Is Watchmen Being Responsible in Its Education Of History?



Two episodes in we get a story that starts out with a quick education in history. The first showed an unsettling event that occurred but was long forgotten with the Tulsa massacres in the 1920s. Then the second episode we see a german commander put together propaganda with the help of an english affluent german typist. The propaganda makes a case to the colored soldiers roaming their land that America does not care for them and makes an argument, by the way they are treated, about reasons why they are should not be fighting for their country. It's a really great strategy. Because of the history of African-Americans in America the justification for changing sides or at the very least putting down their weapons and not fighting at all for America at that time is highly compelling. If it wasn't for the fact that the Germans probably wouldn't treat them any better they may have had something. But what is Watchmen doing here? And how responsible is it to tell this story in the alternate history that it presents?


Granted any entertainment product is not required to educate. We mostly consume entertainment to escape the realities of the world we live in be it positive or negative. There is a lot that view any education in history as a boring exercise that they've thought was long left behind in high school or college. It served its purpose so in living your daily lives you no longer have to worry about passing or failing a history class. So is there a better way to teach and inform an individual about these subjects through the entertainment medium? I don't know. What I do know is that Watchmen has for better or for worse brought to the forefront a topic that is getting well deserved attention online regarding the Tulsa massacres and race and it is doing a great job in telling that story while also walking the type rope of trying to entertain. It's not a documentary so it's on you to investigate the history it briefly introduces you to. What a country we live in.


There are some online I see calling Watchmen revisionist history. Well considering the universe in Watchmen isn't real and the alternate history it presents is an altered hyper version of our own history I don't see how "revision" is possible. Tulsa happened so get over it. The characters are dealing with race in a way we haven't probably ever seen dealt with on a comic book property. Get over it. Watchmen isn't responsible for shouldering that history but bravo for making us aware of something that was swept up under the rug to remind us that this country while having so much good and at the same time just as much bad happen in it. Get over it. Watchmen requires a suspension in belief and a depth of critical thinking not seen in many comic book properties that has made it's way to the TV screen. It's been something many have been clamoring for years. The heroes we read about can be more than just 2 dimensional. Others just like their super heroes super and want their deeds painting in black and white at the end of the day. That is totally fine. Everyone doesn't have to like everything and be in 100% agreement. It is what makes America so great that we have this freedom of choice.


Watchmen isn't there to shoulder history nor teach us about it. Its ultimate responsibility is to tell its story as interestingly as possible and hope people accept the ride that it takes them on. And it's not for everybody. Full disclosure my wife after two episodes has said that she has NO IDEA what's going on and I have a feeling if something doesn't peek her interest by the 3th episode then she may check out. Next week I'll have and article on whether the binge model for Watchmen makes more sense than waiting week to week and its advantages and disadvantages. I kind of wish I had that next episode now. While I wait though what else can I learn?


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