Sunday, May 1, 2011

the panel heard 'round the world

Superman: a world citizen

I know I keep promising to talk about the female form in comics and Wonder Woman, but timeliness...

This week Fox News opened a new ridiculous front in the evolving (pop) culture wars (see: Mass Effect is interspecies gay porn, Bulletstorm encourages rape). In its record-breaking 900th issue, Superman announces his intention to renounce his US citizenship before the UN, stating:

Superman's comment is sparked by his visit to Iran to protect anti-government protestors and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, notably not a fictional proxy, accusing him of intervening to promote American interests.

The Escapist covers the story and notes that Fox News is mostly even-handed in its reporting. User comments, on the other hand, contain enough venom to kill the world's population 100x times over.

Fox's "friends" can't seem to differentiate between Superman not wanting his actions, which still fully promote American values of individualism, freedom, and democracy, from being constructed as projections of the White House and Superman being anti-American. Such an all-or-nothing, you're-either-with-us-or-you're-a-terrorist is the same un-nuanced, black & white, jingoist nonsense we spent 8 years suffering through with George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Donald Rumsfeld running the show. It comes as no surprise to me that regular viewers and browsers of the Fox News worldview would react so violently negative to Superman's announcement.

Rather than being anti-American, Superman seems to be acknowledging the weakness with being associated with a particular nation that spent 8 long years dividing the world into allies and enemies with its foreign policy pursuits. He's setting aside his national citizenship not because he's turned his back on America or his Smallville values but because the most effective way for him to promote those very values for the entire planet is not to be seen as a tool of a crusadin' cowboy president of a single nation. Superman protects the globe from bad guys and as such serves humanity. He is a symbol of the goodness of humanity, not just 300 million instances of it.

But the right-wing nut jobs are out in full force, crying a conspiracy of the liberal media to attack and destroy this nation by undermining its whatever. I'm not sure what they think is being undermined here other than chauvinism masquerading as "patriotism." Because there's only 1 way to be "American" and anybody who doesn't follow the party line espoused by Rupert Murdoch's collection of talking heads, Rush Limbaugh, and Newt Gingrich just isn't a "real American."

For instance,
The liberal, America hating scumbags who now run DC Comics are just adding another feather in their cap with yet more anti-American culture and tradition jihad. Fuck 'em.
This is why I don't go to movies or even rent anymore. I'm not making the left loons of Hollywood any richer to support their campaign of American hate.
Us & them, friends & enemies, white hats & black hats. It's sad that American political discourse is currently governed by the same mentality that dominates elementary school playgrounds.

Notice that Clark Kent isn't renouncing his US citizenship or defecting to a hostile foreign power. Because Fox's "friends" certainly didn't. The man beneath the red, blue, and yellow cape and tights still firmly believes in the American experiment. It's just when he has to serve as the shining beacon of that experiment, he doesn't want his message to be swallowed by global attitudes towards recent American foreign adventures. Jim Lee and Dan Didio, co-publishers of DC Comics, have been trying to make this point.

Oh yeah, and by the way guys, Superman is a fictional character...

No comments:

Post a Comment