Category Archives: Politics

Why Are Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow Helping Assad?

In the lead up to their Marvel Studios releases, Marvel Comics publishes two issue “prelude” comics for upcoming films which are then collected into trade paperbacks with extra related material. Leading up to Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Infinity War Prelude recently saw its trade release. Written by Will Corona Pilgrim, with art by Tigh Walker, color by Chris O’Halloran, and lettering by VC’s Travis Lanham the two issue story recaps Captain America: Civil War and Infinity War, fills in gaps between the films, and also provides details on the Infinity Stones.

Part of the story follows what Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, and Natasha Romanoff, (aka Captain AmericaFalcon, and Black Widow) have been up to, and what’s presented is a little head scratching.

The scene has the trio breaking up an arms deal in Syria. That arms deal is weapons being sent by the United States government to Syrian rebels who we can only assume are fighting a civil war against the dictator Bashar Hafez al-Assad. Yes, Captain America, Falcon, and Black Widow are protecting Assad from rebels and interfering in an internal conflict.

What’s stranger is that Black Widow refers to these individuals as “terrorists” which is language that takes the side of Assad’s government. Further strange is that Black Widow has gotten her intel from her KGB contacts (and I’ll ignore the use of KGB and not one of the current intelligence agencies that split up in to after the dissolution of the Russian government in the early 90s). That means she received information to take down these “terrorists” from Russian operatives. The Russian government supports Assad and is in a proxy war with the United States with real world engagement. As presented, these superheroes are being willingly manipulated by the Russian government to take down the Syrian opposition (and their US ally) and prop up a dictator.

When you mix in some of Rogers’ issues with the fictional Sokovian Accords it gets stranger. Rogers vocalized concerns to Tony Stark included being used by individuals to meet their agendas, they lose their right to choose what actions they take. So, in this situation either Rogers, Wilson, and Romanoff have chosen this action and/or they’re being used by the Russian government. Either case, it’s a bad choice as they’re propping up a genocidal dictator who has used chemical weapons against his own people.

Through their actions too they’ve not only denied the weapons to this group, they’ve done so in opposition to the United States government an action that would likely come with further sanctions and at least charges.

Will this be addressed in the upcoming film? We have only until late April to see but as is it muddies the politics of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Editorial: Pruitt vs. Peck – Who’s Worse?

With EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt‘s scandals all over the headlines and him likely the next member of the Trump Admin to get the signature

it seems like a good time to ask the questions no one else is willing to ask: How bad is Scott Pruitt really at his job?

As the head of the EPA, it’s clear. He’s. . . uhm, how do you say?

Literally, the worst. Go ahead. Name one other truly bad EPA Administrator. Can you? (You must be one of my co-workers if you can.) They all look amazing by comparison. Yes, even Anne Gorsuch. Yes, even Stephen Johnson.

So, to really compare Pruitt to someone, we have to go to the world of fiction. And we look no further than fictional EPA apparatchik and classic 80’s villain Walter Peck from Ghostbusters. 

Let’s run down their CV’s:

scott-pruitt-800x430NAME: Scott Pruitt
JOB: EPA Administrator
HOME: Oklahoma, or sometimes a swanky DC condo owned by a lobbyist that he pays $50/night for.
ENEMIES: Clean air, clean water, a stable climate, science, and kittens, probably.
OTHER: Is a dick.

 

 

william-atherton-as-walter-peck-in-ghostbusters

NAME: Walter Peck (played by William Atherton)
JOB: EPA jerk
HOME: New York City
ENEMIES: Ghostbusters, especially Peter Venkman
OTHER: Has no dick. That’s at least what I heard.

 

Ok, so straight off, Pruitt is in the lead. Because, I mean, he’s not fictional. And Peck, while a jerk, was legitimately trying to do a job protecting the environment. Pruitt seems to think his job is to make it easier for big polluters to make big money. Fox, here’s your job guarding the henhouse.

So next let’s look at one trait they both share: Skepticism.

Both Pruitt and Peck are famous skeptics of scientists who actually know what they’re talking about. But while Peck is skeptical of Drs. Venkman, Spengler, and Stantz for saying they see ghosts, we can somewhat understand that position. I mean, it does seem unscientific to believe in ghosts.

Pruitt’s skepticism is about climate change. He has somewhat famously been pushing to do a “Red Team, Blue Team” “debate” about “climate science” but it has mostly been shut down. Why? Because even the worst of Trump’s cronies know that’s an extraordinarily bad idea to give a stage to the 3% of scientists who don’t believe the climate is changing from greenhouse gas pollution (and who all, coincidentally, take millions in cash from the coal, oil, and gas industries) because they’re essentially crackpot conspiracy theorists. Also, that’s not how science works, bro.

Again, advantage Pruitt.

Next? Biggest bombs.

Walter Peck famously shut off the Ghostbusters’ containment unit, equivalent to “dropping a bomb on the city.” Listen to how he fails to listen to not only the expert opinions of the people who understand the technology the best, but also neutral actors (like the ConEd guy) who says he doesn’t understand any of this and maybe they shouldn’t shut it all down? Instead, he seems to take glee in abusing his power, even telling the cop that he can shoot Venkman. Have a watch:

Pruitt’s bomb he’s dropped is similar, but less spectacular. By shutting off Obama’s landmark Clean Power Plan, which limited greenhouse gases from power plants, and rewriting clean car standards to allow for more pollution (and more automaker profits!), Pruitt has dropped a climate bomb on all of us. But it is one which will more affect our children and their children, even while we deal with the shorter terms consequences of more smog, more asthma attacks, more premature deaths.

On the other hand, blowing up the containment unit brought about the coming of Gozer the Destructor. So. . . advantage Peck on this one. But really only slightly.

How corrupt were they?

Well, Peck doesn’t seem to be corrupt other than he’s a guy on a power trip. Meanwhile, Pruitt seems more like a fictional cartoon supervillain for all his corporate stoogery. Here’s an internet challenge: can you name all of Pruitt’s scandals in 30 seconds?

The Washington Post is saying Pruitt’s excuses for his corruption are “crumbling” and even Fox News is dogpiling on as his lavish travel, 24/7 security detail, sweetheart deals with lobbyists, and general mendacity become more and more impossible to defend.

Some of the highlights of Pruitt’s ineptitude? First, his entire reasoning for needing a 24/7 security detail and to fly first class everywhere? Because, apparently, people who care about the environment are mean to him. In his requests for first class travel, he recounts an incident where someone at the airport baggage claim confronted him and told him, “Hey Scott Pruitt, you’re f—ing up the environment.”

Beyond pointing out that flying first class still means you have to stand at the baggage claim with everyone else, this is just a lame excuse from a fragile snowflake who can’t take criticism for his work. An easier solution? Pruitt could maybe not f— up the environment? And then people wouldn’t be mad at him.

But his security detail and security concerns. Whoa. . . there’s so much to unpack here. So, first, Pruitt had them build a soundproof secure booth in his office. Why would the EPA Administrator need this? Sure, head of the CIA or Secretary of Defense or State. . .  but EPA? Lots of state secrets you can’t share with the public, Scott?

Or– OR– this was just a clever way to be able to skirt freedom of information and oversight laws and make it easier to collude with corporate polluters about what kinds of policies they wanted. I can just see it now. . .

“Administrator Pruitt, your landlord is on the line.”
“Great, is he calling about the leaky faucet?”
“No, he says you’re late on your rent, but mostly he’s calling to talk about his clients’ pipelines and the clean car standards on behalf of the auto industry. He also wants to know if you’re going on the swanky Morocco junket to promote natural gas exports for his clients.”
“I REQUEST A CONE OF SILENCE!”

***AND…. SCENE***

But this security detail. . . they’re just the gift that keeps on giving. Apparently Pruitt made EPA pay for a door to the condo he was renting, because they broke it down while their boss was taking a nap.

Then, when Pruitt was late for a dinner at a fancy restaurant, he asked if they could put the sirens on. Taking a page from Ghostbusters, “Hey, let’s run some red lights!”

The icing on the cake of this story is Pruitt’s security told him they could not turn on the sirens unless there was an emergency. Pruitt then fired his security chief like any toddler throwing a tantrum because they can’t turn on the sirens.

Walter Peck? He did none of these things. A million points to Pruitt, none to Peck.

And finally, how’d they end up? Well, we only assume Pruitt is covered with an oily sheen gotten from bathing in the ill-gotten gains from his friends in the fossil fuel industry. He’s also surrounded by a dense cloud of smoke– but one can’t be sure if that’s from the coal stacks or just ethical problems. Peck, however, made it out at least a little better.

While being covered in liquid Stay Puft goo was described as “feel[ing] so funky” and “like the floor of a taxi cab,” at least marshmallow is yummy, and it’s nothing a shower and a trip to the dry cleaner’s can’t fix. Pruitt wins this round, too.

So, who’s worse? Pruitt, Pruitt, Pruitt.

When you lose so badly to a classic 80’s movie villain, you really need to wonder just how bad of a person you are.

Join us in our next round of these articles where I compare Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke to Hedley Lamarr from Blazing Saddles or Mark Zuckerberg to famous James Bond villains.

SXSW Movie Review: Alt-Right: Age of Rage

This is the scariest movie playing at the SXSW film festival, because it’s all 100% real.

The film opens and closes with the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 and shows key background on how we got there and its aftermath. The documentary focuses on two key figures on both sides. The first is Richard Spencer, popularizer of the term “alt-right” and recipient of everyone’s favorite Inauguration punch.

The second is Daryle Lamont Jenkins, an Antifa activist whose work over the past several years has been exposing white supremacists and organizing counter protests.

Their styles and substance could not be more different. Spencer is the more polished, smug, and comfortable in the limelight he has courted. He also immediately goes for the throat, and attacks Daryle on his looks rather than his substance. (You know, for someone who claims he is of a superior race and academic style, he sure immediately goes for the ad hominem. Just sayin.) Jenkins talks about Spencer as a symptom of a larger problem, and even tells Spencer to his face that if all he has left to say is fat jokes, then he has already won. And the coup de grace comes in the final moments of the film, as each of them is asked how divided we are as a country and what is to be done about that. No spoilers, but their answers tell you everything you need to know about each of them and their agendas.

The documentarians here have done an amazing job. It feels like they just happened to be at the right place at the right time — including on the street in Charlottesville where a right wing terrorist plowed over peaceful protesters in his car, killing one. It’s unsettling and traumatic to watch. And it should be. But this is where we are as a nation.

And when the tiki torch brigade surround protesters, starting fights with them, shooting their guns at protesters, and the police stand by and do nothing, you can see exactly what is so wrong with the system. Indeed, you see the Antifa protesters getting tear gassed and maced, including Jenkins himself, but they remain undeterred.

Meanwhile, Spencer and his team of personal security plan for how to get in and out of a black SUV motorcade as though they expect the hippies to come after them with AR-15s. It’s comical, except that it’s so sad. Spencer and his fragile white male contingent really do feel that somehow they are threatened. They feel like their right to free speech is under attack, when nothing is further from the truth.

Free speech means the government can’t shut you down or arrest you for saying something. It doesn’t mean people have to put up with your bullshit, which is exactly what the Antifa contingent repeats during the film.

And when you have a president — THEIR president — who is actively attacking the 1st Amendment by trying to prevent stories about him from being broadcast on 60 MinutesI just can’t feel sorry for Richard Spencer because he doesn’t feel welcomed on the campus of UC Berkeley.

If there’s a fault in the film, it’s that even though trying to achieve balance by presenting Spencer and his ilk in their own words and going behind the scenes of their movement, the film feels heavily slanted against white nationalists. But, is that really a vice? I mean, did you want a documentary that was sort of milquetoast on Nazis?

It’s unsettling and sticks with you. And, unfortunately, doesn’t really leave with any sort of resolution, except, perhaps for the hope that Jenkins leaves us at the end.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Alt-Right: Age of Rage premiered at SXSW on March 9. It has a final screening March 13, 8:30 pm at the Alamo Ritz, but you can check its official page for more “buzz” screenings.

The Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship Releases a Comic to Help Protect Students’ Rights

As millions of American students assert their First Amendment rights in protests across the country, advocacy groups Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and National Coalition Against Censorship have released a new comic book to help protect students’ rights. Be Heard! is a free comic by cartoonist Kai Texel that outlines best practices to help kids assert their rights to speech, protest, assembly and petition, warns about risks, and provides resources to get more help. Be Heard! is available for free from CBLDF and NCAC, readers are encouraged to share it freely and broadly in advance of the National School Walkout on March 14, the March for Our Lives on March 24 and local protests across the country.

Black Panther and the Fight for Justice On & Off Screen. Listen on Demand!

On demand: iTunes ¦ Sound Cloud ¦ Stitcher ¦ BlogTalkRadio ¦ Listed on podcastdirectory.com

On Graphic Policy Radio, we’re talking about the social implications of Black Panther with an expert and highlight some of the many examples of fans using Black Panther for real world activism. Joining the team to talk about activism and entertainment is Alan Jenkins.

Alan Jenkins is President and Co-Founder of The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab dedicated to the idea that our nation can and should be a place where everyone enjoys full and equal opportunity. Jenkins is a lifelong fan of comics and sci-fi. The Opportunity Agenda released the report “The Power of Pop: Analyzing Portrayals of Immigrants in Popular Television,” which evaluated the portrayal of immigrants in 40 leading TV shows — including The Walking Dead, NCIS, Orange is the New Black, the Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and Scandal.

Black Panther and the Fight for Justice On & Off Screen. Listen in Live this Monday.


On Graphic Policy Radio, we’re talking about the social implications of Black Panther with an expert and highlight some of the many examples of fans using Black Panther for real world activism. Joining the team to talk about activism and entertainment is Alan Jenkins.

Listen to the show as it airs LIVE this Monday at 10pm ET.

Alan Jenkins is President and Co-Founder of The Opportunity Agenda, a social justice communication lab dedicated to the idea that our nation can and should be a place where everyone enjoys full and equal opportunity. Jenkins is a lifelong fan of comics and sci-fi. The Opportunity Agenda released the report “The Power of Pop: Analyzing Portrayals of Immigrants in Popular Television,” which evaluated the portrayal of immigrants in 40 leading TV shows — including The Walking Dead, NCIS, Orange is the New Black, the Big Bang Theory, Parks and Recreation and Scandal.

The Top 25 Fictional Presidents

Happy Presidents’ Day!

With everyone else running their lists of the top Presidents and the worst and because our current occupant of the Oval Office is, ahhem, how do I put it?

JLW79

Quite right. So, we thought we’d bring you the list of the top fictional Presidents to help us set our sights higher.

Let’s start with a couple of honorable mentions. While they didn’t make the top list, it’s worth noting that Roy Schieder, James Cromwell, and Bruce Greenwood have all played presidents multiple times. Because when someone says, “We need a President—who’s an actor who exudes gravitas?” the obvious answer is the guy who blew up Jaws, Farmer Hoggett, and. . .well, Bruce Greenwood. Robert Rodriguez also seems to like to cast random people as presidents in his movies, including George Clooney in Spy Kids and Charlie Sheen as the most hilariously named fictional president ever, “President Rathcock,” in Machete Kills.

And with that, I present to you, the Top 25 Fictional Presidents of all time

25. Stephen Colbert / President Hathaway — Marvel Comics/Monsters vs. Aliens played by Stephen Colbert.

Because the Executive Producer of Our Cartoon President has also been. . . a cartoon president. Specifically, a president who decides that the best way to attack aliens is with monsters. This film was genius and I never quite understood why it didn’t take off more.

Colbert ASM variant cover

Also, we should always remember that time in Marvel comics when Colbert (his persona as a loudmouth host of The Colbert Report, not his nicer, more mainstream self as host of The Late Show) ran as an independent, won the popular vote, and lost the Electoral College to Obama.

Losing the popular vote but being elected anyway? “Preposterous! Only in comic books!” you say? Sounds right.

Ok, so not exactly a president. But he’s right in that hall of almost presidents with Hillary Clinton, Al Gore and Samuel Tilden. And none of them got to team up with Spider-Man. (Yet.)

24. James Dale — Mars Attacks! played by Jack Nicholson.

Stealing a vibe from Dr. Strangelove and other b-movie alien invasion films, Nicholson is able to channel quite well the hapless president overwhelmed by alien invasion. My favorite is how he keeps believing the worst possible advice. For style, not for substance, you made the list.

23. Tom Beck — Deep Impact played by Morgan Freeman. Ok, I know he belongs on this list, but I get seriously confused about which asteroid movie this was? Oh, this was the one where the asteroid actually hits. Ok. Not with Ben Affleck and Bruce Willis. And was Morgan Freeman also the President in “Olympus Has Fallen”? Oh, no, that was Aaron Eckhart. Almost.

Anyway — Morgan Freeman. That is all.

doctorow wheaton22. Cory Doctorow / Wil Wheaton, Ready Player One

Are you ready for Ready Player One?

With the movie coming in just a few weeks, hype is in full gear. Worth noting, in Ernest Cline’s book that the film is based off of, it mentioned the very real people Cory Doctorow and Wil Wheaton had been elected president and vice-president of the Oasis, the giant online system everyone uses for games, education, second life. At this point, who controlled the Oasis was far more important than who was actually president, as the real world really sucked.

Real people, fake product, fake presidents– but we could use more people like them in politics and fewer like, well, most of the people in charge these days.

21. Preston Rickard / Beth Ross, Prez from DC Comics

Kids elected president? We could do much worse. In this satire where future presidents are elected by Twitter because turnout is so low and kids are allowed to vote, somehow a social media star gets elected president. In the 2015 reboot, they even bring back the original Prez from the 1970’s. It’s great satire because our politics have literally gotten just that bad. You can read a more full review we ran here and also here, and here, and an interview with the writer here. A series that was cancelled too soon, maybe it will get rebooted again in another 40 years.

20. Thomas Whitmore, Independence Day played by Bill Pullman.

Ok, just watch that clip above. That’s the only reason why. Yeah, he flew a fighter jet to save the earth, but so what? Big summer movie speech– the biggest summeriest speechiest movie speech ever. And please try to forget that Independence Day 2 ever happened.

19. Vanellope Von Schweetz – Wreck-It Ralph played by Sarah Silverman. Upon being restored to her rightful place as Princess of Sugar Rush land, Vanellope decides to transition her government into a constitutional democracy and become President. Hey, it’s better than ordering the execution of Taffeta Muttonfudge and the others who were mean to her. For being a president who is able to give up supreme executive power in favor of giving it to the people, you made the list, Vanellope. Also, looking forward to your sequel and you possibly becoming. . . a Disney Princess?

18. Merkin Mufflin – Dr. Strangelove played by Peter Sellers. 

On this list if only for the classic line “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here! This is the war room!” And because Peter Sellers.

17. Zaphod Beeblebrox — The Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Finally, a president whose narcissism rivals that of our own! Two heads, three arms, and the biggest idiot, he was elected president of the galaxy — a position which has no power and is only there to distract people from who’s really in charge. There are a lot of satirical presidents on this list, but this is one of the best. If he had Twitter, no doubt he’d be tweeting about being “a very stable genius” “despite all the negative press covfefe.” Also, the only president with his own music video (from the 2005 film starring Sam Rockwell as our president) — and he’s better looking, too.

16. President Skroob — Spaceballs played by Mel Brooks.

It’s good to be the king, er, president. Floozies. Unlisted walls. Nobody telling you your ass is so big. Your own canned air supply.

Too bad you run a civilization so dumb that it is running out of oxygen. (I’m betting Scott Pruitt runs Spaceballs’ EPA) But still, hail Skroob!

15. James Marshall — Air Force One played by Harrison Ford. “Get off of my plane!” That’s all you need to make the list. Also, James Marshall seems like a pretty good guy. He’s resourceful enough to contact his people and sabotage his own hijacked plane, he can speak Russian in remarks to the Russian government.

I always thought this was the “President Jack Ryan” movie that we never got (because, let’s face it, Debt of Honor and Executive Orders will never be made into movies) as a follow up to Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Plus, it’s Harrison Ford.

14. Richard Nixon’s head — Futurama played by Billy West. “NIXON’S BACK!!!” Disproving the adage that there are no second acts in politics, Nixon served as President of Earth for most of the run of Futurama, providing some awesome times along the way– brought to you by Shenkman’s Rubbing Compound and the great taste of Charleston Chew.

Corrupt, easy to anger, and also pretty stupid, it makes us almost forget how bad the actual Richard Nixon was. And it also seems pretty spot-on these days.

13. Jackson Evans – The Contender played by Jeff Bridges.

One of my personal and pet favorites, President Jackson Evans spends most of the film trying to outmaneuver a slimy and hypocritical Gary Oldman (the second time he’s been the villain on the list! Whaddya know?!?) to get a woman confirmed as his Vice President. Oh, and also trying to order the most ridiculous things from the White House kitchen staff to show them they’re unprepared. Jeff Bridges is also part of a family of presidential stars, including his father Lloyd Bridges president in Hot Shots Part Deux, and brother Beau Bridges as president three times in 10.5, its sequel 10.5 Apocalypse and an episode of Stargate SG-1.

12. Kang – The Simpsons played by Harry Shearer. When Kang and his sister Kodos take over as Bill Clinton and Bob Dole in the 1996 elections, it was only a matter of time before one of them became president. They were sure fire winners, especially with classy campaign rhetoric like: “Abortions for some, tiny American flags for others.” “My fellow Americans. As a young boy, I dreamed of being a baseball; but tonight I say, we must move forward, not backward; upward, not forward; and always twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom!” When it was pointed out that they were aliens, Kodos pointed out it was a two party system. When some idiot said he would vote for a third party candidate, Kang sealed his place in history by saying “Go ahead– throw your vote away.” And that’s what make him so high on this list. Don’t like it? “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kodos.”

11. President Business – The Lego Movie played by Will Farrell. 

Both greed and conformity personified, President Business is perhaps the most subversive choice on this entire list. Most kids will never get the dystopian overtones, but if Gordon Gecko and Big Brother made a child out of Legos, this would be it.

Also, that awesome hat and those legs.

Those legs. 

Genius.

Also genius– you notice those are coffee mugs on his hat, right?

If only we’d heeded the warning of electing a “businessman” to be president. If Trump invited everyone to a Taco Tuesday, we know something evil is about to happen.

10. Lex Luthor – Superman.

Compared to the other villains on this list (and the current POTUS) who knew that Lex Luthor would be one of the least evil and least overt of the great villain presidents?

The best thing about Luthor as president (and always with Luthor) is he doesn’t think he’s the villain. He even gets the majority of America to agree with him. True genius. 

9. Leslie Knope – Parks and Recreation played by Amy Poehler. Ok, so she was never explicitly president on the show. But the show’s finale sure seemed to hint at it. And let’s be honest? She is exactly what we need right now.

Because unlike most of the rest of these dopes in the top 10, Leslie Knope embodies gumption and honesty and has yet to be corrupted by political power. And we hope she never does. We love you, Leslie Knope.

Knope/Swanson 2020.

8. Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons played by Yeardley Smith. 

Speaking of competent, smart, earnest women who could take over the presidency in a heartbeat. . . .

This is the clip everyone knows where The Simpsons predicted President Trump and a huge debt crisis because of his policies. But what we can hope for is the next occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue will have the intelligence and empathy of Lisa Simpson. I’m not so sure about Secretary of the Treasury Milhouse Van Houten, though. I guess if (Producer of Suicide Squad) Steve Mnuchin can do it. . .

7. Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Comacho — Idiocracy played by Terry Crews. 

The smartest president in the not-too-distant-future (and Cassandra-like warning of our current administration), President Comacho was wise enough to let his Secretary of the Interior, Not Sure, put water from the toilet on the crops, even though we all know plants crave the electrolyes in Brawndo, the thirst mutilator. Also, he’s a champion wrestler, and who doesn’t want that in the White House?

Dave Kevin Kline Sigourney Weaver

6. Dave Kovic impersonating President Bill Mitchell — Dave played by Kevin Kline. 

In the second-greatest Ivan Reitman film of all time, we get to see what would happen if we actually let a regular guy be president. And the answer is a not half-bad job. Dave’s jobs program makes sense to me, and his approach to trimming the budget to keep a homeless shelter open? Would that we could actually do that. While not the most accurate portrayal of Washington, it’s a version I wish we lived in and less like the real world Washington, which is more petty and full of incompetents — like Veep.

5. President Lindberg — The Fifth Element played by Tiny Lister.

As one of the many presidents on this list who have faced destruction of the planet, he handled it the best.

Because what every president should do when facing disaster in the 90’s? Throw Bruce Willis (in this case Corbin Dallas) at it. And perhaps the best part is where he gets yelled at by Corbin Dallas’s overbearing mother.

Wait. . . Gary Oldman’s the bad guy in this one, too! Definitely a pattern. . . and maybe a metaphor for this year’s Best Actor Oscar race, too.

4. David Palmer — 24 played by Dennis Haysbert.

Possibly the most badass of our top 5 presidents, David Palmer stood up to assassination attempts, terror attacks, and Kim getting menaced by a cougar (ok, so not that last one).  He was also the only guy who seemed to be able to control Jack Bauer, which probably qualifies you to be on this list anyway. Also, a crazy murdery wife. And a competent brother who made a good president in his own right. But he was no David Palmer. Few people are.

2. [tie] Josiah “Jed” Bartlett/Andy Shepard — The West Wing/The American President played by Martin Sheen/Michael Douglas.

This is a tie because you can’t truly separate these two characters, as they both personify Aaron Sorkin’s idealized White House full of competent, well-meaning people. Yes, it’s a fantasy in itself. But it’s one we wish we had.

Still one of my favorite tv shows of all time and one of my favorite movies of all time. Also, I think it’s time to reboot The West Wing. Sorkin said he’d reboot it with Sterling K. Brown as president, but I think we could do even better. Pitch: It’s the first two years of President Seaborn’s first term. Except President Seaborn is actually Sam’s wife, and she’s played by, oh, I dunno. . . Gina Torres, Eva Mendes, Eva Longoria, or Rosario Dawson.  Who’s with me?

Honorable mention here to President Santos, our first Latino fictional president.

1. Laura Roslin — Battlestar Galactica played by Mary McDonnell.

A lot of fictional presidents have faced down apocalyptic threats to Earth. Few of them have had to live on after the apocalypse.

Laura Roslin did that and more. Despite being completely unintentionally thrown into the presidency (she was a schoolteacher and Sec of Education before) she filled the role like few others could. And she held her own against Adama, against Tom Zarek, against those fraking cylons, and finally against cancer. She made mistakes along the way, but she rose to what she needed to do. And that is why she is the best. So say we all.

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So, who did we miss? There’s a couple intentionally left off here for very real, non fictional reasons, but if we missed your favorite, or think we rated someone too high or too low, let us know in the comments!

Voter Registration Taking Place at Black Panther Screenings

For a long time I’ve questioned why organizations haven’t held voter registration drives at geek events like conventions.

One organization seems to have heard my screams as Electoral Justice Project has launched #WakandaTheVote which is allowing those seeing Black Panther to register to vote.

Founded by Kayla Reed, Jessica Byrd and Rukia Lumumba, the organization’s goal is to register as many voters as they can at theaters.

Reed said:

This weekend we wanted to meet our people in Wakanda. We know that for some it’s a superhero world, but we know that the world we deserve is still waiting to be built — and we want to build it! This upcoming spring and November 2018 midterm elections are an important step in building that new world, and we want to take every opportunity to engage our communities in the conversation of electoral justice. We will be registering people to vote at movie theaters across the country so that we can #wakandathevote at the ballot box.

Over 1,000 individuals responded to the organizations call for help. The organization is focused on educating and motivating Black voters as well as launching an “intensive campaign manager institute” in the spring called Electoral Justice League.

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Congressman John Lewis Announces Run, His Next Graphic Novel, Picking Up Where March Left Off

Congressman John Lewis is a Civil Rights legend, Congressman, and award-winning comic book writer. In a Time exclusive, the Congressman will again visit his past in a new graphic novel, Run. The graphic novel will pick where where March left off. Lewis is reuniting will co-writer Andrew Aydin and will be joined by artist Afua Richardson (who created the art in this article) as well as Nate Powell who handled the art for the original trilogy. Powell’s contribution will be a transition sequence that links to the two graphic novel series. Run will be published by Abrams ComicArts, March was published by Top Shelf.

March was a three volume series that explored Lewis’ early life and his time during the Civil Rights using the election of President Obama as framing. All were bestsellers and award winners. March: Book Three was the first graphic novel to win the Nation Book Award.

Run: Book One will tell how Lewis led the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) during the time period that followed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Time called the organization the “most militant of all U.S. civil rights organizations.” The first graphic novel will explore the group’s history as it struggled with lost support at being a nonviolent organization during the time period.

Run: Book One will be published on August 14, 2018.

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