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Why Write About Native Americans?

>> Your recent maillist missive about the poor stereotyped Mexicans got me thinking, why do you protect especially Indians? <<

Why write about Native Americans?

>> What did they ever do for you? <<

Nothing specific. Showed me the mainstream US culture in a new light, perhaps.

>> Do you expect any thanks, or are you completely altruistic? <<

I don't expect much of anything. Since I'm publishing a comic for sale as well as posting pages for free, I don't think we can say my motives are "completely altruistic."

>> There're other people whose culture gets maligned in a way far worse than just a little stereotyping. <<

Stereotyping is symptomatic of racism. I made the case in Defining Great American Literature that race and violence are central to the American experience.

As I wrote to someone else at the same time as you:

Focusing on one subject to make a point about something larger happens all the time. For instance, someone writes a book on the history of ketchup. People buy it not because they're intrigued by ketchup, but because the author uses ketchup to explore the history of food, commerce, marketing, and so forth. Or someone criticizes Native American stereotypes in excruciating detail. It's not because he thinks these stereotypes are worse than stereotypes of women, blacks, or gays, but because they're representative of a culture full of problems.

>> For example Russians. The American media do all they can to insult Russian culture; they pour enormous amounts of lies and hatred on them. <<

Spoken like someone with a Russian background, I think. <g> Tell me more about yourself.

>> This issue is politically far more inportant than Indians. <<

Yes, but as I've said and will keep saying, how we treat Indians is symptomatic of our cultural mindset. The values that lead us to to be racist and violent against Indians also lead us to be racist and violent against other people. That's especially true of people with a "foreign" culture, like the Russians. Addressing one problem implicitly addresses the related problems.

>> Oh, I could go on and on and tell you about all the insults and lies about Russia the West keeps spreading, but I suggest you inform yourself. <<

Maybe I've informed myself already. How would you know?

>> Why don't you do something about that? Because whatever you do for the Indians, they know you're still a member of the white race and therefore a descendant of their enemies. <<

By the same token, I'll always be an American, not a Russian. So that's no reason to switch my focus.

>> Even if your ancestors never did anything deplorable. Don't think you can ever shed your skin. Whatever you do, you're still white. <<

Thanks for the news flash!

>> I think you are doing good work, but you should direct it at other issues, more important issues, not spend all you time and energy defending Indians <<

More important than our society's racist and violent mindset? Don't think so.

See Thunderbird in the Comics for a mention of Russian stereotyping. And note how I link it to Indian stereotyping and stereotyping in general. I think I'm way ahead of you, not way behind you.

>> Why don't you write a comic about a genocidal maniac George W. Bush, who could just start a new war any day? Or about a possible second Civil War <<

I have to succeed with one comic before I can do others. But I have ideas for other comics that don't involve Indians. My unpublished magnum opus is called UTOPIA. It portrays an alternate universe featuring a hyper-consumerist, Japan-style America. The turning point that created this world involves the Cold War against the USSR.

FYI, I spent much of 1990-91, I think it was, writing this 12-part series while I worked a full-time job. Meanwhile, you were out philandering with or assassinating your grade school boyfriends. That helps explain my mediocre love life compared to yours.

>> And something else: if you want to make an impact, don't make any superhero comics. Make non-superhero comics. Offer your story to DC Vertigo line, or Image. <<

I'm selling PEACE PARTY as something other than a standard superhero comic. As I say in my FAQ, it's "Tony Hillerman meets Harry Potter with a touch of The X-Files." PP may be halfway between a non-superhero and a superhero comic, with an appeal far beyond your average X-MEN or PUNISHER comic.

>> Superheroes are a spent force. Only Superhero fans read them. Write something different. <<

I agree, but PEACE PARTY is different.


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Original text and pictures © copyright 2007 by Robert Schmidt.

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