Maybe I’m being too hard on Wakanda +Update: Maybe not

As I said before:

‘They  promote the movie with a song about black revolution. In actuality it is anti-revolutionary in concept. This advertisement is the movie’s initial cognitive subversion: to suggest to the anticipated audience that there is something revolutionary about the Wakandan story. In fact, according to the premise of the movie, Wakanda is politically the most conservative and isolationist African nation imaginable, completely bereft of concern for the black diaspora.’

Maybe I’m being too hard on Wakanda. I have nothing but contempt for an African nation that had the power to fight the greatest evil that ever spread plague-like over the face of the earth; had the power even to overcome the invaders maybe; but didn’t. Now I understand that Wakanda’s technology has only recently been developed. Or should I say I don’t understand. The recent development of Wakanda’s super technology does not fit with the rest of its historical narrative and does not make any sense unless the vibranium, through its mutative emanations, made their scientists super smart; so that they were able to accomplish in a generation a greater technology than  that that took the rest of humanity hundreds of years.

In the distant past, a massive meteorite made up of the sound-absorbing element vibranium crashed in Wakanda, and is unearthed a generation before the events of the present day. T’Challa, the current Black Panther, is the son of T’Chaka, the Black Panther before him and a descendant of Bashenga. Knowing that others would attempt to manipulate and dominate Wakanda for this rare and valuable resource, T’Chaka conceals his country from the outside world. He sells off minute amounts of the valuable vibranium while surreptitiously sending the country’s best scholars to study abroad, consequently turning Wakanda into one of the world’s most technologically advanced nations.

That’s far fetched. I assumed that vibranium technology had been developed over hundreds of years, especially since Wakanda had formidable weaponry in the 5th century, according to episode 1 of the animated series. Apparently, despite their fierce protection of the vibranium mound at the heart of their culture, the vibranium did not give them technological advantage until a generation ago, when they sent their scholars to the West to study. And these scholars, some undoubtledly  brilliant scientists, came back and built a a vibranium powered utopia with what they had learned in the West. So Wakanda did not develop its technology independently. Apparently Western technology was the key to unlocking vibranium technology. So ultimately Wakanda owes its advanced technology to the proverbial white man. Not a much better premise than I was thinking before, but at least the Wakandans are not as despicable as I had originally thought. Still it’s not a coherent story. The fact that T’Chaka  was able to conceal his country from the outside world before he sent his scientists to the West means that there was already some vibranium technology in use at the time.

I was also wrong about Wakanda being isolated from Western culture. They were not isolated and probably had as much contact with the West as any other country deep in Africa’s interior. I think that’s why they know about Shakespeare, as shown in episode 1. They are not isolated from the West at all. They keep their  technologically advanced  world hidden through vibranium technology while holographically projecting the illusion of a pastoral third world country.


All that was said above is contradicted by this:

Due to its intentional isolationism, Wakandan technology has, until recently, developed entirely independently of that of the rest of the world. As such, the design philosophies and methodologies are different and often incompatible with conventional equipment. Wakanda is the world’s most technologically advanced country. For example, Wakandan computer technology is more powerful than that of the rest of the world and completely immune to outside hacking, as it is not based on binary electronics; it can, however, emulate the behavior of such electronics at hugely enhanced efficiencies, allowing it to easily hack almost any conventional system.

The Wikipedia article gives two contradictory narratives. The utopia is the “consequence” of sending “the country’s best scholars to study abroad” on the one hand; completely independent of the West on the other. If it’s the latter I may have to revert to my original opinion of Wakanda.

-next up: subversion number two

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