Saving Democracy with Body Pillows
The American Experiment's last hope.
More freebie humor to celebrate the book. Share it if your lips curl upwards.
Politics have inherited (another) problem from entertainment: fandom. Specifically, backlash to fandom. It’s comforting to track policy, but a plurality of voters react to ratios and cringe compilations. Admitting it feels insane, stupid, and dire, but the truth is clear: modern parties lose power for having annoying fans.
Trump was king of the world until Ben Shapiro got on the news. One man’s steam-whistle voice punted the final collapse of American democracy back another decade. To say nothing of the rank-and-file. You can wax poetic about authoritarianism, but no crime damaged the administration more than the first Proud Boy high-and-tight seen in decent company.
It’s bipartisan; Joe doesn’t even like his voters, and they still blackballed enough popular favorites to kill his presidency. If that seems petty, it’s because it is. We’re a petty nation in a petty era with handheld pettiness-amplification devices. When The Rise and Fall of the American Empire is written by a surviving cyborg, pettiness will be our Corinthian pillar.
With Art Spiegelman books going into bulk shredders, many people with eyes and ears are concerned about fascism arising from all the fascism. I have a response. It’s unconventional, but we face an unconventional threat. You don’t have the right to privacy anymore, so I know you can give me a minute.
While I love anime, it has the worst fans alive. In an open-minded generation, it remains one of the only socially and morally acceptable targets for bullying. For good reason: half the community insists that ephebophilia’s fine as long as it’s cel-shaded. Normally, this would be a crisis in itself. But I see our opportunity.
To kill fascism, we need to get anime fans into fascism.
I don’t mean flirting with fascism like Hetalia. I don’t mean critiquing fascism with its aesthetic like Attack on Titan. We’re in too deep for that. I mean Himmler body pillows. Fangirl flamewars between Mussolini and Franco. A complete reversal of the catgirl-to-communist pipeline. To save the laboratory of democracy, get more toothbrush mustaches at DragonCon than cat ears.
To achieve that, we need a hit. While six maids fawning over one bland teenager will always make its money back, true genre leaders tend to innovate. Or feature seven maids fawning over two bland teenagers. I suggest innovation.
Mecha space operas are overdue for a revival, and I say we exploit that opening. While popular franchises like Gundam are rooted in humanist themes like “try less genocide,” we need a series that flips the script. The production process will be uncomfortable, but a seasonal anime merging the themes of American Sniper with the aesthetic of American Sniper could build a solid base of weeaboo cryptofascists. Then, to remove the crypto from cryptofascism, we make an anime movie with the plotline of American Sniper.
From there, we wait. The American Sniper anime is a road leading inexorably to the first whites-only maid cafe. From there, popular disgust will lead to reaffirmation of voting rights, dismantlement of ICE, and the disgraced resignation of the House Freedom Caucus.
There’s a natural question: hasn’t anime gotten a little more mainstream? Yes, as far as broad Shonen blockbusters go. That success has only made the extremes worse. For every Stone Ocean, there’s an Interspecies Reviewers. What’s Interspecies Reviewers? Exactly what it sounds like.
Moral shaming doesn’t work. Fashion does. With effort and a crack team of Shonen Jump dropouts, we can turn fascism into the ninja headband of politics.
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PS: I intended to send this Sunday, but it turns out I’m tech illiterate. Who knew?