Captain America Is Too American for Some Americans

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Captain America is too American for some Americans.

Which Americans?

The director and star of the upcoming film Captain America: First Avenger.

The director, Joe Johnston, says “…this is not about America so much as it is about the spirit of doing the right thing…it’s an international cast and an international story. It’s about what makes America great and what make the rest of the world great, too.”

And actor Chris Evans, who plays Captain America in the film, when asked, “What does it mean to you to basically be draped in the American flag for this film?” replied:

“Ha, well, to me, I’m not trying to get too lost in the American side of it. This isn’t a flag-waving movie. It is red, white and blue, but it just so happens that the character was created in America during wartime, when there was a common enemy, even though it is Captain America. I’ve said before in interviews, it feels more like he should just be called Captain Good. [Laughs] You know, he was created at a time when there was this undeniable evil and this guy was kind of created to fight that evil. I think that everyone could agree that Nazis were bad and he, Cap, just so happens to wear the red, white and blue.”

They’re clearly uneasy about the patriotism of the character, mainly the American aspect of it, and I’ll have to see the film to find out exactly how that attitude manifests itself onscreen.

This kind of talk is particularly disappointing when it is about Captain America, our most patriotic superhero. But it is, unfortunately, just the latest example of a growing trend in comic books and the films they spawn to de-Americanize American superheroes for the sake of those who are not American, or who are even hostile to America.

In the Batman comic books, the character has gone global, franchising his “brand”, and even recruiting a Muslim to be his French counterpart. It’s akin to having Batman recruit a German Batman during World War Two without any mention of the Nazis. The de-Americanization of Superman was made clear in the 2006 film, Superman Returns, which has Clark Kent’s boss, Perry White, describing Superman as fighting for “Truth, Justice……all that stuff.”

And then a few months ago, in the Superman comic books, the character renounced his U.S. Citizenship….that is, until D.C. backtracked after it didn’t go over well with the public, especially since the issue came out right before Osama bin Laden was killed. D.C. Comics was swiftly mocked, not only for the uncharacteristic storyline, but also for the timing of it, while Americans at large celebrated the American heroes who cut down one of the world’s greatest villains.

Despite the damper the filmmakers have put on my enthusiasm for the film, I’m planning to watch it because the previews promise an exciting, entertaining film, and because it’s possible that Captain America and all he stands for might actually overcome the filmmaker’s lack of appreciation for it. But even though the character is still referred to as Captain America in the film’s title, “Captain America: First Avenger”, the studio clearly still felt a need to put a buffer around the word “America” in the title. By contrast, the Iron Man, Thor, and Spider-Man films (to take a few examples) had titles consisting of no more than the character’s name.

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  • StephenD

    Falls in line with the President declaring that "Yes, America is exceptional just as Britain is exceptional to the British and Greece is exceptional to the Greeks." Heaven forbid you actually have a bit of a parochial view of where you hail from and, dare I say, Patriotism. I'm only wondering how the word hasn't become anathema and is essentially banned from the public discourse.

  • Tanstaafl

    Is this the way our culture dies? With some sort of PC whimper? Captain America, the iconic symbol of our nation at war against evil, reduced to a puppet of the radical left.

    Say it isn't so. Not on our watch. Hang on, Cap. We're coming.

    • Hub

      Boycott their lack of patriotism

  • http://fawstin.blogspot.com/ Bosch_Fawstin

    Here's a link to that Captain America fighting Anti-Socialist Socialist Nazis that I mention in the piece. http://bit.ly/lmc3jV

    • mrbean

      Anti-Socialist Nazis? Oh really? The NATIONAL SOCIALIST WORKERS PARTY were the Nazis. Good Grief Charle Brown!

  • Mark

    Leave it to the Hollywood left to emasculate an American Icon. Can you say cultural treason?

  • voted against carter

    HollyWEIRD is at AGAIN.

    The LIBRATARD left wingnuts just can't ALLOW ANY thing positive about America.

  • tagalog

    Next victim will be -Shazam!- Captain Marvel!

  • dan

    As Andrew Breitbart says at the end of the soon to be released movie, Undefeated (about Sarah Palin, which I saw at a sneak preview last nite), contemporary establishment leadership (the GOPers too) are: "Eunuchs!"

    • dan

      Wait there's a movie about Sarah Palin, (a woman who LOST two elections) called Undefeated?!

  • Morrismajor

    If a childish comic book hero movie is what you need to make your point then you have to be a child to get it.

    • intrcptr2

      Just like all those Americans buying Captain America in the '40s and '50s, right?

      The children are the ones who are so perversely embarrassed by the land of their birth that they will kowtow to murderers and pedophiles in an effort to make nice, and save their useless hides.

    • Tanstaafl

      You must be one of the Red Skull's minions.

    • http://newmediaage.shugartmedia.com/NewMediaWorld/ Tar_n_Feathers

      So sez someone who clearly knows nothing of the comics genre. Marvel comics was anything but childish. "Little Lulu," you might have a case. As Comic Book Guy might say, "Worst comics analysis ever."

  • Guest

    The liberals sooner or later are taught a word Jingoism. So where does the word come from and what does it mean?

    A highly belligerent patriotism. Chauvinism. Originated in 19th century Britain when a popular song criticized government restraint during an international crisis: We don't want to fight, Yet by jingo, if we do, We've got the ships, we've got the men, And got the money, too! … http://www.u-s-history.com/pages/h1451.html

    Oxford Dictionary
    noun
    chiefly derogatory
    extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy. http://english.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/

    even from Berkeley a proper definition:
    The term is generally negative and applies to extreme patriotism used especially to persuade public opinion in support of war.
    sunsite.berkeley.edu/Goldman/Curricula/glossary.html

    But then in some definitions, it begins to lose its specific meaning:

    jingoistic – overly patriotic or nationalistic
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/jingoistic

    1. (adj) flag waving, jingoism
    an appeal intended to arouse patriotic emotions
    Synonyms: flag waving, jingoism, chauvinism, ultranationalism, superpatriotism http://www.synonyms.net/synonym/flag-waving

    The left, seemingly incapable of discerning the difference between extreme patriotism regarding a warlike foreign policy and just plain old patriotism, has problems with diplay of their own flag, and in typical I know better than you fashion, not only choose not to display it themselves, but discourage others from doing so.
    A Big Day Out for flag waving jingoism: Music festival organizers discourage concertgoers from wearing the Australian flag at the Sydney Showground. http://www.socialistworker.org.au/566/a-big-day-o

    Yes, to some reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, 5 times a year is now excessive patriotism, or jingoism.
    City Council To Recite Pledge Of Allegiance Only 4 Times A Year! Good Or Bad Idea?
    June 29, 2011, Robert Paul Reyes, American Chronicle:
    The wise elders voted to make the pledge voluntary on four days: July 4, Memorial Day, Veteran`s Day and Flag Day. That makes perfect sense to me, reciting the pledge more than four times a year is an exercise in jingoism.

    Flags at auto dealers, extreme patriotism i.e. jingoism, sure, why not:
    Here’s an excerpt from a column by AP writer Steve Wilstein about Carlos Delgado’s protest of the Iraq war (and other U.S. military actions) and the displays of patriotism at Yankee Stadium.
    There’s a phoniness to all the packaged patriotism that sports deploy, like the flags flapping at car dealerships. Buy a ticket, buy a car, be American. Jingoism sells.

    So jingoism you sure have come a long way, when you were a little baby you represented extreme patriotism, especially in the form of aggressive or warlike foreign policy.

    Now jingoism is a synonym for displaying the flag, saying the Pledge of Allegiance.

    It's surprising that the film and the character Captain America is still called that, well it isn't by all, Chris Evan's portrayal of "Cap", will I'm sure still be faithful to it's character after being neutered of his nationality.

  • Raymond in DC

    Those disinclined to "embarrassed to be called" American superheroes might opt instead for some action classics like "Independence Day" or even "Armageddon". Most of us love accidental, everyday heroes as much as the "super" kind, and both offer helpings of American grit, determination and leadership saving the world.

    And how curious that Fawstin notes his love of America as a son of an immigrant. Many of those early American superheroes were created by (mostly Jewish) sons of immigrants. It appears, generations later, too many have forgotten what it's like.

  • Jeremy in WV

    The movie doesn't really deviate from the source material, even the original Captain America Comics #1 in 1941. We've exported our culture so much that it has now become important that said culture appeals to the people we export it to. That's just the reality of the globalized market we spearheaded. Marvel has acknowledged what anybody who has spent time on the Internet realizes: people in other countries (especially young people, who this movie is mainly aimed at), don't like us very much. So in order to make more money (a pursuit as American as apple pie), the patriotic aspects need to be downplayed, at least in the marketing. But the truth is, we won't know the full story of this movie until we, you know, actually watch it.

  • Rochmoninoff

    "American" isn't an ethnicity or a race. It's an idea.
    My wife (a Lebanese) watched the HBO miniseries "John Adams" with with fascination because "these men are choosing to make a new country".
    No matter what religious or ethnic background, all immigrants "get" Thanksgiving – the most American of holidays.

    It is really sad that the native-borns have lost track of these simple facts.
    What is great about America is that we're about freedom and opportunity. And we (historically) have been willing to die for these idea.
    There's nothing to apologize for, nothing to be ashamed of, nothing that needs to be re-marketed or re-packaged. America is great.

    An Captain America encapsulated all that. Or at least he used to when I was younger.
    Now the cool-kids have decided that America is just bad news. I don't think they're going to like the alternative very much.

    • intrcptr2

      Too true, Roch.
      I once had a history professor, a Harvard man even, and in his US History class he presented the USA as a land, really the only one, based on a secular creed, the Declaration and the Preamble. In chats with friends I always make the point, just as you here have, that America is a matter not of skin or blood but heart.

      I will say how thankful I am that you married a smart and honest woman, and also how proud I am that she understands her land as well as she does.

    • Ralph

      America used to be an ethnicity or race. If it weren't for the founding population and their particular character at that time and place in history there would be no America. That does not mean that it doesn't have room for new immigrants but they absolutely must assimilate, like it seems you wife is doing. And in manageable numbers it was a (mixed) success. But when Hart-Cellar opened it up to the 3rd world in '65 and Doris Meissner upped the quota by about four times in '93 to over a million a year at the same time that leftist psychopaths were deconstruction the culture this what we get. A Captain America that hates his own country.

      America is NOT a mere idea, in which you can remove one kind of people and plug in another. It was built by an ethnicity to reflect its values and culture. No nation can survive by replacing its people. So enough with this appeal to that Wattenberg "propositional nation" falsehood.

      • michael

        yeah, that's what's written on the statue of liberty… "give me your tired, your poor, your huddled western european masses yearning to break free"

        • Ralph

          That was added later, just like so many other things inimical to the country. The reason immigration from Europe worked out well was a) it was in a time when the welfare state didn't exist, thereby putting the commitment of the new immigrants to the test; b) it wasn't easy getting back across the ocean, solidifying commitment to the new country further; c) the U.S. had a very strong sense of its own identity as a people and therefore was not at all easily shaken from their beliefs as they are now (thank you, Frankfurt); d) despite the Great Wave Southern and Eastern European populations as a percentage was not large (4% for Italians, e.g.; e) it was in a time of great industrial expansion and e) all Europeans, despite many differences were bound by a common culture and rooted in Christendom and Graeco-Roman tradition. That's why there is Hadrian's Wall up in Scotland, Irish monks studying Aristotle, Italian Renaissance architects, musicians etc. spreading as far as St. Petersburg, (where Diderot held court for a time), countless inter-European royal and not so royal marriages and so, so much more.

          Anyone who thinks that today's immigration is anything like the past is delusional. You can keep your wistful poems.

  • Ghostwriter

    Here's an irony for you. There's an animated series on You Tube called "Cat S–t One." It was based on a Korean comic book that was renamed "Apocalypse Meow." It shows a group of American solders who are cats in the series fighting camels who are basically Islamic terrorists. The makers of the series are Japanese. Again,how ironic. That a Japanese anime celebrates the virtues of the American military while many in Hollywood don't. Kinda makes you wonder,huh?

    • Morrismajor

      It is sad if people need comic book heroes to make them feel good

      • Tanstaafl

        Captain America is not a comic book hero. He is a mythological figure.

  • Wesley69

    Unfortunately, Hollywood is not only concerned with the American boxoffice, but more so with the International boxoffice, which is getting bigger all the time. Look at Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean On Stranger Tides

    Domestic:$231,547,893
    Foreign:
    $756,100,000
    Worldwide:
    $987,647,893

    The movie was off in the US market, but overseas, it's bigger than the previous 3 Pirate films. And this trend is going to continue.

    Patriotism??? Hollywood is loyal to money, regardless of where it comes from. Look at the number of Leftist actors and actresses. The rest of the world is pissed with the US, so our own performers, to cash in in foreign boxoffices have to strike the Leftist poise. It would be like John Wayne selling out to Europe or Russia. He was an American hero and was proud of it. Chris Evans should be proud to be CAPTAIN AMERICA., not an international hero, but homegrown in the good ole USA. As for Superman, there are many parallel universes. The current Superman, I my thoughts, is from a PC universe where everyone wears black and white, lives in the same homes, where the same flowers and trees grow in everyone's yard, where its citizens have an equal outcome. "What a wonderful world this would be."

  • GeorgeInNePa

    I hope it bombs.

    • daniel

      It might, but it will almost certainly do better than conservative crapola like "Atlas Shrugged" and "An American Carol."

      • Jennifer

        "Atlas" is conservative? They knock the book at any chance. Too much freedom and property rights stuff. And no damn Jesus! You should hold hands with them as you skip down the lane to oblivion together.

  • kblink45

    Americans need heroes. All you need is to work one day with America's youth to realize that they are lost in a pop culture malaise. Speaking of box office, how much money has the JackA** franchise made? I rest my case.

  • Victorymike

    I remember the old Marvel television series. The lyrics …if he's led to a fight and a duel is due then the Red and the White and the Blue will come through. When Captain America throws his mighty shield. I always thought it was symbolic of America's military -I guess I was wrong??

  • jasonz

    lets see…they want to call him captain good because he does good things, and stands for good things. he was created by America, and America is bad? if the rest of the world was so good and America was bad or neutral, how could he have been created at all? thats the prob with progs arguments. they completly reverse and proove themselves wrong with their own arguments and still dont understand and swear they are right. captain america is the exact opposite of progressives. America wraps a lifestyle around a truth core, progressives wrap the "truth" around a lifestyle core.

  • mrbean

    Next, Hollywood will have Batman and Robin as man-boy lovers championing the cause of NAMBLA.

  • Brian

    For what it's worth, the current Batman storyline "Batman: Incorporated" is actually excellent and extremely subversively cool in ways that we might appreciate. In a nutshell, it's Batman taking a lesson from Bruce Wane and the *best* things about corporate culture and using corporate techniques and resources to achieve a goal. Each new city is a franchise; local talent is hand picked, tested and then recruited. They're funded and given large leeway based on their regional knowledge and unique expertise, but always ultimately answerable to the big guy, the original Batman. Unambiguously, it is his rules that command and define the thing; Batman's moral code (including no killing, and working with local law enforcement whenever they are equipped to handle the issue) is a clean and inviolate line; if you opt in, personal vendettas are to be put aside for the bigger picture plan.
    If you think of the semi controversial Muslim character, (who was totally unobjectionable, btw) as being like Morocco writ small… where's the harm? Or, put another way, If a self avowedly Muslim country came out and defended Israel from slander and spoke vividly against Asaad and the Iranian regime, wouldn't we celebrate that?

  • WilliamJamesWard

    I do not support anything that pops anti-American and would wait to see
    Bosch's review, maybe it would be a pleasant surprise but I will hold my
    breath……………………………………………William

  • CisscoKidd

    In this age of "diversity" (and Affirmative-Action) in America where every single living minority is being OFFENDED 24-7, there is NO way but NO way America can have a white Captain America and everything be just fine. NO way.

  • Brian Huff

    A couple points:

    1. If they were uneasy about Captain America being American, they wouldn't have bothered to make this film. If anything, one can say that this film steers clear of being political, as does Captain America in the comics. Cap is all about American IDEALS, and trust me when I say that the character in the comics and I'm sure in the film, will be someone who is proud to say they are a US citizen.

    2. "In the Batman comic books, the character has gone global, franchising his “brand”, and even recruiting a Muslim to be his French counterpart. It’s akin to having Batman recruit a German Batman during World War Two without any mention of the Nazis."

    I'm sorry, but this is a hugely fallicious statement. What would be odd is if Batman recruited a muslim in Iraq or Afghanistan without mention of a terrorists organization. We are not at war with France, nor are we at war with Islam. We are opposing religious extremists.

    3. Read some of the comics. Superman is not ashamed of being an American, nor are they trying to broaden his appeal to an international audience by throwing his background under the bus. In context of the story, the move to renounce his citizenship makes sense. He regularly travels the globe saving people in all nations. EVENTUALLY this will start an international incident and surely some leader would accuse the US of policing the world or intimidating foreign powers with their indestructible alien powerhouse. Renouncing his citizenship absolves the US of responsibility for his actions. And mind you, while Superman may now officially be a global figure, mild-mannered Clark Kent still retains his citizenship and votes every election.

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  • http://fawstin.blogspot.com/ Bosch_Fawstin

    My verdict on the film: WOW

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  • Ralph

    This is spot on. I'm a little older than you and remember mainly the same thing. But then again these days 30 is the new 12

  • Brian Huff

    As a 19 year old comic book fan who's been collecting since the 6th grade I find this somewhat offensive. Mind you, I'm not a sexless basement dwelling geek. I run cross country and attend a large state university studying journalism. The modern comic fan looks much more like an everyday guy or girl than you'd think. The ages of fans today range from as young as five to senior citizens.

    The only reason comics aren't sold in newspaper racks like you said is that there's no market for it. The comic industry simply isn't making as much money as it used to, so they're usually clustered in a bookstore or in a comic shop where a large variety is openly available. And storylines today range from mature topics (i.e, Transmetropolitan, The Sandman), to the absurd, to classic heroics (Superman, Spider-Man) and to comics marketed specifically for younger audiences (Marvel Adventures)

    On a final note, the only reason there seems to be such an atmosphere of inclusion and elitism in comic shops is because of people like you. I welcome anyone of my friends who aren't comic fans to jump in and read some. But we always have people like you who instantly assume I'm one of those "sexless 30 something year old geeks who still lives with their parents."

    So if you think comic fans are apprehensive about an "outsider" such as your self, it's probably because you just called them "high school drop outs who think they're smarter than everyone…"