It was a good night for politicians who are fans of comic books. Earlier we reported that Alan Grayson will be returning to Congress, having won in Florida and it seems everyone has called it for President Barack Obama to have another four more years in the White House. Gov. Romney though hasn’t conceded the election yet.
President Obama is an admitted geek, and more specifically a comic book geek. The President has admitted reading Spider-Man and Conan comic books and through various actions the man clearly appreciates sci-fi and fantasy.
Update: Democrat Colleen M. Lachowicz who was attacked by her opponent and Republicans for playing World of Warcraft also looks to be poised for victory. As of 1am she was up by 1,303 votes in the race for Martin’s Senate District 25 seat.
Update 2: Lachowicz beat Republican incumbent Thomas H. Martin Jr. by 913 votes.
That’s three for three for us geeks in this year’s election!
“It feels great,” Grayson said Tuesday night, according to the Orlando Sentinel. “I’m going to do my best when it comes to jobs, when it comes to housing, when it comes to education [and] when it comes to human needs.”
Former Congressman Alan Grayson likes to use popculture in his political pitches and got quite a lot of notice when he talked about race relations and Green Lantern. In a fundraising email this weekend, he decided to tap into pop culture again, this time referencing The Avengers. Check it out below!
You might remember former Congressman Alan Grayson who in a previous email quoted Green Lantern. After a bit of a lull in the excitement, he’s back today with an email full of Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Kind of awesome. Check out the email with the subject line “We Don’t Have a Babel Fish” below.
Former Florida Congressman Alan Grayson made headlines in the comic book world when he sent out an email reflecting upon an old issue of Green Lantern in a discussion about race and politics. This came after he used to same topic in a speech before liberal activists at Netroots Nation 2011. Grayson was kind enough to take some time out of his busy schedule to chat about the email and his interest in comic books.
In between meetings the former Congressman was friendly and very engaging on a long range of topics including the origin of the email, his comic book reading habit as well as politics in general. The email definitely put a smile on my face. It’s great to see use of a shared cultural moment in politics, but also something a bit geeky. Grayson was happy I enjoyed it, especially since there’s been “not too much smiling on the left.” As a teenager he was a DC comics fan, sticking mostly with Green Lantern and Green Arrow, but also dabbling in the Avengers, Justice League and the Legion of Superheroes.
But Green Lantern #76 really stuck with him. While comics had often dealt with right and wrong, Denny O’Neil‘s comic was a fundamental shift in his eyes. It’s use of the real world was something entirely new. This wasn’t an allegory like Star Trek used to discuss modern social issues, this was in your face, there wasn’t a need for cultural allusions. This wasn’t the first time Grayson used a cultural reference though. References to Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan have been scattered throughout his speeches and writing in the past and has he put it, “it’s better than quoting Charlemagne.”
The infamous panel struck a chord with the Congressman, even after over 30 years. As a whole, he sees political leaders distracted from doing good things and the panel is as relevant to our times as it was when it was first published in 1970. Just as Green Lantern was confronted with, Grayson feels that today’s political leaders act like “they work for someone else, and not us.” After reciting stats on how many Americans are uninsured, without a job and how many homes are worth less than their mortgages, Grayson feels that politicians need to pay attention to the people counting on them, and that they’re “not doing enough for their constituents.”
The reaction to the email was overwhelmingly positive, which is great for Grayson who wrote the email himself. There was a connection as many remembered the comic book themselves. An outpouring of comments on Facebook and popular political website DailyKos followed a blog post with the same content. This further shows that issue is today still relevant and a landmark issue. After it’s publication the series dealt with real world issues more and more including overpopulation. Denny O’Neil forsook metaphor, leading to an “evolution of the medium.” This culminated with Speedy becoming a junky which caused all sorts of issues with the Comics Code which regulated content in comic books.
Today, the Former Congressman is enjoying comic books in a different form, the movies and animated shows that he’s been watching with his family through Netflix. It’s something both he and his children enjoy. After seeing V for Vendetta and Watchmen he decided to check out their comic book form as well as other works by Alan Moore. He appreciates the sophistication of the work which only makes Grayson look that more fondly on O’Neil’s Green Lantern run.
As a whole Grayson looks at the email as a good example of the general phenomenon of communication that comes from the inside. People appreciate the honest discussion more, and it shows more of who you are as a politician as well as the things you believe in. The email revealed Grayson is an authentic person, he’s just not saying things to get the job or keep it, he really believes in what he discusses, it’s who he is, something that’s been brewing for over 30 years with a little help from Denny O’Neil and Green Lantern.
We broke the news about former Congressman Alan Grayson using Green Lantern in an email to his supporters. We also first reported the Congressman spoke about DC’s hero at Netroots Nation 2011. Below you can see him talk on the subject yourself.
The former Congressman granted us an interview which we’ll have running appropriately on July 4th! Stay tuned tomorrow for it.
After we broke the news earlier about former Congressman Alan Grayson using Green Lantern heavily in an email today, friend of the blog Elana reminded me that Grayson had Green Lantern on the mind this weekend as well when he spoke at Netroots Nation 2011. From Elana’s tweets of the weekend.
Grayson is talking about Green Lantern @RebuildDream . Grayson for sector 2814! He's more progressive than Hal Jordan (Ollie agrees) #NN11
I’m a bit dumbfounded (and geeking out) on this one, but I was surprised to find this email in my inbox from former Democratic Congressman Alan Grayson. The email has been posted below unedited (other than removing the unsubscribe link), hence the donation button and Salsa Labs logo:
The movie Green Lantern opened on Friday, to mixed reviews. Maybe the reviews would have been better if the movie had included this powerful exchange, from Green Lantern #76:
African-American Man: I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for the blue skins . . . and how on a planet someplace you helped out the orange skins . . . and you done considerable for the purple skins! Only there’s skins you never bother with – the black skins! I want to know . . . how come?! Answer me that, Mr. Green Lantern!
Green Lantern: I . . . can’t . . . .
I may never have the chance to talk to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, or any of the other Masters of the Universe who led and misled our country for eight long years. Nor may I ever have the chance to speak to Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other savage right-wing loons who want to finish the job that Bush et al. started. But if I could, I might say:
Me: I’ve been readin’ about you . . . How you work for multinational corporations like Big Oil. . . . And how you say you built all those roads and schools and bridges in somecountry in Asia. And in some other country in the Middle East someplace you got rid of some dictator. Only there’s one country you never bother with – America! I want to know . . . how come?! Answer me that, Mr. Flag-Waiving Patriot!
Them: I . . . can’t . . . .
Well, I can answer that. For a generation now, we have seen the heartless, callous erosion and destruction of all the things that make you a member of the middle class in America:
The chance to see a doctor when you are sick.
A pension or retirement account.
Social Security and Medicare.
And we’ve seen them replaced by endless war, falling home values, no pensions, lower wages, and now what Karl Marx called a “reserve army of the unemployed” – to keep wages down forever.
Even after only two years in office, as one out of 435 in the House, I can point to a lot of things that I did to preserve, protect and expand the middle class in America, and to help those of us who were falling through the cracks.
I look at our so-called leaders on the other side of the aisle, and I see nothing like that. Only a perverse delight in eliminating programs that help my fellow Americans in need. They’ll lead us, all right – they’ll lead us straight to ruin.
The next time you see one of them — at a town hall meeting, in their plush offices, or just on the street – ask them this: “What have you done to help the people? Answer me that!”
If they’re honest, they’ll say what Green Lantern said: “I can’t.”
In brightest day, In blackest night, No evil shall escape my sight. Let those who worship evil’s might, Beware my power: Green Lantern’s Light.
Paid for and Authorized by the Committee to Elect Alan Grayson