I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not an aficionado of comics. I had a phase where I collected the GI Joe comics from Marvel. I’ve hung out with the likes of Clint and Justin all my life so I’m not completely clueless. Still, my knowledge of comics is largely limited to that which escapes the local comic store into the mainstream of pop culture.
When it comes to the practitioners of the comic arts, I know about Marvel and DC and a few others. I know about Stan Lee and I’ve heard of Frank Miller.
Frank Miller…he’s been in the news recently, hasn’t he? Didn’t he commit the unpardonable sin of being a member of the entertainment industry who had something to say about politics? After all, if we listen to the right in this country, we don’t need liberal Hollywood elites venturing into politics, right?
Oh, wait. He attacked liberals. He’s okay. He’s not like Sarandon, or Robbins, or Fonda , or Streisand, or The Dixie Chicks. He’s standing up for all that is good and right…by calling his fellow Americans “louts, thieves and rapists” for the sin of peaceably assembling to petition their government for redress of grievances.
Now, it should surprise no one that I am philosophically aligned with Occupy Wall Street, even if I haven’t been to a protest yet. I’m an unrepentant idealist who is hoping against hope that this movement can have enough impact to change the course of our nation. I’m also aware of the power arrayed against the movement, so my hope is tempered by a healthy dose of reality.
So this begs the question of what someone who supports the Occupy movement is to do with Mr. Miller. We saw what happened when The Dixie Chicks spoke out about The Bush Administration. Fox News and the right wing echo chamber erupted with calls for boycotts to the point where the Dixie Chicks were taken off the playlist of Clear Channel stations across the country. Shouldn’t all the liberals in comic fandom rise up and get Miller’s work pulled from comic shelves? Shouldn’t Batman become persona non grata? Should we not crush him?
No. We shouldn’t. His right to say stupid things should be defended. If you don’t want to give him anymore money, don’t buy his work. There’s no need to picket his panel at the next convention. There’s no need to do anything more than challenge his comments when confronted by them. But if being American means anything, it is standing up for the rights of those with whom we disagree.
Of course then you rhetorically beat them to a pulp with a superior argument.