Friday, April 29, 2011

The real reason Superman is renouncing his US citizenship? Copyright law.

My new When Falls the Coliseum piece deals with the news that Superman is renouncing his US citizenship. A small sample:

In the most recent issue of Action Comics, the fictional superhero character Superman, who flies around in a blue leotard with red underwear on the outside and a big red cape, renounces his US citizenship.
The key scene takes place in "The Incident," a short story in Action Comics #900 written by David S. Goyer with art by Miguel Sepulveda. In it, Superman consults with the President's national security advisor, who is incensed that Superman appeared in Tehran to non-violently support the protesters demonstrating against the Iranian regime, no doubt an analogue for the recent real-life protests in the Middle East. However, since Superman is viewed as an American icon in the DC Universe as well as our own, the Iranian government has construed his actions as the will of the American President, and indeed, an act of war.

Superman made his first appearance in the first issue of Action Comics in 1938. Since that time, the United States government has rounded up and jailed people because of their Japanese heritage, dropped atomic bombs on Japan, knowingly infected Guatemalans with STDs to study their effects, fought against the civil rights of its own black citizens, entered the Vietnam war based on the "Gulf of Tonkin" lie, used chemical warfare against the Vietnamese, provided millions of dollars to Middle Eastern dictators in the name of "stability," and fought a "war on drugs" that allows government agents to break into peoples' homes and is directly causing the deaths of tens of thousands of people all over the world every year. Our current president has engaged the United States in yet another war in the Middle East, and claims to have the power to kill US citizens without a trial. And that's just off the top of my head.

But now... now Superman has had enough. Now Superman wants to renounce his citizenship.

First of all, big deal. Is "Superman" even a US citizen? Does he have some citizenship papers that say "Superman is a United States citizen"? When he travels, does he have to show a passport and go through airport security checkpoints? Is his alter ego, Clark Kent, going to renounce his citizenship?

Second, he's giving his big important citizenship renunciation statement to the United Nations? This is the organization that had Libya on its Human Rights Council. This is the organization whose "peacekeepers" have raped women and children. Again, this is only off the top of my head -- you can probably come up with more if you look (I'm too depressed right now).

Superman could look. He's Superman. But what's he done about that? Nothing.

Read it all here.

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