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Thursday, July 25, 2013 

How to make right-wing "nerds" cringe in embarrassment

Jonathan V. Last has destroyed whatever point he's trying to make in a comics-based article yet again. In his latest for the Weekly Standard, he wrote about Zack Snyder's announcement of teaming Superman and Batman together in a movie. But, while discussing history in comics for the Masked Manhunter like Frank Miller's Dark Knight Returns, he said in parenthesis:
(You can see Miller’s brush strokes in what might be my favorite Batman moment. In Brad Meltzer’s series Identity Crisis, Batman attempts to explain his existence, saying, “People think it’s an obsession. A compulsion. As if there were an irresistible impulse to act. It’s never been like that. I chose this life. I know what I’m doing. And on any given day, I could stop doing it. Today, however, isn’t that day. And tomorrow won’t be either.” There are a number of deep truths wrapped in this bit of self-justification, but the overarching conceit, of course, is a lie.)
It seems like he cannot write a single commentary about comics like these without referencing Meltzer's abomination at least once. And whenever he does that, it drowns out any impact of his discussions in one fell swoop. It's like being kicked in the nose and getting it broken. How an alleged conservative like him can embrace and fail to recognize a metaphor for blame-America propaganda is one of the biggest mysteries in the history of the planet Earth. I'm actually surprised if no left-wingers who claim to be against anti-female discrimination have slammed him for this yet. Because surely, they could if they wanted to. And if they did, how could I possibly feel sorry for him if he took their flak? What Last's doing - sacrificing concern on human rights violations and Chomskyism for the sake of entertainment at all costs - is an embarrassment to any self-respecting rightist who recognizes why misogyny is wrong and how his words could easily be exploited by the left for demonizing the right. Presumably, the reason they haven't attacked him so far is because the book reflects the views of the worst on the left, and they see no need to. But it could happen one day, and if it does, it'll be interesting to see how Last defends his position, should he choose to debate them.

And that limp line about Batman "choosing" his life as a masked vigilante obscures the motive for becoming a hero - his parents were murdered by street scum, and he devoted his life to saving innocent lives like theirs while trying to find the murderer who took the lives of his parents, eventually discovering that a criminal named Joe Chill was the culprit (during Zero Hour, this was changed to say he'd never found out). That Last actually thinks a line like that is classic is almost laughable. And as far as I'm concerned, the whole idea Meltzer drew from Dark Knight Returns is flimsy at best. At worst, the sentence Last quoted is pretty dopey and makes Batman sound like an idiot. I also find it strange if he's fine with depicting Batman as a mindless control freak, because that's exactly what began to ruin the Masked Manhunter by the mid-90s.

Most importantly, no matter what sources Meltzer allegedly got his ideas from, it's no excuse or defense for the jaw-dropping misogyny and anti-American metaphors contained in the script. And so long as Last continues to sugarcoat the miniseries (while noticeably avoiding any in-depth description of the story every time he mentions it), he's bound to alarm self-respecting people sooner or later, and make them wonder how a self-professed right-winger can overlook the very problems he claims to object to.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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