After blogging about various games, a contest that has proven to be equally entertaining and more important to the nation is the U.S. presidential primaries. The withdrawals of John Edwards and Rudy Guiliani have narrowed the race considerably. The good news is that voters now have a clearer choice, but the bad news is that the remaining candidates will disappoint both the liberal and conservative faithful.
On the Republican side, John McCain is the candidate with more experience and endorsements, although Mitt Romney's fiscal and social conservatism may be more appealing to the party's base. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton's network and detailed proposals are offset by her personal disputes with Barack Obama, who is appealing to younger, idealistic voters with his promise of change. If you live in a state participating in the "Super Tuesday" primaries, please remember your civic duty as we head toward the next election!
After rewatching The Who's Quadrophenia last week, I caught Shut Up and Sing, which documented how country music trio the Dixie Chicks were blacklisted by radio stations after lead singer Natalie Maines-Pasdar made a crack about President George W. Bush at the outset of the second U.S.-Iraq war. Although I'm not a big country music fan, I was impressed by the Dixie Chicks' integrity in the face of political criticism and commercial setbacks, and I hope that our divided nation can respect free speech and differences of opinion.
I've also caught up in reading recent issues of Captain America, another intersection between politics and art. As former sidekick (long thought dead) "Bucky" Barnes takes up the shield of Steve Rogers, writer Ed Brubaker shows how our ideals and methods have changed from World War II, through the Cold War, to the current so-called War on Terror. He stays nonpartisan but notes that security and liberty are difficult to balance and that people are often their own worst enemies.
In addition to the various comic book adaptations I've already mentioned (such as Justice League: New Frontier and Incredible Hulk), I should add new animated versions of Spider-Man and the X-Men that are in the works. We'll see if they capture the "With great power comes great responsibility" idealism, youthful energy, and concerns of oppressed minorities of the original titles and other recent takes on these characters. I'm also looking forward to an animated Batman: Gotham Knight direct-to-video release that is supposed take place between the two Christian Bale live-action movies. May justice prevail!