Klavan On The Culture

Captain America Versus the Unmentionable Enemy!


The new film, Captain America:  The First Avenger is tons of fun. The first half—the origin story and the Captain’s maiden mission—is wonderful.  The second half is a little over-plotted and rushed, but it’s still a pleasure. The ending is smart and exciting.

I found a couple of politically correct irritants along the way, but nothing major. I’m heartily sick of the idiotic scene in which a petite woman decks a full-grown man with a single punch. I’m not sure why selling war bonds through patriotic showmanship should be depicted as a cynical business (as here and in Flags of our Fathers). And while I’m delighted to see some of our talented black actors get work in a left-wing industry that too often ignores them, a touch of historical verisimilitude about contemporary race relations would also be nice.

But, you know, whatever.  This is a good and good-hearted movie, patriotic without being jingoistic, and whatever PC burrs got under my saddle were smoothed away by the climactic exchange between Captain A and arch-villain Red Skull:

Red Skull:  I have seen the future, Captain, and there are no flags.

Captain America:  Not in my future.

As we in the rest of Team America might say:  F-yeah!

My real complaint, then, is not about Captain America itself but about all the films like it that are not being made. You know what I’m talking about: the films set in the modern day in which brave American heroes and super-heroes take on the defense of liberty against its contemporary enemies, the Islamo-fascists.

I’ve been watching movies for many years now and I believe I’m beginning to understand that the Nazis were not altogether pleasant fellows but, dude, our fathers took that garbage out over half a century ago. Are our soldiers today any less brave? Is our cause any less just? Are the jihadis any less of an adversary to everything in the human story that is good and right and true?

Just so you don’t have to peek at the paper of the student next to you, the answers to the above questions are no, no and no. So why should it be difficult in any way for our filmmakers to tell stories celebrating America’s ongoing fight against the Islamist foes of freedom?

Well, one reason, of course, is fear. Islamists kill people who oppose them and if you’re sitting fat and happy in a mansion in Beverly Hills, you might not immediately understand why you should risk your life to encourage and glorify some other fellow’s son who’s off fighting jihadis in a lonely outpost beneath the Hindu Kush.

Another reason may well be delicacy. Even beyond any PC horse manure about “Islamophobia” (and you gotta be kidding me with that malarkey!), a popular artist may feel a reasonable concern about offending peaceful and freedom-supporting Muslims.

But I think we all know there is a far deeper problem than this. Our friends on the left, in their distorting obsession with identity politics, have talked themselves out of the habit of distinguishing between good and evil actions and beliefs. This is moral insanity. The Nazis (as Captain America takes pains to tell us) were not bad guys because they were Germans. Or because they were white. Or because they smoked their cigarettes with their hands upside-down, although that last is a killing offense. They were bad guys because their philosophy was vile and they were willing to slaughter and conquer to impose it on the world.

Likewise the Islamists. They are not bad guys because they are Arabs—they are not all Arabs, in fact. And no matter what one may think of Islam as a religion in general, there is no question that it can be and is practiced charitably and inoffensively by many.

No, the jihadis are bad guys because their version of Islam is an offense to humanity and they are willing to slaughter and conquer to enslave the world under shariah law, itself an atrocity against freedom. The American soldiers, spies and other lawmen fighting against them in defense of liberty are our real life Captain Americas. They should be celebrated in movies, songs and stories just as much, and just as often, as their fathers before them.


A postscript advertisement for myself:  The Final Hour – shown above with Amazon link – and the four book Homelanders series which it concludes may indeed be the only adventure stories for Young Adults currently celebrating the battle against Islamo-fascism. They’re good books too. Read them. Now.

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