Farcical, silly and shameful events demand farcical, silly and shameful responses. In the 2+ years since the January 6 Capitol riot, American lefties have shown themselves equal to the challenge. The incontinent shrieking of a thousand George Ford riot apologists eventually coalesced into the January 6 Commission Hootenanny and Review – the fictional documentary of documentary fiction.
But a couple of leftwing activists have eclipsed the made-for-TV committee miniseries and found the ultimate medium for considering January 6: The comic book. According to a magazine called yes!, which claims to be in the business of “solutions journalism,” Harvard prof Alan Jenkins teamed up with graphic novelist Gan Golan to create a work of fatuous dopiness whose only rival could be the “Stop the Steal” stupidity itself.
Their “four-part comic book series titled 1/6: What if the Attack on the U.S. Capitol Succeeded? imagines an alternative timeline — one where the pro-Trump mob triumphs and imposes martial law.” according to yes!. The point, you see, is to “inspire antifascism.”
So big colorful pictures with bold lines, cartoon baddies and few enough words so you don’t further confuse those confused enough to buy this junk? The message has met the medium and the audience!
According to yes!, “Jenkins says his lifelong love of comic books informed his idea to create a graphic novel ‘in the tradition of speculative fiction, envisioning what could have happened if the insurrection had been successful.’”
I don’t blame him. What could have happened is so much more interesting than what actually happened. In fact he’s says as much in explaining his idea: “After the insurrection, I found myself waking up in a cold sweat at 3 a.m. for many weeks worrying about our democracy, worrying about the fact that we had already as a nation begun to move on from this cataclysmic event.”
His questionable understanding of the word “cataclysmic” aside, he was upset that the American republic was healthy enough to shrug off the ludicrous acting out of a few hundred knuckleheads. And as the January 6 Primetime Follies Committee proved, you can’t recapture the audience by sticking in the approximate ballpark of the facts. No, you gotta go full “Fatherland” to make it sexy.
And for pants-wetting progressives, this is as sexy as it gets. In Jenkins and Golan’s bleak alternative world, journalists are routinely murdered “under the authority of the Fair and Balanced Media Act of 2021.” Our hero is “Sage, a Black journalist who barely escapes with his life as his colleagues are gunned down by fatigues-clad forces.” It’s base agitprop the old Soviets would be proud to fund.
No, the truth about January 6 is that some people on the right threw a temper tantrum just like they’d seen people on the left do over and over, to applause from the media for being “mostly peaceful” and leaving the odd bodega unburnt. They miscalculated. Badly. That doesn’t really make for a boffo left-wing comic book, however.
So where’s the “solution” in this piece of “solution journalism?” Ahah:
Amid this dark dystopia, it also visualizes how a grassroots antifascist opposition works in tandem with tenacious, honest journalism to offer an antidote to authoritarianism.
Why are you laughing? It could happen. The antifascist Black Shirts could take a break from policing pronouns long enough to find a “tenacious, honest journalist” or two. Come on, stop laughing!