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Saturday, May 20, 2017 

Two Polygon interviews with Steve Englehart

The crummy Polygon website did two interviews with Steve Englehart, the first one where he talks about the original Secret Empire storyline from Captain America from 1974, which, while questionable in its own way, was at least more readable than what the new crossover is turning out to be, and certainly didn't set out to make Steve Rogers look like a monster for the sake of it. However, when the question of the original story's relevancy today comes up, here's what he says:
Do you think your “Secret Empire” has gained a new relevance in the current political climate?

Englehart: Oh, absolutely, sure. Again, in the seventies the idea that a president would break the law was mind-boggling. I mean, we weren’t all naive, but we weren’t as jaded as we are now and so the idea that the president would do this and try to cover it up was worthy of the congressional investigation and that was worthy of everything that was involved in it. Now, everything that Nixon did has been made legal in America. Well, not breaking and entering but a lot of the stuff he was accused of has now been sort of “legitimised.” Now we’ve got a president who breaks the laws right and left, lies about it and we’re in the middle of a situation where he says “Come and get me if you can” and he’s doing everything he can to keep people from getting to him. I like to hope that we will, eventually. The brazenness of all this, and the lack of concern with flat-out lying to people is another thing, because when asked uncomfortable questions in those days, people answered them. They tried to justify them, but they answered the questions. One of the great lessons of Watergate for American politicians and probably everyone was to start answering questions with “I don’t remember” rather than going on the record for anything. That same general approach has unfolded now. Nixon was in a context where there were rules and it was clear that he had broken them so the politicians’ response to all that was to change the rules and find better ways to ignore them, rather than stop doing that thing. When I wrote that story in the seventies, the idea was “Oh good, we’ve gotten past a blip in history and we won’t do that again” but I’m not a politician so I didn’t get the same lesson they did out of all that.
How about that. Just like the early 70s Cap story didn't name Nixon directly, yet he admits it was all "drawn" from events of the times, he doesn't name Trump directly, yet it's pretty obvious he's alluding to the new president, and already, Englehart makes clear he only sees in Trump what he wants to, just a few months into his term of office. And a fascinating query is whether Englehart, who's more or less a leftist himself, recognizes that a liberal president can break the law too. Or, enable awful things to happen, like the time when Jimmy Carter ignored the Iranian ayatollah Khomeini's takeover of the country that's now gotten to the point where they have nuclear warfare at hand. Because while there may have been negative allusions liberal politicians in the years that followed, I'm not sure there were enough, or as many as there could've been, all because most liberal writers simply won't face reality when it comes to their own side. And what about what Bill Clinton did? Is he parchance disturbed if that was made legal in America? Nixon did do some crappy stuff, I don't deny that, but if only a Republican can worry Englehart and his ilk and never a Democrat, then what good is it to write stories about political corruption?

Interestingly, for somebody who was so big on issues of the 70s, Englehart said he knows next to nothing about what's going on with the Marvel machine now:
How current are you with current superhero comics and do you keep up with the community at large?

Englehart: No, I really don’t. When I got out of comics about ten years ago, I started writing novels so I just sort of turned off comics and turned on novels as far as my reading of choice. Then, with the movies coming out I’m like a lot of people, I get my comics on screen rather than otherwise. I know that there’s been various iterations on the Secret Empire concept for forty years now, and I know that there’s one going on as we speak, but I don’t know anything about it.

That would have been my next question, what have you heard about the current Secret Empire event?

Englehart: I’m aware that the current Captain America is supposed to be a Nazi or something, but that’s all I know. I don’t know enough, I think that’s my entire font of knowledge on what’s going on currently, so I have no opinion on where it’s going.
Too bad, because I'd assume that, despite his liberal politics, he still loves what Steve Rogers was created for enough to care that Nick Spencer's been doing some very revolting stuff with the Sentinel of Liberty, and even if Steve hasn't been turned into a Nazi per se, the way the story's set up is so obnoxious and fan-baiting, it's no wonder sane Cap fans want nothing to do with the 2017 crossover. But even if Englehart was able to check the story, who knows if he'd have what it takes to say the way it's written is in very poor taste?

Now, here's the second interview article, where Englehart says he's dismayed at the portrayal of Mantis in the new movie sequel to Guardians of the Galaxy:
“Well, I was not happy with Mantis’ portrayal," Englehart said. "That character has nothing to do with Mantis. I will say that I liked the film quite a bit overall, they’re doing good stuff and I enjoyed my night at the movies so long as I turned my brain off to the fact that that’s not Mantis up there. I really don’t know why you would take a character who is as distinctive as Mantis is and do a completely different character and still call her Mantis. That I do not know.”
Neither do I, but then, I also don't get why some liberals just can't bring themselves to look harder upon realism when it comes to their own side. Or why they have to become so ignorant of the comics medium once they quit working in it, and make it difficult to offer an opinion on where they think the whole medium's going, which at this point, is down the drain if they keep on with the vicious leftist angles they've been notorious for these past several years.

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Not defending Nixon, but all he did was simply talked about siccing the IRS on his political enemies, Obama actually did it against denying various Tea Party groups their non-profit status. It helped that Obama had plausible deniability, a proper minion like Lois Lehner, who will never truly pay for what she did, and a press that actively refused to do WhateverGate on him vs. what they're doing with Trump.*

The other lesson from Nixon was how he did try to appease the Left with govt. departments like the E.P.A. and policies like Affirmative Action, and what good did that do him? The Left constantly hated him back then, still constantly hates him now, despite A) their outcry whenever the EPA or AA are threatened and B) his being dead for 20+ years. After all, Nixon took down Alger Hiss, and that is Nixon's original sin for the Left. Never forgive or forget.

"Nixon did do some crappy stuff, I don't deny that, but if only a Republican can worry Englehart and his ilk and never a Democrat, then what good is it to write stories about political corruption?"

Indeed. Someone should ask Englehart, who was so active in politics at that time, "remember when LBJ bugged Barry Goldwater?"


*WhateverGate came from one of Steve Sailer's blog commenters, to give credit where credit is due.

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