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
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
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 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
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.