On Friday morning, Politico reported that “exasperated” Democratic leaders on the Hill were aiming to “rein in” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
Within hours, the New York Democrat and social media star had tweeted a response to her 2 million-plus followers — by quoting a legendary anarchist of a cartoonist.
With a link to the article, Ocasio-Cortez quoted the masked vigilante Rorschach from the sci-fi comic book series “Watchmen,” by Britain’s Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons, cheekily tweeting: “To quote Alan Moore: ‘None of you understand. I’m not locked up in here with YOU. You’re locked up in here with ME.’ “
And with that, the congresswoman had deployed her flair for pop references. “Watchmen,” widely considered one of the greatest graphic novels ever created, was published by DC Comics in the mid-1980s and adapted into a Zack Snyder film in 2009.
“Watchmen” not only satirizes the idea of superheroes facing personal struggles, but also paints its alt-history 1985 America as a land dealing with great sociopolitical trauma.
This is the second time this month that Ocasio-Cortez has been prominently linked to an ‘80s pop reference. A video recently resurfaced of her dancing in college with moves from the 1985 film “The Breakfast Club.”
This is also the second time in recent years that a Washington politician has publicly cited “Watchmen.” In 2015, in a New York Times Magazine list that published next to a Q&A with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), the politician named Rorschach as one of his favorite superheroes.
In the Politico article, one unnamed House Democrat, who is described as being “in lockstep” with Ocasio-Cortez’s political ideology, is quoted as saying, “She needs to decide: Does she want to be an effective legislator or just continue being a Twitter star?”
Her “Watchmen” tweet has been “liked” more than 60,000 times. And while Inverse.com noted the problematic optics of quoting a brutal character like Rorschach, many comics fans across social media rejoiced.