Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz talked to the New York Times Magazine the other day, and the conversation turned to, of all things, the Texas senator’s interest in science fiction. At one point, the newspaper asked, “Do you think there’s a big overlap between sci-fi nerds and people interested in policy?”
Cruz replied, “Well, I do think that readers of science fiction are interested and attracted to the future. And in many ways, politics is a battle for framing our future.” As someone with a deep interest in both, I found this pretty compelling.
But from there, the GOP lawmaker noted some of his genre favorites – as a teenager, he even created “Cruz Enterprises,” inspired by “Stark Enterprises” from the Iron Man franchise – and at the bottom of the Times piece, Cruz listed his top five superheroes:
1. Spider-Man2. Wolverine3. Batman4. Iron Man5. Rorschach
The first four seem pretty straightforward. In fact, ask 1,000 comics fans for their top five favorite superheroes, and I suspect Spider-Man, Wolverine, Batman, and Iron Man would each be near the top.
But Rorschach is another story. For those unfamiliar with Alan Moore’s Watchmen, Rorschach is a mentally unstable killer. The fictional character lives by a moral code, but he’s extremely inflexible when applying that moral code, often in a psychotic sort of way. For Rorschach, there are no gray areas. There are no nuances. There’s right, there’s wrong, and there’s severe punishment for the latter.
For a sampling, here’s a clip from the movie. Rorschach is the one telling his fellow inmates, “I’m not locked in here with you; you’re locked in here with me.”
Ted Cruz’s superhero preferences are obviously his business, but as we get to know the presidential candidates better, beyond just their positions on the major issues, the fact that the far-right senator considers Rorschach one of his favorites seems … interesting.
In the same piece, the Times asked about his preference in “Star Trek” captains. Cruz responded, “Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk.”
“Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’ it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk’s rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective, you need both heart and mind. […]“The original ”Star Trek’ was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original ‘Star Trek’ pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.”
I’ll be eager to see Trek fans weigh in through the comments section, though it’s worth noting that Cruz added, “I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.”
William Shatner, for his part, described the Republican’s assessment as “silly.”