Thanos, the central villain of two of the highest-grossing movies of all time — ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ (2018) and ‘Avengers: Endgame’ (2019) — was an ecofascist, defined as someone aligned with “environmentalism.” that advocates or condones violence and reinforces existing systems of power and inequality.
The movies suggest that Thanos truly believed he was helping solve real problems, and many fans felt he made some good points. But Thanos misidentifies the problem and becomes part of the problem.
“His philosophies continue to normalize the creep of ecofascism. Fascism never arises out of nowhere. It creeps into our language, our metaphors, our visual media, our stories and our ideas about environmental health and safety. said april ansonProfessor of Classics and Humanities at San Diego State University.
“To date, this is the most powerful public humanities project I have ever been involved in,” Anson said. “After a year and a half of intense work with four colleagues from universities across the country and the graphic genius of graduate student Melody Keenan, ‘Against the Ecofascist Creep’ has been released.”
The zine provides the reader with background research and information to better understand and analyze ecofascist perspectives. Comprised of six short essays on the myths that appear in our daily lives – in movies, media and other social spaces – it poses questions for debate, offers steps for action and provides links for research and further reading.
In terms of academics, many of the characters featured in the zine are grounded in environmental studies issues. Anson found “a combined need to step in and reimagine how fictional characters in the Marvel Universe might have reacted in ways that teach audiences about more complicated and effective environmental ethics.”
Anson said: “Mary Heglar, an environmental journalist and activist whom I admire, says ‘ecofascism is climate action, but it’s a response to climate change, so if we don’t come up with any other action, then do we do
Anson emphasizes that people must take action and in doing so will become agents of change.
In “Against the Ecofascist Creep”, nine action items are suggested in the tactics and strategies section. One suggestion is to organize locally and invest in self-help initiatives to come together to “create and foster communities of care” starting with small-scale actions. Other tactics offer concrete steps to help curb expressions of ecofascism.
Distilling the complex concepts and research into six concise 1,000-word essays for the zine was a colossal undertaking, Anson said: “It’s amazing what you can accomplish when you listen to each other and act on the concerns of others. .”
The authors worked together and included: Anson; Cassie GalentinaPhD candidate in English at the University of Oregon; Shane Roomassistant professor of environmental studies at the University of Salisbury; Alex Menrisky, Assistant Professor of English and Affiliate Professor of American Studies at the University of Connecticut; and Bruno Seraphincandidate in sociocultural anthropology at Cornell University.
“We achieved the magic of writing together,” Anson said.
With the success of the zine (over 1,000 downloads in the first week of release), Anson is already planning to incorporate the topic into the curriculum of his Master of Arts in Liberal Arts and Sciences (MALAS) course in the spring, and, a course on environmental justice in comics is under discussion.
Funding sources: SDSU Institute of Ethics and Public Affairs; SDSU Classics and Humanities; SDSU School of Art and Design, Arzi Ozkal, Director. Web hosting support for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment (ASLE).