As you may have noticed, last night, there was a very small, low-key ceremony (it didn't even have a host) called the 91st Academy Awards. Which, per usual, meant everyone with half an opinion and all of a keyboard has been endlessly talking, tweeting, and *cough* writing thinkpieces about it. And when we say everyone, that somehow includes the Central Intelligence Agency.
While a lot of last night's Oscars felt uncomfortably dated, one thing did happen that definitely was not rehashed from 2006: Black Panther became the first-ever Marvel Studios movie to win not one, but three Oscars, an unprecedented victory for the superhero genre and black artists. And eager to take that away from them was the CIA.
Through its official Twitter account (which, weirdly, tries to act like other quirky brand accounts, if those quirky brands had sold crack to black neighborhoods in the '80s), the CIA decided to s**t on Black Panther's awards success. How? By reminding everyone that Black Panther's technology, achievements, and country ("More like #Wakanda4Never lol") are all a bunch of silly nonsense.
The string of tweets are part of an ongoing online series by the Agency called "Reel vs. Real," wherein they debunk movie fantasy in a fun way, if your idea of fun is a shadowy government agency pissing on movies like Neil deGrasse Tyson if he could have you tortured at a black site for liking Gravity.
But while previous iterations of Reel vs. Real were overt celebrations of spycraft, the Black Panther ones sound extra condescending and dismissive, constantly reaffirming that most Wakanda tech is completely implausible, and that the parts that aren't are being wasted on dumb superhero antics, making the movie a complete fantasy. (Dr.) Strange, it's almost as if there's some reason the CIA would want to discredit the idea of an African nation that was able to thrive by hiding from meddling foreign governments.
But while we're mocking the CIA for trying to ride the Oscars' and Black Panther's coattails for some quick Twitter metrics, you should probably know that this weird spy/Hollywood synergy is just the tip of a chilling iceberg. Behind the scenes, the CIA has a long history of using movies to tightly control and downright manipulate the public's perception of its operations to be seen as less "evil and Machiavellian." (Except for Tom Clancy adaptations; they actually have to tone down the hero worship in those.)
So if you ever wondered why they're now doing fun movie tweets, or why a lot of current spy characters in TV shows are suddenly played by the sexier American version of Tim/Jim from The Office, it's probably because the CIA wants you to start thinking of them as boyfriend material.
You won't be able to find Cedric anywhere anymore after this article, but you can check his Twitter for coded messages.
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