The 2012 Presidential Election is approaching in The United States, and everyone is talking politics – except me of course. I’m an entertainment journalist, so I don’t have to. That isn’t to say the job is always cake, even in the entertainment world there are sometimes legal issues, people’s health issues, and other serious things that have to be reported on. There are also plenty of opportunities to take on scholarly work, historical pieces, and even to tackle real world problems like addiction. Still, it’s work that can very much be play, and if my most heated discussions were about Superman’s red trunks, then I can say I’ve had a pretty good day! Sure, the election gives me a chance to segway into fun hypothetical topics like what Superman’s political party would be, or the implications of the Mutant Registration Act, but that’s my prerogative. I don’t have to get into the nitty gritty of Republican and Democratic campaigns, or sift through their policies unless it’s to help me determine how to vote. My political leanings are strictly between me and my internet service provider! At least they should be, but it’s not quite that simple. When you work online, your fun social networking sites also become tools of your trade. They’re part of your advertising and promotion strategies. The world is watching, unless you intently scrutinize every privacy function available to you. That means your boss, and all of your editors, know every time you like a campaign status, or post “lol” on a photo mocking a candidate. Your audience will learn all about you too, and may judge you for it. Am I being too self conscious in worrying about damaging my brand? Should I just assume the best in people, and hope they wouldn’t let themselves be influenced by my feelings on the election? I’m not offering any answers here, just bringing up questions. How should I handle politics in the comic book workplace?
Great question! I never even looked at it that way. Politics seems to bring out the very worst in people. It is a touchy subject, and it boggles my mind that there is so much heated discussion about two parties that are BOTH ruining America. It isn't even a party thing anymore, it's a Government thing. I've always been the guy that said ANYTHING can be accomplished. In almost all cases, I truly believe that. In the case of fixing the United States government and the two party system…..not so much. It kills me to think that you can't make the powerful statement anymore that just one person can make a difference, make a lasting impact. Now, if you go to Washington and don't follow party lines, your bills don't get passed, you get shunned on the floor, and you're reelection campaigns get conveniently forgotten about. That's both parties, and I don't care what someone's affiliation is or how passionate they are….the system is broken, for good. Unless there is a radical wipeout of the entire lot of legislators and lawmakers, it will never change. Don't get me wrong. There are good men and women that go to Washington, expecting to change the way business is done. There are good people there now that do love America, and want to see us prosper. Even the knuckleheads that are making terrible decisions can still say they love their country, and only want the best for us.
When it comes to politics in my company, they have no place here. I've been deeply routed in politics, and right now I'm happy to say I'm completely out of the game….That said, I know both sides, being actively affiliated with a campaign, and being on the outside looking in. Including politics in our discussions doesn't fit within our company culture, and the bottom line is we're just too busy talking about comics.
This is a great question my friend, and I am eager to hear what others have to say. Cheers!
Very nice. This is actually a great question. Since coming on to the internet in about 1997 and even more so with the introduction of Facebook, this has become an actual issue. 20 years ago, I had no clue what the political leanings of my favorite comic artist or writer was…the only basis I had for liking or disliking any of them was their work, what I would read in interviews and letter columns, and the short interactions at cons. Now, we get to see all their intimate details and thoughts…and I have seen many people declare they will no longer purchase anything by a particular creator based on their political postings (in fact just this morning I saw such a situation….). It's a whole new world, and anyone who is in the public eye, even comics pro's and journalists, have to be ready to either NOT discuss these things, or ready to take on the hatred and spite of the 'opposition' if they don't like your political beliefs.
I'm not sure of what the answers are either. On one hand, with social media, fans have a chance to get to know their favorite creators like never before….but on the other hand, fans may find out more than they really want to know. Can you imagine finding out your absolute favorite writer or artist holds political beliefs in complete opposition to your own? It's a very fine line, and a very interesting new environment.
Wow, there are some really interesting thoughts here! Personally, I'm glad that this industry is one that doesn't involve politics. Actually, I tend to view entertainment as one of the ways that we can escape all of the political tensions around us and just celebrate being people together. Superman remains awesome whether you're Republican or Democrat. And this close to the election, I think a break like that is especially important!
Can't wait until the election is OVER! The commercials are maddening, like a bad soap opera. If you vote for Obama, you'll be presumed dead, then be cloned, then be attacked by your clone, . If you vote for Romney, you'll have an accident, awake in the old west town of Buchanan City, and have to fight your way back to the future…..Give me a break…Seriously?
Politics definitely is one of those "slippery slope" type topics that I tend to avoid. Does that mean I don't care for it? No. I just don't like how it has become a sort of trend these days. It's always been that way really, but with certain advancements in social media allow people to spread hate. Yes, I believe politics can be a interesting subject to talk about, but it requires a meaningful conversation. We hardly ever get that nowadays. Nowadays, putting your political beliefs (if those very beliefs happen to scold others instead of engage appropriately) on any social media platform simply rubs me the wrong way. So in short, politics in the comic book workplace should never mix because it detracts from all the comic booky fun lol.
I tend to think that any discussion of comics, like discussion of any art form, almost has to engage in politics at some level. Maybe not the level of "here are my beliefs," but at least a recognition that it's out there. This is because art, both of the "high" and "low" variety (I hate that terminology), is in some way reflecting the politics of the day. Superhero punch 'em ups have been everything from liberal jeremiads (O'Neill/Adams' Green Lantern/Green Arrow) to conservative hand-wringing (Steve Ditko's Charlton characters), and it's fair game to bring these issues up for conversation. And that's just scratching the surface of what the comic book has produced.
On that note, I can understand wanting to opt out of talking about these sorts of issues. It's a touchy subject in this country. People get one whiff of "liberal" or "conservative" and they make all sorts of assumptions about you ("You're looking for a handout"; "You're against the poor," etc.). I've done it myself, we're wired that way. However, talking about it does open up discussion a bit, rather than limit our conversations about comics (and art/entertainment as a whole) to questions about whether Hulk could beat up Superman or posting the latest press release.
Also, I loved "My political leanings are strictly between me and my internet service provider!" Very sly.
My question is simple. What is Superman's political party?
Ever since Lex Luthor became President I have been too distrustful to vote for anyone. I don't want to put the next Lex Luthor in office!
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