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"Write out of love, write out of instinct, write out of reason. But always for money."
Louis Untermeyer

The Occasional Muse
My humble opinion on current events

May 26,  2003

Superman's a Commie!

What images come to mind when you think of Superman? Christopher Reeve? Clark Kent? The red, white and blue uniform? The giant S on his chest? America? Perhaps you think of the principles Superman fights for - truth, justice, peace, the American way, the American ideal. Superman and American are intertwined.

I'll bet you don't associate Superman with, say, Joseph Stalin, the Soviet dictator who murdered millions and enslaved more millions. The Soviet dictator who killed children. The Soviet dictator who conquered peaceful nations. The Soviet dictator who imagined enemies everywhere and murdered countrymen and colleagues for political means. The Soviet dictator to whom life meant nothing and power meant everything.

You know, that Joseph Stalin.

DC Comics seems to think that Stalin and Superman go quite well together, like, well, mom and apple pie. The company has released the first of a three-part comic book series called Superman: Red Son, in which Superman grew up on a collective farm in the Ukraine, was brainwashed to believe communist pap, and now fights as Stalin's stooge, to win the Cold War and expand the Warsaw Pact. The S has been replaced with the Soviet hammer and sickle.

All reasonable, semi-thinking people should be appalled. Communism was just as evil, if not more so, than Nazism, and Stalin was just as evil, if not more so, as Hitler. But it would be unthinkable for DC to portray Superman as a member of the SS and fighting for the master race and Hitler. Yet it's somehow permissible to do the same with communism, though communism has killed at least ten times more people than Nazism did.

The story that reported this absurdity was also interesting, in that it seemed to heartily approve of DC's move. Sure, it concedes at the beginning that Stalin was a "brutal dictator who murdered millions," but that's the only note of dissent. It also includes this little gem of moral relativism:

Although using the Soviet Union as a background, the storyline is actually a sly comment on contemporary world politics, where the United States dominates the globe like an unchecked giant. Just as President George W. Bush is willing to bomb any country that could challenge American hegemony, the Soviet Union Superman uses his strength to gain global dominance.

Isn't that wonderful? Dubya is also a commie, just as bad as Stalin! What a load of manure. If the U.S. were really willing to bomb any country that got in our way, France and Germany would be rubble right now. The U.S. has never sought "global dominance" but the Soviet Union certainly did. And if it had succeeded, as Superman: Red Son implies that it will, the world would be a miserable hellhole. 

But socialism and superheroes are a natural match. The comic "demonstrates that there is a deep affinity between the aesthetics of superheroes and traditional socialist realism; both styles favor strong, manly physiques flexing their muscles."

Not sure what socialist realism is, but I suppose Stalin, and Mao, and Pol Pot, and countless other commie and socialist murderers were just "flexing their muscles," just like Superman and Batman. 

In fact, Superman has always been a commie. The early issues showed Super Socialist "with a distinct political conscience. He is seen fighting against a wife-beater, a lynch mob, two munitions manufacturers, some war-crazed military dictators, a drunk driver and a gangster who tried to take over a labor union."

Commies are nice people. They fight for the common worker, the peasant, the peon. Sure, they may have to murder a hundred million to do it, but nothing's perfect. Those people were just in the way. 

The Muse is hoping Super Commie gets a boulder-sized hunk of Kryptonite shoved up his you-know-what, and in the meantime advises all readers to switch to Marvel.

Only Conservatives Shop at Wal-Mart

Another interesting story showed up in the New York Times on May 18. "Shaping Cultural Tastes at Big Retail Chains" blared the headline. You see, the Times is concerned because Wal-Mart only stocks CDs and DVDs that its customers want. They don't want profanity and trash, so Wal-Mart sells nice, wholesome stuff, like Veggie Tails cartoons and the Left Behind series and Toby Keith. The store does offer cleaned-up versions of some music and movies, and some studios and recording companies offer special versions just for Wal-Mart.

This is very bad. Wal-Mart is censoring artists by refusing to stock their garbage that no one wants. So Eminem doesn't get a chance to sell as many CDs because Wal-Mart won't sell them. Thus, Wal-Mart is insidiously "shaping cultural tastes." It decides what is acceptable culture, and we the masses passively accept it.

Misguided souls call this censorship, but it really shows how poorly they understand culture and economics. Businesses sell items their customers want. Wal-Mart customers do not want Eminem, so Wal-Mart does not sell Eminem. It is the buying public who "shapes cultural tastes," and the smart business recognizes that and adjusts its selling strategy accordingly. There is nothing sinister about this. It's called freedom. Get over it.

Tax Cut Passes

Congress passed a $330 billion tax cut last week over strenuous Democrat objections. Dubya said he'll sign it next week. This is no absurdity. It's very good news. Income tax rates go down slightly, and dividends and capital gains taxes also get whacked.

It's time to the same with the budget. The federal government will spend about $2.3 trillion this year, about a trillion or so too much. True tax reform, and even lower tax rates, will not happen unless and until Congress stops wasting our money.

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