Sunday, September 24, 2006

Green Arrow & Hurricane Katrina

I was debating on whether or not to blog on this here, but I decided that whereas I have about three actual readers, there was no inherent harm in it.

A few years ago, I picked up my childhood addiction to comic books. I rationalize it by telling myself that it's healthier than the adulthood addiction to cigarettes that I gave up last year. A title which has really caught my eye is Green Arrow because of its uncommon social commentary. I didn't catch the allegory at first, but let me give you the run-down:

Star City, Green Arrow's home city, has been devestated by a huge calamnity. The city's plight was largely ignored by the federal government, and the local government's response was to build a huge wall down the middle, separating the desirables from the undesirables. The "have-nots" call their side of the wall "the Glades" (shades of "the Pits" in New Orleans) due to the fact that the wall was constructed in a trench, which filled up with a lot of standing water, which attracted a lot of mosquitoes and created a swamp-like odor.

Green Arrow's alter ego is a multi-millionaire by the name of Oliver Queen. Queen runs for mayor of Star City on the promise to build the city back up and tear the wall down. He won.

Queen is a dyed in the wool liberal. He holds gay weddings outside city hall and withholds sales taxes from the state to put them toward rebuilding the city. His controversial policies result in corporate types putting out a hit on him.

But this exchange in Green Arrow #65 between a right-wing talking head from the "United Freedom Council of Americans for America" named Marc Spillman and the founder of a website called "Bring'" named Jenny Parks (a fairly obvious allusion) on a cable talk show where they debate the merits of Mayor Queen's administration brought home the parallels to me:

Spillman: "My heart goes out to the children who live in that city."
Parks: "Mine too. Their homes were blown up."
Spillman: "I meant the lawless, unpatriotic..."
Parks: "He's trying to--"
Spillman: "...liberal agenda that he just keeps ramming---"
Parks: "It's not a liberal agenda, it's---"
Spillman: "---down the troats of every decent person trying to live in---"
Parks: "WE LEFT THEM THERE TO DIE! Their city was destroyed and fell into ruin and we did nothing! And we continue to do nothing! Those are men, women and children who lived their lives, paid their taxes, and thought that they were living under the protection of this nation."
Spillman: (shifting uncomfortably in his seat)
Parks: "We didn't do anything to help them. He is. The very least we can do is stay out of his way."

Civil War may be addressing the War on Terror, but under the radar, Green Arrow is tackling Bush's response to Katrina. There's also a lot of other stuff going on in the title that makes it good reading. I highly recommend it to any comic book fans.

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