Or Will You Ever Be?
Hymie Simon died five days ago. Jacob Kurtzberg kicked in ’94. Better known as Jack Kirby and Joe Simon, they together, late in 1940, created a hugely-successful, iconic goyische asskicking character named Captain America in an inital comic printing run that went to 800,000 copies.
In a better United States, Captain America, appearing before the House UnAmerican Activities Committee, could freely state that his real name was Shlomo (not Steve) Rogers, or Chaim, or Aaron, without creating a ruinous sensation in the press.
Imagine, if you will, Hayward, Wisconsin in 1915; and a lone, exhausted, Ojibwe woman giving difficult birth to her terribly premature son, in the snowy field behind the outbuilding of a redneck bar. Perhaps it’s a daughter. Chinatown. The alley behind a mosque. The back porch of a juke joint, cantina, Armenian restaurant…pretty much anywhere that pits the principles articulated by the Declaration of Independence to the ultimate test of commercial success in the actual Land of the Free.
I’m prejudiced. Kind of partial to the tale that thoroughly expresses the indomitable spirit in a scrawny, little, victimized Indian kid who becomes the personified emblem of a global struggle to resist total war (an American invention first practiced on Confederate sympathizers and Plains Indians) and all “permissible” variations on the theme of human extermination. How would Hiawatha do it? Taking coups from Hitler.
I’d like to live in that other America. Maybe it’s the native america. The question that persists is how to go about making that relatively ideal America synonymous with this crappier one.
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