Earlier this year, US conservatives got themselves all wound up about the likes of Dr Seuss and The Muppets being ‘cancelled’ and now they have gotten themselves into a fury about Captain America.
A new Marvel comics series has just launched called The United States of Captain America. In the opening pages of the comic Captain America, aka Steve Rogers, reflects on the so-called ‘American dream’ and where he fits into that. Rogers concludes that while the ‘white picket fence’ ideal of working hard, raising a family and making a place for yourself in this world is achievable, it simply isn’t available to everyone and essentially dreams like this aren’t real when things like slavery and institutional racism have existed and continue to exist. Although he argues that this is unfair, he also feels that it is important to strive towards these values for a better world and to exclude no one.
It’s a punchy and thought-provoking way for writer Christopher Cantwell to start the series but fundamentally remains true to the character in that Captain America represents what the United States could become, but not what it is. After all, in fiction, the character was first introduced as a propaganda tool for the US government during World War II and was even pictured punching Adolf Hitler on the cover of his first-ever comic.
However, this more reflective mood of Rogers isn’t sitting well with conservatives in the US media right now. Shortly after the release of the comic, the conservative Washington Times claimed that Captain America said that the ‘American dream isn’t real.’ This argument has now spilt over on to Fox News, who are complaining that Captain America is being politicised and is now ‘woke.’
During an appearance on the network on Tuesday, guest Michael Loftus ranted that the character was being turned into “Captain Woke, or Captain Propaganda” adding: “It’s the absolute worst, and it’s just more proof that the left is going to come after everything that real Americans hold near and dear – after baseball they tried to cancel apple pie. And now Captain America.”
Fox News guest, having a completely normal one: "It’s so sad when Captain America is like Captain Woke or Captain P… https://t.co/nlTqh9WEIo
This continued with former Superman actor turned conservative commentator Dean Cain who claimed that this is just another example of it being “fashionable” to criticise America, adding: “I am on the exact opposite side of the fence. I love this country. It’s not perfect. We are constantly striving for a more perfect union, as we all know. But I believe she’s the most fair, equitable country ever with more opportunity than anyone’s ever seen. And that’s why people are clamouring to get here from all over the globe.”
Of course they go dig up @RealDeanCain’s ass up for his opinion about a comic book character that he obviously neve… https://t.co/sH2F2WsXxD
— TASK the Pimp Hand of Khonshu (@TASK the Pimp Hand of Khonshu)
The problem with Cain’s argument (who doesn’t appear to have read the comic) is that it’s exactly the argument the comic is making in that America isn’t perfect but it can do, and must do, better for everyone.
As we’ve already mentioned the character was introduced as a propaganda tool in the comics and, as Rogers has evolved, he has questioned many elements of the US political system and its status in the wider world as many fans on Twitter were more than happy to point out.
@justinbaragona This but with absolutely zero irony https://t.co/npWroSK7Ai
There are numerous examples of Captain America and his decades-long history being opposed to the US government and status quo and fighting for more just causes. This latest route is just another way of exploring the character’s personal beliefs at what he believes makes America great.