Top positive review
A flawed masterpiece
Reviewed in the United States on January 3, 2018
I've read Watchmen three times now:
1. In the early 90's, when the Wall came down, when it seemed like the West had won, had outlasted the Evil Empire - which collapsed from within due to the endemic rot deep within the Communist ideology. The "new world order" had come at last.
2. In early 2002, still stunned and disoriented by the cultural shock of Sept 11, I sensed the stirrings of illiberal mobacracy : first, behind closed doors, then, spilling out into the media (FOX News & MSNBC are little more than hateful mirror images of each other), next out into the open: mindless anti-war protests. "Blood for Oil" is so silly that it hardly justifies analysis of its nonsensical premise; likewise, the irrational hate spewed toward Muslims was a predictable demonization of the Other. It was a time of political and moral confusion not seen since the '60s.
3. In the age of the Emperor Donald I, truth is what you say it is. And if anyone disagrees with that truth, then that person is clearly spouting the "fake news" spread by the (failing) NY Times. Conversely, the "Resistance" is so blinded by the Emperor's crude antics that they miss the cultural rot beneath their feet. That American society is indeed being torn apart. And everyone is to blame. Mindless ideology - hatred of their political enemies - both Trumpers and anti-Trumpers are locked in a battle both will lose.
All the while, the Adrian Veidts of the world increase their power and wealth without regard to anyone else but themselves. Zuckerberg and Gates claim to be "philanthropists," but what they really want is the re-creation of the world in their own images.
But the end of Watchmen disappoints. Could have proposed new ideas, new ways of thinking about the human condition. But it didn't. Big reveal? The gods are petty, and the Pharaohs are vain (well, no surprise there).
Nonetheless, Watchmen has proved to be a work of lasting power. It does raise important questions, even if its answers to these questions lack any depth or subtlety.
It is good... but Orwell, it ain't!