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You know, folks, I don't take much to be happy.  Really.  Especially when it comes to entertainment.  I don't need things that agree with me philosophically, politically, religiously, or anything (besides, if there is someone with beliefs just like mine, I'll be shocked).  I can take other points of view.  I HAVE to take other points of view.  You don't learn anything if you wall yourself off intellectually.

Well, for the most part.  There are some things that proudly wear their politics on their sleeves.  Mallard Fillmore, for example, is a comic strip that just seems to be about how stupid liberals are.  The creator of the strip doesn't even address specific points, he just thinks they are full of hot air and bases everything on that.  It's the only song he knows, and he plays it as long and hard as he can.  I feel he is being dismissive and self-righteous, so I don't read it.  There are liberal comic strips that portray conservatives as heartless warmongers.  It is dismissive and self-righteous, so I don't read them.  My feelings are best summed up with this Stress Puppy strip, which featured in the Radio Activity storyline about a shock jock named "Jester" Jason Malloy:

Raff is pretty much my mouthpiece in this strip.  There is Freedom Of Speech and there is Freedom Not To Listen.  As long as these people are not causing a dangerous situation, like say, starting a riot, if I disagree with them or think they Just Don't Get It, I move on.  They can say and think what they want, I can still say and think what I want, I'm a happy camper.  (Please note I also suspect the readership for Stress Puppy would be much higher if I chose one particular group and stuck with it.  There are religious jokes, but Raff and Holly are both Christians.  With the "for it or against it" that most debate boils down to, something like that doesn't fit.  But I don't begrudge that.  After all, I'm still doing the strip my way, and if they don't like it, that's all part of the gig.)

Which brings us to Captain America #602, and how the Tea Party Patriots are flipping their shit.  (This is why I refuse to align myself with any particular subset politically, religiously, or whatever.  Sooner or later, they do something that I feel contradicts what they claim to be about, and I can't respect them anymore.)  For those who came in late, CA #602 features Cap and the Falcon looking over an all-white, anti-tax protest.  Cap wants Falcon to pop down there disguised as an IRS agent.  Falcon expressed concerns about being a black man surrounded by angry white people.  One person in the crowd is holding a sign that says, "Tea bag the libs before they teabag you!"  The group is clearly intended to be a riff on Tea Party Patriots.

Everybody with me so far?  That's good!

So, I saw this, being a guy who was grooving to the Tea Parties, and I shrugged.  A bit of a misrepresentation (and I did see analogous "teabagging" signs), but you know what?  Comics have never gotten politics right.  How many out there remember Brother Power The Geek, and the missile-making hippies in the book?  Marvel has had a liberal slant for a long time, and it was evident before the Obama cover for Spider-Man.  Most of their stories have been thinly-veiled riffs on Shrub's policies like the Patriot Act (which, for the record, I opposed, fearing it would be abused.  I won a cigar), but it really hit the big time with Civil War.  I still read some Marvel comics.  If I feel they are misrepresenting the world (and, given that, in the Marvel Universe, radiation gives superpowers instead of Instant Death, isn't exactly surprising), I simply don't read them.  So someone disagrees with me and paints a group with the wrong colors.  Happens all the time on the cable news shows, so who cares about a comic book with a readership of less than 100K?

Well, the Tea Party Patriots apparently care.  They demanded an apology.  Marvel gave them an apology quickly, no hemming and hawwing.  But that isn't enough to make them happy, they still say there is a conspiracy to discredit them.

Whoever came up with the story, that is their interpretation of what Tea Party Patriots are like -- a group of people more fueled by self-righteousness and rage than the truth.  And from how the TPP is reacting, they might be on to something.

Being a true patriot means defending Freedom Of Speech.  But it's not enough to defend speech you agree with.  And it's not enough to defend speech you disagree with.  You also have to defend speech that pisses you off.  Otherwise, it is just harmless speech that doesn't need much defending because no one takes it seriously.  Your selective support makes you just as hypocritical as those you claim you oppose.  We have enough humorless pricks in politics.  Quit adding to the problem.

Comments

sinetimore
Feb. 16th, 2010 11:25 am (UTC)
Isn't it odd that so many groups claim to be about freedom, but you have to surrender your freedom of choice just to be with them?

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