Canada’s Premiere Conservative Cultural Critic Claims the Current ‘Captain America’ Story Casts Him As the Red Skull

The best Captain America stories have always been critiques of the far-right and problematic political foes of American yesteryear. Indeed Cap’s own identity is fraught with the burden of reconciling its inherently jingoistic nature that seems strident outside of war time. It is, in this vein, that Ta-Nehisi Coates has been writing a very-much-worth-checking-out Captain America that explores these themes.

Esquire said, “If you want to read something, you know, with some insight before the dumbassery ahead, check out Volume One of Cap x Coates here. It follows the recovery of an America that HYDRA actually manages to conquer at one point, thanks to a fake Cap declaring allegiance to the organization.  The Falcon and the Winter Soldieris using its post-Blipped world as a way into investigating the motivations of forum-lurking groups like QAnon. Now, Canadian psychology professor and guy you avoid at parties Jordan Peterson believes [writer Ta Nehisi] Coates used his philosophies in the newest issue of Captain America.”

Coates who previously helmed Black Panther began his career as an essayist at the politically left leaning Atlantic Monthly, which is why Peterson has homed in on the parallels. He believes it to be a highly sophisticated form of political character assassination.

We’ll get to the panels in a second here, but one scene sees the villainous Red Skull pointing out the ’10 RULES FOR LIFE’—which feels reminiscent of Peterson’s rallying cry for angry little boys, 12 Rules for Life—which include ‘CHAOS AND ORDER,’ ‘KARL LUEGER’S GENIUS,’ and ‘THE FEMINIST TRAP. Nice. In another moment, Captain America riffs on America’s weak, young men who are “looking for purpose,” making them willing to live and die for anyone who challenges their secret greatness. This, again, is reminiscent of teachings from the dude who fears that ‘the masculine spirit is under assault.'”

Peterson’s claim to fame began when he released a series of YouTube videos criticizing the Act to amend the Canadian Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code (Bill C-16), passed by the Parliament of Canada to introduce “gender identity and expression” as a prohibited grounds of discrimination. He argued that the bill would make the use of certain gender pronouns into compelled speech, and related this argument to a general critique of political correctness and identity politics.  Peterson’s lectures and debates eventually gradually gathered millions of views and became the basis for his bestselling book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos.

“Peterson,” says Esquire, “Never one to not be online and miss such a thing, tweeted about the seeming parody, responding to both the Red Skull panel and the Cap dialogue. And to be clear, it’s not apparent what, exactly, he’s taking issue with—he merely asked questions about the panels and seems surprised that they existed in the first place.”

Coates hasn’t responded to Peterson’s tweets, so we can’t yet confirm that the correlation was intentional. But it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that Coates, a longtime contributor to the left-leaning magazine, The Atlantic, and critic of America’s racist past and present, would take aim at Peterson.Even if he didn’t, that hasn’t stopped the merry rage gang from chiming in. Conservatives seem mostly upset at the possibility of Peterson’s ideas being worked into the philosophies of Red Skull, whose origins, historically, are that of a Nazi general officer.

In one of the comic book frames, Red Skull, one of the villains featured in Captain America comics (who is a Nazi,) appears on a computer screen with the caption “ten rules for life,” a reference to Peterson’s book 12 Rules For Life. On the other side of the screen there are three captions. The first, “chaos and order,” is a reference to Peterson’s division of the world into the realms of order and chaos, which exist in the world like yin and yang.
The final caption says “the feminist trap,” a reference to Peterson’s opposition to feminism. The middle caption, “Karl Lueger’s genius,” references the controversial Austrian political Karl Lueger whose legacy includes the modernization of Vienna and a vicious anti-Semitism which some say inspired Hitler. It is unclear how this may reference Peterson.In another series of frames, the comic book references followers of Red Skull as “young men” who are “looking for purpose” and are told by Red Skull “what they’ve always longed to hear.” What they want to hear, apparently, is “that the whole world is against them” and that they should “fight back” if they want to be “truly men.” 

Ultimately though as many have pointed out putting Jordan Peterson’s words in Red Skull’s mouth gives the supervillain a plausible set of motivations in the world today.

Post Millennial said: “Peterson’s audience is often described as being composed of young men who are searching for direction in life, and Peterson tries to convince the males in his audience to take on responsibility, grow up, and become men. While some critics of Peterson have characterized him as portraying the whole world to be against his followers, his message often focuses on the idea that life is suffering, and that only through the taking on of responsibility can men find the necessary tools to handle the suffering that accompanies life and turn it into something meaningful.”

So intentionally or not, Coates implementing the culture of the anti-PC bro into a Cap comic is unequivocal  critical comic book gold.