Random Nonsense

is Capt. america too... american?
Tiberius at 10:09PM, June 3, 2011
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We hit on the topic of patriotism often here, so I I think you'll appreciate this comic.

here

don't forget to read the author notes along with it. they are insightful, and funny.

So what do you think. Is Captain America, too American?
The post apocalyptic genre- one of the most optimistic of all genres.
Why?
Because we somehow survived the end of everything, and have built a pretty nice town to boot, sometimes with pig powered electricity!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
RED_NED at 2:20AM, June 4, 2011
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Me and Hark have talked about this a few times. I personally hate the character. I think the problem of a patriotic superhero boils down to what exactly is the hero meant to represent? A quick look on Wikipedia shows he works for the US government, and in the 2010 comics, “The U.S. president appoints Rogers, in his civilian identity, as head of the nation's security.”

Now this is where the line kinda gets blurry, especially for us non americans. Quoting firefly (What a show!) “A government is a body of people, usually notably ungoverned.” If Captain America does whatever the government orders him to do, he is a tool rather than a moral individual. Thats why soldiers ordered into battle arent convicted of murder afterwards (unless they perform war crimes).

Im not saying america is the only government that does bad things (far from it!), but what if captain america was at the Kent State shootings, was responsible for watergate, was on the front lines in the iraq war (an illegal war), hunted osama bin laden and captured him on foreign soil without permission, supported preemptive action and supported collateral damage against civillians in war or even caused them himself?

The list goes on. If he is a puppet for the state, it really doesnt matter what his opinions are. Watchmen covered this subject well with the vietnam war, where the state used heroes for war, which government wouldn't? Would captain america refuse to be drafted? What is his opinion of napalm (a horrific chemical weapon)?

So lets presume he isnt a puppet and has his own voice, and stands for the ‘Real America!’ What is the real america? Is he a democrat or a republican? people can have some pretty polarising views; Is he christian? Pro life? Thats a big consideration. Does he believe in big business or taxing the rich, or global warming? Is any of this tied to him being american?

Being american is such a broad stroke, like what does it mean to be ‘human’, that you lose the essence of what they represent. He may as well be Mr Earth if he flies the flag for humanity rather than america, but he doesn't because he is/was part of the US military.

Harks probably got more to say than me, I just never really had interest in the character. I like playing him in computer games though, throwing a boomerang super shield is hella fun!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 3:56AM, June 4, 2011
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His flag waving Americaness makes him seem….

Kinda lame.

It just seems a bit cheesey to me.
Aside from all (valid) concerns Red Ned raises, it just seems ridiculous.
I mean the guy looks silly for starters.
Now I don't say based on anti Americanism, he just seems absurd to me.
The bulk of American nerds I talk to have a similar feelings.

In this modern age when we are all cynical and aware (or at least we should be), a man who seems to stand for “my country, right or wrong” just seems naive at best and at worst kinda dangerous.
I guess he is meant to appeal to some sort of specialness of America as the shining city on the hill, a personification of whats good about America. But as Red Ned points out, those are abstract concepts and no one can really agree on what exactly America should stand for in the real world.

I tend to break it down like this-
Would captain america support the american government if it was doing evil?
The evil is necessary to help America, but it is at the expense of other countries.
For example- Supporting a dictator who is friendly to America.

There are two ways this can go-
1- Captain says “My country, right or wrong” and supports the government, either because he believes in obeying orders from the government or because he believes America's needs come before other places and peoples.
This would make him a minion of evil masters and a very bad person.

2- Captain refuses to help and even fights against the evil plans.
The problem here is that the captain is now working AGAINST America.
The friendly dictator staying in power WOULD help America, so Captain America is now harming his country.
I would say that this was the right and moral course of action (and I like to think most sane people would agree!) but a guy who only supports America when he agrees with it is hardly “Captain America.”
He is more “Captain Normal Sense of Morality”.
You can give me some lame arguments about “he stands for the REAL America! The pure principles on which it was founded!” But that is just so much horse shit.
The founding fathers owned slaves and their are rules for the transport of slaves into America in the constitution. Clearly Capt does not endorse slavery, so he is not appealing to original values of America.
In this model the Captain is basically just appealing to whatever things he thinks are good and then ascribing those traits as “American”.
This Captain seems to be living in denial, making America mean whatever he wants it to mean (he can support America even when he is fighting it!). If the phrase “America” means everything, it ends up meaning nothing at all.
This aside from the fact that positive traits can be found in other countries, not just America. So claiming these traits as “American” seems pretty silly.


So yeah, Captain America is dumb.
Dumb and lame.



Though having said that…

“The Avengers- Earths mightiest Heroes” cartoon makes him seem really cool…which is pretty fricking amazing when you think about it!
Here he is played more like he is a soldier who is out of his own time, rather than being played up as patriotic.
There is a bit in the starting credits where you see his shield come flying in from nowhere and take out a bad guy that I can honestly say is the coolest I've ever seen captain America be.

AVENGERS, ASSEMBLE!

For more Harkovast related goings on, go to the Harkovast Forum
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Canuovea at 10:52AM, June 4, 2011
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Hmm. In the defense of the fascist, I've recently read that Captain America said he would renounce his American Citizenship because he was tired of having his actions construed as part of American foreign policy.

I called him a fascist because… well… Spiderman did it once and it made a lot of sense…

Of course, if he is tired of being mistaken as an arm of the American government then he needs to change his name. Sure it may have worked when the USSR was up, about, and ready to blow shit up, but now? Not so much. The USA is the main world superpower with no competition. During the Cold War Americans liked to think that they represented freedom vs the slavery of the USSR. Now? Such thinking is hard to maintain. Why? Captain Fascist ends up looking like a bully, because the USA can easily end up looking like one too. Bullies aren't exactly the most sympathetic of characters, usually, and are more often the stuff of villains.

The character of Captain American needs to find out what he stands for in this day and age. Ironically, continuing the message of standing up to oppression may, in fact, require taking a stand against the USA (though not exclusively).

If this doesn't happen, then they can always bring back Johnny Canuck and have him stand for resisting oppression and supporting multiculturalism. Then he could kick Captain America's ass! Wouldn't that be fun? Hell, lets just give everyone a superhero. Makes sense to me. But not just, “here's a hero”, actually someone meant to represent them. “The Saudi Sergeant” or “The Fantastic Finn” or whatnot. Then have them beat each other all to death and get them out of the way.

Essentially, I agree with Hark and Red Ned. Cap is living in denial, and trying to believe that America is whatever is good and right. Or he's some kind of tool. Or… he needs to figure out what the hell he is doing. Because shattering that illusion? Yeah, that would be character development.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Tiberius at 11:42AM, June 4, 2011
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Seriously?!?

Just once, Can we knock off the cynicism?

harkovast
In this modern age when we are all cynical and aware (or at least we should be)

We are not all cynical. I hate it when people talk about being cynical like it's the same as wisdom.

This wasn't a talk about nationalism, fascism and all that god damn bullshit!

It was about a comic I read that I though was funny!. It was light hearted. It was making fun of the ridiculousness of someone complaining that Capt. AMERICA is too American.

But now you ARE talking about how captain America is too American. That sort of thing is what the comic was making fun of. Did any of you even read it, or did you just take the opportunity to hate on a hero based on a country's ideal, no matter how abstract.

Captain America did go against the U.S. Government before. It was called CIVIL WAR. He fought against the U.S., and Iron man. He fought the super hero registration law. It was a very big deal. It led to him dying (he came back, but don't they all?) He did a similar thing in the 70's, he became “nomad”, because he was ashamed of his government, it was during the time of Watergate.

Before you criticize a character. Know the character.

There is nothing wrong with a character being proud of his country. You are all calling him aapparently fascist, a government tool, because he's proud of his country's Ideals. He's horrible because he's not called captain “freedom of speech, freedom of religion,. freedom of press, freedom of association… etc.”

Also there's a Captain Britain, and a Superhero of Israel. do with that what you will.

Also it was superman who “resigned his citizenship”. I don't like who ever wrote that part of the story (the rest was him showing support for the Iranian protesters, it was good), but luckily that story may not be canon.

I'm sorry if I'm angry, but I am sick and tired of the cynicism. I got people bragging about being assholes, and criticizing me for not shoving my way through the hall. I've got people saying they are going to the worst part of hell, and don't seem to see a problem with that. I'm tired of it. The world isn't so bad. People aren't so bad. Not everything is bad. Not everything has to politically correct.

I'm fed up with it. I was going to write the next part to the Red Son review, but I don't want to anymore. You will all just starting talking about how it's horrible. How it has a naive message of America always being right, or how it foolishly says Russia was bad, and it was written so Americans could feel patriotic, or some other bull like that.

How many of you actually read comics on a regular basis? get the monthly series? None of you even knew about one of the biggest events in marvel history. I know it happened long ago, as far back as 2006-2007.

I'm going to go… do anything else.
The post apocalyptic genre- one of the most optimistic of all genres.
Why?
Because we somehow survived the end of everything, and have built a pretty nice town to boot, sometimes with pig powered electricity!
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Canuovea at 1:01PM, June 4, 2011
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I suppose I've got a problem more with the concept behind giving a country a superhero.

Oh, wait. Yeah, it was superman… I still kinda like the idea though.

Damn do I look like a fool. I think I deserve it too. I mean, no, I don't read a lot of comics. But I still believe that things cannot be portrayed so simply as “America good” others “Bad.” Sounds like Captain America did a better job with that then I had suspected. Though I had a feeling in the back of my mind that there was a point where C. America stopped calling himself that.

I just read the author's notes and the comments, and I dunno. It points out that double standard. Everyone says their country is the greatest, why can't the Americans?

Well. Canadians think they live in the best country (except those darn progressive Nordic countries! Curse them for upstaging Canada all the time!) and they, like others I suppose, take offense at being told they aren't. The thing with the USA is that American exceptionalism has been a part of it from the very beginning. Obama gets criticized for not believing heavily enough in American exceptionalism! I mean really. The USA is NOT morally better than some other countries. It is worse then some of them in fact. (Using certain standards anyway). The USA cannot just overcome anything. Not taking American exceptionalism too far is a bloody good thing! It isn't realistic to do so. But neither is taking Canadian exceptionalism to the extreme, or British, or Russian, or whatever else. I mistrust extreme nationalism. Let me say that. The more extreme sounding, the more worried I am.

And I hold the same concern about Captain Britain or Captain Israel. I was, however, far too quick to judge and didn't think through it enough.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 5:26PM, June 4, 2011
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Tiberius please don't be offended! I didn't mean any disrespect. I was just chewing over why I don't like Captain America much. It wasn't meant as any sort of commetn on America or yourself. Sorry if I worded anything badly and offended you.
When I say cynicism I mean that we should question authority and governments rather than blindly accepting them.
I think we should agree that this is a good thing.
You don't have to call it cynicism, but that is the trait I was referring too.
A rejection of blind faith in authority.

Captain Britain is lame.
In a way he is even more lame than Captain America.
That kind of big showy flag waving patriotism is not really how people do things in Britain, so a direct equivalent to Captain America just doesn't work.

Captain America fought against the US government in the civil war (an arc that was roundly considered stupid, but thats another story) which leads to the question of what his name even means.
If he fights against his own country while simultaneously claiming to represent it, that makes his whole cause seem dumb.
“America” comes to represent whatever Captain America wants it to mean.
So he might as well be “Captain What I Think Is Right At The Moment.”

Identifying that he fights for “American Ideals” such as freedom of speech, freedom of press etc is a dangerous concept as it implies those are exclusively American ideals. I would argue that most free nations stand for those things and hold them as ideals. I don't see any of those things as more American than British, French or Canadian for example.
Also, one can argue about what American ideals really are. A lot of Americans consider tighter gun control laws to be against American values and what America stands for, others don't think this. Which side is Capt on? It is just him making his own judgements. America just means what ever he wants it to mean, so it means nothing at all.

It's not that him representing America in particular is dumb, but I think any overly nationalistic Super Hero is lame. In the same way, I think excessive patriotism in real life can be dangerous, giving one an inflated sense of importance about ones own culture and a contempt for other peoples.

Having said that, I am have made clear a few times that I am quite patriotic about my culture, and I don't begrudge anyone else for being patriotic about theres, but we have to be careful to temper those convictions with an open mind to other points of view.

The problem is not that the Captain is too American.
Just too lame!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
wordweaver_four at 1:11AM, June 5, 2011
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Captain Britain might be lame, but Captain Rotherham kicks all form of ass.

Captain America is an interesting character in that his American ideals change with the political climate. This isn't Cap's fault, people who are drawn to creating comics are overwhelmingly left leaning. So if a benevolent, crippled, communistic, power hungry would be dictator is leading the country in a popular war effort, it's little surprise that Captain America would be created at such a time when such artist might actually be proud of their country. On the other hand, if a jowly, peace sign flashing, voice recording paranoid is leading the country in an unpopular war effort, it stands to reason that Cap would cast off the stars and stripes entirely.

Superman is similar in that way. Not so much Superman himself, but Lex changes with the times. The whole “greed is good” era of the 80's finds Lex as a white collar criminal and Superman fighting against corporate greed. Did anybody else find it odd that in the DC world Luthor won the same election that (the most evil president of all time) “Dubya” did in the real world?

How is it that a character that wraps himself in a U.S. flag is considered lame and a character that runs around in a furry suit is considered super cool? Let's face it, if Batman were created today he would be lumped in as a furry. I mean, he even has a thing for a chick in a cat suit!

BTW: Freedom of speech, press, assembly, etc are uniquely American ideals. The concepts may have been developed elsewhere, but the U.S was the first to actually set them as a basis for a nation. The rest of the free world simply adopted them afterward to one degree or another.

WTF was this thread about again?
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 4:45AM, June 5, 2011
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Wordweaver, I know it might not be the most reliable source out there, but a quick look on wikipedia tells me that the first concept of the modern notion of freedom of speech came about during the European enlightenment.
England's Bill of Rights (1689) granted freedom of speech in parliament, which would appear to be the earliest document to state that sort of thing.

Also, a direct comparison to British law is a bit meaningless in that Britain has no over arching written constitution, but its principles are instead based on ideas of common law. So if you go by who has it in their founding principles, Britain does not have any founding principles in the written sense that Americans mean, but clearly British people have many rights (though in places those rights are different to those of Americans.)

Another important point is that just because a nation came up with something, that does not mean that country is then the only one who can lay claim to it.
Otherwise industrialisation is a uniquely British concept.

Speaking as someone from Britain, I have always considered the right to speak freely to be a fundamental aspect of the culture I come from, but by definition that is a completely subjective judgement.

From the point of view of someone in India when Britain was taking over, the fundamental aspect of my country would be imperialistic aggression.
Americans today would probably say the fundamental aspect of British culture is the monarchy.
Culture and nations only exist as human imposed creations, so to say what one means and what another means is really a bit empty. It seems a bit like people arguing over whose religious experience is more meaningful.

To bring this back to Harkovast (wooohoo! Go me!) one o the big concepts behind the comic is that it presents numerous wildly divergent cultures that dont understand or especially like each other and presents them in the neutral way.
The comic is not passing judgement on whether it is right to (for example) touch people in public or not, it just presents them as the case.
Most people in Harkovast would, as their gut reaction, assume that their society stood for what was right more so than other peoples (Ki is quite happy to tell people this!) but the comic itself does not cast judgement on this issue.
It is up to the audience to decide which attitude or way of life they think is more agreeable.

And yes, Captain Rotherham does kick ass.
I need to get that picture and post it on here!

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 5:41AM, June 5, 2011
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Wordweaver, you said a furry super hero like that would be a bad thing….


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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Wordweaver_three at 6:17AM, June 5, 2011
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Found it!



Also, it was my understanding that England's Bill of Rights only covered the ruling class. Not exactly a “for the people” type of thing.

Although the U.S. Constitution only seemed to cover male landowners at first…

Touche, Mr. Harkovast, you are a very shrewd debater to bring that up.

You guys can have industrialization, but we're keeping freedom as our claim to fame.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 6:26AM, June 5, 2011
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Wordweaver that is kinda the thing when you start getting into who “invented” freedom.
If we consider democracy to be allowing all adult citizens to vote, then that didn't exist till the 20th century in ANY country.
News flash- Women are people too! So all democracy or so called freedom before then was freedom for AT BEST 50% of population.

I would like to hope that all of us, as people, would stand for freedom, human dignity, not being shitty to each other etc, regardless of which historical document was written by who.


Captain Rotherham is bad ass.
(In case the rest of you are wondering, my son Sam, who was born in American but moved with us to live in Rotherham England, said Captain America could move here and be Captain Rotherham.
Wordweaver took up the challenge and drew Captain Rotherham, complete with white rose of Yorkshire shield.

Awesome.)

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
harkovast at 12:58PM, June 5, 2011
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I just remembered something else that is shit about Captain America.
His enemy!
The Red Skull pisses me off for several reasons.
Don't get me wrong, skull faced guy in a nazi uniform looks fuckin' bad ass.

But he is called the RED skull.
RED!
He is a nazi!
Red is used to refer to communists!
That is a retarded name for a nazi!
A guy with red in his name who fights America, but he is not a communist, his is the fucking opposite of a communist! He is from entirely the other end of the evil spectrum!

And the annoying part?
It is piss easy to give him a more logical name.
The SS wore a logo of a skull and crossbone on their hats (it was the symbol of Prussian cavalry in Napoleonic times, a surprisingly non-sinister explanation for a creepy symbol on creepy people.)
This symbol was called the Deaths Head.
Call the fucking bad guy DEATH'S HEAD!
You could make his skull face blacken and charred instead of red.

Another annoying this is that in various incarnations and different people taking up the mantle in the comics (seriously, there are several red skulled characters going by that name and all being super villains…implying having a red skull face is not that uncommon…implying there must be a non super evil majority of people suffering the red skull face disability.)
Some of the Red Skulls were nazis (like the famous original) but the some were communists!

While both evil ideologies, they are NOT interchangeable!
(Unless you are renown fuckwit Glenn Beck or Simpsons action hero McBane)

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last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Genejoke at 1:16AM, June 6, 2011
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You have all touched on why I don't really read much captain america. It's too easy for the writers politics to come through. But there have been some cracking captain america stories.

I find it really hard to get past the character concept though.
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM
Renard at 2:39PM, June 12, 2011
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I've only done a little reading up on the whole Captain America thing just now, but it does seem pretty foolish to have different people take up the title of the hero or the villain at different time periods, especially the villain. How hard would it be to create a communist villain? It would make more sense then having some complicated explanation of why a guy who used to be a Nazi is now a commie.

And Hark, if they were going to assign political significance to Red Skull's skull color they'd have had to call him Brown Skull. It just doesn't have the same quality to it.
Sweat save blood, blood saves lives, and brains save both. -Field Marshal Erwin Rommel
last edited on July 18, 2011 10:18AM

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