Between his charming interviews, heavy brow, and X-Wing flight suit, Star Wars: The Force Awakens star Oscar Isaac has swept the Tumblr corner of the internet off of its feet. Can anything stop the Isaac-crush juggernaut? Yes: The possibility that he might enjoy the work of right-wing novelist Ayn Rand. Drama!
Here it is: an old photo of Isaac wearing an Atlas Shrugged t-shirt, the kind of betrayal not seen since Party Down’s Casey Klein expressed affection for Rand in the classic episode “Steve Guttenberg’s Birthday.” Let’s not pause to consider that Isaac could have been wearing the shirt ironically, might not really be familiar with Rand, or might have changed his mind about her in the intervening half-decade — because his outraged ex-fans certainly didn’t. Instead, maybe we can try to understand why the shirt hit such a raw nerve. To do that, we have to understand how the internet chooses its consensus man-crush.
Fortunately, Sulana Misra went deep on the topic for the Cut just a day ago, in honor of the internet and Oscar Isaac formally going steady.
The boyfriend selection process, Misra writes, is a “joke — but not really — about how men in politics and popular culture often fall short of our expectations. Instead of noting how someone has failed to respect us or listen to us, shaking our heads, and tagging the incident #banmen, we’re holding up our internet boyfriends as a better way to be.”
It takes place largely within “the safe spaces of Tumblr and BuzzFeed,” communities where it’s likely to be taken seriously and not condescendingly dismissed.
It shouldn’t be surprising that their vision of ideal man, the one who listens and respects, genuinely seems to care about others, and tends to play roles other than the totally normative romantic lead, doesn’t exactly comport with Rand’s. John Galt, the speechifying individualist who mansplains Rand’s philosophy for 90 uninterrupted pages of Atlas, is not exactly the internet’s “type.”
Hence the disappointment with Oscar Isaac, which was quite emphatic.
As ever, one of Tumblr’s favorite sayings holds true: Your faves are problematic. Oscar Isaac has thus far declined to address the nontroversy, but were he asked about it, one imagines he would shrug.