In the time of Black Lives Matter, cops have to be portrayed as the bad guys in America. Those who disagree risk censorship, as happened to Mike Baron, a veteran of American comics. Baron told, last January, that one of his works - in which he praises the police force - was censored first by "Facebook" ads, then by "Reddit", on the charge of inciting hatred and racism.
Who is Mike Baron and what he drew
Baron, 72, has done numerous superhero stories over the course of his career, working on such successful characters as The Flash and Punisher. His latest work is called "Thin Blue Line", and it's a detective story where the heroes are two officers who must survive for one night, in a city wracked by riots inspired by those of 2020.
Interviewed by "Fox News", Baron explained that he wanted to create this comic book to pay homage to all those police officers who are committed to their work, ensuring order and safety in the cities. The host who interviewed him, Lawrence Jones, commented: "Twenty years ago, a story like this wouldn’t have raised an eyebrow. But in today’s hyper-politicized environment, many people find support for the police objectionable".
In an interview with the website The Federalist the author explained what prompted him to create "Thin Blue Line": to see in 2020 all those acts of vandalism following Floyd's murder that, under the guise of fighting racism, were turning entire cities upside down; and, on the other hand, politicians and activists calling for defunding the police. He added that, in his opinion, "modern comics today seems completely taken over by frivolous identity politics. It doesn’t appeal to anyone outside a very narrow fringe. I think a lot of these people are just writing the comics for themselves to get something off their chest. And they’ve forgotten how to entertain."
This is the second time that a Baron's work has been removed from "Reddit": in the past it had already happened with another one, which told about a cyclist, who after ending up in prison, rediscovers faith in God. Interviewed by "Fox News", a spokesman of the discussion portal said: "Reddit did not remove the content in question. The content was removed by the subreddit’s volunteer moderators" - who in specific contexts can set their own rules and implement them at will.
Baron said of the moderator who censored him, "I get the impression that it’s someone who is probably young and hasn’t been exposed to a lot of different points of view." He added that he thinks there are certain circles, such as sports or entertainment, where politics used to not be central, but things are changing, due to a "small minority of loud voices" trying to politicize everything. "It was a place (Reddit) you went to enjoy yourself and relax. The purpose of those forums is entertainment, and I think that today a number of publishers have lost sight of that fact."
Cops can only be bad
In addition to this, there have been other instances in the past of entertainment works being criticized because the cops were the good guys. "BlacKkKlansman", Spike Lee's 2018 film about two officers who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the 1970s, while featuring a black protagonist and denouncing racism (to the point of drawing parallels between the Klan and Donald Trump supporters) was criticized by far-left filmmaker Boots Riley for presenting cops as the good guys.
As socialist leader Pietro Nenni said, "Competing to be pure, you will always find a purer one to purge you."
Giornalista pubblicista, ha scritto per le testate Mosaico, Cultweek and Il Giornale Off. Laureato in Beni culturali (Università degli Studi di Milano) e laureato magistrale in Giornalismo, cultura editoriale e comunicazione multimediale (Università di Parma).