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It Is Not A Good Idea
To Act As If You Can Not Accomplish
What You Were Elected To Do


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Another older Marvel propaganda tactic, UK-based

Here's another item I wanted to post about one of Marvel Comics' older misuses of Islam, circa 2008, which they did in Captain Britain and MI:13, spoken about in this interview. The writer's name is Paul Cornell, and similar to David Hine, I think he too is of a British background. The following paragraph asks:
How will the war machines of the unstoppable Skrull army fare against the British Intelligence’s MI: 13 division that now includes former X-Force, Excalibur, Invaders and Avengers members such as Pete Wisdom, Captain Britian, Spitfire, Black Knight, a British John Lennon doppelganger named John the Skrull and British Muslim agent Faiza Hussein?
What if it were all a pyrrhic result instead? Seriously, why does the use of the name Hussein sound like it stems from resentment over the war in Iraq, even if, as what comes below claims, she's allegedly named after a cricket player?

Here's more:
NRAMA: And you’ve got Faisa Hussein, a British Muslim, right?

PC: Yes. Following consultation with my wonderful panel of Muslim ladies, who I show the scripts to, it's now Faiza with a Z.

NRAMA: With the current world view on Muslims and terrorism, what was her life like prior to the Skrull invasion?

PC: Pretty normal, really. I'm trying to paint the life of an everyday British Muslim person. They'd be touched every now and then by stereotype and racism, obviously, but it's not their life, or even the major part of it. The relationship between minorities and mainstream culture in Britain is a little different to how it is in the States, so I'm hoping to show that. Faiza hasn't got a radical brother who'll spit on Captain Britain's costume. (See, I note the cliches in advance, so I won't do them, hopefully.) She just sees herself as British, in the way that the person she's named after, England cricket Captain Nasser Hussain, probably does. I'm hoping Faiza will be loved for who she is: a boggled, talking nineteen to the dozen, fan of British superheroes, reader way in character. I also wanted to present an offhandedly, everyday, religious character, for whom faith is not their whole existence, and will only be mentioned when it would be. She's not here to fulfill a quota or represent an entire culture, though she won't be letting anyone down. She's a young hero. She's our Kitty Pryde.
Yes, she is alright; what else can we expect from a country where the only way you can be respected as a white person today is if you're gay/lesbian, or even a Muslim? (See this post by Diana West for another clue to how multiculturalism has taken its toll on the UK.) She may be named after a cricket playing member (was the name partly misspelled earlier?), but it still doesn't sound great. And no matter what Cornell said, this was still pandering, and doesn't alleviate any concerns about the RoP's call for oppression and jihad against non-Muslims. Mainly because racism and downright hostility to non-Muslims is a major part of their religion, as Muhammed and his followers decreed would be the path. Another thing he failed to mention, is that there may be moderate Muslims, but no moderate Islam, another minus to the interview.

Another problem, as suggested in this article from 2 months before, is what Cornell says in the following paragraph:
A Muslim, Faisa's faith is very important to her. "I have two aims here: to make her a real person and not someone who has to represent the entire British Muslim world all the time -- I think superheroes are too prone to being standard bearers for whole communities -- and to make her an everyday religious person who you won't hear anything religious from until it would naturally come up. Which is hardly ever. She's not going to be letting anyone down, though. She's the young hero who will win through. And we'll play out some of these pressures and fault lines in the comic itself. I want people to adore her, not to be pleased she's there as part of a quota system."
There seems to be a forked tongue in progress here: it only implies "faith" has nothing to do with jihad. Even if her "faith" isn't an issue, it's still a problem, and if she were a Scientologist, it'd still be a problem. Superficial characterization of a character as being part of a religion or a culture does not an acceptable story make.

But now, here's a little something else besides the problem with pandering that might intrigue some: as told in this item, there was a question that was removed that some deemed offensive, and I'll post the screencap here too. As you can see, a]whatever the interviewer was trying get at here, it's mighty screwed up, b]Cornell's reply to that question, as we can assume, was a thin-skinned reaction, and c]if he'd really said something rude in reply, it was edited out to his displeasure. Presumably, the interviewer was asking on a realistic level if the character had any sympathy for jihad and the Koranic suras that condone it, and Cornell got carried away. Too bad. All he had to do was say "no".

The irony is that, if the way it was presented was meant to be funny, of course it's no more so than the RoP itself. Yet I suspect the wrong crowd is who got it edited?

The book in question has since been canceled, and I'm not sorry to see it go. It was a grave misuse of a character (Brian Braddock/Capt. Britain) who actually was one of the better things involving the UK. And if it came within even miles of lecturing the audience, let us be clear: nobody with common sense needs that.
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posted by Avi Green at permanent link#


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