Sunday, May 27, 2012

"Are you the creator of Hi and Lois? Because you are making me puke."

Am I overstating things by describing today's comic as "quasi-fascist?"

Well, maybe--but you have to admit, that bit with everyone saluting the flag is creepy as fuck.  Not that this hasn't been hashed out jillions of times before, but while there's something to be said for a solemn occasion memorializing the fallen, reminding us of the price of war, that's just not something that fits into our culture.  Fuck that noise--we're not gonna remind ourselves of shit.  Sixty-three percent of Americans support starting a war with Iran.  We're fundamentally bloodthirsty, and we don't want some Debbie Downer telling us that there's a downside to that.  We enjoy, in a pornographic way, getting all teary-eyed patriotic and noble and dulce-et-decorum-est-pro-patria-mori, but only as long as it remains all theater.  We certainly don't want to engage with the issue in any serious way.  It's why Memorial Day now seems to be more about veterans than about fallen soldiers; it's also why Armistice Day became Veterans Day.  Who wants to think about consequences?  Note that the Flagstons aren't "saluting the fallen heroes." 

So instead of any real engagement, we get crud like this, mindlessly lionizing soldiers without for a moment thinking about the underlying issues here.  This serves the malignant dual purposes of A) drowning out anti-war sentiment in bullying fashion ("you support the troops, don't you? Don't you?"); and B) actually hurting veterans by making them into a fetish object and letting us feel good about ourselves while ignoring their real needs and never for a moment considering whether making more of them might not be a kinda bad idea.  Today's Doonesbury is a good counterpoint--and I'm actually sort of amazed Trudeau can get away with talking so bluntly about these things in the comics page--but it's all for naught.  We don't care about that!  C'mon!  Big sale at wal-mart!


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