Tuesday, February 21, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 52: Democracy Dies in Darkness

I couldn't write this blog (and you couldn't read it, not even with very very good spectacles) if we didn't have, defend, and fight for the First Amendment, which we probably take pretty much for granted, right? I mean, you'd never read me making jokes about how Vince Colletta erased more of the Marvel Universe than Jack Kirby created without the First Amendment. About now I'm imagining you're saying "Well, Bully, if you love the First Amendment so much, why don't you marry it?" And I believe you're correct. I will marry it. Hey, you may think the First Amendment is shabby and old-fashioned and out of touch with the kids of today and their Trapper-Keepers and magnetic tops and disdain for the original Battlestar Galactica, but I bet you can purely hypothetically, imagine what an organized attack from some high-level force upon the voices of freedom in the press might possibly look like, can't you? I think you might be able to possibly imagine that in these times, no matter how weak your belief in gnomes is.

With that in mind, here's a true (for once, we think) comic book story of defiance, a short history the woman known as "Madame Ruse" who risked torture and death under the Nazi occupation of Belgium to produce La Libre Belgique, a newspaper of the Free Belgian Underground. You can read just a little bit more about the underground newspaper (and see a page from it) here. But it's a history any college professor or Wikipedia editor would hand back to you stamped "citation needed," because I can't find very much supporting evidence that "Madame Ruse" actually existed except for this comic book and a single story in a 1944 issue of the Long Beach Independent. So I present "Freedom's Press" to you with the caveat that this comic book story might be fictional. (Aren't they all?) But legend or truth, it's a fascinating if truncated story of truth under oppression, and a cautionary tale for the future of our age of accusations of "fake news".

"Freedom's Press" from Calling All Girls #40 (June-July 1945), scripter and artist unknown

1 comment:

Blam said...

I don't mean to be unkind, and I'm sure her imprisonment and torture was stressful to say the least, but she aged a lot in those four years. Like more than most U.S. Presidents do in eight years. Like even more than I've aged since Election Night.