So Marvel Comics has killed Captain America. I don't care, of course; I've never had any interest in superheroes or comic books, except for Mad and Viz. (Other things I never liked: Horror movies. Gilligan's Island and '60s comedies. Star Trek and space shows. '70s cop shows. James Bond.) But it made TV3 news this afternoon. Get this quote from their website:
Interpretations of the hero's end have not taken long to appear. Many see an allegory of the state of his country. It isn't strange, since Captain America incarnates the fundamental values of the United States, and so his death could be interpreted as the end of these values.
That's just earth-shatteringly dumb. This is a comic book character, for Christ's sake. Remember that nutcase thing Ariel Dorfman wrote back in the '70s on how Donald Duck symbolizes gringo imperialistic capitalism? This is nearly as bad.
One problem with Europeans' ideas about the United States is that most of them come from American popular culture, which as we all know has little or nothing to do with reality. They tend to take images very seriously as well, because they're much easier to understand than the complicated reading that would be necessary to have informed ideas about American governmental policy, much less the society as a whole or its history.