Dean Cain, best known for once playing Superman on the ’90s TV series “Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” wants a word on the new Captain America comic book miniseries, “United States of Captain America.”
In a Tuesday Fox News appearance that’s been making the rounds on right-wing media this week, Cain decried “wokeness ” and “anti-American-ism” in the latest comics, joining a chorus of conservatives criticizing the story for depicting Steve Rogers questioning the reality of the “American Dream.”
“I love the concept of Captain America, but I am so tired of this wokeness and anti-Americanism,” Cain said. “In my opinion, America is the greatest country in history. It’s not perfect. We are constantly striving for a more perfect union, but I believe she’s the most fair, equitable country anyone’s ever seen, and that’s why people are clamoring to get here from all over the globe.”
Now, patriotism can be healthy when it’s aspirational, but there’s no way to “strive for a more perfect union,” as Cain claims he wants to, when you reject any and all reality checks and accountability as “cancel culture” and “wokeness.”
Cain goes on to call himself a “revolutionary” for the somehow radical act of supporting America, a country with a long history of and present-day very real problem of rampant nationalism. “Do these people ever travel outside of America? Do they go to other countries where they have to deal with governments who aren’t anywhere near as fair as the United States? I don’t think they do,” he said. “I do it all the time, and I kiss the soil when I get back.”
Cain’s segment spent whining about comic books actually buries the lede, which is, shockingly enough, that he hasn’t even read “United States of Captain America.” All he really knows about it is that Steve does question the American Dream, but for all Cain knows, subsequently embarks on a patriotic journey to make the Dream accessible to everyone, or at least not just white men.
Still, while Cain’s rant was remarkably bizarre, even by the standard of Fox News, and presents an image of him kissing the ground that none of us really wanted to picture, his obsession with American exceptionalism isn’t exactly rare. Cain sees America’s government as more “fair” than any other country’s because of his apparent ability to pass as white (he has partial Japanese ancestry), maleness and wealth have shielded him from the harshness of our legal system, criminal justice system, and undemocratic voting barriers. Many people who have never experienced these oppressions firsthand, and for that matter, never read the very comic books that inspire unhinged rants like Cain’s, will forever see any criticism of their privilege as an attack.