Populist Indulgence Thwarts Serious Governing
There’s this throwaway line in the movie Spider-Man: Homecoming that has stuck with me for the last few years and seems quite relevant in our current (and depressing) political moment. In the scene, Spider-Man arrives at the Staten Island Ferry to break up an alien-weapons deal between some random bad guy and Vulture, played by Michael Keaton (one of the Best Marvel Villains, by the way, other than Tony Stark, of course). Comic Book Fighting inevitably ensues, and Spidey steals Keaton’s alien gun (just go with it) and it begins to malfunction, at which point Vulture yells:
It’s a pretty great scene, remembered mainly for the gun cutting the ferry in half, which put hundreds of passengers at risk and led to Spider-Man being ostracized by Stark/Iron Man (who, in typical fashion, jumped in to save everyone and take credit for fixing a problem that he created). Very fun, if cliché, stuff.
But that line …