Shooting War by Anthony Lappé and illustrated by Dan Goldman, published Nov 2007 by Grand Central Publishing is a hardcover graphic novel that is best described as media and political satire that taps into the “what if” theory of the politics of the near future, ripped from the headlines of today.
“If citizens are journalists, who will be the audience?”–Shooting War
Shooting War by Lappé started out as a serial in Smith Magazine and was an apparent hit with readers. It’s a political satire of how the world’s political landscape and foreign policy plays out three years from now. The story follows liberal blogger, Jimmy Burns, who overnight becomes a media sensation. He manages to capture a live feed of a Brooklyn Starbucks being blown apart by a suicide bomber right below his apartment building. His feed is then hijacked by a news network and is shown to millions of people around the world; he immediately becomes a popular face with a penchant for being in the right place for trouble. Burns gets his fifteen minutes of fame, gracing every major magazine cover and appearing on Larry King Live.
Burns’s fifteen minutes is extended even longer when he is shortly approached by an executive of Global News, which provides its viewers with 24/7 breaking news on terror. Burns is not a journalist but a civilian with a blog that focuses on corporate corruption. Global News hires him and partners him with a producer who is an Iraqi native and sends him off to Baghdad where he inadvertently becomes a source of propaganda for a jihadist group that no one knows about but who is wanted by the CIA.
Meanwhile, under McCain’s watch, the war in Iraq is vamped up a notch, sending in more troops to battle insurgents. His foreign policies are more of the same failures from the Bush administration. Pretty much more of the same news torn from the headlines of today especially with McCain’s winning the White House fracturing the Republican Party.[g]
The story is quite thought provoking in highlighting the media’s role in glamorizing violence. I know I am speaking to the choir when I say that there is no such thing as an independent media source. The news is always unbalanced, filtered and watered down for public consumption. While the graphic novel makes some serious claims and arguments concerning America’s foreign policy and political climate – there are some humorous moments to lighten things up a bit. The artwork is digital, innovative and quite amazing to look at. The author gives us plenty of familiar media faces like Anderson Cooper and Larry King from CNN and even Bill O’Reilly from Fox News. There’s more humor to be found in Jimmy Burn’s blog entries and his cover story by The New York magazine.
I liked Jimmy Burns. He is passionate in his cause and quite innocent when he begins to cover the war. After being sent to Iraq, however, his innocence (as expected) was shattered. He becomes disillusioned by the actions of US troops and the real war that is being fought overseas that no one dares report about. The authors make it clear that the war has loss of life from both sides.
To wrap things up, I enjoyed the ending and closed this book with a sigh. I know many readers don’t care for political satire but I couldn’t resist. I know for myself I don’t really care to discuss politics on this blog but this graphic novel just screamed my name and it didn’t hurt that it received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly. My grade, B.