The De-Americanization of Captain America
NEW YORK — In March 1941, nine months before the attack on Pearl Harbor impelled America to enter the Second World War — one colorful American hero already had joined the battle: Captain America.
The famous front cover of “Captain America #1” showed its titular hero punching Hitler straight in the face, sending the ridiculous looking Fuerher tumbling backward.
With that single unforgettable image, the Nazi ideal of the Aryan ubermensch was dealt a fatal blow, as was what remained of the once respectable American “isolationist” movement.
As the first comic book character to enlist in World War II, Captain America was an instant success, selling nearly 1 million copies per issue. In a way that’s not surprising, considering the character’s pedigree. Captain America was created by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, second-generation Jews who made no secret of their source of inspiration.
Fast forward to 2011: This summer, Captain America returns to the big screen. Unfortunately, the spirit of 1941 (let alone 1776) is a long way off. In an era of anti-Americanism — at home and abroad — the movie’s director and star have been playing down the character’s American identity.
It’s not just Captain America. It’s all of Hollywood. Pro-American sentiment is non-existent. It’s not something movie makers want to draw attention to anymore and I find that horribly sad.
How can we fix our tarnished reputation? Hollywood could be very useful at a time like this. For once in its life, it could actually serve a purpose other than to dehumanize people. Hollywood is otherwise so good at telling us what we’re not. We’re not skinny enough, rich enough or sexy enough. How about telling the world what we ARE? Caring, brave, generous and charitable people.
Patriotism is not a Left or Right thing. It’s an Everybody thing.