TW for a laundry list of Holocaust references, nothing graphic.
This is going to be quick and dirty, because I don’t have time for links or images. I have other things I’m supposed to be doing with this day. If you’ve read my Twitter feed today, a lot of this is going to sound familiar.
We wanted Steve Rogers to be bi, and Marvel gave us a Nazi. His unofficial tagline is “The Bisexual America Deserves,” and now, whoopsie, he’s a sleeper agent! For a neo-Nazi organization!
Are these two things related, do you think? Is this punishment for something, on some level? Swear to god, if he kisses a man at any point in this run, it will be such blatantly offensive queer-coding. Because obviously, queer people are always evil. Obviously, you are only allowed to be queer if you are already beyond the pale. Like being, for example, a Nazi. (Who weren’t so crazy about the queers, if I recall correctly, and you bet your ass I do.)
Look, this is a longer post for a different day, but I have always thought that Steve and Bucky are Jewish-coded and queer-coded. I believe in that, and as a queer Jewish woman, it brings me much joy. So, yes, this is a problem for me. It’s a huge problem for me. One of the first things he ever did was punch Hitler in the face. He’s the quintessential power fantasy, the Ubermensch, but for the good guys. (Spoiler alert: the Americans are supposed to be the good guys in this fantasy.) He was created by two Jewish men in 1941. He’s supposed to be hope. He’s supposed to be the best ideals we’ve got. He’s the son of immigrants, for god’s sake. He grew up in Brooklyn. The qualities in his heart even though he wasn’t as strong as the other guys, even though he was skinny and bullied and asthmatic and drew comics that made him capable of being Captain America.
But whether you sign on for my Jewish and or queer reads of them or not, can we at least agree it is specious and wrong to make Steve Rogers, LITERAL CAPTAIN AMERICA, even temporarily struggle with whether LITERAL NAZIS make some GOOD POINTS? It’s insulting. It’s dangerous, in the current social and political climate. It’s dangerous to ME.
Marvel, you do remember what the Nazis stand for, right? You do know why they’re the worst bad guys you can come up with in the modern Western canon, right? You remember?
I remember. I remember a lot of things. Not because I was there. Because I hear the stories. Because stories matter. Stories about packed train cars and smokestacks, stories about being separated from your family, never to see them again. Stories about death, starvation, rape, “medical experimentation.” Purple triangles. Yellow stars. Stories about the people in power wanting me dead. About how that can always happen again, and we have to watch for it, we have to be ready, because it could happen again.
Steve Rogers is not supposed to, even for a minute, believe in those things. Steve Rogers is not supposed to make me afraid.
So no, I am not going to be here for Steve Rogers grappling with what Jews managed, through vicious, vicious difficulty, to have accepted as universal evil. With antisemitism on the rise again against Muslims and Jews, and violence against LGBTQ+ people, I do not have one second of patience, one moment of sympathy, for this. Do it with some other character. Do it with someone who doesn’t wear the stars and stripes. Or don’t do it at all. Give us an enemy to fight, how about a blowhard billionaire who wants to be president? That could be compelling. And topical.
I’m learning more dark things about what really goes on in my country, what people are really willing to believe, than I ever wanted to know. Than I ever thought remained. I was naive, and I was wrong. But that’s why I loved Captain America. That’s why Steve matters to me. Because he’s on my side. He punched Hitler in the face in, what, 1941? Before America even officially entered the war?
Why do you think he did that, Marvel? What do you think he was responding to?
Right now he looks a little bit too much like who you are. Not me. No. Steve Rogers, currently, even for a second, believes I am subhuman. You did that, Marvel. You sat around and decided to do that.
This is awful. This is awful, and upsetting, and I have other things to do today.