121. The taming power of the small (III)
Updated: Feb 4
The cartoon series and toy line G.I. Joe might seem like an inconsequential subject to consider, but millions upon millions of people have grown up with the “Real American Hero”, either as a toy or in cartoon or comic book form. This series must have had about as much an impact on the way many children play as any Sunday school teacher in the 19th century or even a contemporary school teacher, since, in effect, it colonised the imagination of many children—a place where mere moralists or teachers can never go.
The villain of G.I. Joe is the Cobra organisation, an international terror group. However, a close examination of this organisation’s fictional history reveals it to be based upon what I would call the Old Republic. The Cobra organisation is reputed to have been started in small-town America, by men who cared about gold, guns, and God. G.I. Joe, by contrast, represents the America of the managerial state; they use militaristic heroics to ensure equal outcomes: their enemies are, through the figure of Cobra, heritage America itself—along with “Commie-Nazis”. Thus, in a 1980s story, G.I. Joe rescues a defecting Soviet sea captain; he is defecting because his wife is Jewish and this stalls his promotion in the Soviet Union. The comic book was editorialising on the USSR’s refusal to allow Jewish immigration to Israel during the 1970s and 1980s. America always conceptualises herself as to the left of her opponents, even to the left of the USSR in this case—the Soviets became, as Susan Sontag observed, left fascists from the 1980s onward.
The cobra is an interesting choice for the emblem of the villains. The cobra represents the snake of Kundalini awakening in yoga; and this is connected to the Cobra organisation by way of their base in what appears to be a Tibetan mountain kingdom, Cobra-La—clearly related to the Shambhala of Buddhism. In the story, Cobra-La, after once ruling the Earth, has retreated to a cave complex, so relating it to the underground world of Agartha. Siddhartha was, after all, a warrior—apposite for the war-like Cobra organisation—before he became Buddha.
The Cobra organisation is fascinated with using the power of megaliths to control the Earth, linking them together to form a global super pyramid—a phenomenon that is said to have prevailed in the ancient time of the dragon, Shambhala’s Golden Age. Cobra also counts among their ranks a giant grey-skinned acolyte, surely a reference to the Nephilim; the fallen angels that once ruled the Earth during the dragon time. Their leader, Cobra Commander, is himself reptilian and the Indo-European peoples are said to be the dragon people—the Scythians, for example, were a dragon people—and so the occult significance of the cobra becomes clearer. There are many cultural products that demonise the imperial, war-like, and reptilian nature of the dragon people and their Kundalini awakening—including the colour purple, the colour of empire and warrior-like authority. Other notable examples include the Empire in Star Wars and the Cylons in Battlestar Galactica.
This would all seem far-fetched, except that I have written on this topic before and, when I did, I received a very long and outraged reply by a man who was a G.I. Joe fan, whose father served in the American military, and who claimed to be Jewish. His response was filled with outrage and reaction formation. I feel that I must have hit on some deeply repressed truth and, when confronted with it, the other person—deeply invested in G.I. Joe—became outraged and wished to deny it. This seems to be indicative that some kind of occult war is afoot—otherwise people would simply not be upset by these observations, surely far too bonkers to be given much credence otherwise.
In short, I submit that G.I. Joe, along with other cultural products, contains occult symbolism and initiation designed to bind Western man to consumerism and so prevent him from reaching a state of enlightenment.