Jeb Bush gets tights in a twist over superheroes

The Republican candidate and self-confessed Apple fanboy gets asked about his favorite superhero. He ends up saying Supergirl is "hot."

Chris Matyszczyk
3 min read

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.


Jeb Bush. Taking a little heat for comments about Supergirl.

The LIBRE Forum/YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

I feel very sorry for presidential candidates.

It's sad that their psyches have such large holes that need to be filled with so much approbation.

It's lamentable, though, how many inane, asinine, irrelevant, painful questions they have to answer. Republican candidate Jeb Bush is just the latest to have been confronted with a question that was wide open for flummoxation.

He's struggling a little in the polls. He doesn't seem a natural people person. And there he is being confronted with questions about his person, rather than his policies.

On Wednesday, he was interviewed at the LIBRE Forum. (The good stuff starts at the 1 hour, 23 minute mark.) This was sponsored by the LIBRE Initiative, a nonprofit that works to bring economic empowerment to the Hispanic community.

At one point, he was asked a question that was less about empowerment and more about super-empowerment: "Who is your favorite superhero and why?" (Marvel was suggested by the questioner as a term of reference.)

This might seem like a trivial question, and it is. However, this is an era in which Marvel, DC Comics and friends have enjoyed a curious pop-cultural domination. It seems as if only Taylor Swift and Donald Trump stand in their way, even if director Stephen Spielberg thinks that one day superhero movies will go the way of the Western.

Bush has nerdy credentials. He looks nerdy, acts nerdy and has openly declared his allegiance to Apple.

He said it was the second time he'd been asked the superhero question. He responded: "I like watching the movies. I wish I owned Marvel." Yes, some people can't have enough money.

He continued: "I'm kind of old school. I like the old school guys like Batman. A little dark these days."

Batman has surely changed with our times. Where once optimism was held dear, now we somehow feel like we're surrounded by constant threat -- which isn't helped by the fact that authorities are constantly telling us there's a threat.

Bush's response was popular with the audience.

He decided to continue, however: "I saw that Supergirl is on TV when I was working out this morning. There's an ad promoting Supergirl. She looked pretty hot."

You can choose to be technical and sniff that neither Batman nor Supergirl are Marvel characters. You can choose, like some in the media did, to toss derision at Bush for a comment that might (does) appear a touch sexist. After all, he didn't mention that he thought Batman has the kind of taut body and moody eyes he's always craved.

Perhaps, though, it merely showed that some nerdy types aren't always comfortable with this kind of smaller-talking, self-revelatory conversation. Watch any number of tech CEOs being interviewed and you'll see what I mean. There again, perhaps the view of women -- even superheroic women -- as, first of all, hot might also help explain why women in tech aren't exactly viewed by many bosses in an equal way.

Intellectually, nerds understand that people are interested in this sort of thing. Personally, though, they resort to responses that they don't always think through, in order to say something and get the question out of the way. Bush, though, might have paused while he was even vaguely ahead.

In this case, there was an awkward oopsie moment. As the next potential President Bush sat there, waiting (and praying) for the next question, he said to the interviewer: "You want to get me out of the hole I just dug?"

Batman could have helped. Equally, so could Supergirl.