Our neighbors to the north are celebrating their 150th birthday today. In honor of this once-in-a-lifetime anniversary (unlike all the other anniversaries, I guess), please accept this small gift: an article I wrote for the good people at Nerds On Earth, contrasting Brian K. Vaughan We Stand On Guard with his later Private Eye.
Follow the jump, if you don’t mind. It’s not a long piece, but I’m happy to direct the traffic their way.
Since writing that, I’ve crystallized my opinions a little bit. I still think the whole exercise–an Iraq War allegory for a generation that’s long since decided that invading that country was a Bad Idea–is a little baffling, and there are a couple of decisions that I’m still scratching my head over.
For example, the members of the resistance (the #resistance?) are all members of one historically marginalized group or another–homosexuals, blacks, indigenous people, the French–that have experienced horrible mistreatment in America. It was so aggressively diverse that it was almost funny. If Tumblr came to life as a paramilitary organization, that’s what it would look like. I’m not saying it doesn’t make sense, I’m just saying it’s a little on-the-nose.
Second, and spoiler alert, there’s the curious choice to make the main villain–an American torturer named, perhaps unsurprisingly, the American–a conflicted, reluctant antagonist. We Stand On Guard is a brutally, violently, and deeply cynical take on the Iraq War; I don’t know what is accomplished by suggesting, even if it’s left up to the reader to decide, that there was some humanity behind those decisions.
On the other hand, I didn’t know what “hydro” meant until I read this, and now the CBS podcasts I listen to make a lot more sense.
Happy Canada Day eh’verybody!
Categories: Pop Culture