Do Better, Nerds

During the House Democrats’ gun control sit-in yesterday, things got especially testy as Paul Ryan’s desperate call for order was droned out by Democrats’ chants of “No Bill, No Break.” Twitter’s best and brightest came together to live-tweet the rare spectacle of watching politicians give half a shit.

And among all the hot takes, one stood out above the rest.

This is not just Zach Braff’s take. Recently, it feels like nearly every liberal pundit has made some kind of ham-fisted comparison between politics and Game of Thrones.

Looking at politics through the lens of a make-believe dragon show is dumb in its own right, but it’s not even the most aggravating part about these analogies. If I could give these people one piece of advice, it would be:


The Game of Thrones comparisons are particularly insipid because they don’t mean anything. Thrones includes hundreds of characters and hundreds of different storylines. When you say “this is just like Game of Thrones,” you are saying “literally anything is happening, and also people are probably either angry or mean.”

It’s a copout comparison to make because no matter what the analogy is, it will usually sort of work in some capacity. People who compare politics to Game of Thrones are like a 20-year-old dude in a college literature class who calls everything weird that happens to him “kafkaesque.” Sure, you may be technically correct, but you’re no less an annoying douchebag for saying it.

In today’s world, nerds have more options than ever to consume as much media as they possibly can. Want to watch all of Dr. Katz in a weekend? You can do that! You have every single TV show at your disposal. With just the tiniest bit of effort, you can find the most accurate, archaic, unique comparison that can tell the world how clever you are. But every time you choose to fallback on Game of Thrones as your default nerd comparison option, you are spitting in the face of the many choices you have and are instead choosing to be lazy.

If you want to not be lazy, try to at least pick a show that has nothing to do with politics. That means no Veep, no House of Cards, and no The West Wing (it would also be a good idea to stay clear of everything Aaron Sorkin has ever written). Referencing political shows in your political arguments only strengthens the idea that you are unable or unwilling to separate real life from television.

So please, for the love of God, if you cannot talk about politics without referencing pop culture, at least make the references interesting. It’s okay if you’re a nerd. Just be unique and clever in your nerdom.