In 2009, I remember protesting liberal Hollywood taking the GI Joes out of America and making them a “world peacekeeping agency.” The film was offensive for many reasons (one being the overt rape of my childhood)—but the foremost was that by shamelessly pandering to a global audience in such a way, they completely lost sight what GI Joe was. What was GI Joe? This:
They were not simply “GI Joes.” They were “GI Joe—A Real American Hero.” By taking the “American” out, they took away the core and fundamental concept of an elite tactical fighting unit, assembled from all branches of the US military that’s called in when things get really rough for America (like, when highly organized and financed terrorists come up with and implement devious machinations in order to take over the world and bring all people under their dictatorial control). Why? Because we’re America and we’re the best of the best. That’s what we do. Fight evil, stop tyrants, preserve freedom, and champion our way of life—the American way. The right way.
But since Hollywood and the liberals behind them clearly hate everything about America, they choose to remove this critical aspect and made them a nice, multicultural group that works for the entire world.
Here’s the problem with that: to whom do they answer? Everyone? No one? What happens when one country turns on another? Thinking back to that cinematic abortion, I can’t even really remember anyone’s nationality. There were Americans, for sure—and I think a French guy? Eh, that’ll work. Now, suppose in this fictional world that America went to war with France (and that France wouldn’t have a laughable military force that couldn’t survive assault by a girl scout troop, let alone the cream of the crop of every country’s military). What do the Joes do? Is the French Joe going to fight his own country? Is he going to defend his country against his own team? I mean, what are we supposed to believe here? That the United Nations got together an assembled an elite multicultural team to defend against global threats that don’t exist? (Remember: there’s no Cobra yet in the movie.) Are they just some kind of disaster relief group? Somehow I don’t picture Snake Eyes’ talents being properly utilized by having him run a tsunami relief shelter.
See how stupid it is? How it does it make any kind of sense? Without a specific loyalty, it’s a totally pointless organization. But the left doesn’t care about things like “logic” or “making sense”—they just want to embrace their fluffy ideas of global tolerance and unity. (And their raging anathema for American Constitutional ideology.) So they gave us this travesty of a movie, “GI Joe: Rise of the Cobra.” Or, perhaps more poetically, First They Came for the Joes.
Now they’ve come for Superman.
That’s right—Superman is renouncing his American citizenship. It’s not an Elseworlds. It’s not a one-shot. This is canon.
The key scene takes place in “The Incident,” a short story in Action Comics #900 written by David S. Goyer with art by Miguel Sepulveda. In it, Superman consults with the President’s national security advisor, who is incensed that Superman appeared in Tehran to non-violently support the protesters demonstrating against the Iranian regime, no doubt an analogue for the recent real-life protests in the Middle East. However, since Superman is viewed as an American icon in the DC Universe as well as our own, the Iranian government has construed his actions as the will of the American President, and indeed, an act of war.
“Truth, Justice and the American way—it’s not enough anymore.” So, instead, he’s going to be a superhero with a global perspective. Now, this is not entirely new for Superman. We all remember the very strange plot of Superman Returns that was supposed to be a reboot (that tried way too hard to pay homage to Richard Donner) and its wholly offensive line by Perry White where Perry asks, “Does he still stand for truth, justice… and that other stuff?”
I was there on opening day. So were a lot of other comic aficionados. Popcorn and sodas were hurled at the screen in utter shock and disgust at that line. But it was eventually overshadowed by head-scratching at Lois’ super baby, and Kevin Spacey’s overacting, and we all kind of forgot about it.
But now they’re doing it in the comics. And, as one can see, they’re doing it very overtly. It’s not just an omission such as in the case of the movie. The big question I’m stuck with is: if not the American way, then what way? See, Superman needs to have some kind of defined ideology behind his actions—otherwise he’s just playing god. He’s coming down from the sky with superpowers and invulnerability to do… well, pretty much whatever he wants. What he unilaterally decides is right given the particular direction his moral compass happens to be pointing at any given time. And while I believe he can be trusted to earnestly do what he thinks is the right thing, if he takes a subjective (or worse, multicultural) approach to this, he’s going to end up with ideologies eventually competing with each other—at which point he’ll ultimately have to make a choice: which one am I going to side with when push comes to shove? Like the Joes, a figure like Superman has to have a point to what he’s doing, and that requires some kind of baseline ideology.
So why not America’s? I mean, who else’s would you pick?
Now, in fairness, Superman does have a sort of reasonable (though largely absurd in a broader context) point here. It probably does stink to have foreign nations looking at him as a de facto representative of the United States government. But in a broader context, that’s what he is. He is a representative of the ideology of the United States. Not its politicians (which appears to be his real gripe)—but the values and principles that America stands for: freedom, liberty, independence, self-reliance, individualism, compassion, strength, and integrity. That’s the American way. That’s who he has always been—and not a single person in the world could pretend otherwise. You show a total stranger across the world the S-shield, and not only do they know what it is—they know what it stands for. Truth, Justice, and the American way.
The context is strange though. Superman goes to non-violently protest with victims of Iranian mullahs. Though you never really see Superman (or any other superhero, save Green Arrow) taking this kind of role, it makes sense that he’s there—if only to protect the protestors (because in real life, in Iran, when you protest the Iranian leadership, they have you and your family killed). Protecting the innocent—that seems like a pretty Superman thing to do (especially since, back to real life, we all know the Federal government would do nothing). And, on a moral level, one would think that Superman agrees with the protestors as well. But then, because a regime of violent psychopaths insanely equates his mere showing up as action against them—he’s going to renounce his citizenship? How does that make sense? I mean, I’d get it if Superman said to the country, “These guys are frickin’ nuts and my being equated with America endangers you all.” But he doesn’t. He seems more upset with America than he does with these Iranian morons. And that doesn’t make a lick of sense.
The whole notion of the storyline seems wishy-washy—like they’re contriving a reason for Superman to renounce his citizenship for… what, the shock value? (Well, it worked. There’s been more comics buzz in the media than I’ve seen in a long time.) OK, I can understand that he’s bothered with everyone assuming that what he does he’s doing in the name of the American government—but that’s a ridiculous thing to think in the first place. If I go down to Tijuana and get in a fight with some Mexican in a bar, that doesn’t mean I’m representing my country and declaring war on Mexico. That’d be ridiculous. Nationality had nothing to do with it. And if the Mexican government thinks so, then they’re wrong—and idiots.
Also, there’s another aspect of this that most people won’t get unless they’re comics readers. There’s a group called The Great Ten. They are China’s Super-Functionary Team. (They refuse to use the word “superhero” because they consider it western and thus degrading to their identity.) Not only are the Great Ten wholly controlled and their actions dictated by the Chinese government (seriously, they can’t even engage without permission from the State), but they refuse to help in global matters unless it is for the interests of China. (They usually won’t accept outside help from western superheroes either, and consider it an act of war if American superheroes breach China’s borders because some global threat has landed there.) Why is it OK for China to have wholly loyal patriots to China and China’s values—but suddenly it’s not OK for Superman to be loyal to America and American values?
And then there are the practical matters. What happens if, after he’s expatriated, he comes up against the interests of America? What, is he going to fight us? Is he also going to fight the superheroes who do openly represent the ideology of America—like, say, the Justice Society of America? They, in particular, are real patriotic types. Is Superman going to beat up Star-Spangled Girl when she defends America on something that Superman decides he doesn’t like about the country?
It is a very, very stupid move for Superman insofar as his collaboration with other superheroes. If he’s not an American anymore, can he have a place in the Justice League of America? He’s one of the big three. He’s a founding member. He’s a fundamental staple of the Justice League of America. Even when he’s on the reserve list, everyone else always looks to Superman. Can they do that anymore if he no longer stands for that which the League does, in the name of their country?
Here’s another thing to think about. Superman can fly. He usually doesn’t ask permission to enter anyone’s airspace (except China’s) to save the day—but if he’s going to openly renounce his American citizenship in an air of contempt, why should America let him in? (Not that they could stop him, but that’s not the point.) If he renounces America and its interests and ideology, why should we trust him to let him fly around above us?
And what about Clark Kent? Clark Kent is Superman, so presumably he espouses the same values and has the same thoughts on the subject. Is Clark Kent also going to become an expatriate? How can he not? Isn’t he betraying himself by not having Clark do the same?
This whole thing is just ridiculous. It’s a PC move by liberal writers who don’t appreciate (or understand) who and what they’re writing. And, frankly, it will probably be very short lived. As pointed out in the cited article, they already tried this nonsense with Captain America—and it didn’t work. He was back to the stars and stripes in relatively short order. But still, it evinces a terrible leftist mentality that we’re all too familiar with. Why do we need to PC-up Superman? Why’d we need to do it with GI Joe? Why are we so ashamed of our own values, and to create iconic figures that represent those values? Superman already was what the left might refer to as a “global steward.” Heck, he’s an intergalactic steward. Superman does what’s right. And what’s right is defined by the American way. There’s absolutely no good reason for him to denounce that but for his left-wing writers who want to espouse their own anti-American sentiment through him. And that’s wrong, and we shouldn’t stand for it.
Superman wouldn’t. But then, that’s his real kryptonite isn’t it—Superman, in the hands of PC, leftist writers.
Superman is, and always has been, fundamentally American. He cares deeply about all people (and aliens!) regardless of borders—but at the end of the day he is an American. And that’s what he stands for. His character does not work without that.
First they came for the Joes, and I did not speak out because I was not a Joe. Then they came for Superman. Who will they come for next?