>Captain Canada


>Today’s Bizarro cartoon has been brought to you by Samurai Hitler.

To my surprise, this cartoon attracted some of the most vehement hate mail I’ve received in a long time. I suppose I should have seen it coming, but to me the joke is an innocuous take on the feeling so many Americans have had in the past eight years of being anywhere from embarrassed about our government, to afraid of retribution from others while traveling abroad. We progressives joked regularly about disguising our citizenship while out of the country and some actually did so with Canadian patches on their backpacks, etc.

To be brutally honest, I think that people who find this cartoon to be offensive have a very childish view of patriotism. I can’t find the exact quote, but Al Franken said in one of his books that conservatives love their country the way a toddler loves his mother: she is always right, she can do no wrong, and god help anyone who speaks against her. A liberal loves his country the way adults love each other: you support them and want the best for them so you are not averse to offering constructive criticism, putting your foot down when they misbehave, and refusing to be abused by them. (Al said it much better but you get the idea.)

Some of my favorite quotes on the subject:

We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. When the loyal opposition dies, I think the soul of America dies with it.Edward R. Murrow

Patriotism is your conviction that this country is superior to all others because you were born in it. –George Bernard Shaw

Patriotism is arbitrary veneration of real estate above principles. –George Jean Nathan

I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.James Baldwin

When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross. – Sinclair Lewis

As for me, when America is contributing to the welfare of its citizens and the world, and upholding the principles on which it was founded, I am patriotic. When it is invading sovereign nations on false premises, torturing its captives, and robbing its poor to feed the rich, I’m ashamed of it. Your results may vary.

I promise tomorrow’s post will be funny instead of serious.


31 thoughts on “>Captain Canada

  1. >Given that Patriotism is love of your country, I’d say it is too often confused with love of your current government.There are certain things about American culture and the American landscape that I love, regardless of who is in charge. It is because of those things that I don’t want this country to fall into the hands of (as Zappa might say) an “Idiot Bastard Son”.Otherwise I really would have just become Canadian about 7 years ago. And that’s not an idle threat, as it is with some- I applied to and got into the University of Torronto, and was trying to figure out how to become a permanent citizen after graduation when I was talked out of it.Unrelated: Dan, now that you’re moderating, what’s your ratio of posted to unposted comments?I ask because at first, there were only a couple comments per cartoon after you started moderating, now there’s more than there were before. Just curious.

  2. >You characterize the cartoon’s joke as innocuous. I disagree strongly with that opinion, but salute your courage to publish it.

  3. >This does not offend my patriotism, if you had shown a tourist removing a canada patch from his bag i would have been fine. But i am annoyed at Captain America being shown as ashamed of America. This is so out of character,he would not do that, he might be the single most patriotic character ever made. If anyone want to start something because he was american he would be looking for them.

  4. >All perfectly reasonable. The “love it or leave it” crowd refer only to their own very narrow version of “it.” Abolish slavery? What treason!! Go live in France if you feel that way!

  5. >Yep, the far right is hyper-aggressive. Polls tell us that their numbers are actually small but they manage to make a lot of noise and often fool media people into thinking that they represent the voice of the people.Please don’t ever let them silence you through their intimidation tactics.

  6. >Maybe people were outraged because Captain America is supposed to be dead right now over in the comic books? I mean, he couldn’t even defend himself against your accusations of turncoatery.

  7. >well, I do remember the time when Americans were much more liked worldwide; when such a lot of hope was riding on the expected potential greatness of the then new President U-Know-Who, Mr. Piraro.I am honestly very happy that Obama’s the Prez now. Just hope he’ll be able to manage it much much better. hope u, Ms Ashley and ur kitties are well. TCur Fan,Dee Sh

  8. >I especially enjoy the “…love it or leave it” mentality when their team is in charge. But when the tide turns… they are the first to point out their faults.First we have the secret police, secret prisons, anytime wiretapping, political prisoners, and ignoring the Geneva Convention. Now government owned institutions and next???Chairman Mao would be so proud and Reagan would be turning over in his grave. So much for the wall coming down and democracy winning.

  9. >Andre Marrou had a better quote than Franken’s; “Liberals want the government to be your Mommy. Conservatives want government to be your Daddy. Libertarians want it to treat you like an adult.”

  10. >I’ve only been rejecting one or two comments per day, sometimes none at all. Since I started moderating, more people are commenting and the snipers have gone elsewhere. Which was the point, of course.

  11. >@ Josh…My apologies, I seem to have accidentally rejected one of your comments and don’t know how to get it back. Basically, you were saying I should have used Kim Jong Il or some other foreign enemy of America under the link for “evil” instead of Michelle Malkin, and that liberals and conservatives labeling each other as “evil” is why you prefer libertarianism over the Dems and GOP. That is a paraphrase from memory, correct me if I missed the gist.My feeling is not that all conservatives are evil, but that racist, homophobic purveyors of lies like Malkin (O’Rielly, Limbaugh, Hannity, Cheney, Bush) are more dangerous to America than foreign leaders are and have genuinely evil agendas. Though I think John McCain would have made a disastrous president, I would never characterize him as evil. I feel this way about many other Republicans, as well, including members of my own family.

  12. >FYI, the actual Frankenquote:”We [liberals] love America just as much as they [conservatives] do. But in a different way. You see, they love America the way a four-year-old loves her mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything Mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes Mommy is bad. Grown-up love means actually understanding what you love, taking the good with the bad, and helping your loved one grow.”

  13. >I must say I liked Bizarro a whole lot more when you weren’t stuffing political commentary in left and right. I’m almost at the point of skipping reading it, because it’s no longer any good. I wish you were the still the same old wisecrackin’, funny guy you were before.

  14. >I loved this cartoon, mainly because while I traveled Europe I DID lie and say I was Canadian, rather than admit I was American (and even worse, Texan). After the first few times I got hammered with criticism of American policies that I hated as much as the rest of the world did, I learned to start saying “aboot” and going about my business.What’s even better is the idea of Captain America having had to do the same thing. HAH!Big handshake and clap on the back, Dan.

  15. >@WaldoFor fear of acting conspiracy nutty, your comment is one of the scariest things I have heard in a while. I mean, a clandestine (as in, not widely noticed) conspiracy to nationalize and turn us into a police state over the course of two presidencies.Even so, it does point to behind the scenes bi-partisan cooperation on an unprecedented level.

  16. >Piraro:Thanks for the reply. Sorry for using your board to vent, but I’ve just been frustrated with the flack I’ve been getting over the last few days. I’m sick of having people jump on me when I say I’m a libertarian; they accuse me of “wanting poor people to starve” or lump me in with nutters like Glenn Beck and Ron Paul. So I needed to release some of my anger.On the subject of this cartoon, I think that nationalism/patriotism is overblown myself. Why do we need to identify ourselves by divisions like black culture, white culture, Hispanic culture, American culture… when we’re all human culture?

  17. >You forgot some quotes:I am not part of the problem. I am a Republican.– Dan QuayleI don’t use the words ‘Democrat’ and ‘Republican’. I use the words ‘liberal’ and ‘American’.” — James Watt.”Reality has a well known liberal bias.” — Stephen Colbert.”If 50 million people say a foolish thing, it is still a foolish thing.” — Anatole France.However there are a few of my own personal quotes I should mention as well.When someone tells me that it is healthy because it is “100% natural” — my response is “so is arsenic”.”One hundred percent of nothing is still nothing.”

  18. >Regarding Franken’s quote, haven’t you noticed a bit of a reversal since the election? Speaking in generalities, the blind allegiance from the right is gone, and the left has picked it right up again. Both parties are “patriotic” when their party is in charge. I like Robert Finis’s point about confusing love of country with love of government, and as a patriotic conservative fellow I’m going to remember it well during this administration.

  19. >i bought my first cappy cartoon book in 1968. God if i had it now i would be rich…true story..i went to the mcgill debates in 1979 and the taxi cab driver discovered we were american…he pulled OFF the road and demanded to know how we could defend americas nuclear policies…of course we could’t..cappy would have pulled bush from the white house and taken him to jail..

  20. >As an student in Europe in 2000-2001, nearly every Canadian wore a patch to avoid being mistakenly identified as an American. The funny thing is, a backpacker looks like a backpacker. I met a few Americans that wore Cannadian patches, but they were the laughing stock of the travel community. Sure, as an honest American, I received a lot of questions and criticisms about America’s choices, but it gave me opportunities to illustrate that just because I’m American, doesn’t mean I agree with our government’s choices- a sentiment someone from any country can agree with.

  21. >I LOVE your strip Dan, but I do think they’re a lot better when they’re not about politics. Even when I share the viewpoint you’re expressing (like animal rights or gay rights), it’s not as funny or interesting as your other stuff.

  22. >BRAVO! BRAVO!That quote from Sinclair Lewis is one of my most favorite statements ever, and I’m a hardcore Christian. I resent the hell (no pun intended) out of the GOP for completely co-opting my faith and bastardizing it into a full 180* of what it really is. Jesus of Nazareth would go completely money-changer-in-the-temple on George W. Bush and Dick Cheney sorry asses. I love this cartoon and I totally agree with it.

  23. >You are 100% right, people can argue an opinion on its merits, but when people try persuade you to not share your views because of “virtues unrelated to objective morality”, a person should consider carefully.

  24. >Something did happen, the very day of the election… Those of us here in London became so proud! We never hid our American-"ness", but we were surely embarrassed… Having to explain to everyone you meet that you don't agree with torture and that you don't believe we can attack whomever we like, that you don't believe in war for profiteering, that you do believe in separation of church & state; it is exhausting after a few years… Especially when you're a Texan and then people over here want to talk ALL about it… Its disheartening to roll your eyes when talking about your president… especially when you have to do that for 8 years!

  25. >And because Al Franken is widely respected for his objectivity, his assessment, of course, is neither a hasty generalization nor an ad hominem attack.

  26. >Furthermore, true conservatism rejects the idea of the federal government acting as a parent. Which group wants America to be a maternal figure, one which wants independence and a free market, or one which wants wealth redistribution and higher taxes for government programs?”All perfectly reasonable. The “love it or leave it” crowd refer only to their own very narrow version of “it.” Abolish slavery? What treason!! Go live in France if you feel that way!”You know, the abolitionist movement was largely a religious movement, based on the conservative principle that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. To equate modern-day conservatism with pro-slavery sentiments before the civil war is sophomoric at best. And, just for the record, because neither the Democratic party, nor the Whig party supported the abolitionist movement, the Republican party was created.

  27. >@Joshthecartoonguy…It is my understanding that in Lincoln’s day, Republicans were liberal and Democrats were conservative. Those roles reversed over the next 150 years. In the early 20th century, southern bigots reviled the Republican party because they freed the slaves and always voted Democratic. When the Democrats pushed civil rights in the 60s, bigots rushed to the Republican side and have been there ever since.

  28. >I really like this blog, It's always nice when you can not only be informed, but also get knowledge, from these type of blog, nice entry. Thanks

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