Tonight I’m taking a brief break from my series on Ant-Man and the Marvel Cinematic Universe to discuss something that’s really annoying the shit out of me: this controversy surrounding Texas Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz’s list of favorite superheroes. In an interview with The New York Times Magazine (a shortened, online version can be found here), Ted Cruz–a self-professed lover of sci-fi and comics–listed his five favorite superheroes. In order, they were: Spider-Man, Wolverine, Batman, Iron Man, and Rorschach.
It’s a pretty standard list, excluding his last choice, a character from Alan Moore’s brilliant Watchmen. It’s this eccentric inclusion that is garnering criticism for Cruz. I don’t mean criticism from the comic community, who would normally be arguing over their top fives heroes. No, I mean actual, legitimate criticism about what this man’s politics and character might be, based on his love for this fictional comic book character.
This is a real thing! Steve Benen for MSNBC writes:
But Rorschach is another story. For those unfamiliar with Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Rorschach is a mentally unstable killer. The fictional character lives by a moral code, but he’s extremely inflexible when applying that moral code, often in a psychotic sort of way. For Rorschach, there are no gray areas. There are no nuances. There’s right, there’s wrong, and there’s severe punishment for the latter.For a sampling, here’s a clip from the movie. Rorschach is the one telling his fellow inmates, “I’m not locked in here with you; you’re locked in here with me.”Ted Cruz’s superhero preferences are obviously his business, but as we get to know the presidential candidates better, beyond just their positions on the major issues, the fact that the far-right senator considers Rorschach one of his favorites seems … interesting.
Holy shit, are we serious? Interesting, Benen? I mean, yeah, it is, as a fun fact. But Mr. Benen is obviously pushing an agenda with the way he frames and italicizes “interesting”, and his decision to include the clip he did.
Anyone been on Twitter lately? This nonsense is blowing up. Jeet Heer wrote a whole essay on Twitter defending Cruz’s pick, and several others are using this as an opportunity to blast Cruz’s politics and character.
I AM SO CONFUSED.
Why do we care if he likes Rorschach? Plenty of people do! I get that Rorschach isn’t exactly a good guy, but…so what? What in the world does this have to do with Cruz as a politician?
Short answer: Nothing.
Here’s my take on the whole thing, guys:
This is just an excellent example of the media taking a non-issue and framing a debate around it. It’s a distraction from the real problems. Is anybody talking about Cruz’s actually policy views right now? Nope. They’re all too concerned about who his favorite men in tights are.
We should be careful what we get so spun up over when it comes to politics. We shouldn’t care if Cruz likes Rorschach as a superhero–we should care about what he wants to do as president, if elected.