Grok The Vote: That One Thing

Grok The Vote: That One Thing

Oct 31

When it comes to voting and politics, I think most of us want to be Spock. Logic and reason are our hoped-for guides, our arguments spilling forth in factually-supported constructs of such astonishing correctness that they knock the opposing viewpoint right out of the park…er, starship? Whatever. In reality, of course, emotion — hearts and guts — always worms its way in. We all have that one issue we can’t be cool and measured and rational about. For instance, this morning I spotted a certain bumper sticker supporting a certain California prop on the car in front of me and it made me so blood-boilingly angry that I suddenly had the wild, rageful urge to floor the gas and ram said car repeatedly. Or maybe just steal the assy bumper sticker.

I think the way in which we think about and discuss politics parallels classic Geek Fights in a pretty obvious way. Geeks don’t just like to argue. We like to argue using wordy analyses we have spent an inordinate amount of time constructing, made up of bits of continuity (“X character acted this way in all previous storylines, therefore his/her behavior in this storyline MAKES NO SENSE”), reasoning (“For X character to react this way is possibly consistent with past characterization, but is not in any way, shape, or form a logical way for a human to react and therefore MAKES NO SENSE”), and dental floss (“This is dumb and MAKES NO SENSE”). We might as well be stumping for a presidential candidate.

But, just as it happens in politics, we all have That One Thing on which we are completely, irrationally emotional. I’ve been thinking about this a lot, thanks to an extended email exchange between me and my friend Caroline (aka Mad Marvel Girl) about Emma Frost.

“I’ve decided that everybody is allowed to have a point or two in fandom where their reactions are completely emotion-based and irrational,” she said. “I mean, if everything is like that for you (and we all know people like that) they maybe need to step away from the source material. But I’m resigned to having a couple hot buttons, and Emma-related things are among them.”

(By the way: Caroline regularly blows me away with her overwhelming big braininess. You can get some more of that over at Fantastic Fangirls.)

In these cases, our responses are more clipped.

“Because it’s cool.”

“Because I like it.”

“Because. Shut up!”

I, too, have a few of these. One of them also relates to Emma and I think was included in the above email exchange somewhere.

Basically: even though I love Emma and appreciate the attempts of the X-writers to pen an adult romance (and I am a big fan of romance in superhero comics to begin with, hearts and flowers!), I have a serious mental block when it comes to Emma/Scott. Because it’s supposed to be Jean/Scott. Why? BECAUSE IT’S SUPPOSED TO BE.

No thoughtful commentary from me there, folks. Just a big, fat, irrational block that somehow triggers blinding rage.

I used to be moderately embarrassed by this, but I’m slowly coming around to the acceptance stage. I think Caroline is right: everyone is allowed their One Thing. After all, having that passionate love for your comics/movies/TV/characters of choice is one of the things that makes fandom great in the first place.

And to bring it ’round again to politics, my treatise against the aforementioned prop is equally clipped: because it’s wrong. I can definitely come up with a more well-reasoned explanation for this one than I can for the whole Emma/Scott/Jean mess, but sometimes, the best arguments really do boil down to three simple words.


  1. …I thought it was supposed to be Logan and Jean?

  2. @Jeff NO! Because that MAKES NO SENSE!! 😉

    Sarah, seriously, excellent post. And thanks for saying such nice things. I’ve definitely found out that there are political issues I can talk about in a rational, detached manner, and times when the only thing I could think to say is, “That’s just wrong and if you’re going to sit here and say you believe that we can’t have this conversation.”

    There’s definitely some overlap among the political geeks and media geeks that I know and it’s interesting to think about the ways that our fannish and “serious” arguments can be similar.

  3. I think that those hot button issues are what makes geeks geeky.

    …And honestly, Jean/Logan makes more sense than Jean/Scott at this point. The X-Office should move beyond having them both do the, “I love Jean(Logan), but I can never be with them,” angstfest.

  4. I don’t see Marvel ever putting Wolverine in a monogamous relationship. It would cramp his style and keep him from being in 75 books every month.

    (I love how we’re talking about X-Men ships instead of politics in the comments! :))

  5. And seriously, “Live Scott. All I ever did was die on you,” is such a good line. Whether you like GMozz or not.

  6. Though I don’t know in what universe “live” means “go hook up with the emotionally abusive tart you’ve been cheating on me with.” (Seriously, if this conversation goes on much longer, I may start having heart palpitations, and not the good kind).

    So, yeah, politics. . .how about that early voting??

  7. I’m not saying I’m pro-Emma, but I’ve definitely gotten used to her. But topic changed.

    I wish my state had early voting. It’s funny that I’ve heard both sides say that early voting skews results toward the opposition.

  8. Yeah, that GMozzer line Jeff quoted is like just a great line, period. I wish they’d made an X-Men 3 good enough to use it or something.

    I guess the only real difference between the example Sarah used in her terrific piece and the Scott/Jean vs. Scott/Emma issue is that the proposition you seem to be referencing is, in fact, plain wrong–frankly, I find supporting of it to be just as heinous and wrong as, like, supporting murder or daily beatings.

    Is that too political? I’m quite tired.

  9. @Matt Yeah, there’s definitely a difference between a moral argument that may be difficult to articulate and a deeply-felt-but-ultimately-subjective-preference. There may be geek things you can argue about from a moral position. For example, and I’m not necessarily advancing this, but I can see somebody saying that the way DC treated Spoiler was Just Plain Wrong, as a matter of decency, and not as a matter of preference. But still, even if we grant that immoral fiction might exist, at the end of the day it’s still fiction.

    What might be an interesting flipside to this is whether we should admit that some of our deeply held political beliefs may just be preference. Is it possible to say, “All economic systems have their good and bad sides, but I just like this one better”? Or are they always going to be tied to notions of what constitutes a just society and thus to moralit?

    And on another note. . .F***ing Morrison.

  10. Yeah, Matt, I agree — the comics issue is open to debate. The other one is definitely wrong. But the way I address the political issue is similar in that I get so angry and frustrated I can’t seem to muster a coherent argument beyond “it’s wrong.” If that makes sense.

    On an aesthetic level, the Morrison line is pleasing. On an emotional level it makes me BLAZINGLY ANGRY. 😉

  11. I think these are the most comments we’ve gotten on a post that Matt didn’t vilify himself in.

  12. First off, just want to be clear–I of course didn’t mean to suggest that Sarah didn’t do an AWESOME job of writing the piece or making her meaning clear. I was more ranting on how I feel because I’m cranky and this shit’s getting closer and closer now.

    @Caroline: I can only speak for myself, but there’s a handful of issues–gay marriage being one of them, universal health care another, probably a handful more if I really thought–that for me are totally morality based. You can make political/logical arguments probably against and for both, but to me, they’re knee-jerk emotional moral objective good vs. evil things. Is that extremist? Probably.

    But yeah, on most political issues, I can reasonably and logically understand both sides, just like I guess on most geek issues I can. I actually can also detach pretty well from both politics and geek bullshit pretty well and see the strategy and tactics involved–I like talking politics in terms of the strategy of the campaign and the good/bad decisions, just like I like talking comics in terms of how DC screwed up this event or that storyline, etc.

    @Jeff: I’m still tossing around ideas on how to villify myself in the comments. Maybe I’ll claim I stole votes cause they’re free?

  13. Quick addl (and maybe this is where I’ll get in the Villifyingmobile and drive around the block): It’s odd that most of the issues I feel strongly about from a moral perspective are issues that the “religious right” probably feel the exact opposite about.

  14. I think you mean ‘religious wrong’, Matt: M I RITE?!

  15. I’m glad to continue the conversation, if I haven’t killed it with my lefty propaganda, but this is just padding–this post is now creeping up the list of “most popular” and I’d love to see it overtake some of the posts that declare how big an asshole I am.


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