53 – Wonder Woman

coverblackRecorded June 9th. “Worth cherishing in every way.”  Reacting to Wonder Woman and answering some in-story questions.

[Regarding this episode… “Eh, it’s not for everyone.”]

Answers, insights, and commentary on:

  • I. Logos (22min)
    • What if a child…?
    • Cherishing in every way
    • Mythos and Logos
    • Ethos, Logos, and Pathos
    • Accessibility
    • Jenkins’s Emotional Lens
  • II. Bedtime Story (6min)
    • Confounding Clouds
    • Diana’s Bedtime Story Framework
  • III. Questions (70min)
    • How old is Diana?
    • Can Diana return to Themyscira?
    • Why didn’t they tell Diana the truth?
    • Why didn’t they go with Diana?
    • Did she want to leave earlier?
    • When did Diana develop powers?
    • Why did Ares reveal himself?
    • How does the lasso work?
    • How did Ares defeat the Olympians?
    • Why didn’t Ares destroy mankind sooner?
    • What does Ares want?
    • What is love?
    • Is Ares the source of mankind’s corruption?
    • Does seeing Ares change Diana’s belief?
    • Does Diana love Ares? Why kill him?
    • Why doesn’t Diana reveal herself after World War I?
    • Did Diana walk away from mankind?
    • What did Diana do for 100 years?
    • What moves Diana to act?
    • Why does Diana fight Doomsday?
    • Why doesn’t she have the same powers in that fight?
    • Why does Diana finally go public?
  • IV. End Notes (35min)
    • Is Ares dead?
    • Why doesn’t Steve do something different with the plane?

To learn more:
Wonder Woman: The Art and Making of | Sharon Gosling
Wonder Woman Novelization | Nancy Holder
From Poly to Mono, Mythos to Logos | Evan Puschak
103 Desirability Bias | You Are Not So Smart
Five Ages of Man | Wikipedia
8 Types of Love Ancient Greeks | Mateo Sol
Color Wheel Theory of Love | Wikipedia
Reality Part One | Invisibilia
Treehouse of Horror X | The Simpsons
772 Small Change | Planet Money
How to Use Rhetoric | Camille Langston
Strike Me Down | Return of the Jedi (1983)
True From A Certain Point of View | Robot Chicken
A Better Way To Talk About Love | Mandy Len Catron
Constitutional Peasants | Monty Python
The Princess Bride | Rob Reiner

End notes recorded June 23rd
Canterbury Tales | pronuntiatio
Fæder Ure | Hrothgar Simonus
The Wisdom Series | Bible Project
Raise Brave Girls, Encourage Adventure | Caroline Paul
Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection | Reshma Saujani
Professor Robert Sapolsky on Altruism | Big Think
Philosophy of Stoicism | TED Ed
Why I Broke Up With The Little Mermaid | Jesse Eisenberg
Storybook Love Cover | 24getful1

Web: ManOfSteelAnswers.com
Twitter: @mosanswers
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144 days ’til #JusticeLeague

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  1. Behind-the-Scenes: Apologies for the length. No need to listen all in one go, but this is too long even for me!

    For a variety of reasons (normal ones and literally a funeral, a flood, a fire, and blackouts), I had limited time to edit this and if I didn’t release it today, it would be three weeks before I could have another opportunity to work on it. Therefore, this is longer than my personal guidelines: 70-or-less for “just talk” discussion episodes, aim-for-90 for “documentary” episodes, 50-or-less for news episodes.

    If I had more time to find seams to cut along and do more intros and outros and endnotes, this would typically result in 2-3 episodes, but knowing myself- I never went back and re-cut MOSAIC 48 Amanda Waller (Suicide Squad FAQ) episode- I’d rather get something out than fiddle anymore. If I knew I was going to blow my guidelines so spectacularly, I would have probably left in more side discussions, but I was sincerely aiming for shorter episodes and just ran out of time to get there.

    If you need it in more digestible chunks, the first 30 minutes is preamble, then discussion goes for 70 minutes, the end notes are 35 minutes… you can chop that up 55 / 45 / 35 or 30 / 25 / 45 /35 or whatever. This isn’t something you should have to do, again, apologies.

    • No need to apologize, good sir. It’s an episode reviewing an entire film, and you lay out the context in charts complete with timestamps or section time lengths. That ought to be good enough for anybody.

      • Thanks for the sentiment. I still want to keep the tangents to a minimum or try and keep episodes coherent in some fashion, so a time restriction is a good guideline for myself. But again, thanks for the grace.

    • This was a highlight episode but what was the Little Mermaid bit about? I don´t get it.

      • I need to get a new spam filter, I responded to this twice but it ate MY responses! I’m on vacation / mobile, but will try looking for new one when I get back.

        My longer responses with links / resources got eaten, so short version, 4 ties:
        1. Jesse is Lex
        2. Fish-Out-of-Water – Heinberg said he was influenced by The Little Mermaid & Splash.
        3. Linguistic Foibles – If Diana didn’t have magical translation ability, she’d constantly be asking “how do you say” like in the sketch.
        4. Fairy Tale Reality – Sketch shows how pushing fairy tales into reality can make them look dumb, so WW had to pull back from realism or she’d look like Ariel or worse.

  2. Hey everyone, I found a very good article regarding the succes of the DCEU that I want to share with everyone:


    My favorite part is how the fellow explains in a well-seasoned manner how all the previous and present rumors stating that those in charge of the Justice League Universe are panicked/worried (that for some reason some people consider “facts”) are utter garbage.

  3. Doc mentioned how WW is a gateway film and her comic canon is certainly under-explored in media / unknown. So let´s do this. How to get into WW comics, now that the film is out:

    WW´s Post Crisis canon began in 1987 with “Gods and Mortals” by George Pérez. He wrote and mostly drew Vol.2 No. 1-24 + annual 1-2 and stayed on for another 3 years as a writer only. That 2nd half isn´t worth your time though. Basically all follow-up writers, in all media, own a lot to this landmark reboot.

    A mixed bag came in between (her edgy 90s replacement Artemis was a good idea but the execution was incoherent and quite sexist). John Byrne fixed the ship once he came aboard with “Second Genesis” and stayed on for No. 101 – 136 + annual 5-6. This runs demands a solid grasp of DC canon though. Her mother Hippolyta taking over for a bit and the modern Wonder Girl was born here too.

    Phil Jimenez´s run starts with “Gods of Gotham” and lasts from No. 164-188. His characterization of
    Diana was the most down to earth since 87.

    Greg Rucka started with the standalone GN “The Hiketeia” and then wrote her proper comic from No. 195-226. Probably my favorite run in the 1987-2011 canon. The final stretch is tie-in crazy and demands to read much of the Infinity Crisis event to make sense. It´s a great event though.

    The usually wonderful Gail Simone then came to “fix” the book, after the messy 1 Year Later re-launch (by her 2017 movie writer no less). It start with “The Circle” and last from Vol. 3 No. 14-44. I found it to be below expectations but she also wrote most of the really good 2009 toon film.

    Brian Azzarello´s New52 re-launch is Diana´s best run yet, starting with “Blood” and lasting from Vol. 4 No. 1-35 + No.0 and 23.2 (but not 23.1… comics are weird). The film´s Warrior Woman characterization + her new origin are found within. It´s basically Vertigo´s Sandman meets God of War! He left and the book fell apart. Notice a theme? Her comic is a bit like Star Trek films. One good run follow a bad-ish run.

    Greg Rucka came back for 2016´s Rebirth, starting with “The Lies”. Every 2nd issue is devoted to a new/streamlined origin story and flashbacks, after “Year One” concluded. A smart way to keep the bi-weekly deadlines and his run is about to end.

    The next recommendations are all self-contained stories or origins, again sorted by publication date:

    “JLA: A League of One” is written and painted by Christopher Moeller. It´s better remember for the striking art and not it´s weird crossover with the Nibelung myth, or whatever that was.

    “Wonder Woman: Spirit of Truth” by the Paul Dini and more importantly artists Alex Ross is about Diana´s inherently ingesting journey to the Middle East. It´s quite a read and the duo´s other one-shots are all great (Superman: Peace on Earth is even referenced in BvS!).

    Grant Morrison´s “Wonder Woman: Earth One” Vol.1 GN is mostly a return to the Gold Age version. Heaps of lesbian bondage and his heavy focus on the original 40s take on feminism may not be for everyone but I eagerly await Vol.2.

    “The Legend of Wonder Woman” by Renae De Liz is a concluded WW2 based Web-First comic. It´s very “young girl friendly” and nearly all her writers were men, so there is that. Don´t hold your breath for a sequel though, as the creative team pissed off DC and got (justifiably) blacklisted.

    “Wonder Woman: The True Amazon” by Jill Thompson is a fully painted origin story that takes away all DC tie-ins and wholly grounds her in Greek myth. Her decision to give the young Diana a deeply spoiled characterization makes it a unique read. More please.

    “The Secret History of Wonder Woman” is lastly a non-fiction book and explains itself. The Golden Age comic was pure insanity and her creator was quite a personally too, so I hope that the upcoming bio-pic will be good.

    The 2001 Justice League toon had a focus on WW, as she was the rookie on the group. The current Justice League Action toon does the same, but she is the least featured Trinity member, and i already mentioned the 2009 toon film.

  4. Wow, a lot to unpack here doc, so I won’t flood the comments section like a crazy stalker. And, great job once again, it’s always a highlight getting your view.

    I agree, Diana leaves her WW persona in check to spare humanity, which is her showing love. What would be interesting to know is what did she think in the 18 months after the BZE when the world seemed pretty much OK with Superman. Superman was showing that someone of that power and good was generally accepted by the world, so why not come forward then, or was it simply a case of there wasn’t a need, Superman had it covered. And I suppose, WW is a warrior, she fights, and there were no fights until Doomsday.

    On her power level, it seems quite clear from Ares that the Gods specifically get power boosts from being in the proximity of other Gods. How belief of others or within themselves seems ambiguous. I don’t think it was ever established in WW that flight was in her power set, that seemed more an effect of Ares elemental manipulation plus some slow motion, hence the hovering effect. As a demigod I would expect she doesn’t have the full range that Ares was able to demonstrate even as a direct daughter to Zeus. Not until Justice League will we get a more definitive answer of her power range. I expect it will be pretty consistent with what we saw in BvS, strength, durability, reduced vulnerability, speed, energy absorption, energy creation, and increased healing rate (confirmed by Jenkins).

    • Heart of Steel

      I don’t think that her status as a demigodess necessarily means that she has less abilities than pure gods. Sometimes in mythology, some demigods are depicted to be just as capable/powerful as pure gods, like Heracles being the most famous example. (Plus the amazons themselves are a quasi-divine race)

      And I also don’t think that the gods’ power in the DCEU continuity are feed by believers’ faith, since all the Greek gods minus Ares died in a period of time when virtually all humanity believed in gods, and Ares seemed to retain a lot of godly power in a world now filled with science and monotheism.

      • re: Belief – This is a theory, so it makes sense to raise thought experiments to debunk the theory. The two you raise are: 1) Period; 2) Power; As characterized, you have a point, but I don’t think your characterization is necessary or in the latter case accurate. Addressing the latter first, Ares himself says that he’s weak… so he doesn’t appear to “retain” power. The only power we know he demonstrates after Zeus and before Diana is the “whisper” a power that even the trapped and depowered Enchantress could exercise… so a power that doesn’t take much power it seems. Likewise, the teleport which even the enslaved Enchantress could do in her sleep. [We know Enchantress is depowered because imagine the ending Enchantress with telekinesis getting threatened by Waller. She just throws everyone back and retakes her heart. Enslaved Enchantress couldn’t do it because she wasn’t powered up yet.]

        Regarding period, that’s part of what I cut out of the episode because it requires reconciling a lot of anachronisms within Amazonian culture and technology. If you take Hippolyta at her word, “all of history was still a dream” literally, you can’t reconcile what the Amazon’s have, know about, and depict with history as we actually have it… therefore, between the two, Hippolyta’s words must bend and can bend because they’re storybook and indefinite (what qualifies as “still a dream”?).

        The men in the bedtime story are wearing period clothing that we can pinpoint [a fun one is the advent of the color blue- see: RadioLab: Why isn’t the sky blue?], they make references to period writings we can pinpoint, they have technology that we can pinpoint… so I don’t think the Olympians died when you think they did. They seemed to die during / after the rise of Rome when belief ceased to be personal and was more transactional / contractual, with none more state-sponsored than Mars because warfare fueled the empire. The others were very much relegated to curiosities and lesser degrees of sincerity such that the Roman Empire had no problem with its citizens worshiping the Jewish god or belonging to some crazy Christian start-up sect… along with giving sacrifices to Jupiter or some Unknown God. In other words, Ares outlasted the others in terms of belief, but eventually also got swallowed up by Rome turning Christian. In the original recording, there is more dates and details, but as I said in the endnotes, I cut it because it was tangential.

        The point is, we can justify Ares’s power over the others and his lack of power with actual human history.

    • Thanks for listening. re: 18 months – Obviously, we don’t explicitly know, but my broad argument is that any explanation you give for why Diana does not go public immediately after WW1 should be extensible until BvS; you can- of course- create increasingly fact-specific rationales for why she doesn’t go public and more case-by-case reasons… but my preference in apologetics is fewer rules / reasons, unless / until an inconsistency arises. Occam’s Razor as a principle (but obviously not an absolute). When you hear hoof beats, better to conclude a horse than, say, a zebra… and better a horse or zebra than, say, a monkey clapping two coconuts together riding astride an ostrich. Hoof beats absolutely can be explained by the coconut monkey… and it could be the case… but it’s my preference to not go to it as an answer.

      So the rationale I gave was that Diana didn’t want to confront humanity with a tribal god and that would still be the case after the BZE. As terrifying as extraterrestrials are, they’re still bounded by science and the natural world. Additionally, I think Diana might see that Superman was in the same honeymoon period she was in up to the gassing of Veld. Superman’s powers (especially flight) and nature meant he avoided tribalism and judging mankind to his utmost during the honeymoon… but it would only be a matter of time before that would be challenged.

      If Diana came out, without flight and with powers which put an emphasis on fighting, she’d necessarily be more tribal. Her jurisdiction and response time and range would be fixed to a small radius where she’s electing to use her powers. Additionally, her capacity to rescue is less than Superman’s as she’s geared more towards combat, which means judging humanity (or whomever is on the other end of her sword). You could easily imagine Paris or France claiming Diana as their own even if she has no intention of putting that out there. And you can use this rationale to explain why Diana doesn’t catch a flight to Midway City to intervene in the Suicide Squad situation… she isn’t sure if it’s her place yet. Even if she knows better (does she?) who is she to tell the US Gov’t that they can’t handle it so long as they keep telling the world it’s a terrorist event and not a supernatural one?

      At the end of the WW movie, Diana puts a premium on mankind’s freedom to choose, which means it will sometimes choose darkness or to be tribal. Hypothetically, if they had been honest about Midway City and put out a call for help, I imagine Diana might have answered it.

      re: Flight – You sort of have to imply flight or flight-like or flight-adjacent abilities to accommodate her feats outside of even the Ares fight… alternatively, I guess you can characterize it as stylized storytelling not reflecting reality, but in every example of Diana’s super-leaping, Newton’s 3rd Law Of Motion is violated. The explosive force which crumbles a church steeple doesn’t hit Steve and company (even just to launch her, requires some 10 kiloN). Launching a 60 kg mass several miles laterally in the final shot would also devastate her platform. Finally, in terms of twisting-in-air, there’s some behavior in her lasso-body-slam of Ludendorff that’s debatable.

      Bottom line, there’s enough there that it’s an open question rather than conclusively eliminated.

      re: Belief – So while not explicitly stated, the reason I like the belief theory is that it can serve as a unifying answer for several questions: 1) How could Ares beat the pantheon of Olympians? 2) Why does Diana knowing mean Ares finding? 3) Why was Ares weak until Diana? 4) Why was Diana weak until Ares? 5) Why did Ares reveal himself instead of letting Diana get disillusioned? 6) Why doesn’t Diana have all these powers against Doomsday? 7) Why might Diana unlock some of these abilities again after Doomsday? 8) Why does Enchantress want the Squad’s loyalty while destroying the world? 9) What value was there to worship to Enchantress or the Olympians otherwise? Etc. It’s not necessary to come up with one answer that covers all these situations… but it’s nice and elegant theory that addresses all of these if belief and power are tied. So again, I’m not insisting this is the only interpretation or possibility, but I like the idea there’s one theory that can cover all these questions.

  5. So it seems WW will surpass the $700M in just a few days. 4 films so far and the Cinematic Universe will have 3 Billion in its total B.O. That’s just crazy!

    • You’re crazy! I’m crazy! Doc is crazy! Zack is crazy! Aaaarrrrgggghhhh, Let’s go crazy! You can see I’m suffering from Superman withdrawals

  6. Thanks again Doc. Another great episode, “As if there was any doubt, ha ha”. You made my viewing number 4 so much better. Can’t wait for the Blu-ray and behind the scenes bonuses. I hope they put as much effort into the Blu-ray as Men of Steel. No Bluray has surpassed Men of Steel in the DCEU so far.

    • The “maximum movie mode” seemed to be a Snyder-specific thing, so I wouldn’t hold my breath expecting to see it again, but I absolutely would love to see it again.

  7. English is not your first language?!!, wow Doc. Mind blown. It doesn’t show at all.

  8. Hi. Recently found this show via a referral from JLU shows.

    At the end of this show, the clip of the noise example (bell cannot be unrung)… Where is this from? I’d like to hear more from it.


    What is your first language.?

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