The Psychology Of Supervillains Club..Novmber 2020 - President Luthor

Would like to attend, Saturday is easier but other days still possible.

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I am just working my schedule.

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Sure, cool

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So, now we just need more ppl.

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I voted Saturday but all times are good for me.

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Saturday is best, but I think I could make any of the days listed.

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I appreciate the votes. It’s looking like saturday. I have the poll auto closing friday 23:59 PM ET (which gives you west coasters some time to reflect on a decision).

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The watchalong thread has been created.

Now let’s drum up some business, folks.

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Ooh! This! I wanna Holidaze it up with this task of jolly folly fun! Party on Super Fan Friends!

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Because it had the election button, i read Superman 162 through and including 164 - I like how Luthor drives a wedge between Superman and Aquaman, more so by admitting his error.

Then I read Adventures of Superman 586 - I think I will have to continue the story since Luthor’s victory shifted Metropolis’ focus from Superman to Luthor, opening a window of opportunity for a devil of sorts to collect the soul of Metropolis.

Then i read Superman: Man of Steel 110 - The biggest thing is the opening splash page
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Number 43


Superman’s best victories often begrin with outwitting his opponent.
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Accepting the results, especially if they are fair and square, is part of our American tradition. There is the man and there is the institution.

And then Luthor capitalizes on Superman protecting him. classic.

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“LET’S MAKE Metropolis Safe, AGAIN!”

Emotions are powerful. Every person is defined by others for a multitude of reasons. Some say that an individual is defined by their actions. Alternatively, another collective will claim that people are defined by their beliefs. I’d argue that everyone is defined by their emotions because one’s emotions are the fuel that powers their decisions and beliefs. The mind is a dangerous, beautiful, and powerful instrument. Lex Luthor is a character, I never cared for as a child. As I grew older, I found him even more boring. Frankly, I cannot recall, when exactly did I find him as fascinating as I do now. There is a possibility that the inception came when I watched Justice League Unlimited. I am unsure. Regardless, after watching all the suggested videos and reading most of the suggested comics, as well as some videos from the Tube of the YOU, I have thoughts I crave to share. Therefore, today, we will explore the quotations and examples from the video footage, next we will tour the quotes and other aspects of the comics featuring President Luthor in rapid fire, and finally we will view my answers to the questions suggested by the OP (original poster).

Disclaimer: There will be spoilers ahead. If you haven’t watched the suggested videos, I encourage you to watch them 1st, but do as thou wilt.

The 1st quotation is quite insightful. In the episode, A Better World: Part I, Lex Luthor yells to himself, or to Superman, I am unsure,

“It’s the peoples fault”

In addition, I am unsure if Luthor was being serious or joking. In this scene, the audience can conceive that President Luthor, may be losing his sanity, while also demonstrating how egotistical he is. This is who Luthor, specifically, President Luthor is to me, a vainglorious man. Moreover, Luthor call’s Superman

“reliable,”

which is a sign of how Luthor is constantly plotting. Another element as to who Luthor is to me, a planner, especially as the POTUS (President of the United States). Now, for context, this is a different Luthor, form an alternate universe and the following cases will be on the Luthor of the show. The audience see’s Lex, yet again, in prison. What follows is an interaction with a guard who claims that his family loves their new big screen TV, Lex of course alleges that they will love their new SUV even more. Not only is President Luthor a pompous man, but he is the incarnation of the idiom, the ends justify the means. Ol’ Lexie Boy, then see’s the Justice League (of Lords) talk on TV, and his immediate reaction is to smile and say,

“it’s not them.”

It is Lex’s instinct to plot, and he quickly deduces that the Justice Lords are pretending to be the League. Lex is brilliant.

On, A Better World: Part II, our boy Lex, helps the JL(Justice League) defeat their imposters. He then points the weapon at Superman, and proclaims that this would be,

“so sweet, but a deals a deal.”

Again, The-end-justifies-the-means-man, chooses to go against instant personal gratification for his endgame. Lex Luthor must stick to his plan. At the end of the episode, he talks about how there is no

“poetry”

in business, and that he is interested in politics. The choice of words,

“poetry.”

He could have said, art, color, fun, excitement, imagination, flavor, space, rhythm, flow, water, change, power, forest, and et cetera. To be meta, the writing team, and not breaking the 4th wall, Lex Luthor, chose the word, Poetry. I find this riveting because of the personal history I have with poetry. I won’t share much besides stating that I have a deep and personal history with the literary discipline that is known as Poetry. I find Poetry difficult to define because once you define it, a poet will go out of their way to disprove a definition, but I think, merriam-webster does an excellent job

Poetry is: “writing that formulates a concentrated imaginative awareness of experience in language chosen and arranged to create a specific emotional response through meaning, sound, and rhythm.”

This is what I imagine what our bald headed CEO means, he wishes to partake in politics because in politics he can formulate an experience using language to arrange situations that will create an emotional response from Superman. Wow. This GUY!!!

Moving forward to the next episode, Question Authority. Superman has an exchange with Lois Lane, he states,

“It’s for their own good,”

and Lane suggests that his statement is something Lex Luthor would say. Kal-El is upset by her judgement. But, this also displays how Lois and Clark see Lex Luthor, a man with such a strong conviction in his beliefs that it is in a level of flawed benevolence making him an megalomaniac. Later in the episode, Lil Lexie Poo, learns that several pieces of information have been taken by Q(Question). Further on, Question is in the CEO office of LexCorp. Luthor is initially shocked but then quickly smiles, once he starts planning. He goes out of his way to tell Q that his political campaign is a

“farce”

and a

“scheme”

to mess with Superman. What is astonishing is the possibility that Luthor planned this way in advance before he decided to help the League fight off the Justice Lords, because “a deal is a deal” when it’s a deal that will be justified by the end result. President Luthor is a man that cares about results.

The following illustrations are from short videos I found on the Tube for the You. Let us start with the gem of President Luthor saying,

“They need me in the oval office.”

Like a br-bro-br-br-broo-broken record, I repeat, POTUS Lex is a narcissist who has conviction to his cause. In the following clip, President Luthor does a White House Conference where he calls for justice to be served to the

“Aliens”

who deem themselves

“above the law.”

I find this hysterical because President Luthor is ridiculously smart, cartoony smart, comicbookie smart, he knows what the common folk want to hear to be persuaded by his plans. He uses xenophobia, us-versus-them mentality, and the importance of being held accountable for one’s actions to get the people to hate Superman. He uses similar rhetoric when he does a news report about the death of Metallo. He uses edited footage to make it look like Superman killed Metallo. If you watch the film, you know this is a lie. POTUS Lex calls Metallo by his government name, John Corbin, and calls him a

“human.”

Alexander Luthor, says that he gave John Corbin a chance because he was

“mindful of [his own] history,”

and that it

“pains [him]”

to admit that Superman killed Corbin. Ol’ Lexie Boy did not commit to his deal with Kal-El, he betrayed him, because

“a deal’s a deal”

when it is justified by the end result.

This next clip is from the show Smallville, Young Alexander Luthor JR, asks a woman to see his future. She sees him as the POTUS, and declares that he doesn’t want to do

“Good things… I want to do great things.”

Hit that record one more time, President Luthor, is an egomaniac who is The-Ends-Justify-The-Means Incarnate. In this other clip, he promises Lois Lane an

“exclusive”

in front of Superman. Why would POTUS Luthor agree to do an exclusive with the woman who loves the man he hates? Because his desired outcome matters more than instant gratification. Come to think of it, I just realized, President Luthor is patient. Huh. Okay, another Smallville clip, he is the POTUS, and tells Kara JOr-El that great leaders are defined by the difficult decisions they make. Moreover, he shares how he wants mankind to reach their highest potential.

Ol’ Lexie Boy is a patient, pompous, and predictably presumptuous President. There is no better evidence of this than the following example. This YouTube video, shows people looting and destroying public property while everyone’s TV shows POTUS Luthor telling people to stay calm and to trust him. The amazing art that I saw was people stealing beans that cost $10 a can, and have a weird logo that kind of looks like it says,

“lex” in cursive.

The beauty of this image is $10 for a can of beans which is 10 times the price I’ve ever paid for a can of beans and that it is possibly a brand that Luthor owns. How does this clip relate to my alliteration of POTUS Lex, well, the next scene is Luthor explaining to The Wall (Waller) that he knows that his public address is doing nothing, that he is lying to people, that there is no way of stopping the meteor, but that it is a blessing. Because the meteor will not kill everyone, only a majority, which will allow him to build that perfect world. He also makes out with The Wall. Why? Cuz the Ends-Justify-The-Means Man wants a family, presumably. Now, this clip is of POTUS Lex resigning as the President of the

“Global United States,”

so I guess he’s the POTGUS. Anyway, Alexander Luthor, talks about exiting the stage, his wife, Lois Lane-Luthor, asks him if he is ready to leave the spotlight. He informs her that he’s changing stages and entering a new spotlight. To do what? Write the next great American novel, cure cancer, or something else great. See POTUS LEX, is vainglorious, willing to endure long-suffering, and arrogant to his beliefs, but he always hungers for more.

Tech9Time:

All bullet points

  • POTUS Lex’s slogan is, “Truth, justice, and the American way.” Luthor understands that the majority of people care about transparency and being fair as well as continuing positive traditions and tribalism.
  • POTUS Lex tells Waller, “Excellent all the pieces are falling into place.” Again, he calculated this result.
  • Luthor calls US citizens who criticize him, shrill, whining, progress hating babies. This shows signs to the problematic ideology of Paternalism.
  • Our boy Lex expresses joy to see Superman be, “Luthor Team Player.” You know he has to get his microaggressions in whenever possible.
  • Ol’ Lexie Poo asks Kal-El if he will, “Deny YOUR President.” Using rhetoric to get the results he is looking for.
  • Superman hears Alexander Luthor utter that Supes words “wounds me,” because Kal asked what is POTUS Lex’s ulterior motive. Why? Because Clark is well aware who Luthor is. The man who will do anything to get what he truly wants.
  • “Perish the thought,” of Superman being loyal to the US. Again, rhetoric to reach his ends.
  • He also wants to clarify that Kal is “involved” and appreciates his “participation.” Because he wants Clark liable.
  • In a news conference he says he is not one for “mincing words” and is here to tell the “truth,” because he knows that knowledge is power and that power gives people agency. Ol’ Lexie Boy says this even though he is not being completely transparent. He claims that he wants people to have agency but the truth is he wants agency and understands that others crave it too so he gives them false information to imagine that they have agency.
  • A great highlight into the mind of POTUS Luthor is his interaction with Captain Atom. He tells the Captain that the information is “classified” will cause “panic.” Asks him to “wait” because he knows how Captain Atom will respond. Lex doesn’t want to hear his “sanctimonious tone” because no one will care in the end “just that we did” get the results. POTUS Lex does not believe in good and evil, only end results.
  • In the end, Iron Armored Up Man, Lex Starks, fights Superman and calls Clark naive as well as sanctimonious for being against him. It is clear that POTUS Alexander Luthor, in his mind, does not believe in the concept of righteousness, that there is a no such thing as absolute benevolence or malevolence, just a mixture of the two, and yet again that the results are the only thing that truly matter in this world.

What do you think of the character of President Luthor?

Fascinating. Horrible. And, frankly scary because of the possibility that there are world leaders who justify their actions by their intended end result.

Does political power strengthen or weaken Luthor as a villain?

Strengthen by making him weaker. As he said, there is no poetry in business. Business is dry and it is easy to get over the constraints. Politics is more difficult because he has to deal with checks and balances as well as his public image. It makes him stronger by making him lose more power. Much more interesting to read how he finds a solution with much more hurdles.

Is Luthor, in his President Luthor incarnation, always doomed to let his animosity for Superman be his undoing?

Sadly, yes. An interesting notion I read on a book, The Subtle Art of No Giving a ****, is that happiness comes from solving problems. This theory/hypothesis is remarkable because it makes sense to me, and explains why there are always problems to be solved because we humans crave the process of solving. Remarkable. Moreover, Lex Luthor, is a man who has \basically everything. What does he need to solve? Cancer? He’s claimed he can do that in a day. His biggest problem is that he has no real problem to solve. Real problem being defined as a worthy challenge to find a result. It makes sense why he’s so patient and believes in the end justifying the means because he needs to solve something. Therefore, Lex can never be an amazing president without falling back to his nature of needing more.

Or

Was becoming President Luthor the best chance he’s ever had at taking Superman “out of play”. Making himself better and greater than Superman?

Yes. It is his best chance at taking Superman “out of play,” and being his superior. The unfortunate truth is that, that is not enough for him. He grew up with instant gratification for the majority of his life. He needs to strive for something. Once he achieves something great it is ever fleeting and he needs a new challenge. It is kind of depressing, but also kind of beautiful.

++++

So, to recap, we took a trip in the mind of POTUS Lex Luthor by first examining video footage of President Lex, then we analyzed quotations of President Luthor from some comics in rapid fire, and then we saw my answers to the questions the OP asked. As the aforementioned book claims, humans are the only species who can have cogent thoughts about our thoughts. The mind is a glorious and deadly herculean muscle. I disagree with our boy Lex that there is no such thing as malevolence and benevolence. It isn’t naive to believe in intangible notions such as morality. I believe in the Indigenous tale of two wolves. We all have two wolves fighting each other for control. The one that wins is the one you feed. Sadly, POTUS Luthor is an example of feeding the wrong wolf. Thank you so much for reading, even if you scanned parts of it. I am grateful for you taking time out of your life to read my thoughts. Stay blessed [ x ]

{{{Writer note: Sorry, battery is running low, can’t find my charger. I was not able to finish editing Tech9Time. I rather publish than lose this.}}

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Nice breakdown and analysis @LegionX
:+1::+1::clap::clap:

There are certainly similarities to The Prince by Machiavelli.

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Poll for BYOM WAL
Superman/Batman: Public Enemies

Find it here, select times thatt to work for you.

Thanks

I’ve never read The Prince by Michiavelli. I’d love to hear your thoughts on that. [ x ]

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The BYOM WAL will be 5:00pm est on Friday November 27th.

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Did you make the thread? When you do, try to put it on the calendar.

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.bump.
o.0

“President? President? Do you know how much power I’d have to give up to be President?” Lex Luthor - JL/JLU

I think that this comes the closest to what it would be like in our universe. Would Luthor really step away from the resources and privacy available to him at LexCorp? Would he put control and and his shares in LexCorp in a blind trust?

I can’t see him actually doing that. That’s a lot for a schemer like Lex to walk away from. And to him spending 75 million on a phony presidential campaign just to tick Superman off. That’s the Lex we know and love. That really fits his canonical psychological profile.

Yet, there is an instance where he actually became President. So the question remains, why?

Power, control, and petty revenge are what fit the bill.

As we see in his presidential appearances in the Superman comics, he takes glee in having Superman help the government, which in Lex’s mind equates to having Superman work for him. This is a dream (or delusion) come true. Lex has always wanted to be above Superman. Making him a cog in Lex’s machine.

We see this play out even further in Public Enemies, both the mini series and the movie.

Here we see Lex gain control of other superpowered heroes. His use of Metallo to frame Superman and make him a fugitive instead. Again, this is a Lex dream come true. I am sure Lex daydreams about Superman behind bars. A fitting role reversal in his mind. And maybe, just maybe, the death penalty for a murder Superman didn’t commit. This is Lex’s dream come true.

Yet, in all these cases, it is his obsession with taking down Superman that topples him. He just can’t stop himself. I often think that Lex is more obsessed with killing Superman than the Joker is obsessed with getting Batman to break his moral code. So, it goes to show that of the two, Lex is more psychotically unhinged than the Joker. A theme we don’t often see play out and that’s a shame. Because it is all there in the pages of so many comics over the decades.

As president we Luthor’s machinations change. His schemes change. Using Superman’s patriotism against him, due to holding the office of president. But, in the end, Luthor is still not fundamentally different. The trappings of presidential power don’t change Lex. It is all a facade. A character that Lex becomes to enable him to try a different strategy against Superman. His obsession causes him to step over the powers of the presidency.

In the final analysis, The Question is the one who understands Luthor the best, as we see in JLU: Question Authority.

Question: “Although my distaste for you is Brobdingnagian, what I’m about to do isn’t personal. Everything that exists has a specific nature. Each entity exists a something in particular and has characteristics that are part of what it is. “A” is “A”, and no matter what reality he calls home, Luthor is Luthor.”

President Luthor is interesting in that he exchanges one set of tactics to destroy Superman for another. However, it’s just one of many schemes he has employed over the years. However, this scheme relies on Superman being Superman and his respect for the laws of the country that adopted him. Truth, Justice and the American Way. Perhaps as damaging to him as kryptonite.

And let’s not forget what President Luthor said in the opening of Justice League: A Better Workd.

President Luthor: “You need me. You wouldn’t be much of hero without a villain and you do love being a hero, don’t you. ‘The cheering children’, ‘the swooning women’. You love it so much it’s made you my most reliable accomplice. … You could have crushed me anytime you wanted and it wasn’t the law or the will of the people that stopped you. It was your ego. Being a hero was too important to you.”

It is one shining insight we get from President Luthor. In a sense he’s right. Superman has been Lex’s most reliable accomplice. That, in and of itself, is a great victory for Lex. It is arguably what I think motivates him the most.

In President Luthor we see Lex’s greatest asset as a villain. It’s not his vast resources or his genius scientific intellect and technological inventiveness. It’s his ability to manipulate his greatest foe’s emotions. To make Superman his dupe in his schemes. In that sense, even when he eventually “loses” to Superman, he actually gets some semblance of a psychological victory. He’s yet again put one over on The Man of Steel. That is what drives him. That is what makes his obsession tick.

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Interesting notion that Lex is more obsessed than Joker. Moreover, the idea that Lex is motivated by getting one up Superman is intriguing because it makes sense why he’s okay with “losing,” because it’s worth it. The cost of time, money, and resources are worth spending to get a psychology victory.

[ x ]

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Some folks distill Machiavelli dine to “ends justify the means”. But it’s more than that. It’s more about how to be a benevolent dictator.

As a monarch or dictator because you have absolute rule and even for a country leader, such as President Lex. Over time you need the good will of the people to keep you in power.

You need to tell your citizens the truth the vast majority of the time, so they will believe you when you lie.
You need to act in the country’s best interests the vast amount of the time do when you want to act in your best interests over the country’s, you can lie about it, because you don’t lie much, and you stand a much better chance of getting them to believe what is really in your best interests is actually in the best interests of the country.

That is often the strategy employed by President Lex. He can keep this up fit a while, but eventually his lies and motivations because of his Superman obsession, make it clear he is lying and operating in his best interests, not that of the nation.

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