Are about to click off in disgust, and delete my link from their own bookmarks, etc. and I don’t blame them. But if they aren’t, this post will do it.
Thing is, I despise comic books.
There, I said it. And I’ll say it again. I never bought them new, and when I did read some, whether they were a neighbors or a relatives, I went through them like shit through a goose, and it was as if I had not read anything at all.
Then I got my hands on a copy of a “Tom Sawyer” graphic novel. Now, I must have been, ten? Nine? I had already read the book cover to cover many times. I looked in horror at this… abomination. And raged inside. Hell, the parts of the book that made the book worth reading were not even there. And that wasn’t the worst part, I thought to myself, what about all those other comic books I’d read. What if they had all kinds of interesting parts, and I was cheated out of them, to make the whole story fit on a couple dozen pages of not so great artwork? I’d been gypped and I didn’t even know it. It was unfair, and stupid, and I began to look on the other kids who read comics by the dozen as- frankly- idiots. Oh, it wasn’t always true, but a lot of the time, those kids had difficulty getting through the comics, let alone a real book- and reading aloud in class, which was still a thing when I was in school, there were still some in junior high that were obviously still struggling with words over two syllables.
So I never looked at another one again literally until I was in my 40’s, and then it was mostly for the artwork because the artwork had come a long way, and there is some legitimately good stuff out there.
We have become what I think of as a comic book nation. Nobody wants to sit through Moby Dick, they want the Graphic Novel version, without so many words to bother with. We live on the soundbytes given us by the media and make our lives’ decisions based on what Oprah or Hannity told us, without reading the whole novel ourselves.
Now, we can hardly be judged for not knowing everything, but we bear the responsibility for not demanding more.
Because we have not, our politicians are comic book characters and not really human beings. We expect them to be superheroes, we’re pissed when they’re not, we feel betrayed, and we give up. A lot of people are politically disengaged because they have been disappointed over and over again, and it’s very difficult to blame them, but we must blame them. The politically disengaged are the reason we ended up with the mess we have now. If you thought Obama was going to be Captain Compassion and fix the world for everyone you’re a fool. If you thought either of the bushes was going to be Reagan you have lost your mind.
We have as a nation dragged the nations politics not so much to the left or the right, but away from reality. The Nation has had quite a few years of leftist comic book land, and we may be, in Trump, about to get us a good dose of rightist comic book land- no, not actual conservatism, but a caricature of it, designed to appeal to the comic book readers and their ilk. In soundbites and in infomercials we are sold a bill of goods, and enough people are buying it that things look almost as bleak as they can be.
I hold no hope that enough people ever again will be politically engaged enough to ever accomplish anything meaningful. I will always be politically engaged because I won’t let this country become a shithole because I did nothing, but short of beating, I can’t do a damned thing to convince anyone else, if they’re not already convinced.
it is probably impossible we will ever escape from Comic Book America, where drama begins on page three and everything is hunky dory by the end of the episode. And while the choices we have are ludicrous, we won’t see them improving anytime soon. We have the most cartoonish president in US history, elected and re-elected on cartoon promises, with cartoon villains as good as any cartoon villains, and we may be about to elect another cartoon president.
I’m not confronted by this. I was taught by people who knew, many many years ago, to be a law unto myself,. and I always will be. I have always found ways to do pretty much what I want, and I imagine that I always will.
I really do not want Hillary to be the president. I feel about the same way about Trump. But if Trump wins, it will be the best entertainment we have had in generations. You want comicbook America, you’re about to get it good and hard.