Sunday, February 25, 2007

Civil War: Thoughts on the Aftermath

Over Amy Reads we have a post that does a great job of analyzing some of the thought behind Marvel's Civil War series.
This argument, that people must be locked up not only for the good of the citizens, but for their own good, as well, has deep roots in Humanity's deepest pits of racism, hatred, xenophobia, anti-specific-religious sentiment, sexism, the list goes on and on.
(Now, mind you, I could easily e accused of an Anti-marvel Bias for some of my prior posts on the series (not that I've posted that many mind you), but the reality is that Marvel, more that DC, was the comic universe of my childhood, and the very best part of that. and that alone makes me pay attention, and increases my outrage when I see characters like the FF and Captain Marvel being misused and abused. So, YES, I care in a sense because I think that I want another generation of kids to have the same fun growing up reading FF that I did.)

But Amy touches on the plot points of WHY we would be upset over the registration act, and that metaphor, while fairly obvious, i hadn't done a whole lot of deep thinking about. It's a good read, and dovetails with what I was going to blog about: Captain America giving up.

As ddeply flawed as any of the character destruction that existed during the series, I'm far more afraid of the symbolism of Cap's giving up the good fight. In a metaphor of modern political forces, the forces that were scared enough to agree with the erosion of civil liberties that has existed in the post 9/11 world vs those that opposed the Patriot Act, believing that trampling the Bill of Rights and the Constitution essentially lets our enemies win anyway, Captain America giving up the fight is tantamount to the letting the terrorists win. Stark and the initiative are a fascist state, which is the strict definition of any government that conscripts its own citizens into a fighting force and imprisons those that don't.

I refuse to give up, and the Captain America I believe in wouldn't. Those that think we should let the government rule without checks and balances haven't looked at the country's financial balance recently: unchecked spending, war on false pretenses, and no oversight of the ruling branch of the government have led us to a point in 2006 when the majority of Americans voted "No." and threw many of the bums out. The fight that, for want of a better term, more "liberal" Americans have been fighting is to keep our civil liberties, to keep our freedoms, freedoms that were won by the blood of our Grandfathers, by my grandfather in the Second World War as a first generation American. They knew, back then, that they were being sent over to fight invasion by fascists. And now the fascists have won, both in the comics, and, for a while, in the real world. Being attacked by terrorists should not, not now, not ever, make us give up the ideals that make this country what it is.

This country is far from perfect, but if Captain America is the ideal of America, the I cannot stand to see that ideal give up. Ever.

And if you're Jewish, don't even get started on the "registration".

1 comment:

Amy Reads said...

Hi Charles,
Very interesting read, and thanks for the linkage!

I am so very torn about Captain America at the end of Civil War. On the one hand, I see how it works, structurally. As in, I'm a reader of books, professionally, as it were, and I can see the logic behind ending the series the way it ends.

Beyond just sequel capabilities, there is another issue: Cap's symbolism. As a martyr to the cause, still in prison even after everyone else has 1) registered, 2) been forgiven, or 3) gone underground, Captain becomes deeply symbolic of the cause he was fighting for. Ultimately, he becomes the bigger and better person.

On the other hand, sheesh, Tony Stark wins the day? I'm scared out of my wits about that one! The ripples coming out of this ending will be quite interesting, to say the least. Cap "giving up" (and I don't really believe he gives up, but decides to fight differently) feels really, really wrong.

But maybe that's why I find it so interesting.

Marvel was not the universe of my youth. I had Wonder Woman Underoos, a crush on Batman since about birth, and Supergirl rocked my world, bad 80s movie and all. When events happened in DC's Infinite Crisis, I got really upset at the scapegoating of Wonder Woman. As in, really, really upset. I think I'm just outside of Marvel enough to appreciate it without being upset.

That make sense?