Thursday, May 22, 2014
That's What I Call Progress
Click for the whole thing, but the point comes across even in slivers. KKK literature, right? About how big-lipped niggers are lazy and violent, and how they can't be trusted around our white women because they might leap into an irrational rage and kill them over a minor disagreement. They don't understand capitalism either; they think that they should choose the product purchased by the consumer (ahhh! save us! product choice is the only true freedom!).
Nope, not KKK literature--a modern recreation of the standard racist comic fare, that one above from a 2002 volume of a series that ran 12 volumes more, picking up seven Eisner Awards on the way. The selection comes from Bill Willingham's Fables, another in the series of DC spinoff works that recycles old public domain characters into profitability based on the plot, "Everything we imagine exists, exists, therefore the most popular stories are real." (And just like Gaiman's Sandman, these eerily meaningful works all spring up from connected authors who can't draw, produced by hiring a rotating cycle of artists and guest/assistant writers who are replaceable, less-well-paid, and not given "creator" credit.)
It's not like racism is anything new from DC, or from the comics industry in general. Heck, read a Frank Miller from the 1980s, and learn how Russians are evil, western liberals are secretly violent communist insurrectionists, fags all carry around red pitchforks with which to molest children, and teenage girls crave sleeping with rugged, fortyish white men (but only if those men are willing to hit them first, to prove their masculinity). Jerry Siegel's parents left Europe with curiously good timing right before World War I, and he was born in the U.S. to create "Superman," the penultimate straight white man who always upholds the American way by defending the weak from evil rich villains (sic). Superman kills bank robbers, stymies social unrest, upholds the existing social order, and all of the Batman-style stuff that Rands up the game to Iron Man levels.
Of course, that's all there. Comics reflect society just like art, society includes racism, and so scum like Willingham gets to portray Africans as women-abusing buffoons, to the applause of the whole industry. What's striking, though, even in America, is how quietly this stuff slips by when it's in a "comic book." When using novels or movies to soften people up to the idea of exterminating Arabs, the racism has to be more subtly done; the African in question has to be part of Saddam's command, or offset by a "good Arab" who is reasonable.
The best shield, though, is a woman. Look at the image again, where the tough white businesswoman is lecturing that violent fool "Hakim" on how customer service doesn't involve choosing products for, and threatening, the customer--and the penitent Hakim has to take it. Willingham's writing is filled with revealing dross like that, where white woman feminize African men, proving the progressiveness of the white men who are the white women's ultimate masters. In The Siege, we used a double whammy, employing both a willing black man and a white woman to prove that we were tolerant and progressive for characterizing Arabs as inhuman trash.
It's not just the character Hakim, who's that way, is it? Check the dialogue at the end: it's a "cultural misunderstanding." Quite literally, that's Arab culture, right there, stoning women and repressing them via husband-training. Just like Navajo culture is about scalping white men, beating wives, and raping white women, right?
Nothing new. Nothing in the least bit new. Edward Said didn't say it first, but he was allowed to say it most loudly and recently. That's something all feminists should take away from this issue--not just how blatantly racist are Willingham and the entire industry that has spent over two decades richly rewarding him and lavishly promoting his work--but how western women are used to effeminize and disempower foreign men. That's what western "feminist" movements are, in so many ways: a constant recycling of gender tropes in Anglo-American culture, whereby increased female participation in narratives of domination and exploitation prove that Indian savages or Ghana heathens or sand niggers are just completely backwards, as we blow them up and slaughter their children. All the white men are so very proud of their disciplined white women, who are "free" to abuse and dominate those backwards A-rabs like so many Lynndie Englands.
Why not, huh? And why should Lynndie apologize? Bush hasn't; Obama hasn't. Look at those proud, cheesy white men smiling away as "their" woman shows the A-rabs who's boss. Now that's what I call progress. Bitching someone yourself is fun, but if you can move even higher on the food chain, and get your underlings to handle the nitty gritty of subjugation, well, it proves you're just doubleplus studly, doesn't it?
Never you mind, of course, that America's consumer salesmen are worse than Arab ones, and that white salesmen almost hold the patent on being pushy assholes. Never you mind that white Americans hold the lion's share of stock in the world's torture, as well as the world's corporations that telemarket and phone-poll; that white Americans have mutilated and killed more Arab women in the past thirty years than any ten Arab leaders together could claim credit for; that date rape is endemic to American military academies and military bases, as well as the ritzy colleges where the finest of the fine whites send their little drone boys to learn.
What's that cute thing you're supposed to say in situations like this? I was thinking something along the lines of, "Welcome to the 21st century, where making a squinty-eyed face and saying 'me so solly' is definitely out of bounds and everyone knows it, but having every Arabiac wave a scimitar while threatening to stone you is A-OK." Is that what you do now?