dragonfly: stained glass dragonfly in iridescent colors (Default)
[personal profile] dragonfly posting in [community profile] cap_chronism
I was rewatching Avengers and it occurred to me to wonder why Captain America, of all people, showed any outrage on discovering that SHIELD was trying to create weaponry out of tesseract technology. Stark, yes, we know about his about-face wrt selling weapons technology. Banner spent a lot of time trying not to be a weapon for the U.S. military, so he makes sense, too. But Captain America was involved in a nearly-global conflict where superior technology was coveted and prized and it wasn't at all obvious that the good guys were going to win. I now blink at that scene where he slams some gun-thing down on the table and confronts Fury with what Phase Two was. I'm really not convinced he should be that upset.

On an unrelated note, it appears that plastic didn't have widespread use until the 1950s. So Cap came from a world before plastic. FWIW.

Source: https://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=114331762

Could I have a "context:technology" tag?

Date: 2012-07-24 05:21 am (UTC)
liviapenn: steve looking at his shield and costume in a case (marvel: the first avenger)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn


I think the problem was that SHIELD was potentially making weapons of *mass destruction* with the Tesseract, not just better versions of battlefield weapons that Steve would already be familiar with, like rifles or tanks.

SHIELD's justification is that humanity needs weapons that are powerful enough to go up against enemies like the Hulk or Asgardians or other "heightened" threats, which can't be fought with the current level of technology... but I don't think Steve is naive enough to believe that, once these weapons exist, SHIELD (or its individual nation members) wouldn't find some excuse to deploy them against "conventional" armies made of human soldiers. (Or even civilian populations, like how the security council decided that it was ok to use nuclear weapons in NYC in order to stop the Chitauri.)

Date: 2012-07-24 05:52 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn
I don't really want to get into a debate about atomic bombs, but, I think the very least that can be said is that there are some pretty good reasons to be cynical about their use in WWII.

(The idea that the British willingly sacrificed Coventry in order to protect their spy networks, I'm pretty sure, is an urban legend that didn't actually start getting spread around until the 1970s.) ETA: Oh, I didn't see that you edited your comment there. Nevermind. *G*
Edited Date: 2012-07-24 05:53 am (UTC)

Date: 2012-07-24 07:00 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Just on a personal level, from Cap's perspective, it would make sense to me that he might emotionally associate Tesseract technology with Nazi/Hydra ideology, and the slave labor of the Howling Commandos (and all those other guys) that was being used to create Hydra weapons during the war. (Plus, there is something especially creepy and wrong-feeling about a weapon that just instantly erases a person from existence and doesn't even leave a body or any trace that someone was killed, and psychologically makes it so much easier to pull a trigger...)

And as far as the emotional impact of learning about dropping atomic bombs on Japan... I think that for younger people who have grown up with atomic bombs & the Cold War, even, as something that happened to our parents or grandparents, it's hard to imagine how shocking/disillusioning it might be for Cap to learn that we did this? The debate about whether or not it was necessary, or even a war crime, isn't a modern thing, people were discussing this at the time too.

To come back to Cap's specific characterization, I'm thinking of his line to Fury: "They said we won the war, they didn't say what we lost" -- to me, the way he says that could be read as, "what did we lose [by choosing to win the war in the way that we did]". And then he also says to Fury that they should have left the Tesseract in the water-- not, "You should have guarded it better" or anything, but from minute one, he really doesn't think "the good guys" should be having anything to do with this tech.

Date: 2012-07-24 07:31 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Is this a reference to Hydra weapons that he would know of (it's been a while since I saw the CA movie)? Because he can't know what the weapons he found on the heli-carrier do.

The weapons he found were in storage-- they *were* Hydra weapons, not SHIELD prototypes like Coulson used. And yes, he'd know what they did.

Date: 2012-07-24 07:56 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

But it isn't 1944 any more. Hydra is defeated and gone. There's no war going on in 2012 that could justify a giant secret program to use Nazi technology to create weapons of mass destruction even *more* powerful and destructive than atomic bombs. What could possibly justify that? -- That is Steve's initial, emotional response.



Date: 2012-07-24 08:06 am (UTC)
liviapenn: miss piggy bends jail bars (remains sexy while doing so) (Default)
From: [personal profile] liviapenn

Hm, whereas I feel exactly the opposite: I think modern/younger people are so used to these things being an established part of history, we're much less horrified/emotionally affected by it than someone from Steve's era (or pre-World Wars) would be.

Date: 2012-07-24 06:43 pm (UTC)
brownbetty: (Default)
From: [personal profile] brownbetty
I read a story where Cap is wrapping someone's broken arm in a plastic bag, so they can take a shower, and he says he learnt it taking care of Bucky, and I went "... that seems off," but good to know that my vague sense of the history of plastics is correct.

I tend to agree with you that from Steve Rogers' point of view, science is a lot less suspect: you could easily argue that if it weren't for the Super Soldier experiment, he had a pretty foreshortened life-expectancy. (I can't find the screen-cap, but I think he has asthma, a heart murmur, and like five other possibly life-threatening conditions.) Science saved his life!

Also, keep in mind, when he finds the super-duper ray-guns that Hydra is using, the Commandos nab a couple and keep using them for the rest of the film. There doesn't seem to be any kind of idea that the technology itself is inherently suspect because of its source.

I think re: phase two, it would depend on how much of the history of the world since WWII Steve is aware of. Is he aware that the allies bombed civilian targets even during the war? (There's no reason he would, I don't think. They weren't exactly putting that stuff in the newsreels. Not just Hiroshima and Nagasaki, but also things like bombing Dresden) Is he aware of the Tuskegee experiment, or even the Marvel Universe fictionalized analogue, the experiment Isaiah Bradley participated in?

If he's aware of some of the atrocities science has been involved with, though, he might feel that science has reneged on its promise. There are no flying cars, and he might have thought that once the war was over, science could turn its attention to making things better, but they're still using Hydra's old guns to shoot people.

A possible fanwank, at least.

Date: 2012-09-06 01:20 am (UTC)
ellid: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellid
Depends on the definition of plastic. *Vinyl* is new, but Bakelite was invented in 1907 and was commercially available by the 1920s.

Date: 2012-09-07 11:43 am (UTC)
ellid: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ellid
I think at least part of it is that he's furious that once again, SHIELD has lied to him.

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