Why would an anti-war leftist want to read comics about patriotism and selflessness?

June 10, 2009

By Avi Green

In the past few years, something has really, and I mean REALLY, baffled me. It’s how some left-wing supporters can possibly ever want to read comic books about patriotism, heroism, selflessness and other positive aspects if they’re opposed to such values. At least according to how they perceive it (and how you and me perceive it too). And this can certainly relate to older material from years past.

Even now I can’t be sure, though I will say that this could explain why comics of recent have been so turned inside-out, if we were to take DC and Marvel’s output ever since Identity Crisis and Avengers: Disassembled as examples. By that I mean that a lot of their output has become so devoid of true heroism, and even rife with examples of either evil de-facto winning, or the heroes fighting amongst each other. And that’s also because many of the people who mystify me are now in charge of the publishing companies – they’re the inmates running the asylum.

Perhaps I should take a moment to present but one example of someone who turned out to be a leftist, who opposed the war in Iraq, yet seems to enjoy comics with heroic themes, which would surely contradict his political positions. In fairness, the man I speak of will not be identified clearly, undeserving as he is, but his words will decidedly make for good research. He turned out to be a poster whom I found on the Captain Comics website, which I have since felt the need to distance myself from because of its severe leftist slant, and the man’s comments may or may not indicate his actual stance, but anyway, here’s what I found him saying:

The thing (no pun intended) that most strikes me in this storyline is how close it is to what's happening in the real world.

The US deposes Saddam. The FF depose Doom.

The US tries to find Iraq's supposed weapons of mass destruction. The FF find and disarm Latveria's weapons of mass destruction.

The US occupies Iraq for the good of the populace. The FF occupy Latveria for the good of the populace.

People of Iraq respond to the US occupation with rebellion, killing many soldiers. People of Latveria respond to the FF occupation with rebellion.

Just to throw in my 2 cents worth, I don't think that Reed & the Doombots were there to attack Ben & Johnny. I'm confident that the attack was directed against the rebels...not that such an action is necessarily a good thing.

That’s what he says, and at first glance, I for one certainly can’t be sure if he’s given his exact positions on the war in Iraq, a war whose purpose was to bring down a savage dictator, and a creature who was EVIL. Then again, I notice that he uses the word supposed in his item, and my eyebrows begin to rise. And then, quite by coincidence or sheer curiosity, since I sometimes like to study personalities, I took a look at a blog the leftist maintained, and made some fascinating discoveries. I will not be linking to this specific blog, mostly because it’s hosted on MySpace, a network I’ve been offended by due to how it’s been riddled with cases of children who endangered themselves to criminals (for more on that, here’s some items I wrote as well as one from Debbie Schlussel that I strongly recommend reading), but I will feature the text from the leftist that raised my eyebrows. First, he quotes from Peter David, who’s unfortunately a leftist himself who opposed the war in Iraq, and whom the leftist used as support for his own standings:

I recently sent out the following email. I was mainly quoting Peter David from his blog.

"In case you're still on the fence as to whether the Iraqi war--which between the efforts of ourselves and the insurgents has resulted in the deaths of sixty thousand Iraqis--is worth it, consider this tidbit from the book "The 3 Trillion Dollar War":

The billions spent thus far by the United States in Bush's war, if spent instead upon domestic concerns, would have been enough to fix Social Security for seventy-five years or provide health insurance for every child in the United States." --Peter David

Oh, sure. It'd still mean debt we can't repay but at least it'd be debt for something CONSTRUCTIVE instead of something DESTRUCTIVE.

First off, let me note how I’m very sad at David’s own standing today. And this was someone who wrote a story in X-Factor and the Incredible Hulk back in 1992 where the mutant team and the green goliath ultimately bring down a Saddam-ish dictator in a country not unlike Iraq. How things have changed, and the mighty have fallen.

The leftist then quotes an uncle of his who’s a conservative:

One reply I received--the shorter one--was from my Mom's brother, my Uncle [name withheld]. He's a very smart man and a very important businessman. That's why it's surprising when he makes such a poorly informed reply:

"The fact we are fighting the terrorists on foreign soil instead of here is good enough for me to support President Bush.

We have no idea that "Peter David's" claim has any validity."

The leftist then cites his response to his uncle:

I've sent him the following reply:

We are only fighting terrorists on foreign soil because we made them terrorists. Iraq didn't declare war on the US. Iraq did not have--despite the claims of the Bush administration--weapons of mass destruction. Al Quida wasn't in Iraq because Saddam would not allow them to. There are now terrorists in Iraq because the US declared war on a country that wasn't threatening us and deposed the leader (yes, a despotic leader but still a leader) who kept his citizenry under control. Iraq is worse off for our actions and we are worse off for our actions.

I support our actions in Afghanistan. That was a country from which Al Quida was based and we had every moral and legal right to invade there. Iraq was a foolish action that has cost thousands of lives with no good cause.

I should've added that this wasn't Peter David making up facts. It was--as Peter said--a quote from The 3 Trillion Dollar War (by Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes).

And this is when I realized that the leftist whose words I cite was – what else? – anti-war, and tolerant of evil. Yes, the al Qaeda is evil, but then if they are, Saddam could be too, and was. I see what’s wrong with this picture: the leftist in question seem to think that, if a specific evil entity hasn’t attacked the United States, then there’s no need for concern. Just think, if this kind of mindset had prevailed during WW2…

I suppose one could assume that, because most mainstream superhero comics involving war against dictatorships usually involve small groups of heroes battling thousands of enemy troops but not usually suffering serious casualties in the end, that this is why some left-liberals like to read them, while opposing the wars against evil in real life because it’s not the same as fiction. Can we make it clear here that, while it’s true that reality is far different from fiction, and while it’s sad that the lives of good men end up being lost, that does not mean we can allow evil to continue its existence, or else it might end up hurting many more people than just the soldiers themselves? Even Captain America could’ve made this argument, had he existed in real life.

I might also note that even right-conservatives like myself who support the war on terror do not want superhero comics to be exactly like the ugly reality we must face. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean I’m opposed to battling against evil in real life simply because the outcome is far different from what usually occurs in a fictional world. And I’m certainly appalled at how some of these aspects of reality have been leaking into superhero comics in the past several years, very disgustingly too at that, yet, depending on the circumstances, some of these very leftists don’t seem to have a problem with that either.

And as I discovered, the left-liberal I cite may have even embraced Identity Crisis, misogyny and all, those 5 years ago too, maybe because of the subtle leftist, anti-war and blame-game messages hidden inside. How’s that then for supposed common sense on his part?

The leftist went on to quote another relative of his, a cousin who also supported the war in Iraq:

Again, her reply is surprising to me in many ways.

I LOVE YOU BUT BOTTOM LINE THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT WILL BE DESTOYED PROBABLY BY IRAN OR COUNTRY ON THERE SIDE. HOWEVER I DO LIKE THE WAR BEING FOUGHT OVER THERE INSTEAD OF HERE. 9/11 WAS PRETTY DESTRUCTIVE HOW ABOUT THAT. I'M SURE THOSE FAMILYS HAVE QUITE A BIT TO SAY ABOUT THE MATTER AT HAND. I WOULD RATHER BE IN DEBT FOR HELPING OTHER COUNTRIES FEED AND TAKE CARE OF THEIR PEOPLE AND TO KEEP VIOLENCE AT A DISTANCE AS MUCH AS POSSIBLE THAN SIT ON MY --- AND AS FAR AS SPENDING MONEY ON OUR OWN SITUATIONS WE ARE A SPOILED COUNTRY AND IT DOESN'T SEEM THAT ANYONE CAN AGREE ON WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE HERE AT HOME. OKAY SO THAT'S THE SHORT VERSION. LOVE YA I HAVE TO FIX DINNER NOW

And my response:

I debated on whether or not to reply. Replying (obviously) won. I love you too much not to reply.

1) We've invaded Iraq, not Iran. If Iran is the danger then we missed the target. Well, we missed the target anyway since Al Quida wasn't in Iraq while Saddam was in charge. The unstable situation that the US created gave the terrorists the "in" they needed. (Yes, Saddam was a terrible person but he was also the only person keeping the many factions in Iraq in line. It's been chaos without him.) To the people of Iraq, WE are the terrorists. We're the reason they don't have working utilities 24/7 and the reason that bombs are now an unfortunate way of life. We did that to them. They didn't do it to themselves. It was the US.

2) It's "their side," not "there side."

3) Yes, 9/11 was very destructive. Now we've gone and made that part of the world hate us even more.

4) Do you REALLY think that the families of those killed on 9/11 are happy that more Americans are being killed in a country that had NOTHING to do with 9/11? There have been far more deaths in Iraq than in New York on 9/11.

5) You'd rather help other countries than your own? Really? Social Security probably won't be there when you & I reach retirement age and unless something drastic happens it definately won't be there for our children. And, yes. Your kids our healthy and my kid is healthy but there are too many American children who don't have the health care they need. Should they suffer just because Americans are "spoiled?" We need to fix our home before we interfere with the homes of others.

6) If you truly believe the world is going to be destroyed by "their side," then why make your kids go to school? Why do anything productive if it is all going to be destroyed anyway? Education, jobs...whatever. It doesn't matter if the world ends. That's why I don't have that attitude. I don't believe we're going to be bombed back to the dark ages. If history has taught us anything, it is that a major civilization is more likely to be destroyed from within, not without. Remember Oklahoma City? That was an American terrorist targeting Americans.

The left-liberal, or, should I say, moonbat, because by now he’s brought me to the brink of disgust, misses a lot of boats, and not just the motorized ones, even the slow, tortoise-paced rowboats. Here’s some of my replies to his sheer naivity:

1) Did Saddam really keep the al Qaeda “out” of Iraq while he was in charge? How does he know that there wasn’t any de-facto agreement between the two that the latter would not operate directly on Iraqi soil but just keep a main HQ in their vicinity? Has the moonbat ever considered that some Iraqis are grateful to America for freeing them from the tyranny of that monster, as the execution of Saddam ought to tell? And isn’t he being more than a bit excusing of the actions of those suicide bombers and their directors who carried out their barbaric actions against civilians and soldiers? Why does he blame the US yet not condemn the terrorists conducting suicide bombings for taking the lives of innocents? Regardless of whether the US was right to invade Iraq, do those Islamofascist vermin who committed those savage acts have the right to murder innocent people at the flick of a switch?

2) Shut up about the spelling mistakes, it’s really petty compared to the issues at stake. And besides, what about your own…

3) Is he implying that the US was to blame? Or is he trying to draw attention away from the al Qaeda’s actions, and say that the American people don’t want justice?

4) Do you REALLY think that the families of 9-11 victims approve of the very existence of a tyrant who condoned these acts of barbarism, ran rape rooms and suppressed free speech? And, what if he allowed Muslim families to commit “honor killings” against daughters who wanted the freedom of choice in how to lead their lives?

5) You disapprove of the position of a lot of superheroes, which is to help other countries as much as their own place of residence? Does that mean that Captain America was wrong to help Europe during WW2? And here I thought the whole message of superhero comics was in helping others in need, and not just in your own country, but in others as well!

6) Ever heard of “homegrown jihadists”? Well you’re going to sooner or later, because that’s what not only a lot of Islamists in the US have been creating, but even those who’ve infiltrated the US from beyond its borders.

Wow, I must say, we have met the enemy and it’s those who play the ostrich act. The leftist whose writings I cite here is clearly a man who’s never been moved or influenced in any way by the comic books he’s read. And why? One reason could be that the schools, universities and other places of education he’s attended have prevented that.

Nevertheless, it’s really mysterious how some of these anti-war leftists remain some of comicdom’s most reliable readers and buyers. Why would they even remotely want to support something whose core values when first conceieved go against everything they stand for?

Actually, that’s exactly why now, the leftists who are in charge of running the store behind the scenes are trying to change everything – just look at how, back in 2002, Joe Quesada turned Capt. America into an anti-war diatribe, wrecking everything the Star-Spangled Avenger ever stood for, and later foisting similar problems upon much of the rest of the Marvel Universe as well in Civil War. And look at how the DC Universe has suffered much of the same, even before Identity Crisis was conceieved. Yet curiously enough, some, if not all, of these leftists find the approach appalling. And those leftists who do are the ones who mystify me.

If they’re anti-war, and they flat-out oppose defeating evil like Saddam in any way, and the leftists running Marvel, DC, and various other comic companies notice and are influenced by this, do they realize that it is that exact sentiment they express that’s going to find its way into the comics they allegedly profess to love so much?

Alan Moore once spoke about how appalled he was that Watchmen led to a whole genre of miserable comics, to which Warner Todd Huston at Newsbusters responded that he should consider that it’s his political beliefs that lead to such misery. The same can be said for any leftist who’s appalled at the sorry state of superhero comics today, and come to think of it, just about any comics today.

And so you see, this is why I find it most truly mysterious how many of today’s leftists remain some of comicdom’s most reliable supporters and customers. It’s a question that I may not even find the answer to within my entire lifetime, but is still worth pondering.

And why would they want to watch TV shows like these?

I had another facinating thought partly related to this subject. Do any of these anti-war leftists who oppose patriotism watch TV crime series like The Equalizer?

For those who aren't familiar, The Equalizer was an action/crime series that ran during 1985-89 on CBS-TV, starring Edward Woodward as Robert McCall, a former government agent who quit the service and became a vigilante for hire to atone for past sins and errors, helping people in trouble with dangerous criminals and such, free of charge (he made a nice good fortune in his previous job, so it wasn't that hard!). He would trip around New York City meting out vigilante justice against hoodlums, murderers, rapists, racists, kidnappers, drug dealers, ganglords, and other most truly deserving criminals. One could say that the series owed a bit to Batman, who, while he usually doesn't use deadly force, is still more or less a vigilante as well who could hand criminal scum some real bruises, and the TV series was very much a reflection of the mood that may have existed at the time, when crime was running seriously rampant in New York. As a former government agent, McCall still kept in good relations with his former colleages and bosses, including his former director known as "Control" (Robert Lansing), and another agent by the name of Mickey Kostmeyer (Keith Szarabajka) served as his closest ally. He also had an estranged son, Scott (William Zabka), who returned in his adult life and occasionally became involved in his dangerous career as well. Next to Miami Vice, it was often one of the most violent shows of its kind on American TV at the time, and even featured several notable guest stars who became more recognizable as time went by.

I get this weird idea that some of the leftists like those I cite might watch - or have watched - series like these in past years, or would be willing to even today. But why? Surely a series like The Equalizer doesn't contradict what they stand for, in its standings on vigilante justice?

I'd have to wonder then if the real reason they'd take to watching some of these more mayhem-filled adventure series, including, but not limited to, Miami Vice, is because they're more interested in the violence, without any interest in the more in depth issues that accompany them. Which is a very stupid way of thinking, if you ask me. But now that I've brought up the subject, one can almost wonder if this'll end up changing the minds of leftists who watched the show at the time!

In fact, why would any leftists be fans of Wolverine, given that his personality could be very right wing? This is something even I hadn't given enough thought to for many years now. But there is something to it, that Wolverine, with his willingness to use deadly force against truly deserving villians in certain cases, could just as well be "right-wing". How come Wolvie fans, regardless of their political standings, never considered that?

Due to Wolverine's popularity through his longtime membership with the X-Men, that's one of the reasons why, unlike the Punisher, he hasn't been subjected to quite the same misuse as Frank Castle has under such moonbat writers as Garth Ennis, surely the worst writer whom any character in either Marvel or DC's universes could be victimized by since the turn of the century. Ennis has been long known to have a disliking for superheroes, which is why it's mysterious how he'd be willing to write anything for the big two, or why they'd want to hire him to begin with. Actually, given how much dislike they have for their own properties now, that could partly explain why. And while Wolverine still hasn't been victimized as badly as the Punisher has in recent years, he might still have undergone serious misuse under some of the other liberal writers who now comprise almost 99 percent of the contributors at both the big two.

In any case, just like how it's truly strange how any leftist who's anti-war and perhaps even anti-2nd Amendment would ever want to read comics about patriotism or the importance of being allowed to act in self-defense, or watch TV shows of the same, or even be a fan of characters whose very philosophy could be contrary to what they stand for. Even though that's the exact reason why some are actively trying to warp and rewrite all that even as we speak.

Copyright 2009 Avi Green. All rights reserved.

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