So I’ll link to this long but interesting post on the Sad Puppies controversy, which includes a link to Wright’s rant on the newest Avengers line-up (in comics, not Age of Ultron). It includes Ms. Marvel (Pakistani-American), Rescue (white but a woman), the new Cap (Sam Wilson, American but black), Vision (synthetic human), the female Thor—and without “any Christian White Male Adults who might act like a Father figure, a leader, an alpha male, a hero.” As you can imagine given his horror at the female Thor, this is a bad thing from his perspective.
This is a fairly common right-wing lament: if white men dominate everything, that’s just normal, but if white men are squeezed out, that’s an atrocity. Pundit John Leo has made the point many times in his career that just because women in a particular profession or competition are under-represented (ditto blacks, Muslims, etc.), that could be a statistical fluke. It doesn’t by itself prove discrimination. But then he wrote a column explaining that if all the finalist in a scholarship contest one year were non-white, that clearly proved the judges had done some form of affirmative action. He’s written other columns which show he’s perfectly fine pinning an argument on statistics as long as the statistics prove white men are oppressed.
I don’t claim Leo and Wright share the same views, but I’m confident Wright, who thinks women who fight are just men with breasts, wouldn’t be bothered if we had the classic Silver Age formula (all white guys, one woman). And it’s not as if white male leader heroes are in short supply in comics. And contrary to his column, there’s no suggestion white men have been excluded or shut out.
However the real point of this post is the venom Wright unleashes on Ms. Marvel’s membership. Because putting a Muslim on the team is like having a World War Two comic with a Nazi super-hero—”one of the those nice Nazi party members who do not approve of Hitler, or the other official doctrines, written in the official literature, of the organization to which she willingly belongs. Such a comic character would appeal to the moderate Nazis whom we do not wish to alienate, since, after all, Hitler highjacked the noble institution and motives of the Party.”(Wright is apparently unaware there have actually been German and Japanese super-heroes in WW II-set books (not from the era itself). Sgt. Fury’s WW II Howling Commandoes recruited a German at one point; Tsunami of the Young All-Stars was a former Japanese agent. So the idea isn’t as crazy as he thinks).
Second, the base of Wright’s thesis is bullshit. Islam isn’t National Socialism. It hasn’t declared war on the world. Some Muslims have declared their faith requires them to kill and conquer; other Muslims disagree and condemn them. The idea that presenting a Muslim who doesn’t want to kill all non-believers is some kind of propaganda lie is nonsense.His argument is the equivalent of arguing we shouldn’t have Catholic protagonists because they all endorse the Church’s cover-up of child molestation. Or that since some Christians still favor the death penalty for gays, therefore having a Christian who doesn’t hate gays is an unbelievable character. Except of course, that his argument against Muslims is echoed by lots of people in the real world who believe Muslims shouldn’t be treated equally: they have less right to open mosques than Christians to open churches, less right to worship free of government surveillance, less right to be in politics (Glenn Beck once said he wanted to ask Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison if he could prove he wasn’t working with terrorists).Distorting the views of any faith or its worshippers is toxic. But targeting a minority that’s already the subject of bigotry is particularly poisonous. (Image by Adrian Alphona, rights with current holder)