Marvel Comics have earned the wrath of Fox News and the Tea Party Movement for featuring protestors holding placards with Tea Party slogans on in the latest issue of Captain America. Hilariously for an all ages comic which was at one point vetted by the Comics Code Authority, it even includes the slogan “Tea Bag the Libs before they Tea Bag You!”
So far all very hilarious but it is a shame that Marvel have capitulated so quickly, with Editor in Chief Joe Quesada blaming the letterer and insisting that the protestors were not meant to be Tea Party protestors but rather “a generic protest group” who just happen to be “anti-tax”.
To this poor bear of little brain on the other side of the Atlantic, Quesada’s distinction – and the American right’s indignation – are both a little hard to understand. What Quesada seems to be suggesting is that if an explicit link between the real Tea Party movement had not been made that somehow the implicit link would not have been there. Meanwhile the Tea Party Movement themselves seem to be getting their knickers in a twist because of the use of a placard which, for anyone else, would be excruciatingly embarrassing.
Within all this is the more substantive accusation that Marvel were implying that the Tea Party Movement was racist, on the grounds that a black character did not feel comfortably mingling in a crowd of “angry white folks”. Quesada’s defence here is somewhat more robust, and rightly so. He could have gone further: not only was it realistic to give a black character qualms about the protestors but isn’t it an issue the Tea Party themselves need to address?
All this comic has done is hold a mirror up to the Tea Party and ask questions (whether Quesada is comfortable about admitting this or not). If the Tea Party don’t like what they see, they need to ask themselves questions. But then, since when has that stopped them from doing anything?
The writing’s on the