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Why Don’t We Just Call Him “Captain International”?

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Posted on July 26 2010 8:00 am
Mark Tapson writes about the intersection of Hollywood and terrorism for Andrew Breitbart's Big Hollywood and Big Peace, David Horowitz's Front Page and NewsReal, Pajamas Media, the Investigative Project for Terrorism, and elsewhere. He was the writer’s assistant and researcher for Cyrus Nowrasteh on, among other projects, "The Stoning of Soraya M." and the controversial miniseries "The Path to 9/11." Mark is currently co-writing a documentary for renowned terrorism expert Steven Emerson.

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NOT a flag-waver

“We’re sort of putting a slightly different spin on Steve Rogers,” said Joe Johnston, the director of next year’s summer blockbuster, Captain America: The First Avenger, in a recent LA Times article. “He’s a guy that wants to serve his country, but he’s not a flag-waver.”

Huh? So he’s patriotic, but not proud of the symbol of his country, the symbol that adorns his own costume? Johnston’s desperate reassurance makes sense only in the context of leftist Hollywood’s visceral contempt for American pride, and its kneejerk habit of apologizing for America.

At least Cap will still be wearing the flag. I wrote about last year’s GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra that it was, “scrupulously scrubbed of pro-American symbolism and real-world enemies – like jihadists.” The “real American hero” had been downgraded to a real multinational team battling – who else? – a big bad corporation.

Captain America is set in World War II, so at least he “will fight the enemies of America,” Johnston says, meaning Nazis. “But he won’t be a stiff, slogan-spouting guy,” he hastens to add, just in case you were afraid Cap might stiffly spout some pro-American slogan. See, Hollywood is grudgingly okay with a hero taking on a former real-world enemy like Nazism, as long as he isn’t all flag-wavy and slogan-spouty about it. Just don’t expect Tinseltown to take on today’s Islamists – that would be insensitive and probably Islamophobic.

Anyway, in case you didn’t get it the first time, here’s Johnston driving home his point:

He wants to serve his country, but he’s not this sort of jingoistic American flag-waver. He’s just a good person.

Got that? Cap’s not, repeat NOT, a flag-waver. Instead, he’s a “good person,” which oddly implies that a flag-waver, someone who is proud of his country, its achievements and its spirit, is NOT a good person. But lest you insist on missing his point, Johnston’s not done yet:

It’s also the idea that this is not about America so much as it is about the spirit of doing the right thing.

Are those mutually exclusive things? If any country in history were ever infused with “the spirit of doing the right thing,” it’s America. But wait, there’s more. In case you still worry that this movie might have anything at all to do with the “America” part of “Captain America,”  the director goes on:

It’s an international cast and an international story. It’s about what makes America great and what makes the rest of the world great too.

And that’s as close as you’ll get to hearing a leftist acknowledge that America’s great – only if he can assert that the rest of the world is great, too. This echoes Obama’s view of American exceptionalism:

I believe in American exceptionalism, just as I suspect that the Brits believe in British exceptionalism, and the Greeks believe in Greek exceptionalism.

Now that we know how Hollywood perceives Captain America, what about his fans? In 2007, Marvel Comics writer Ed Brubaker told the New York Daily News:

What I found is that all the really hard-core left-wing fans want Cap to be standing out on — and giving speeches on — the street corner against the George W. Bush administration, and all the really right-wing fans want him to be over in the streets of Baghdad, punching out Saddam Hussein.

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