving and trying to take him down, with both sides appearing well-meaning — or, in the Justice League series, the neither purely innocent nor purely villainous government-sponsored Cadmus Project assigned to rein in the superheroes). But the Titans series (to my admittedly fallible recollection) tended to avoid that sort of nuance — perhaps because it was aimed at a somewhat younger audience.

  2. Black Bloke April 20, 2009 at 12:12 am #

    You should compare the actions of Ben 10 and his Alien Force to the Teen Titans, in their reactions to extraterrestrial pretended authorities.

  3. Kevin Carson April 20, 2009 at 12:23 am #

    Oh, sweet bleeding Christ, I think I’m gonna puke. Suppose they’d been wearing SS uniforms and said they were enforcing the Nuremberg laws?

    • Roderick April 20, 2009 at 1:15 am #

      Clearly they were at least incompetent cops, since they were trying to arrest the wrong person. I mean, how hard is it to tell which of these sisters is the villainous one?

      They were just going after any “Tamaranian girl.” In other words, they were racial-profiling.

  4. Anon73 April 20, 2009 at 8:18 am #

    Are superheroes like superman or batman representative of statism or anarchy? They’re sorta like police because they apprehend “criminals”, but they are sort of anarchic since they don’t draw on the state’s permission to operate.

    • Roderick April 20, 2009 at 9:16 am #

      Superheroes have always had that ambiguity. In a way it’s an advantage for the writers, because it increases the number of different kinds of stories you can tell with them.

      Aeon has a good article about superheroes.

  5. Victor Milán April 20, 2009 at 2:49 pm #

    Well, there’s no shame in having the first comment I was going to make preempted by the awesome Kevin Carson…

    The second: the culture of cop-worship in this country is a huge impediment to freedom. We approach times in which it will actually prove dangerous for many of us chattels.

    Sadly, it’s an attitude which permeates much of so-called “libertarianism.” It’d be nice if we, y’know, knew better.

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