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Wednesday, June 23, 2021 

Art Spiegelman's worried about cancel culture, yet he still despises Donald Trump

CBC Radio interviewed cartoonist Spiegelman about his mid-80s graphic novel Maus, his continuing leftism, and how, despite this, he's allegedly worried about cancel culture. And why has he brought up the whole subject now?
Spiegelman is blunt when asked why he's become more willing to talk about it: "Trump."

"I think we've come closer to revealing the ugly beast beneath the American masks than we ever have before — the fact that we have a country built on genocide and racism and severe class differences," he said.

"It would be worth calling attention to the situations that could bring us to the brink of something as horrific as what my parents lived through."
Why does this reek so badly of anti-American sentiment? He believes the USA is literally racist to its very core, and worst, not allowed to prove it can change for the better, or never did in any way? Very sad. What's really aggravating is if Spiegelman doesn't see leftists as problematic in any way, shape or form, and believes everybody he views as murderous monsters is solely of a conservative leaning. He clearly remains unremorseful for his previous attempt to write up a screed about Trump in a Golden Age Marvel collection that was rejected because of how politically charged it was.
Spiegelman immigrated to the U.S. with his parents in 1951 as a young child. Early on, he saw paperback collections of Mad Comics before it became Mad Magazine. They were filled with parodies of classic American characters with slightly off-kilter names like Super-Duper Man and Mickey Rodent.

"I, like my kids after me, learned about the real stuff from hearing and seeing the parody first. And I think it shaped my vision as a cartoonist," he said.

"I found that it was becoming a codex for understanding American culture that my parents couldn't provide."
Does he realize the now defunct Mad is bound to be shunned in today's liberal society, because its brand of parody was so un-PC, it no longer fits their modern narrative? That's surely one of the reasons it folded at least 2 years ago.
In the 1970s, he moved to San Francisco and became involved with the counterculture underground "comix" scene. These comics strayed from the mainstream in their depiction of socially relevant topics and often contained x-rated material that didn't conform to the Comics Code Authority, the industry regulated group that enforced rules about acceptable content.
Today, even without the CCA, there's new forms of Orwellian censorship going on, and the left's created it.
He pointed to Superman, the original modern comic book superhero, created by two Jewish immigrants "recapitulating their own fantasies and traumas into the world," albeit in the pop-culture wrappings of the time.

"Superman is an immigrant from another planet who is basically an Americanized ubermensch with all the American values that we pretend to hold dear, like fighting for truth, justice and — God help us — the American way," Spiegelman explained.
Now there's a strong hint he doesn't believe in the American Way as a positive slogan. "God help us" is the giveaway. It's been pretty apparent for years Spiegelman's not holding any such values dear, if he has no interest in confronting what's gone wrong with the left. Also notice he parrots the leftist immigration propaganda for Superman, instead of infant refugee status.
Despite the subgenre's growth, Spiegelman says he probably wouldn't be able to release Maus in today's pop culture climate.

"You can get cancelled. I think it's a badge of honour sometimes to be cancelled, even though it can also be a sign of great, rightful disgust,"
he said. He cited, in particular, the recent news that some older Dr. Seuss books would no longer be published because they contained racist material.

"I think that in general, speech is under jeopardy."

Spiegelman said that the rise of the internet "has created that global village that [Marshall] McLuhan talked about decades ago," that can more easily facilitate outrage and misunderstandings rather than genuine dialogue and understanding about difficult topics — and complex art that portrays them.

He voiced a particular worry that the acerbic humour of the underground comix era, which often thumbed its nose at mainstream ideas or morality, could be especially under threat.

"I feel like my problem is that I'm part of a PC [politically correct] culture because I empathize with [its] aims and share them. But I don't want to feel that the only way to do that is to muzzle all of the thoughts where there's no right answers," he said.
So now he's noticed the cancel culture issue, or did he? He's right the likelihood is there that he wouldn't be able to publish Maus the way he did before, because the very atmosphere he speaks of has granted new legitimacy to antisemitism, even coming from Islamofascism. But it's also, again, a fault of the leftists who have no genuine interest in combatting antisemitism, sexism, or any other prejudice they've dismissed, selectively or otherwise. And what's particularly telling here is that neither Spiegelman nor the CBC says a word about the liberal movement's role and complacency in the sorry atmosphere we've wound up with. If Maus falls victim to cancel culture by the left, it'll be Spiegelman's own fault because he's too stingy to see past his anti-conservative obsessions, and doesn't have the guts to condemn leftists who uphold the censorship he's supposedly worried about. He practically admits he's part of the PC thinking, and that's how you know he's bound to fail in pushing back against modern censorship.

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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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