After “Snap,” division and calls for unity

After using the Infinity Gauntlet to erase half of all life in the universe, in what some are calling the “Snap,” galactic Titan Thanos has called on his detractors to back off from “inflamed rhetoric,” calling for “unity in this troubled time.” Some critics, like the group of superhumans known as The Avengers, have criticized Mr. Thanos’ decision to kill 50% of all living things, calling it “inhumane” and “unprecedented.”


Mr. Thanos gave a universally televised speech late Wednesday night where he praised his lieutenant Ebony Maw and others, saying to them, “You’re very special…we love you.” He also called for “violence on both sides” to end, noting there were “very fine people” on each side of the conflict. 


Mr. Thanos dismissed fears that he aims to become galactic dictator, saying to a reporter, “That’s the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard. Honestly, you people are fake news. I can’t believe you.” 


Mr. Thanos also responded to allegations that he had worked with Red Skull, former Nazi commander of the terrorist group Hydra, calling the charges “totally false” and claiming their relationship was “coincidental.” Reactions to the speech were mixed, with members of the Wakandan royal family vowing to pursue all legal means to undo Thanos’ actions.


The scene was eerily quiet in Times Square immediately after the incident, largely owing to the national state of emergency declared shortly after the Snap and the absence of half of the usual residents. Fires continued to smolder on Fifth Avenue Thursday, as a demonstrator held a sign that read, “Bring Balance to the Universe Again!”


Daily Bugle reporters interviewed one man, Mr. J. Jameson. “Look, I was never a die-hard Thanos supporter. I mean, sure, I thought he had some good ideas, just like a lot of people did. Maybe he had a point with his whole ‘kill half of all life in the universe thing,’ you know? We’ve got a lot of people who don’t necessarily belong here, if you know what I’m saying,” Jameson said. “But I don’t think we need the Avengers trying to undo the Snap and hold him accountable for his actions. I consider myself a moderate on this issue, but that would just divide the universe even more, frankly.”


Members of the radical group “AntiTha” organized a demonstration against Mr. Thanos on Thursday afternoon, demanding the immediate return of all people erased in the Snap and the removal of Thanos from power. The demonstration quickly turned violent; Counter-protesters from a pro-Thanos group—The Balancers—assaulted the demonstrators and a street brawl broke out. Police arrived shortly and fired tear gas at both groups, and the demonstrators dispersed soon after. Representatives from the group S.H.I.E.L.D. denounced the protest, calling for a more realistic goal, such as the return of 50% of one’s family members if one enrolls in a small-family exemption program, adding that AntiTha’s demands are “simply not prudent at this time.” 


The Avengers, previously at the front-line of anti-Thanos activism, have retreated from their role as Thanos’ main opposition in recent days. Sources close to Tony Stark cite the Avengers’ loss of political capital in the wake of the Snap, saying the group will “re-examine its biases” toward Thanos supporters and try to provide a robust anti-Thanos alternative for the next battle. 


The League of Super-Villainy, of which Mr. Thanos became the leader after obtaining the Infinity Gauntlet, has experienced bouts of dissent from its rank and file. One member of the League, who recently resigned due to Mr. Thanos’ takeover of the organization, said, “I always knew it would come to this. I said that Thanos would destroy our organization, and I meant it. Can’t we go back to the days of Loki and Ultron? You might disagree with them, but at least they had style. They had respect for super-villain institutions. But this Thanos guy comes in like a wrecking ball, saying the quiet part out loud and ruining our plans for a gradual reduction of the universal population. Maybe I could get behind him if he just had a little more grace, a little more style.”


The pro-Thanos news channel, Vulpine Broadcasting, has been the subject of backlash after one of its opinion hosts, Mucker Marlson, defended the Snap in one of his afternoon segments. 


“What the pro-Avengers media doesn’t understand is that millions of people across the country, and, in fact, across the universe, agree with what Thanos did,” Marlson said. “We’ve needed balance in the universe for quite some time now, and we should consider ourselves lucky someone finally stood up to do the job.” 


One of Mr. Marlson’s staff writers was recently fired after it was discovered that he had posted in numerous extremist pro-Thanos forums, calling for the balancing of the population “by any means necessary.”


Mr. Thanos himself called into the popular morning show Thanos and Friends to defend his norm-breaking actions, saying, “Look, I just did what had to be done, right? Sometimes you’ve got these great big problems like overpopulation and you’ve just got to take a… really, you’ve got to do a tremendous number on those problems any way you can. That’s all I did, okay? I’m a super-villain. I do super-villain things.”