Editors note: On July 22, 2011, a short book on superheroes and whiteness will be released. Expect to see a few Web sites carry an article or two (in truncated form) that will be featured in this tome. This is a passion of mine – along with college football – and the date coincides with the release of Captain America: The First Avenger.
|Captain America finding out Will Smith wasn’t cast to play him|
Fitting that Harvard University would publish a study – Shaping the Nation: Estimating the Impact of Fourth of July Using a Natural Experiment – that finds July 4th parades as nothing more than jingoistic events that benefit Republicans only:
Democratic political candidates can skip this weekend’s July 4th parades. A new Harvard University study finds that July 4th parades energize only Republicans, turn kids into Republicans, and help to boost the GOP turnout of adults on Election Day.
“Fourth of July celebrations in the United States shape the nation’s political landscape by forming beliefs and increasing participation, primarily in favor of the Republican Party,” said the report from Harvard.
“The political right has been more successful in appropriating American patriotism and its symbols during the 20th century. Survey evidence also confirms that Republicans consider themselves more patriotic than Democrats. According to this interpretation, there is a political congruence between the patriotism promoted on Fourth of July and the values associated with the Republican party. Fourth of July celebrations in Republican dominated counties may thus be more politically biased events that socialize children into Republicans,” write Harvard Kennedy School Assistant Professor David Yanagizawa-Drott and Bocconi University Assistant Professor Andreas Madestam. [Enjoy political cartoons about President Obama.]
Their findings also suggest that Democrats gain nothing from July 4th parades, likely a shocking result for all the Democratic politicians who march in them. [Check out editorial cartoons about the Democrats.]
“There is no evidence of an increased likelihood of identifying as a Democrat, indicating that Fourth of July shifts preferences to the right rather than increasing political polarization,” the two wrote.
We live in a nation where the United States national soccer team was booed viciously on American soil, in what amounted to a ‘home game’ for the visiting Mexican national team in Los Angeles:
Speaking to the LA Times, Mexican supporter Victor Sanchez said: ‘I love this country, it has given me everything that I have, and I’m proud to be part of it.’
The 37-year-old Monrovia resident reflected the sentiment of most of the 93,000 strong crowd when he added: ‘But yet, I didn’t have a choice to come here, I was born in Mexico, and that is where my heart will always be.’
It is only in comic books that some concept of the United States still exists: the villains and criminals are all still white guys (a departure from real world crime rates); the nation appears to be permanently stuck in 1960s American demographics; and Superman renouncing his U.S. citizenship is meaningful in any way, when the concepts he vowed to defend have long died.
But it is one character whose debut on the big screen (discounting the horrible early 1990s film) curiously doesn’t coincide with July 4th that has scratching our head. Steve Rogers, that 4F weakling who volunteered for a military experiment and became the super soldier known as Captain America, will see his story told on July 22 with the release of Captain America: The First Avenger.
Knowing that we live in Black-Run America (BRA) it would be wise to point out that in Marvel Comics lore (as of 2002), Rogers was retconned as the second Captain America with a Black person being the original, an obvious homage to the hoax known as the dastardly Tuskegee Experiment.
Just as July 4th parades are seen as a way to turn kids into Republicans – the ‘purported’ party for white people – and have them love the flag, daring to release Captain America: The First Avenger over the July 4th weekend in theaters would wrap this film in a saccharine patriotism that should no longer exist.
White people can have no heroes anymore and daring to make Captain America a hero on par with Will Smith would be heresy. Wait, you forgot that July 4th was designated as “The Release of the Latest Will Smith” movie?:
I just realized something. None of this matters. A critique of Hancock is an essay in irrelevance. It’s Independence Day Week, and six times since 1996, that’s meant a Will Smith movie — a mega-giga-gigantic hit. Independence Day; Men in Black; Wild Wild West; Men in Black II; I, Robot: He shows up, people line up. Thomas Jefferson used to own this holiday, but now the former Fresh Prince does. So why should critics even bother to review a new Will Smith movie? You’ll go see it anyway.
It’s my theory — and I have the stats to back me up — that Hollywood is in its first ever post-movie-star era. Big celebrity names no longer guarantee box-office hits. Casting dramatic stars like Tom Hanks, George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, Cate Blanchett, Angelina Jolie, etc., no longer guarantees a movie’s commercial success; and the more reliable comedy stars, from Adam Sandler to Ben Stiller, lose much of their audiences when they try something a little different.
To all this, Smith would say ha, and rightly so, since he’s the big exception. He actually deserves that overused epithet “the last movie star.” For more than a decade, he’s been immune to moviegoers’ fickle fashions. His films have earned $4.5 billion worldwide. And except for his pro bono work in Ali (for which he won an Academy Award nomination) and Robert Redford’s The Legend of Bagger Vance, every Will Smith movie has been a hit or smash, earning at least $100 million in North America and another $100 million or more abroad. Sometimes lots more.
So now you know why Captain America: The First Avenger couldn’t come out over the highly logical July 4th weekend. What’s more American then Captain America, fighting to win World War II and being the ultimate embodiment of the dictum E pluribus unum?
Well, when you remember that the United States soccer team was booed by Mexicans who have colonized Los Angeles – ethnically cleansing Black people from Compton in the process – you realize quickly that Captain America, a blue-eyed and blond hair warrior, can’t go the way of July 4th parades.