News & Politics

AOC Quotes Watchmen, Nerds Rejoice

It’s been noted, by both myself and smart people, that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is the left’s version of Donald Trump. She’s loud, she’s thin-skinned, she doesn’t let little things like facts slow her down, she likes to dance, and she’s really good at Twitter. But is she also… a comics nerd?

This morning she was the subject of a Politico story about old white male Democrats telling her to stifle herself already, and this was her response to one of the people praising her brave refusal to be silenced:

If you don’t get the reference, AOC (or one of her unfortunate staffers) is quoting the 1985 graphic novel comic book Watchmen. In one memorable scene, a masked vigilante and paranoid right-wing lunatic named Walter Kovacs, AKA Rorschach, has been arrested and imprisoned after being framed for murder. One day a fellow prisoner tries to shiv Kovacs in the cafeteria, and… well, just watch this scene from the movie adaptation.

Now, I’m both a huge nerd and a paranoid right-wing lunatic, so I thought this was pretty funny. A self-described socialist like AOC quoting… Rorschach, the original MAGA-head! The comics character had all the negative attributes that AOC’s fans believe about Trump voters. He hated liberals and communists and immigrants and gays. And oh my goodness, did he ever hate women. He was also obsessed with a fictional right-wing tabloid called the New Frontiersman, which ran racist, anti-Semitic political cartoons like this one, defending masked vigilantes running around beating people up because the cops weren’t doing their jobs:

Rorschach wore an ever-shifting black and white mask that resembled the psychological test that gave him his name, and also reflected his moral absolutism: literally no shades of gray. I can’t think of any superhero who’s less like AOC. I can just imagine all of her devoted fans illegally downloading Watchmen to see what she’s talking about, and realizing Rorschach is their worst nightmare. #RorschachIsProblematic!

Although AOC and Rorschach do have one thing in common: They both have trouble finding an apartment.

I found her tweet amusing, for these reasons among others. So, I did what I always do: I made stupid jokes about it.

If you didn’t get any of those jokes, don’t worry. It doesn’t matter and they’re not funny anyway. But now I look forward to being told I’m “attacking” her for quoting a comic book character. It’s sexist to assume she doesn’t read comics, just because she’s a woman. And it’s also bad to point out that political staffers write tweets for their bosses, because people will find any possible excuse to get angry about something.

And of course, this is just further evidence that we’re all “obsessed with” her, in the way that her defenders definitely are not obsessed with Trump.

Anyway, kudos to AOC (or her staffer) for getting Alan Moore’s name right. He’s the writer of the original Watchmen, but he’s completely distanced himself from all the adaptations and sequels since DC Comics published the original in the ’80s. He wants nothing to do with any of it, and these days he’s writing for smaller independent publishers and seems perfectly content to be forgotten. He’s one of my favorite writers, in any medium, and I’m always glad to see his name in the news.

If AOC really is an Alan Moore fan, I’m glad to have that in common with her. That and our mutual love of the artistic medium of dance.