Daily Archives: January 13, 2013

The Grimlock Alternative


“Me Grimlock no Bozo: Me King.”
In most versions of _The Transformers_, Grimlock, the leader of the Dinobots, hates Optimus Prime. He absolutely *loathes* Prime. In the 1980s cartoon by Sunbow, Autubot mad scientist Wheeljack creates the Dinobots after seeing a movie about Dinosaurs, thinking robotic dinosaurs would make a great weapon against the Decepticons. In the series’ inconsisting handling of how Transformers are “made,” Wheeljack is able to build the Dinobots straight-up, but since they lack what later terminology would call “sparks,” they are stupid (this is contradicted by one of the final episodes of the series, written by the *same guy*, in which the Dinobots are said to be among the original Transformers, but anyway . . . .) The Dinobots prove to be a disaster, and are as dangerous to the Autobots as to the Decepticons. After they discover a tropical island that becomes populated by dinosaurs because of a time warp, the Autobots dub the island “Dinobot Island” and basically exile the Dinobots there.

I think they return once or twice in the 1985 episodes, but they are prominently featured in the 1986 movie, set 20 years later, and in the following season, Grimlock’s in almost every episode but as a goofy comic relief character.

In the Marvel comic books, and most subsequent comic book continuities, the Dinobots are a special ops team dispatched to take down the Decepticon second-in-command, Shockwave, who arrives separately on Earth millions of years ago after the crash of the Ark, which is why they get formatted as dinosaurs. As Shockwave has wiped out most of the earth-bound Autobots and overthrown Megatron as Decepticon leader, the autobot surgeon Ratchet teams up with Megatron to revive the Dinobots. They help to defeat Shockwave but refuse a permanent alliance with the earthbound Autobots. They pop up a couple times until, after the “death” of Optimus Prime, Grimlock returns and claims leadership of the Autobots. His leadership proves to be tyrannical, and he makes it the Autobots’ priority to repair their ship and get off of the earth.

In most official descriptions of Grimlock’s personality, again, he despises Optimus Prime. He hates weakness. He hates those who prefer peace. He hates those who are powerful yet help the weak, hence Optimus Prime. He is indifferent towards humans, but the only thing he hates more than those who *are* weak or peaceful is those who would abuse their power to pick on those who are weak or peace-loving. Thus, while he hates Prime, he hates the Decepticons even more (in some versions, he even is an ex-Decepticon), and that’s why he has an uneasy alliance with the Autobots.

And why do I bring this up? Because I can’t stand Democrats, and I can’t stand the military-industrial complex that actually runs this country. I’m not particularly crazy about Republicans, but I despise the Democrats even more. Whether I vote Republican or third party in an election is entirely a factor of the list of candidates available to me. In practice, I am almost completely burnt out with politics altogether. My ultimate leanings have always been monarchist, though in my American situation I’m torn between the GOP and third party.

All that said, nobody seems comfortable with the notion of being partially agreed with. So the Chestertonian types and paleocons are constantly looking for something that “outs” one as a “neocon,” after which they won’t hear of anything, and the neocons are always looking for ways to “out” one as “RINO”.

It’s no wonder Grimlock refuses to play that game.

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In Les Miserables, Victor Hugo takes some time out from the drama to describe the Cistercian Sisters of Martin Verga’s observance (the order into whose Convent Providence leads Jean Valjean, though in the movie of the musical, the nuns are Vincentians). He notes that the nuns’

teeth are yellow. No tooth-brush ever entered that convent. Brushing one’s teeth is at the top of a ladder at whose bottom is the loss of one’s soul. (Hugo, Victor. Les Misérables [English language], p. 330. Public Domain Books. Kindle Edition.)

A few hours after reading this quotation this afternoon, I took a bath. During and after that bath, I paid a little more attention to grooming myself than I normally would, especially considering I wasn’t going anywhere. I did so, in part, because I was trying to pray and hoping to extend my time of solitude with the Lord by taking a bit longer to my toilette. The overall chapters had inspired the extra effort at prayer, but I paused to consider whether it was ironic after reading that that I, who have made it one of my life’s principles to shun vanity as much as is humanly possible, should take this particular moment to pay attention to it.

Then, I had a second thought: perhaps I was just saving the undertakers some work.

And if that’s not gallows humor, I don’t know what is.