With David Forsmark’s popular article earlier this month on the 7 Most Badass Founding Fathers, there seems to be some confusion about what it means to be “badass.” Some thought such a word inappropriate or even childish in reference to the very serious military leaders, politicians, and political theorists of the founding era.
It’s time to rescue “badass” from his mysterious origins, dust him off, and send him out onto the main stage where he belongs, as one of pop culture’s best imaginative metaphors for masculine bravado. This is a tool advocates of traditional, classical liberal values should grasp and take with them as they go forth fixing our broken culture.
The concept forever embedded itself within Generation X and Millennial pop cultural consciousness through the most badass character of 1990s cinema: Jules Winfield, as performed by Samuel L. Jackson and created by writers Quentin Tarantino and Roger Avary. The famous “burger scene” in which Jules combines witty lines, tough confidence, and smooth intellectualism (a fictionalized Ezekiel 25:17) before dispensing justice crystallizes the concept. Brains + Brawn + Controlled Emotion = the tools to accomplish one’s mission.
The Badass doesn’t just talk, feel, and think — he combines all three to then create and do. (Hence why the founders in creating our nation were uniquely badass.) Defining manly cool in this fashion has been the task of Generation X’s men for the last 20 years. And we see it across genres, mediums, and even in real life.
Tarantino collaborator and fellow Gen X-er Robert Rodriguez has further helped define the badass in the action genre. The nameless Mariachi in Desperado played by Antonio Banderas captures it in this memorable action sequence where one man overcomes an entire bar full of thugs:
Rodriguez’s Sin City, adapting artist Frank Miller’s graphic novel series, also offers a good definition of the Badass persona:
But Generation X Badass isn’t limited to pop culture and fantasy.
Megan Fox wrote about a recent real-life example of a Generation X Badass last weekend when Wayne Brady responded to Bill Maher complaining that Obama resembled him instead of the criminal Suge Knight:
“So, that means it’s a diss to Obama to be called me because he wants a brother-brother, or what he perceives. Just because you f*** black hookers, just because you have that particular black experience….
“Now, I’m not saying I’m Billy Badass, but if Bill Maher has his perception of what’s black wrapped up, I would gladly slap the sh** out of Bill Maher in the middle of the street, and then I want to see what Bill Maher would do.”
“Now, Bill Maher would call the cops and he would have his lawyer — I’d get sued and lose my house and it’s not worth it for me,” he continued. “But the black man part of me would be so satisfied to slap the shit out of him in front of Cocoa and Ebony and Fox, the three ladies of the night that he has hired … and Fancy, who also happened to be named Tyrique at one point.”
Confronting bullies like Maher is central to being a badass. And doing it by cutting to the core — identifying Maher’s own personal racial hypocrisy — is badass.
In the political realm, one man forever defined Generation X Badass:
As Andrew Breitbart was to cultural Marxism with New Media, my friend Bosch Fawstin is to the stealth jihadists with his chosen medium of graphic art. The second issue of his long-awaited The Infidel is now on sale as digital download for $3.00 here. The first issue is available here.
The Infidel tells the story of twin brothers Sal and Killian Duke who respond very differently to the mass murders of 9/11. One of them, untroubled by the religious motivations of the killers, reaffirms his commitment to Islam. The other, Killian, completes his rejection of his family’s faith by pledging to use his artistic talents to create an anti-jihad comic hero named Pigman.
The Infidel obviously draws from the author’s own life. Bosch is an ex-Muslim and an Objectivist. And he employs a comic technique utilized by other graphic novel auteurs. Just as Grant Morrison made King Mob of The Invisibles resemble himself, Warren Ellis’s Spider Jerusalem of Transmetropolitan mirrored his creator, and Neil Gaiman cast the The Sandman‘s brooding Lord Morpheus as his avatar, Bosch has created his digital doppelgänger in Killian.
I wonder: Is Bosch drawing a character based on himself or is he introducing the world to the fictional character idealization that he strives to be? (Deep down aren’t we all just trying to play a fictional character version of ourselves?)
I won’t spoil the plot — or reveal the provocative cliff-hanger that concludes this installment. Instead, for this collection of some of my favorite excerpts from The Infidel #2 I’ve replicated the style of my review of Dennis Prager’s Still the Best Hope, juxtaposing images and embedded videos along with an observation about how Bosch’s work relates to the concept of the badass.
In preparing to engage with Bosch’s world, a good place to start is this panel from Table for One, his first graphic novel about an individualist waiter making his way in the treacherous, superficial world of fine dining:
1. It’s badass to state your views in your own terms even when you know people will willfully misinterpret you.
Bosch knows that whenever he talks about “hating Islam,” that the empty-headed will immediately interpret that as “racist against Muslims and Arabs.” He doesn’t care. He’s willing to allow for the misinterpretation so that when he’s attacked for it he can smack down the attack, thus demonstrating his moral and intellectual superiority.
2. It’s badass to take responsibility for your own happiness.
3. It’s badass to confront people with the evil they want you and the rest of the world to ignore.
Today all that’s necessary to establish the truth of the apartheid, slave-state conditions of those trapped behind the modern day Iron Curtain of Islam’s Shari’ah law? Translate their own TV broadcasts.
4. It’s badass to learn how to control one’s animal instincts, the primal desire within each of us to kill and destroy. The badass knows how to channel his energy and his talent into a discipline in order to change the world as he sees fit.
5.The badass has his eyes rooted in the real world, and will bring people’s attention back from the theoretical fantasy lands of the pseudo-intellectuals back to the practical, right-now, day-to-day existence of flesh and blood people.
6. A truth-based world is badass. Another writer and thinker who has written books challenging jihadists is Howard Bloom. In his most recent book, The Genius of the Beast: A Radical Re-Vision of Capitalism, he lays out his two rules of science:
1. The truth at any price, including the price of your life.
2. And look at things right under your nose as if you’ve never seen them before. Look at things you and everyone around you take for granted as if you’ve never seen them before. Follow your amazement. And track down answers to the questions your wonder throws your way.
7. It’s badass to set up logical traps for your opponents to stumble into.
And with the ad hominem logical fallacy that everyone from Michael Moore leftists to Ron Paul paleos stumble into in making the stupid chickenhawk argument then the number of possible ways to rebut runs into infinity.
8. It’s badass to boil the issue down to its root essentials.
My heart is really with the Zuhdi Jassers and Irshad Manjis of the world who want to fight not for a “moderate” but a reformed Islam that rejects Koranic literalism and Shari’ah while embracing separation of mosque and state. But I have to confess that my head remains more sympathetic to the analysis of Islam articulated by the ex-Muslims and more “hard-line” anti-Jihad activists like Bosch, Robert Spencer, Ibn Warraq, Wafa Sultan, and Nonie Darwish. Their case that the roots of 9/11 are in the character of Mohammad (whether he’s real or made up matters little when men make him their model) is difficult to rebut. And their arguments that jihadists aren’t “misinterpreting” the Koran’s calls to violence also make sense.
I’m just not sure how Islam can be reformed when at its root are totalitarian tendencies. Jesus was a pacifist; Mohammad was a warlord with child wives who said it was acceptable to capture sex slaves. While I respect the sincerity and good will of the Muslim reformers, I haven’t yet figured out why they don’t just do what Bosch and others did in embracing a religion or philosophy with less baggage. Guess I should add Jasser’s new book A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot’s Fight to Save His Faith and Manji’s Allah, Liberty and Love: The Courage to Reconcile Faith and Freedom to the reading list…
9. It’s badass to wake people up to the evil that you live with everyday but they have no idea exists.
I think the reason why PigMan is so misunderstood is because so few of us have any idea what it’s like to be in Bosch’s shoes, to live every day as an apostate from Islam, marked for death. Existing full-time in that world I can understand why he’d want to imagine someone like PigMan into existence.
Every time a progressive goes off trashing Ayaan Hirsi Ali, comparing her to Lady Al Qaeda, or some blogger unloads his politically correct bigotry on Bosch as a “racist Islamophobe,” I wish I could reach through the screen and shake them awake: “How can you be more outraged by a comic book’s harsh words than the fact that the man who drew it has to live every day of his life looking over his shoulder, worried that some lone-wolf jihadist will do what Islam has commanded needs to be done to all apostates? Real people’s lives are in jeopardy here.“
I wish there really was a PigMan to fight for the ex-Muslims living with a gun under their pillow and the closet-secularist Muslims terrified to leave their oppressive religion once and for all.
Related at PJ Lifestyle:
Seven Images That Will Make The Occupiers Cry by Bosch Fawstin
More on Comics from Duane Lester:
And from Hannah Sternberg: