Those of you who do nothing but watch The Big Bang Theory reruns on E4 all day, will know that last night they screened the 2000 film X-Men my personal introduction to the world of superheroes and more importantly, the Holocaust. The film opens with a young Magneto in a concentration camp being separated from his mother, the trauma of which ignites his mutant gene and gives him his powers. And considering the current political climate this is more important than ever.
The reason this scene resonated with me more today than it ever has is that I have recently seen this image:
I have several huge problems with this piece, well drawn though it is. I can accept the attendance of Daleks and Redskull given both their desires for all out destruction, but Magneto could only ever be in this picture to assassinate Trump, or to turn him into a mutant with his large spinning machine.(Side note: What is Hannibal Lecter doing here? Trump is much too rude for him)
But this image aside, there is no way to deny that Magneto is a Jewish Holocaust survivor who is a radical activist with only one agenda: to never have him or his people in a death camp again. As a child I saw Magneto as a villain, dedicating yourself entirely to a cause at the expense of all your comfort and the comfort of your friends and relatives was alien to a four year old me. Magneto could never prosper, the X-Men were the pinnacle of human evolution and decency.
After re-watching X-Men last night it occurred to me that it was human decency and prioritising comfort that led to Magneto being persecuted for his religious heritage. Suddenly, in light of Trump’s Muslim Ban amongst a host of other anti-humanitarian legislation, the X-Men seemed almost weak in comparison.
The X-Men wanted to do things by the book, but Magneto knows fascists wrote the book.