Politics and the Media

The “traditional” start of the campaign season begins Labor Day…the final two months prior to the election. However, many people are upset at Michael Moore for his movie and the ads for them claiming they’re poliitcal ads, and the movie is political propoganda, both supporting the candidacy of John Kerry.

Lets ignore the fact that John Kerry isn’t praised in the movie, and Michael Moore is on record for not being highly favorable towards either political party. He supported Nader in 2000. The movie is definitely anti-Bush, and in the minds of most Americans, this means Pro-Kerry. (We tend to think in Pro-Anti, Black-White, Left-Right modes. We can’t understand shades of grey and third parties)

By the time Labor Day rolls around however, Fahrenheit 9/11 will most likely be out of theaters. Maybe it will make a quick entry into video stores, maybe not. People will likely still talk about the issues it raises. Which hopefully everyone agrees is good – talk is good.

But as Labor Day rolls around, it would be nice if there was another media event. Another famous “creator” putting something out politically-minded. Something that might create a sensation. I just discovered there will be. And it comes from an unexpected corner. A cartoonist.

He’s done graphic novels before, but historical and personal ones. He’s on record as saying he never wanted to be a political cartoonist. But 9/11 changed that. He’s been spending a long time just drawing covers for The New Yorker, but finally, Art Spiegelman has Returned. And this time, instead of narrating how his father survived the Holocaust, and how he survived his father, he is venting built up anger:

“I hadn’t anticipated that the hijackings of September 11 would themselves be hijacked by the Bush cabal that reduced it all to a war recruitment poster…When the government began to move into full dystopian Big Brother mode and hurtle America into a colonialist adventure in Iraq — while doing very little to make America genuinely safer beyond confiscating nail clippers at airports — all the rage I’d suppressed after the 2000 election, all the paranoia I’d barely managed to squelch immediately after 9/11, returned with a vengeance.”

In the Shadow of No Towers has been appearing serially in The Forward, the only newspaper in the America that would carry it. But now the collected comics will hit your local bookstore in September.

Pantheon is planning a major marketing push for In the Shadow of No Towers including an eight-city author tour, and a national advertising campaign in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the New Yorker, and key alternative newspapers.

Much of America doesn’t choose to read, but graphic novels have pictures. And his last graphic novels – Maus and Maus II were bestsellers. I can’t wait.