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The Top Five Lessons the United Nations Can Learn from Marvel Superheroes

The United Nations has itself a bit of an image problem. But only among people who think that corruption and ineffectiveness are “bad.”

So. They’ve got that going for them.

UN soldier in Africa

In a sign that it has given up on winning the hearts and minds of the current voting-age population, the UN has taken a page from the “get ’em while they’re young and impressionable” school of indoctrination by focusing its rebranding efforts on our children:

In a move reminiscent of storylines developed during the second world war, the UN is joining forces with Marvel Comics, creators of Spider-Man and the Incredible Hulk, to create a comic book showing the international body working with superheroes to solve bloody conflicts and rid the world of disease.

As far as harebrained public relations schemes go, this one is quality. For one–as everyone knows–anything associated with Spider-Man is totally cool. Especially dancing Spider-Man. Just ask Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3. Am I right?

Also, the UN can clearly learn a lot from Marvel’s superheroes.

5) He with the biggest guns… wins.

Might is right! Just ask The Punisher.

How does a non-powered anti-hero survive in the Marvel Universe of meta-humans for as long as Frank Castle has? He brings two M-60s and a scary effing demeanor to a knife fight, that’s how.

Let’s paint some skulls on the chests of those ‘blue hats’ and deck them out with the latest in ridiculously-over-the-top firepower. Nothing earns the fearful respect of local warlords or militia leaders like sending the message, “My gun’s bigger than yours, and I can’t wait to use it on you.”

And the The Punisher does know how to earn respect. When he accompanies UN troops on peacekeeping missions, he’ll play by prison rules: immediately shank the biggest and baddest dude to send a message to the other local players. That message? “Don’t mess with the bull, because you’ll get the horns.” The other message? “Make some other chump your new ‘girlfriend’, bub.”

Of course, the UN will have to start distributing shanks to its troops, but The Punisher doesn’t do supply chain, people.

4) Smash first, ask questions never.

What’s the point of enter a conflict zone if you’re just going to pull your troops out when things get hot? Do what the Hulk does: get mad, get smashing!

Your troops are much less likely to be in harm’s way if your enemy’s infrastructure, transportation, armaments, and–well, just about everything else–lay in ruins at your feet.

But what of collateral damage? Hey, Hulk knows all about it. He’s been there, done that. In fact, I know just how he’d respond to that concern: “PUNY HUMANS! HULK SMASH!”

Which, loosely translated, means: “Can you really put a price on peace? You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelet, I always say. Yuk, yuk, yuk.”

Well put, Hulk. Well put.

3) Rewrite history when things aren’t going your way.

Annoying corruption scandal got you down? Take a note from Spider-Man.

When confronted with the possibility of his dear Aunt May dying of a gunshot wound, Spider-Man literally made a deal with the devil to alter reality, erasing his marriage to Mary Jane and several other pivotal events from his history.

Which is awesome if you hate continuity, rational storytelling, and carefully-developed characterizations.

Anyway, start warming up to Beelzebub now, UN. You never know when you’re going to need to play that card.

2) Not all persecuted groups are worth protecting. Just the really photogenic ones.

Listen, UN. We know there’s just so much you can do. Resources are limited, yeah? You can’t win ’em all, right?

As much as we’d all like to see oppressed and persecuted groups around the world get the relief and protection that they need, we understand that there’s important politicking, bureaucratizing, and waffling to be done before things like that can happen. Which is why you need to pick and choose your battles.

The U.S. government certainly understood where you’re coming from when they sent giant, futuristic robots to protect the enclave of mutant X-Men living in New York. Sure, plenty of other non-superpowered minority groups probably could have used some of help from the government, but, hey, were those other groups so high-profile? Or attractive? Or potentially useful?

It’s just smart politics, UN. Start thinking about sending aid to those ‘oppressed’ populations who would look good cheering for the Secretary General in photos on the front pages of newspapers around the world.

You know… like cruelly-overworked Swedish swimsuit models.

1) Fascism is great!

Don’t believe me? It sure worked out for Iron Man. He went head-to-head with Captain America in Marvel’s recent Civil War, and guess who ended up dead? Mr. Democracy himself.

Now Iron Man has got himself a cushy job as director of an army of secret police that enforces laws that limit individual rights in the supposed best interests of the state.

Now doesn’t that sound nice?

8 comments… add one
  • Cindi February 15, 2008, 10:22 am

    In the name of the living Christo, how do you come up with this stuff? Brilliant!

  • Karen February 15, 2008, 11:04 am

    I’m afraid any military(ish) force who wears baby blue outfits and drives baby blue rigs is just never going to get the respect they apparently crave…for their, uh, limited and wimpy involvement in various countries who dearly wish they would either shit or get off the pot. It’s kind like those soldiers outside Buckingham Palace in the UK, no matter what you do to them, they don’t react. Makes you want to take a ball peen hammer and just whomp on those pretty little blue helmets till they pass out from the noise, doesn’t it?

  • Kenny February 15, 2008, 12:12 pm

    This is so politically incorrect, but heck, it’s funny as hell!

  • nickolai February 15, 2008, 1:58 pm

    To echo Cindi, in the name of Baby Jesus, this is good stuff.

  • Cindi February 15, 2008, 2:28 pm

    Yeah. In fact, I just sent this to my college b.f., who’s working for the UN in Haiti. We’ll see. :-)

  • Great White Snark February 15, 2008, 8:50 pm

    Glad ya’ll enjoyed it. I didn’t even get to the part where the UN should keep on staff a super-scientist who knows how to bend time and space. Like Mr. Fantastic from the Fantastic Four.

  • Anim8or February 16, 2008, 9:16 am

    Bush uses that rewrite history thing all the time.. Although he just uses Rupert Murdock (who I guess you COULD consider the devil in a lot of ways).

  • Great White Snark February 18, 2008, 3:49 am

    He uses that fascism thing all the time, too, but you didn’t hear that from me… via electronic surveillance of private citizens conducted by the government.

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