In a controversial tweet, Jon Malin, the current artist on Marvel’s Cable series, compared Nazis to “social justice warriors” (or “SJWs”), a disparaging term for people who call for more representation in media and government. The Jon Malin Nazi tweet read:
X-Men are closer to Jews in SJW Hitler's Germany fighting for freedom because they see ideologues rising, silencing them, weaponizing hate, racism and socialism against the people they claim are the root of social ills. SJWs are not Nazis but Nazis are SJWs and X-MEN aren't SJWs. https://t.co/GlspfHMhLN
— ＭＡＬＩＮ (@JonMalin) January 22, 2018
While Malin is correct that the X-Men titles have used mutants as a metaphor for Jews in Nazi Germany, he might want to open a history book. While so-called SJWs want to see a wider range of people represented in media, Nazis, on the other hand, burned art and scientific works that didn’t fit their ideals. They also purged homosexuals from their ranks.
However, it doesn’t appear that the Jon Malin Nazi tweet thought too hard about the comparison. The same night, Malin appeared on a YouTube Q&A with DC Comics’ Noah Van Sciver saying he feared for his job.
He said, “The next guy like me, it’s just going to be even more harder. These people are getting further and further into control of these companies, and when they find out you’re a Trump supporter, you’re gone.” The idea of Trump supporters being persecuted for their beliefs is a common misconception.
Insisting that the X-Men aren’t “SJWs” is particularly absurd as well. They’re quite literally fighting for social justice. In fact, one might even call them warriors. Just look at storylines like the Mutant Registration Act, where the Senate called for mutants to register with the government. (Just like in Nazi Germany, where Jews were required to register with the government.)
Response to the Jon Malin Nazi tweet and his bizarre misreading of history was quick. Jay Edidin — writer, editor and co-host of an X-Men podcast — explained how social justice is a core component of the Jewish faith. He wrote:
Most of the conversation about this has so far focused on the X-Men. Fair enough. I’m not going to talk about that; you already know where I stand. Dude’s wrong, ’nuff said.
The part of the tweet that leaves me reeling isn’t the interpretation of a fictional group to fit a specific agenda. It’s the attempt to use Jewish resistance to the rise of the Nazis as a prop in this bogus argument.
Social justice is a FUNDAMENTAL VALUE of Judaism. Fundamental. The reason you weren’t seeing a lot of discourse about it in WWII Germany is because Jews were FIGHTING TO SURVIVE. Holding up that forced silence as an ideal is beyond horrific. The KINDEST possible reading of this is that an ordinarily vocal minority is only laudable when they’re too busy fighting for their lives to stand up for their (or anyone’s) humanity and dignity.
So, yes, by all means, argue about interpretations of the X-Men! But don’t forget that they’re a metaphor — and don’t let your zeal to defend fictional characters obscure the very people they were created to represent.
Featured image by Jon Malin courtesy Marvel Entertainment