No Terrigen Required.
The Tuning Fork Headpiece. She actually wore it at the New Years’ Eve and New Years’ Day posts, and both Horsey and Pony wear them. There’s a surprisingly subtle metaphor there, that I’ll need to get to in detail in a post soon enough. Suffice it to say that in Marvel Comics, the Tuning Fork Tiara is pretty culturally important to both Inhumans, Inhuman Americans, some groups of Aliens (from Space), and as a result some Alien Americans. There’s a Rich Tradition there.
In the world of Adequacy, Cap being an Alien American has always been a metaphor for my being Jewish. It hasn’t had to come up much lately, because I don’t have a staff that does a big Christmas Season, there aren’t organized attempts to convert me or preach at me, and I definitely don’t have an overtly anti-Semitic principal (all things that I’ve had being an educator). Most days, I just sort of…blend in. It’s not like you can tell that I’m Jewish just by looking, after all.
That’s what has had me thinking, though. Many of the Inhumans can “blend in”, and some can’t. It’s a mixed bag, in the world of comics. That mixed bag is pretty much what its like to be some minorities, and it’s easy to not be able to see what other people endure. For that matter, it’s sometimes easy enough to get caught up in what other people are going through, and forget your own situation.
The current Marvel system has a very “Jewish” set of Inhumans. They are a race of superhumans, and also identified by a religion and a language. The fundamentalists of that religion are something of a political mess (but also in charge), putting them at odds with the mutants over ownership of a cloud of gas of religious importance to them. There are also a larger number of people that are Inhumans by descent, and know nothing about the culture…they just discovered they are Inhuman, and are often discriminated against for it…despite not really being “part of it.” There are also people who are Inhuman by descent, but don’t know, and just go about their day.
As a metaphor, it covers the ideas in modern Judaism pretty well…from the protected land of Israel (Attilan for the Inhumans), to the idea of discrimination…to the conflict with other ethnic groups. Even the idea of being chosen by the Kree, to gain special powers, fits with the “Twelve Tribes” idea.
It has been on my mind a lot, for two reasons.
The first is this: I used to really like the Inhumans, but since the sort of heavy handed political metaphor above…I kind of don’t. As created by Stan and Jack…they weren’t what I just ran my mouth about for a few paragraphs. Stan and Jack set them up as a society hidden from the world, where everyone has powers, and could die from air pollution. They were odd, exciting, and exotic. They were fun.
Now, not so much.
The second reason is more on point with the metaphor here. In my day to day activities, I’m like the Inhumans that can pass for regular people. No one needs to know that I’m Jewish…it’s not something that is literally written on my face. I look at the racism that my students endure, and worry about it, and I feel like it doesn’t happen to me.
Except in the past several months both American and Global anti-Semitism has been on the rise. Major California universities have been reporting graphitti and other incidents,and the news makes sure that national incidents are well known. Known anti-Semites are in serious positions of government now, and the general policy of Free Speech that I love seems to have re-opened the door to all kinds of hate speech. I don’t often experience it directly, but the same kind of Evil that my students are troubled about is there for me as well.
Every now and then, a “new reader” tries to troll the comments. Those particular comments are…unsavory to say the least. Thankfully, being the site administrator allows me to filter those things, and keep hate speech off of the site entirely…but every now and then, I have to see it. It comes directly to me, in fact. It’s sobering to say the least. I don’t often directly encounter people with such ugly views, the way that I live my live here in Los Angeles.
Cap isn’t an Inhuman though…she’s an Alien American. Being fair, she has tended to wear all sorts of things over the years favored by Inhumans…and for ages I’ve actually had the reasoning for that brewing in the back of my head. In the next week or so I’m going to do a strip that’s very on point with explaining that…for now lets just go with the idea that she shares values with Inhuman Americans.
Being Jewish in the United States now is uneasy. Executive Orders happen regularly now that seem to discriminate against one group, or another. The Christian Right seems to be favored by the regime in power, moreso than usual, and both Neo Nazis and the KKK are back…and in media. It has one thinking, all the time, about things like this: “Am I over reacting…or is this how it felt to be in Europe in the thirties? How outspoken should I be? Surely this can’t happen HERE.”
Then you think, “Isn’t that what they thought in the thirties? That it couldn’t happen?”
I don’t honestly think that forces will be coming for me in the night…but at the same time, the signs that they made me learn about in Sunday School are there. It seems like I have to stay on top of it…to at least work within the system to check and balance the abuses. Things like calling my representatives, signing documents, voting in everything, for everything. Using the powers that I actually have, as it were.
Pretty rambly soapbox today…but these things have been rattling around my head, and this is where they come out, True Believers. Using my Free Speech while I still have it, dontcha know.