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Tuesday, June 14, 2016 

Why did Jessica Plummer resort to moral equivalence and Republican-bashing?

Comics critic Plummer's opinion on Nick Spencer's inside-out retcon of Steve Rogers was mentioned in some news sources. Having read it in full, certainly there's plenty of vital points she's made. But the following highlighted parts are what turned the impact soggy, and makes me question whether she's being altruistic about this:
It’s easy, especially if you’re not Jewish, to think that anti-semitism is a thing of the past. It’s not. It flies under the radar, mostly, until suddenly it doesn’t: with graffiti in Spain, hateful party games in American high schools, vicious threats being flung at Jewish journalists for criticizing Trump. With physical attacks—with deaths—in France. Nor is neo-Nazi rhetoric, which hews closer to 616 Hydra’s shtick, a goofy make-believe thing. Not when the Republican presidential nominee spouts fascist ideology that echoes Hitler’s rise to power and spurs a literal rise in hate crimes against Muslims.
The beginning line in this paragraph is impressive. But my heart sank when I saw the last line there, and realized she was resorting to moral equivalence by claiming there's a "literal rise of hate crimes" against Islamists. Just what has that got to do with this subject anyway? Does she really buy all the victimology of the same movement whose Koran influenced them to commit anti-semitism? The one-sided attack on the GOP is another serious letdown, and does she also believe the claims made against Trump at immediate face value? It's also curious that, while she links to a NYT article that does acknowledge Islamofascists are behind the violence today in France, she doesn't actually mention that in her own words.

As mentioned once before, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster once wrote a story in Action Comics 30 where the Man of Steel took on some Islamic bandit types, Lee Falk featured an Islamist in one of his Mandrake the Magician comic strips as a member of a kidnapping gang, and Will Eisner's last graphic novel, The Plot, was about Muslim-engineered antisemitism. It wouldn't be surprising if Kirby/Simon and their ilk had ever written a story involving Muslim-style criminals too. If she really thinks "hate crimes" against Muslims have literally risen in every way, then by that logic, Siegel, Shuster, Falk and Eisner are guilty of encouraging them too. But as studies by sources far better than a pretentious site like Common Dreams note, there's anything but a "rise" in alleged hate crimes against Islamists.

Reading that ill-advised line by Plummer made me wonder: if anybody wanted to pitch a story where Captain America actually takes on jihadists, without even resorting to the 9-11 Truther propaganda the 2002 Marvel Knights series went by, would people like her oppose it bitterly? I've got a terrible feeling the answer is "yes". If so, that would only compound the impression she has no idea what she wants the Star-Spangled Avenger to be about, or what the character should stand for/against.

This also made me think of something: even if Captain America hadn't been created by Jews, that doesn't mean offense at Brevoort/Spencer wouldn't be warranted. Similarly, if a minor character like Sylvester Pemberton, the Star-Spangled Kid (and later Skyman), who was created by Siegel, had fallen victim to such disgust, it would've been reprehensible too. And the same goes for if Ted Knight, the original Starman, and Janet VanDyne/the Wasp, had been subjected to such sickness. Point: it shouldn't be just because the creators of any notable superheroes, major or minor, are Jewish that offense should be taken. There were plenty of non-Jewish creators in the Golden Age, including William Marston of Wonder Woman fame, whose creations shouldn't be subjected to the PC abominations we're seeing in modern times either, and doing so would be as much a slap in the face to them as it is to Simon/Kirby. Speaking of which, must I remind that Simon was a Republican in his time, and condemned bin Laden? If Simon were alive today and wanted to vote for Trump, how would she react?

I'm very disappointed with Plummer for inserting such a slapdash line that dampens the edge from the article she wrote, and risks suggesting her sentiments aren't altruistic. Moral equivalence does nothing to help protest an injustice. Only being a realist and focusing on the meat-and-potatoes gist of the subjects does the job right.

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  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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