Most intellectuals and critical theorists hate pop culture. Though there is Benjamin’s hope that pop culture might become politicized as it becomes a function of the masses, which has come true but in a dystopian sense, in that woke liberalism has appropriated the Left’s values as a tool for social control and to the detriment of art.
Nonetheless, good stuff leaks through the one-dimensional didactic art of the politicized culture industry. The wonder at our cosmic situation that has been emerging for the last century or so, continually finds outlets that are dismissed by culture critics, who fail to see the value of the metaphysical—of the struggling visionary aesthetic of the generative and evolving plane of virtual ideas—and so thwart its possibilities for finding a more coherent form. The romantic is continually pushed from the heights and centers of liberal cultural centers and into the confused mass of popular and fringe culture where it struggles to find a language that can free itself from nostalgia, and free rationalized society from the tyranny of the culture of facts, nouns, and states of affairs, which always carry a dangerous “vitalism” as a shadow.
It is easy to pick on Marvel films, but they are creating myths addressing our society’s problems. As I point out in my essays, the cultural Marxists have a hard time appreciating the importance of cultural coherence. Though Benjamin did think pop culture might serve revolutionary goals, and I think sometimes it does. The big bad guy in Marvel movies was using bogus resource scarcity problems to justify wiping out half of every civilization. If only people read a little deeper into these narratives they might be fighting back right now against the eugenicists dictating policy now. People following conspiracy mythology certainly are fighting back, and its myths are so similar that there was a lawsuit by Marvel against once of its main proponents, Corey Goode, for getting too close to their intellectual property.
The difference is, obviously, Marvel consumers mostly take the entertainment media as fiction, and defer to the experts class for practical guidance, whereas as the conspiracy consumer reads reality in mythological terms. This is why the conspiracy/populist right is the new revolutionary class and just needs some good theory to help it determine which myths and metaphysics are productive, and which need more serious critique.