Editors want reporters to have areas of expertise, and sometimes it’s a bit embarrassing, but let’s be real: One of my indisputable areas of expertise is Captain America. I’m not a New York Times film critic like A.O. Scott, but over the weekend, I became embarrassed for him. In a survey of politically empty summer blockbusters, he of course brings up my guy and his franchise. And I wanted to take him seriously. Except then he begins a sentence with this:
Steve Rogers, a loyal creature of the American military…
Egregious fact error, sir — and on Cap’s birthday, no less. The MCU is not built to be overly subtle, but did you miss two entire movies in which Cap explicitly rejects the entire apparatus of the U.S. government and his role as propaganda agent altogether?
(Thanks for the video, Tumblr user jamesrbarnes. And if you want truly great film analysis, check out Tumblr user sashayed’s thorough investigation of Cap’s running route through the National Mall at the beginning of The Winter Soldier, and how the only reasonable explanation for it is if he’s flirting with Anthony Mackie’s outrageously charming Sam Wilson.)
- Pivoting right into another piece about the Star-Spangled Man, Andrew Wheeler’s “Reflections on the Rifts in Superhero Fandom” is an excellent, nuanced and thoughtful look at a pattern that’s appearing more and more throughout pop culture: One group of fans reacts loudly to another group of fans’ perceived corruption of the thing they both love, and the corporation that creates that thing inevitably learns the wrong thing from it.
- Enough about Steve Rogers, though. Does it get more American than Garrison Keillor? The unabashedly corny and deeply heartfelt radio host, essayist and commentator stepped down from his role at the head of A Prairie Home Companion this past weekend, and I for one don’t know what I’m going to do without more news from Lake Wobegon. In the weeks leading up to Keillor’s retirement (not the first time he’s done it, but it’s more likely this one will stick), a number of outlets have covered his legacy:
- The Atlantic considers Keillor’s importance as someone who can bridge the cultural gap between conservatives and liberals, both groups to which he has belonged and empathizes with.
- Appropriately, the Minneapolis Star Tribune has a lovely narrative look at his showmanship and biography.
- Of course, it’s not at all likely Keillor will disappear from all stages, not with so many issues (like Donald Trump’s “ducktail” haircut”) requiring commentary these days.
- Trump, Trump, Trump. It’s bad enough that he’s lifting social media graphics right from white supremacist message boards. It’s more frustrating how many people are trying to make excuses about it (sheriff’s badge?? what?). One group that doesn’t have any illusions about the message the presumptive Republican nominee is making, though? White supremacists.
- Facebook recently clarified where its priorities would lie in terms of what you’ll see in your News Feed. It’s not going to be the news — not like outlets would prefer, anyway. BuzzFeed‘s Charlie Wartzel has the best take on what this means.
- Guess I’m not done with this latest Trumpian twist, am I. Right-wing Jew-hatred seems fairly obvious (“antisemitism” was coined to sound more scientific than Judenhass, so don’t let anyone get hung up on the “Semite” part of the word), but that’s not the only place these prejudices live. I recommend the following two Twitter threads as illustration; click through to get a look at the subtler ways Jews deal with this stuff all over the political spectrum.