I wasn’t going to make any comments about this, but it seems that the words of a bitter, middle-aged, patriotic conservative white man in America carry a lot of steam and have rubbed a significant number of folks the wrong way.
It’s too bad – I don’t really agree with Frank Miller, but I’ve come to grips with his bristly personality many years ago. I knew about his political slant, and his dislike for things that disrupt the fabric of conservative culture. His views that ‘America is the beacon of all that is good and just in the world, and that every man woman and child born there has the God given right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness – the American Dream.’
It’s been evident in his comics writing. He was once lauded for his gritty portrayals of superheroes becoming anti-heroes and vigilantes. Ones that adhere to a moral code driven by the likes of Hammurabi. That seeking revenge and retribution by any means necessary is justified, if it’s for the greater good of society. That it is absolutely fine to bend the rules and break the law and dole out punishment because it’s justified. Now he is hated for it.
But these are comics – not real life. Eventually readers grow tired of seeing the same message over and over again. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been a fan of Miller’s work for years – but he’s basically become a one-trick pony. The recycled basic idea of the world as a cesspool and society needing someone who has had enough and will do what it takes to restore and protect a level of honour or integrity that has been missing. It’s usually achieved through revenge and redemption. A classic set-up. I can’t complain – it is the construct that serves as the foundation for El Cuervo. Sure, Frank Miller didn’t invent it, but at one point in time he revolutionized comics by introducing it – and that has been his schtick. he’ll continue to do it as long as people keep buying his work.
I’m not going to put words in his mouth, but his attitude towards society is polluted. His opinions are only about protecting the integrity of America and its people, and damn everyone who dares to question these God given rights and look for better, less confrontational and aggressive ways. Because that would be weak – and America is not weak. Its people aren’t weak. Its systems aren’t weak. The country sets the world standard and its people are the ambassadors of that.
When Frank decided to go off on Occupy Wall Street protesters, branding them as dirty hippies, disorganized, disenfranchised, lazy and uncouth – as rapists and thugs and everything that is evil and corrupting to the fabric of the American ideal, I knew there was going to be a backlash. The idea that the infighting needed to stop because there was a need to stamp out a larger threat to the American ideal – terrorism and the spread of Islam – and the 99% proletariat should be ashamed of themselves for trying to tear down America.
Look – I don’t exactly agree with the way OWS is working. But it’s not my movement to lead. I have my own opinions of the movement, and they may not be things that supporters want to hear. But I wouldn’t use my site or social media as a method to make those views known. I’ve made a few comments on a friend’s post on Facebook, but never in a manner to discredit what OWS is about.
When you’re a media personality and highly revered in certain circles, you have a large audience at your command. Thus, when you spout off about a personal belief that is blindly ignorant, tactless and venomous, it is going to achieve maximum reach in a minimal amount of time – mainly because people look for that sort of behaviour to tear the person down and vilify them in turn.
Do I think Frank Miller is going to have to reap what he’s sown? Probably not – he’s achieved the same status as any other pundit, pounding the lectern about how terrorists and Muslims are assisting in destroying the fabric of American society and culture.
Have I lost respect for the guy? Not really – I never really valued his opinion just as he probably hasn’t even given a shit about mine. I knew he was a blow-hard, and I’m quite aware that his writing style is abrasive and ignorant – but I still consider him a big influence on my development in comics.
You see, his early work is what inspired me to look beyond the garish colours of the capes and cowls. That these heroes are often imperfect. They make bad decisions just like regular people. They have dark pasts and secrets just like everyone else – and when push comes to shove, react in a manner that is aggressive or confrontational. It’s the dark side of humanity – and that is what hooked me.
Is every character supposed to be like that? Hell no – but unfortunately it is in Frank Miller’s world. And what a sad little world that must be.