•Today, as I make my way back from DC, let us contemplate a moment on Family Guy that captured both politics and nerd culture quite nicely: Lois briefly becomes mayor and realizes that scaring voters is an easy way to get them to approve spending. So, after doing things like answering questions by simply saying “9/11,” she gets a tax hike approved by saying spontaneously at a press conference (in her heavy Rhode Island accent), “Uh, we have evidence that…the Legion of Doom…is conspiring with…Adolf Hitler…to assassinate Jesus.”
The public gives her their full support — and because Family Guy never stops while things are remotely subtle, they quickly cut to a ten-second bit starting with a deep-voiced narrator saying “Meanwhile, at the headquarters of the Legion of Doom,” followed by Luthor asking “How did she learn of our plans?” and an ashamed-looking Solomon Grundy saying “Me, Solomon Grundy, kind of drop ball on that one” with no further reference to the team.
•For a more serious intersection of comics and politics, there is the highly acclaimed (I swear) comic book series (now on issue #42 and scheduled to last through issue 50) called Ex Machina. The world in it looks almost exactly like ours until around the millennium, when the world’s first superhero appears — an armor-clad (Iron Man-like) techno-hero called the Great Machine. On Sept. 11, 2001, he prevents the collapse of the Southern tower of the World Trade Center and is shortly thereafter elected mayor of New York City, struggling to balance his current political and mostly-past superheroic lives in the years thereafter.
•In a reminder that people in the media weren’t always quite as gullible about our vaunted leaders in FDR’s day as they are in the reign of Leader Obama, Brian Doherty recently wrote for Reason about how Little Orphan Annie strips, back in the day, were actually testaments to capitalist pluck and suspicion of FDR and even organized charity. Around the same time, New York unions drove the Superman-animating Fleischer brothers to Florida, where the tone of their work changed in interesting ways, as a recent Newsarama article describes. (I should really finish writing another comic book script myself very soon.)
•In other political news, I yesterday griped about the Republicans eating pizza instead of promulgating a free-market philosophy (though some people, like David Brooks in his column Tuesday last week, think the Republicans are already too pro-freedom and too pro-individualism). Empty as that pizza outing seemed, I wonder if it’s mere coincidence that the world’s two most powerful Democrats responded within days with a burger outing? Politicians do very little by accident.