From The New York Times:
Huh. Captain America in the house. Let’s take a closer look…
- A goatee? Are you serious? Maybe it’s Boston Red Sox first baseman Kevin Youkilis under the cowl of the Star Spangled Avenger. Or some other loser, whatever.
- The caption reads, “A crowd member dressed as Captain America joined the celebration at the World Trade Center site in New York early Monday morning.” I don’t think carrying a shield, wearing a mask and a t-shirt with Cap’s picture on it necessarily expresses the sentiment of dressing up like someone anymore than those cheap smock Halloween costumes from the 80s did. And those masks that fastened to your head with a rubber band hurt like hell – especially when the rubber band inevitably snapped.
- As a life long reader of Captain America comic books (yes, I’m a dork; I have every issue ever published of Captain America dating back to April of 1968), I can assure you that the following actions that would never be taken by the fictional character, Steve Rogers:
- attending a rally of any kind in costume, unless he was doing crowd control or trying to reason with a group that appeared to gravitating toward violence
- attending a rally that celebrated someone’s death, even an enemy’s
- killing the bad guy; Rogers’ concept of justice has been clearly spelled out over the last 45 or so years – Cap arrests the bad guys so they can stand trial – it’s how he rolls (if anyone retorts with Captain America #321, Volume 1, you’ve a bigger dork than I am – and if you bring up Ultimate Captain America… well, we can have a futile argument about that in the comments sections)
The death of Osama Bin Laden has been something I have not wanted to comment on in this space, but once the New York Times brought Cap into it (or once the goatee guy did), I guess it sorta forced my hand. Cap is a fictional character, and a rare one – unlike any other super hero I can think of, he was created to confront actual people and real events – it’s no accident that the first issue of the original Captain America Comics series from World War II features an image of Cap punching Hitler in the face. Yet he’s not real, and to start waving the shield around at an event like this seems wrong, and to publish a photo of someone doing it feels cheap. Captain America has come to stand for something very specific – he’s the moral compass of the Marvel Universe, not a hit man.
Nevertheless, I strongly support President Obama’s decision in this matter. Just because I don’t want to wave the flag around doesn’t mean I don’t think this was the right thing to do. (It’s also one of those rare moments where a president came through on a campaign promise.) Trying Bin Laden would have been a cluster-@!#?@!, and if you wanted to make the argument that Bin Laden didn’t deserve a trial, I don’t agree, but I’m not willing to argue the point.
Captain America is a symbol for everything that is right about the American way – truth and justice for all, no matter what. Things don’t always work out that way, and the probably shouldn’t – that’s reality. Cap is fiction – so do me a favor and leave him in the funny papers where he belongs.