Ignoring the Past

Anyone with half a brain knows that when certain people say they don’t like politics they mean they don’t like politics they disagree with. That is also true when people complain about books or movies or video games suddenly getting political.

Let’s diverge from the path I wanted to be on to bring up an example. DC comics recently announced that the son of Superman who is also known as Superman is bi-sexual. This confused a lot of people because they thought it was changing the character of Superman when in reality it was in line with a different character also known as Superman.

Here is the thing about Superman. Superman is an alien living in the United States trying to adapt to a new culture and fit in. Superman fights for truth, justice, and the American way which for Superman is standing up to bullies and punching billionaires.

The point is Superman has always been political. It just might have seemed not so political because so much of those politics is history. It is like the X-men being an allegory for the Civil Rights movement. That has already happened but if a movie studio wanted to cast Michael B. Jordan to be the next Wolverine you know some guy on the internet would complain about them making it political.

I happened upon this sort of thing when reading the Goodreads reviews for Micheal Connelly’s latest The Dark Hours. Most of the one and two star reviews complained about Connelly suddenly getting political. A lot of the reviewers mentioned how they read all of his books and he was just now getting political.

This couldn’t be further from the truth. The LA riots and Connelly’s opinion of them has been a plot point in many of his books. His character Bosch has commented several times throughout the series how the 1992 riots while destructive brought about necessary change to the LAPD.

There is also the novel Angel’s Flight where a prominent civil rights lawyer is killed and a police brutality case is at the center of the plot. The Burning Room which features both a mystery about immigrants falling through the cracks and their mistreatment being ignored and a side plot involving far right extremist sovereign citizens.

I don’t think I need to go back through all of Connelly’s career to prove his works have always had a political twinge to them. I think it is a lot different to some people to read politics about the 1992 LA riots vs the 2020 BLM demonstrations. One is a lot closer to our current reality while the former is almost 30 years in the past.

It is easy to say history isn’t political but that ignores the reality that at the time it occurred history was as political as any story that graces the news in present day. We don’t think we’re living through history because history is unlikely to remember us.

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