Captain America: The Winter Soldier Audio Commentary:

“If you’re not a comic book fan, when you think ‘Captain America’, you probably think ‘jingoist’, a propaganda piece. But if you know the comics, every time something happens in the world, he gets to address it: the hippies, the civil rights movement, the Watergate. And our MCU Cap missed all that, he missed 9/11. So he gets to address where we are now without having seen what forced us to make these decisions. He did not have the same slow descent into the cynicism that we all had over the last 40 years. He comes out with fresh eyes.

One of the great things in the comics that we hoped to replicate in the movie is that his reaction is never the sort of knee-jerk old man conservative reaction you would think the man dressed in an American flag would have. He exemplifies the spirit of America, not a party, not a government. He’s never going to fall on a political line. He stands for an ideal and he stands for principles that are translatable across the board. What he is against in this film is subversion, subterfuge and lies, that line between freedom and fear.”

Ultimately… [American Sniper] is not even about Chris Kyle. The young man turned sniper is the physical incarnation of White America. Viewed through the third scene, Kyle becomes the stand-in for America’s imperialism, the embodiment of itself as the Sheep Dog bestowed with the “gift of aggression” and the overpowering charge to protect the Western way of life by any means necessary, and, of course, with God’s blessing. At this point we have to ask the obvious question: If Chris Kyle represents the Sheep Dog of White America, who then is the Wolf?

In overwhelmingly jingoistic fashion, film maker Clint Eastwood answers repeatedly: Muslims. After watching Kyle — aka, America — repeatedly kill one Iraqi after another, all of whom miraculously are guilty of some crime, it is hard to arrive at any other conclusion. No matter how wrapped in star-spangled banners, Eastwood essentially tells us the real crime is being born brown, Iraqi, and Muslim.

I mean honestly who do people think they’re expressing solidarity with by filtering the French flag on their pictures?
Like as a gay I know how utterly meaningless it is when people display or use rainbows as gestures of “solidarity”–that’s so empty, it doesn’t mean anything. It doesn’t mean you know jack about the history of our struggle, it doesn’t mean you’ll speak out against popular but fucked campaigns, it doesn’t mean you actually support us or do the hard work of accompliceship– it ONLY means you want to be seen visibly taking part in something thru a gesture that requires no effort but gives you cred.

France was one of the biggest colonial powers–France is the reason Haiti is and will be impoverished for god knows how long.
France as a country is racist and xenophobic and STILL imperialist.

There are ways to support victims and survivors of a bombing that don’t include buying into and spreading jingoistic nationalist BULLSHIT for an imperial power that still destroys other countries.

Don't Be Snobs, Medievalists
Those "amateurs" just might save your discipline.

…There is now a manifest discrepancy between the large number of students who request that we address their love of Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones, and medieval-themed video and computer games on the one hand, and the decreasing number of medievalists hired to replace retiring colleagues on the other. We are no longer protected by our involvement in preserving European heritages, an involvement often joined up with primordialist, jingoist, and colonialist mentalities discredited in the Western world by the 1970s. And we are as endangered as the rest of our humanities colleagues by the advent of new areas of scholarship, the intimidating popularity of the STEM disciplines, and politically motivated cuts to the liberal arts.

What can we do?

Perhaps we should begin by admitting that in enjoying the splendid isolation that allowed us to learn a lot about medieval culture, we have failed to share that knowledge with the public. As a result, a single 178-minute movie, Braveheart, could wipe out what 150 years of scholarship had established about the Right of the Lord’s First Night (a feudal lord’s rumored right to take the virginity of his serfs’ newlywed daughters). Meticulous source study since the Enlightenment about the horrific crimes committed during the medieval crusades hasn’t stopped schools from naming their teams Crusaders. And tens of thousands of learned books and articles about medieval knighthood have had no influence on white supremacists’ appropriation of allegedly chivalric virtues. It is clearly time to lower the drawbridge from the ivory tower and reconnect with the public.


Also TBH it was weird that during the weird jingoistic, nationalistic post-9/11 fervor of the Bush Regime, that in among all the xenophobia and racism and fascist policy, there was also such a strong Anti-French sentiment in America. Like, there was a time when the right-wingers would photoshop a beret on just about anyone they thought was unpatriotic (which was anyone who even leaned left politically). The movie “Talladega Nights The Ballad of Ricky Bobby” really only made sense with the social context that “snobbish gay Frenchman” was a republican-created strawman intended to associate progressive politics with elitism and lack of patriotism

the term poc is used by many who identify themselves as poc, it seems to work for some people, though i’ve also seen quite a few complaints about it being problematic

since i’m white, i don’t really feel it’s my place to say that this particular turn of phrase is good or bad as it relates to the people who identify themselves as such, we’ve generally adopted it as a phrase to mean non-white and that seems to work in the us (i won’t pretend to know)

however, as someone who is greek and slightly more aware of race relations within the mediterranean and europe compared to most us-bloggers, i find it simplistic at best to use the same term to describe people living in that region

skin color has little to do with how these civilizations have historically interacted and how that affects the relationship between the modern countries. jingoistic islamophobia for example is high in greece, though people have to take into account that this has mostly to do with being occupied by the ottoman empire for 400 years with tensions between greece and turkey skipping between heightened and actual war every so often (though it doesn’t mean both sides are not racist af- greeks at least are)

it also largely ignores the complexities of actual race in a region that played let’s-invade-the-neighbors every second tuesday. greeks can have very pale or nut brown skin, quite a few of them have light colored eyes, or curved noses, or very very curly hair. we’re a genetic potluck of the people that invaded us and that we invaded.

both the players below are as greek as can be, but one is as pale as i am and the other looks like what you probably assume the average greek to be. 

thing is: both consider themselves white and within greece enjoy the same privileges. we might have some problems with europe, but that isn’t the rest of europe exercising their white privilege, because it has shit to do with race the way americans perceive it. it has a lot more to do with othering and socioeconomic factors.

that is not to say that there isn’t for example anti-blackness in europe, far from it. it’s a discussion that needs to happen. but mediterrenean europeans consider themselves white (and are racist) and people label them poc anyway cause they’re tan. and while polish people are as white as can be, if you think that within europe they are privileged boy do i have news for you.

similarly, i have commented before about how much i hate the term “white-passing jewish person”, because any white privilege an american might assume they have is simply not in play here and given the well known historical parameters it is beyond insulting

it’s also amusing to me how the portuguese and spanish have achieved poc status by people who claim to know history. hint: the oppression had been coming from their side for centuries before they and the rest of mediterranean europe became scapegoats for a failing system (and the much revered ancient greek culture everybody loves was built on slavery in case someone thinks i’m being biased)

and yet certain american bloggers insist on making the distinction between poc and non-poc in europe(and i assume the term doesn’t really apply in other continents from the little i know about the relationship between china and japan) cause it suits a narrative they know, without giving a damn about the truth and how their false narrative affects a discussion they should observe and not insist on trying to rewrite

NO, it’s not going to happen here … No Gas Chambers.

However, more Laws based upon White Christian “Morals”, more Police Violence Against Black Americans and other Minorities, more Disparity in Income, more Reductionistic Jingoistic Education Creating Ignorance …. THESE Things ARE Happening!  Now!


remember in inglourious basterds when goebbels made a jingoistic propaganda film about a sniper that killed hundreds of americans and hitler thought it was the best movie he’d ever seen?

well in real life clint eastwood made a jingoistic propaganda film about a sniper that killed hundreds of iraqis and it’s broken all of your box office records and is getting massive critical acclaim. 

so… if i’m following this right, and correct me if i’m not, the american sniper debacle now requires a ‘bear muslim’ to shoot up a theatre full of high ranking US military officials, clint eastwood, and the president, in order to make them pay for their complete and utter lack of humanity and integrity?


American Oxygen by Rihanna

By Matthew

Less than two weeks old, and millions have watched, and countless words have already been written about Rihanna’s new song, American Oxygen. But everything I’ve read so far doesn’t seem to get it, at least the way I interpret it. As the song unfolded for me, I saw something about American pride. That felt problematic for me as I tend to not be so jingoistic, and it felt odd to see an immigrant from Barbados raising the American flag so high.

But the images of American exceptionalism were soon paired with the other side – Wall Street and America’s financial strength got matched with Occupy Wall Street and the UC Davis cop casually pepper spraying protesters, Martin Luther King Jr. is joined with police beating blacks and other protesters today around Ferguson. Then there were the heartbreaking images of 9-11 and the fire fighters and police officers bravely carrying out the rescues and clean up. There were also the images of America’s military and its bravery which were joined with pictures of police brutality. Throughout, pictures of children of all stripes leap out of the frame.

Ultimately, what I think Rihanna is trying to say is that America is this big beautiful complicated mess of a place. That is our identity – our extremes. And these polar opposites are what make us exceptional – those amazing feats of bravery, our ingenuity, and all the other amazing parts including our ability to speak out and protest and make change, our complicated relationship to immigration, our sometimes overzealous police, our complicated racial politics – all of this is what makes up America. And maybe one day, Rihanna seems to be saying, those children will fulfill the American promise.

Inventing the character of “Donald Trump: Presidential Candidate” wasn’t easy. I mean, what we ultimately settled on (Jingoistic, Racist Bully) seems obvious in retrospect, but we workshopped a lot of ideas that ultimately went nowhere.

We considered going full Borat and making the Trump character seem vaguely foreign and snotty about America, because it’s one of the tactics that the WWE uses when they want you to instantly hate a wrestler, but we abandoned that because Donald sucks at literally every accent (his impression of a French person might actually be a war crime).

We settled on a cocktail that was one part Vince McMahon, two parts “rich ‘80s bully” archetype, one part racist uncle, and just a splash of Hitler.

What I Learned Accidentally Managing Trump’s Campaign

let’s talk about how bucky’s experience maps onto steve’s, how they’re both good men manipulated and constrained by those in power.

certainly, bucky’s manipulation is much more violent, and much more overt, but captain america started out as a propaganda tool. the american government used steve’s body to forward a jingoist war ideology, with little if any regard for his thoughts, beliefs, or well-being. it’s a more insidious version of the same exact problem – and, unlike with bucky, we can’t blame it on the russians. it’s all us.

in catws, the parallel is even more obvious, because we learn that steve and bucky are under orders from two halves of the same organization. bucky is controlled by the shamelessly evil side of the organization, which is why it’s necessary for them to strip him of every ounce of identity, otherwise he’d fight back; steve, though, steve is controlled by the side that claims to be good, and though he disagrees with many of the methods and core philosophies of his superiors, his sense of his own authority is undermined. who is he compared to an entire agency of highly-trained professionals, especially when they learned from his best girl? who is a kid from brooklyn to question them? this isn’t even his century anymore.

the best philosophies in captain america come from individuals, not from organizations. when discourse and dissent gets lost within the collective mind – that’s when the problems arise. (and this is exactly the opposite of what happens in the iron man movies, where one man’s carelessness causes all the trouble, and only when he is beholden to something bigger than himself does he start to do any good. goddammit, i’m so excited to see how these converse relationships – the organization checking the individual, and the individual checking the organization – come into play in civil war. so fucking ready.)

This is what I said about Trump.

This is the day America may weep. The burning tears of a self made immolation. The racism, bigotry, misogyny and homophobia, the gun toting, poor people despising , minority has grabbed the wheel behind a bloviating, ruthless, rudderless, careless, thoughtless, rude, callous, rancorous, vituperative snake. No respect for the office, no sense of stewardship, no plans for the future just raw self interest and a infantile monomaniacal need for attention and acclaim. A media whore with a track record of business failures and banal reality shows. No standing with other leaders, no known ability to negotiate or compromise. No sense of deference. No politesse. Simply a venal, loudmouthed, jingoistic, sexist, hate mongering, tough talking empty suit. Who encourages intolerance, violence, insensitivity and building a wall with our sister republic and trade partner. Heedless screeds and fathomless falsehoods litter his road to the nomination. He is a not an anomaly. He is the direct result of looking the multi cultural, inclusive future of America in the eye and running screaming toward the gaping abyss that is the pretend past. The past of lynchings, segregation, division, gay bashing, violence towards women and genocide of my enemies real and imagined within and without our house. A fake past of two car garages and benevolent white people wielding power that never existed.

Love will Trump hate. Trump must be banished to the dustpile of history with Andrew Johnson, George Lincoln Rockwell, Father Coughlin, Phyllis Schafly and David Duke. We dignify him and what he stands for at our own peril. civis cave


Jingoistic Shithead Arrested for Protecting US Flag from Desecration

What a great way to start the morning. A jingoistic shithead gets hauled away by the fucking cops for harassing flag burners.

Cops, finally doing their mother fucking job right. And a victory for freedom of speech! I hope millions of Conservatives see this post and seethe and snarl and scream in impotent rage while I savor this video with a nice cup of hot chocolate.