Home > comic books, Tea Party > Captain America vs. Anti-American Ideals

Captain America vs. Anti-American Ideals

This story alerted me to a recent flap over the legendary Marvel Comics hero, Captain America. It seems that the Tea Party Movement, not widely known for its sense of humor or its tolerance for self-deprecation, took offense at the latest issue of the comic. It featured this panel:

The protest drew a friendly exchange between the Star-Spangled Avenger and his sometimes-partner superhero, the Falcon, who happens to be African-American. After Cap says that protest is “some kind of anti-tax thing,” the Falcon (half) jokes that he wouldn’t be welcomed into the crowd of “angry white folks.”

The Tea Party leaders were steeped in anger, and Marvel has now pulled the controversial scene and response from future printings. (It didn’t help, either, that the writer has well-known progressive tendencies.)

Why were these folks boiling over? Part of it was the Falcon’s statement; the Tea Party, which consists mostly of a bunch of angry white guys, doesn’t want to be thought of as a bunch of angry white guys.¬†Beyond that, though: Who cares about what Captain America thinks? He was create as a super-soldier by the U.S. government during World War II (comic book heroes never really die, even when they do), and the Tea Party, after all, is the product of an anti-government movement. Shouldn’t they be happy to be dissed by this guy?

My guess is that some higher-up in the organization has been following Captain America enough to know that, at least since the 1970’s, Captain America has found a way to accommodate his origins and his ideals — he believes in American ideals of justice, fairness and equality — and has become a critical patriot whose support of the government can’t be assumed. During the Watergate era, he even briefly shed his identity and assumed the character of “Nomad.” Although this was a critical and commercial disaster — Nomad even tripped over his cape — since that time, Captain America has stood as a rebuke to the kind of easy patriotism that leaders often cynically invoke. But he’s also stood against hate and fringe groups, including neo-Nazis and now…the Tea Party.

They might not have been crazy about the use of the verb “tea bag” either.

How’s that withering, dead-on thing workin’ for ya?

  1. No comments yet.
  1. No trackbacks yet.