Thursday, August 31, 2023

“Truth, Justice and the American Way”

From "The death of Superman: How Hollywood killed the American hero":
Something has been absent in recent times in the adaptation of film and art — the idea of a fundamentally American hero. Superman, as a character, is ultimately about why America is good, and Hollywood simply does not believe America is a force for good. ....

Americans do not think of themselves as sharing a common enemy, as they did during the Cold War. Hollywood won’t portray radical Islam in film due to cultural and media sensitivities. China fills a natural role, but thanks to the growing market overseas for films, Hollywood is capitulating to them politically by offering alternative edits to their films and even going as far as having Chinese state officials on set, as Marvel did with Iron Man 3 and others. On issues of race, policing, gender and politics, Hollywood takes a progressive posture. ....

...Hollywood has the very idea of Superman backwards. Superman knows what American exceptionalism is; Hollywood and our media struggle with accepting the same idea. Instead they view him as a symbol of imperialistic and misguided patriotic propaganda, and therefore, he must be reinvented, re-imagined and rewritten. ....

...[T]o ignore the American propaganda aspect of Superman and similar comic heroes is to betray their entire reason for being. The character’s co-creator Jerry Siegel enlisted in the United States military in 1943. He was trained as both a skilled mechanic and as a reporter for Stars and Stripes. The character of Superman himself was published primarily as American military propaganda, with the character routinely foiling Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.

The world may have changed around him, but Superman is constant, and should be understood as the quintessential American hero. It is not Superman who struggles with his identity. He knows what his purpose is. Despite its failings, America is a global force for good, like Superman. We struggle, we falter, but our ideals remain a constant. They are everlasting. It’s not Superman and America who need to be re-imagined. It’s Hollywood. (more)
Stephen L. Miller, "The death of Superman," The Spectator, August 30, 2023.

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