January 01, 2011

Looking back at Indian Comics Irregular

I just published the 200th issue of Indian Comics Irregular, the newsletter I've been writing and distributing since I began publishing PEACE PARTY. In honor of this milestone, let's look back at previous milestones:

ICI #1:  Animaniacs Stereotypes Indians  (Nov. 1998)The cartoon show Animaniacs recently ran an episode titled Jokahontas. It was a takeoff on Disney's animated movie Pocahontas, of course. Part of the cartoon satirized Disney's many cliches--especially, having Pocahontas want to leave her safe life and explore the world, just like the Little Mermaid, Beauty, and Princess Jasmine.

But part of it satirized Indian life. The cartoon showed the Powhatan nation--actually Yakko, Wacko, and Dot, which is itself questionable--living in tipis, wearing feather bonnets, capturing a buffalo, and smoking a peace pipe. Maybe "satirize" is the wrong word, because the cartoon made no attempt to say this part of the show was false also. Viewers could reasonably conclude that despite the comical antics, Powhatans did live in tipis and wear feather bonnets, etc.

Indian stereotypes still live and breathe, even when people should know better.
ICI #100:  The Terminator vs. the Tribes  (Oct. 2003)The focus of this newsletter has always been "the intersection of pop culture and Indian country." What better example of that than Arnold Schwarzenegger's bid to be governor of California? Schwarzenegger is running on pure celebrity, since he has no political experience or acumen to his name. Indeed, he has no plan or agenda except being "for the people" and against "special interests."

Like so many crusaders before him, Schwarzenegger's primary bogeymen are the Indians. Like a latter-day √úbermensch, he'll "terminate" the bad guys for truth, justice, and the American way. How dare those money-grubbing tribes try to get rich (i.e., pull themselves out of poverty) at the expense of "real" people?

In Schwarzenegger's script for this election, Indians are the perfect movie villains. They're the heartless land barons who will foreclose on our mortgages and the half-naked savages who will scalp us in our sleep. Either way, they must be stopped.

Like the fictional Arabs and drug dealers he's fought before, Arnold's Indians are barbarians who pretend to be civilized. If the Duke isn't available to bring them to heel, he'll do the job. He'll clean up Dodge City (Sacramento) and run the varmints (gaming tribes) out of town.

If you're a Californian reading this on Oct. 7, it's not too late to send the Terminator (or should I say the Predator?) a message. Don't let a woman-groping, Hitler-admiring muscleman trample tribal sovereignty beneath his boots. We have enough problems on the national level without electing an intellectually and morally suspect frat boy as governor too.

For more on the subject, see "Have Gaming Tribes Bought California for $120 Million? No" and "Top 15 Reasons Why Indians Shouldn't Vote for Arnold Schwarzenegger" at http://www.bluecorncomics.com/120mill.htm.
Comment:  Schwarzenegger dropped his anti-Indian rhetoric once he was elected. Nevertheless, he proved to be as bad a governor as I expected. Go back to Hollywood, Arnold, and let a real man (Jerry Brown) do the job.

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