-By Warner Todd Huston
Earlier this afternoon, Mike Parker long-time reporter from CBS 2 News, Chicago, gave me a ring and asked me to make a quick trip downtown Chicago — well, “quick” being relative with Chicago traffic at rush hour — to appear with him in a piece on the recent announcement by the good folks at Archie Comics that they intended to add an openly gay character to their Archie comic book series.
It was a bit unusual for me. Not to be on TV, but to have TV call me about an item I hadn’t yet written about. I saw this story this morning but thought I’d put off writing about it until later tonight or Saturday. Now, usually I get everyone mad at me after I’ve written about something, but it looks like Mr. Parker wanted to initiate a preemptive strike with this one! Ha, ha.
Anyway, Mr. Parker was quite correct that I had a thing or two to say about the matter and I hope that I was able to effectively convey those ideas in the interview that will appear tonight during the 10 O’Clock news on Channel 2.
What struck me about this Archie announcement is that it seems we’re about to lose yet another safe haven for kid’s entertainment. Introducing a gay character may be “realistic” but does Archie have to be realistic? Kid’s entertainment doesn’t have to “reflect the current world of Teens.” It doesn’t have to present harsh realities or controversy. It can just be about fun or fantasy and it doesn’t have to delve into every aspect of life whether it be provocative, even deviate. Will the Archies have a skinhead character? Will they have a Holocaust denier character? Or how about on the other end of the spectrum and putting in a strict Christian character? Will Archie get one of those? Likely not as it doesn’t fit the liberal agenda.
What we have here is the break down of another tradition of wholesomeness, just another way to eliminate good clean fun and turn it into something salacious. I mean, when I was a kid in the 1960s I didn’t want my comics full of the Vietnam war and race riots! I wanted to escape all that in my comics.
Back in 2007 we already had Paramount Pictures initially declaring that they intended to remove the U.S. Army aspect of last year’s GI Joe movie until called on it and then they reversed themselves. Just recently Marvel Comics had Captain America warning against evil, dangerous tea party protesters even though millions of Americans identify with that movement and its been the most peaceful grass roots political movement in decades. And now we have the always easy going and kid friendly Archie comics going for controversy instead of sticking with its decades long commitment to good clean fun.
Mr. Parker wondered if I was one of those book banning sorts that was intent on making sure that Archie comics were somehow “not allowed” to have their gay character. A fair question, of course. I reminded him of the Dixie Chicks and how what they said about G.W.Bush was so controversial. My point in bringing them up was to say that I was not out to try to squelch their free speech or the Archie Comics folk’s free speech, but just as they have every right to say what they want I have just as much right to reply that I don’t like what they’ve said and to essentially vote with my wallet and refuse to buy their products. What could be more American than free speech for all yet seeing lawful, perfectly legitimate consequences that follow from that free speech?
In any case, I am sure there will be an Internet link to this tale after it appears on the 10 O’Clock news and I’ll post about that when it happens. If, that is, I don’t come of like a raving, wild-eyed lunatic! Ha, ha.
OK, here is a link to the report: CBS 2 News.