Sunday, January 23, 2011


Oh. My. God.

Sarah Palin may be trailing Romney and Huckabee in the polls, but she's way ahead of those guys in being turned into a grotesque comic-book Victorian/bionic hero/avenger/pinup. Comics Alliance reports:

Picture in your mind the most insane possible story that could be contained in a book named Steampunk Palin. Go ahead, take ten seconds or so to imagine it perfectly in your mind's eye. Use this cover image for help.

You're wrong. You're absolutely wrong. It's at least ten times more insane than that....

The story starts in the near future, in the immediate aftermath of a war that has destroyed all the Earth's oil. A new power source is needed, and Sarah Palin steps forward to suggest steam power as a replacement. A conglomerate consisting of big oil and nuclear power interests makes a counterproposal by blowing her up with a bomb at the meeting where she suggests this....

Six months later Sarah Palin wakes up to find that she now has body more than half made of robot parts. Powered by steam....

Go to the link for the rest of the plot, which is utterly preposterous. I'll just tell you this: Obama and McCain are bionic as well. And the villain -- the head of the evil oil/nuke cartel -- is ... Al Gore!

That I don't get. I guess I understand why Palin would be anti-oil and pro-steam -- it reminds me of Atlas Shrugged, or at least the third of it that I read in high school, in which Rearden metal is able to make trains (which, of course, all good Randians today think of as horribly collectivist) able to outrace airplanes. Plus, of course, steam is a big deal in the Victorian/futuristic alternate worlds of steampunk.

But, um, Al Gore? As the evil energy magnate? It's as if this was done on the assumption that right-wingers and geek libertarians would read it, and they don't hate any actual corporate tycoons, or any fictional character who resembles a corporate tycoon, but they're assumed to have a subconscious tendency to respond to the evil-tycoon archetype anyway, so the creators of this comic decided that the least tycoonish tycoon possible would be the tycoon villain, just so the readers can have their tycoon-bashing jollies without seeing anyone remotely tycoon-esque as a villain. Or something like that.


I don't get the appeal of this, but then I was never a comic-book kid (or adult). I've never been much for erotic arousal by line drawings. I'm just not the market for this.

I keep thinking that I should be able to tie this in to Rebecca Traister's New York Times Magazine article asserting that we prefer female politicians who embody the cowgirl stereotype. I suppose there's something to that -- both Palin and Gabby Giffords have made gun prowess part of their personas -- though I think this is a problem only for the right. Liberals and moderates have no problem supporting Patty Murray or Nancy Pelosi or, in the past, Bella Abzug or Shirley Chisholm, none of whom I can picture in a cowboy hat. Or as bionic, for that matter. It's the right that votes based on this preadolescent hero(in)es-and-villains stuff.

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