Magnēt-no

Screenshot 2017-03-06 at 9.25.58 PM

Something we haven’t really covered much on this blog: anti-semitism.

The only reason for that is we, or at least I, think it’s pretty obvious. Nazis are bad. We try and cover subjects we feel don’t get very much coverage or recognition, you know what I mean? Representing the voiceless, those lessons we had to unlearn from elementary school about how Christopher Columbus was a rad dude and white people invented everyone except peanut butter. But you learn in elementary school all about the Holocaust and ethnic cleansing. A 13 year-old could tell you that Nazis are bad.

And yet-

You don’t need me to tell you about the rise of the alt-right and increased swastika graffiti and the vandalism of that Jewish cemetery in Philly. You probably already know about Shia Labeouff’s art installation “He Will Not Divide Us,” a live-stream in New York that was supposed to run for the entirety of the current presidency, and how it had to be taken down because there was too much anti-Semitic harassment and it was becoming unsafe. You know about the bomb threats and the punching of Richard Spencer. Punching a Nazi: as American as apple pie. So American, Superman has done it. So American, Captain America has done it.

And yet-

You might not even need me to tell you about comic book writer Nick Spencer (no relation to Richard that we know of), and how, back in May 2016, he released Steve Rogers No. 1 – a comic that revealed to us Captain America had been working for Hydra (a Nazi organization) all along. You might already know about the backlash and the criticisms and actual Captain America Chris Evans being distraught.

But what you might now know is that Nick Spencer has DONE IT AGAIN!

But this time, instead of taking this nice gentile Golden Boy and turning him rotten, this ‘writer’ has taken Marvel’s staple Jewish character, the one that survived the literal holocaust, Erik Lehnsherr or Magneto, and made him a member of Hydra.

There is no literary value in this! There was no literary value in Hydra-Cap, either. It’s shock value. It’s pandering to the grim-dark fanboys. It’s disgusting and terrible story-telling.

I didn’t write at all about the Captain America thing back in May because it already seemed like everyone was talking about it. I didn’t cover it on here because it already seemed pretty well covered. And maybe it’s because the news only broke about Magneto twelve hours ago, but it doesn’t seem like anyone is particularly bothered. Which makes no sense.

Erik is Jewish. Erik escaped Auschwitz. If Steve couldn’t be Hydra because he was an allegory to fight Nazism back in the day and was created by Jewish writers, then Erik definitely couldn’t be Hydra because he was an actual victim of nazi power. It’s not science!

Maybe it’s because Magneto is a villain. Maybe it’s because Magneto’s villainous creed includes his own form of ethnic cleansing by way of a genocide of all non-mutants. This still doesn’t mean he’s a Nazi definitely doesn’t make it okay to sensationalize the Nazi movement, especially in today’s social climate.

Comic books are important. They have a historical significance that rivals newspapers, because comics were accessible to kids and kids were the ones the built the future. These characters have a historical significance that is just being spit on and disrespected for no other reason than a guy seeing an opportunity to drop some jaws. That’s not art. That’s not entertainment. And anyway, shouldn’t the support of an already oppressed people be worth more than that?

In today’s climate, with anti-semitism becoming more and more prevalent, is now really the time to try and be edgy by making traditionally anti-nazi characters nazis?

-JM

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