In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the latest Daily Bugle claims against Spider-Man. Does he really want to be a spider? Is he going crazy? Why do we think we can trust this psychiatrist - just because he is European? As the Daily Bugle makes more and more mistakes, at what point do we start to ignore all of its claims? Its disinformation week on Super Serious!
Behind the issue:
This is the second appearance of Mysterio. Stan uses him to good effect, creating a very different type of story. The reader is meant to believe that perhaps Spider-Man really is going crazy. You only discover at the end of the issue that Mysterio has been manipulating things with his illusions.
In this issue:
Reformed criminal Frederick Foswell (aka the Big Man) is back to reporting for the Daily Bugle. Meanwhile, renowned European psychiatrist Dr. Ludwig Rinehart visits the Bugle’s publisher J. Jonah Jameson and explains that Spider-Man has mental health issues. The Bugle then runs an article in which he explains Spider-Man’s alleged mental health issues. Spider-Man then fights what appear to be hallucinations of his past enemies, causing him to question his sanity, leading him to seeking out Dr. Rinhart for help. He experiences more hallucinations at Rinehart’s place, but ultimately Rinehart is exposed as a fraud, and more importantly, as the supervillain Mysterio!
Assumed before the next episode:
People yet again question their subscription to the Daily Bugle, which is more of a tabloid than a serious newspaper.
This episode takes place:
After Spider-Man has defeated Mysterio and reaffirmed his grasp on reality.
Edward: So Mike, did the daily bugle know that the psychologist was an imposter and printed anyway, or were they hoodwinked?
Micheal: So I'm gonna say some pretty aggressive things about the daily bugle, but
Edward: do it, I think we come here for the strong opinions.
Micheal: That's right. I don't think that they purposely printed an op-ed from a fake psychiatrist with a fake opinion. I think that they were definitely hoodwinked, which I wouldn't say it's worse, but it's pretty bad. It's bad for a national newspaper such as a daily bugle to be fooled like that. And there's consequences for that type of,
Edward: Well, that's The thing is like, do you think they actually were fooled? To me the Daily Bugle has a definite bias against Spider-Man and they've been publishing all this stuff recently. They're these impartial surveys of New Yorkers and talking about how much they dislike Spider-Man and how angry they are at him for a variety of reasons they've been publish negatives about Spider-Man for a long time. And then they published a psychiatrist saying a bunch of these negative things about Spider-Man. I guess the question is did they commission it?
Micheal: So my read on it is that the bias of that newspaper and the publisher, Jay Jonah Jameson, is so strong that they were blinded by it so that they didn't follow their own journalistic principles and not vetting the fake psychiatrist and not. Fact checking things that he said in his article, at least following the process that is supposed to keep disinformation from being printed.
Edward: That makes sense. You're basically saying that they heard what they wanted to hear, and once they heard what they wanted, they didn't go and commission it, but once they were told something, it was what they wanted to hear. And so they didn't question it. They didn't go and, and Right. Looked three layers, Steve, they didn't do the investigative reporting necessary to make sure it was.
Micheal: And what's the point of the newspaper if they don't do any of that? Cause they couldn't have, from what I read from the reporting on this reporting is that this psychiatrist, wasn't he? His made up identity. And I don't know, maybe they're fooled by the fact that, Ooh, he's European. He's a European psychiatrist, if that makes any difference. It doesn't like, like did they check any of his publications?
Edward: I'm sure we know for a fact that European psychiatrists are better than American psychiatrists. You look at the famous psychiatrist out there, like, Sigmund Freud not an American. I rest my case.
Micheal: Period. Done. That's
Edward: He also had a European accent, like this psychiatrist who also had a European accent.
Micheal: You're showing why you don't write a newspaper. Um, but no, it was just so, it's so pathetic. You would think that before they would say they're, first of all, the newspaper is telling us that he's a world renowned psychiatrist. What did they do to check that? He told them he's a world renowned psychiatrist.
Edward: Maybe he had some papers, he had some documents,
Micheal: some documents he created. No, it's a fail all around and it's just pathetic and as you say, the bugle is making some points that you and I have raised before about the problem with Spider-Man. The problem with being a amassed vigilante who does seem to, get into fistfights with petty criminals more often than not.
Edward: Wait, this latest thing was about how he basically violently beat up some burglars, and I think from the two of us, I have less problem with that. I feel like if someone's committing, burglary, getting a little roughed up is probably the par for the course. But I know you get very upset when criminals get, hurt outside the, course of the law. And so, maybe you should side with the bugle. They're trying to take Spider-Man down for doing these things.
Micheal: But how do you believe? Who reported about the violent crimes of Spider-Man, the hug, you know what I mean? Like
Edward: Michael, who, who watches the Watchman Michael, who watches the Watchman,
Micheal: Are they really the honest broker they've lost all credibility. They've lost all credibility. And so they're basically just a tabloid by doing what they've done and you can't believe them.
And so it calls 'em to question all of our feelings towards Spider-Man. You and I, and I certainly do have a concern with a mass vigilante whose name we don't know. And maybe that's where it starts. That's objectively it's odd to me and it's problematic, but then we're, maybe because of that, we're more susceptible to believing almost anything you read about him. Maybe he isn't. Violently beating up criminals in the street. Perhaps he is on the side of the angels more than, and just, he's a shy person. I don't know. But you can't believe the reporting that we've had and the BU's been our source,
Edward: although we have pictures. Chris Spiderman, he's, he's doing something with these criminals. I think what's more interesting is some of the claims that the psychiatrist. Gave us about Spider-Man that people were believing. And I think to me, my favorite one is that he told us that, again, this is an outside in analysis, he didn't talk to Spider-Man, he was just looking at the way Spider-Man's behaving and his outside in analysis was that Spider-Man actually wanted to be a spider. And that he's forgetting his human side suffering. Going to suffer a severe breakdown and just try to actually be a spider. And people believe that people bought into it, and it just feels like so much hocus pocus to me.
Micheal: I think in the biz they would call that pretty soft analysis. You know what I mean? It's just like, it, it's just almost, it's almost a childlike, it's almost. Uh, like a child. I mean, these aren't, they're not fascinating observations. They're just, it's just guesswork.
Edward: It's just buzzwords. It's like, it's like buzzwords. Yeah. Like, does Antman want to be an, an, I feel like Antman probably more, is more likely to want to be an ant than Spider-Man. Be a spider. Just because Antman can shrink out the size of ans he is like ant pets. He hangs out with ants. As far as we know, spider-Man never shrinks to the size of a spider. Spider-Man does not have eight arms, so Spider-Man doesn't. I don't know, hang out with spiders. He's not like a friend of spiders. He just has a freaking spider on his shirt.
Micheal: Yeah, it's just such, so much nonsense. Although I will say this, I think that Reed Richards wants to be fantastic.
Edward: You think that the Human Torch has a pyromaniac fetish?
Micheal: Yeah, he wants to be a, he wants to just be on, he wants to be so hot, so hot right now.
Edward: Oh man. I feel like we could do an entire spinoff show of armchair psychology on these characters. Like, I feel like, uh, you know, like, um, Sue, Storm, Sue, Storm, just, you know what, she feels Invisible, she feels like she doesn't contribute enough to the organization, which is why she has mythical human superhuman. One leads to the other mic and The Thing just,
Micheal: that's right. And The Thing just he feels ugly on the inside maybe.
Edward: There you go. What's our analysis for Thor? He just really, himself, he's, yeah, just a, he, he gets his strength from his hair, and if he ever cut his hair, then that would be the end of.
Micheal: Well, I don't know. I think we know that it's been a trying week for the bugle and we can kind of laugh about it a little bit, but it's a dark day for journalism and, I'm gonna cancel my subscription.
Edward: We're well, but I don't think you can, Mike, I guess I think we need to keep following these guys. It's one thing to, to not pay them money, but I feel like the bugle is part of the conversation and we comment on the conversation, so I think. You can recommend that our listeners cancel the bugle, but you can't. You need to be informed. We need to be able to discuss these things and, but I just think you need to be, aware that there's some disinformation coming from these guys.
Micheal: Well, right, and I'm kind of kidding a little bit cuz you're right, we do need to keep on reading it, but it's just, I'm gonna apply my jaundice eye towards it with a little more jaundice, a little more cynicism because I just do not believe a single freaking thing that that newspaper is printing because what they've done is a crime against their own profession.