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Sometimes the weight of talking politics constantly gets overbearing. I like Superman because he keeps things simple. Truth, Justice, and the American Way, that last one being from more innocent times. At least I like to think so. Of course, even the concepts of truth and justice are more complicated, but as idealized concepts they're worth fighting for. We all lie. But what if we didn't? Plenty of people cheat, or do small harms to one another, but what if we always tried to look out for each other. It'd be a crazy different world.

People like idealized figures, although they like avatars in general, embodiments of a particular 'thing'. Even though Al-Qaeda was highly decentralized, we still liked to portray it as Osama bin Laden. Thousands of people worked toward abolition, but we always envision it as Lincoln. The American Republic was founded on the efforts of a third of the American population, but we usually boil its heroes down to Washington, Jefferson and a handful of others.

It's nothing new. Human society has done this for its entire existence. We tend to find concepts, embody them in unique imagery, and the like. Superman has always been that for me. I mean, I'm religious, and so Jesus Christ is obviously the king of my mental pantheon. I don't have any problem saying Superman, with his big bold blue suit and red cape, just as willing to save a cat from a tree as to push away a planet, is a huge influence in my life though.

We're talking about a man with the power of a god, who could dominate society if he chose to, a foreigner, an immigrant, who instead chooses to live among mankind, who ideally fights so that they become inspired to take up the fight themselves, who gives up his life and freedom to help those around him. A perfect world wouldn't need a Superman. I think one day he'll be happy if he can just be Clark Kent. Until then, when I'm bogged down by the shades of gray that is reality, it's nice to be able to grab hold of the simple concept of trying to do right to each other.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    irishwitch, kevinpdx, quarkstomper

    by DAISHI on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 01:45:27 PM PST

  •  Ah, Superman's a JERK!! (0+ / 0-)


    More proof here!

    But we are sick and tired of hearing your song/ Telling how you are gonna change right from wrong/'Cause if you really want to hear our views/You haven't done nothing! - Stevie

    by Fordmandalay on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 02:12:10 PM PST

  •  Well... (0+ / 0-)


    I'm sure glad he didn't trust his secret identity to Dick Nixon.

    What a lot of people don't get about Superman is that he is just a simple Midwestern farmboy.  He's not Kal-El.  He's Clark Kent.

    Fortunately for the inhabitants of the DCU.

    "I don't give them Hell. I just tell the truth about them and they think it's Hell."

    by Notthemayor on Mon Feb 18, 2013 at 07:32:40 PM PST

    •  Isabella's Rule (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Comics writer and guru Tony Isabella says that he has a simple standard for judging presidents:  "Would Superman trust this man with his Secret Identity?"

      I think we can agree that precious few presidents of the last fifty years meet that standard.

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:33:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  When Superman wants to blend with mortals... (0+ / 0-)

    ...he acts like a cowardly nebbish.
    Interesting outsider's view of humans.

    I'm the plowman in the valley - with my face full of mud

    by labradog on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:05:08 AM PST

    •  Different Takes on the Man-O-Steel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      He has certainly been portrayed that way, especially in the Silver Age.  I remember one critic writing in the '70s that Superman's "Clark Kent" persona was a caracature of Jonathan Kent and reveals the subconscious contempt he had for his adopted father.

      I don't know if I buy that, though.

      In the Post-Crisis Reboot of the mid-'80s, Superman's backstory was changed so that he did not become an active superhero until he became an adult; so that even though the young Clark Kent had Powers and Abilities Beyond Those of Mortal Men as the TV show used to say, he wasn't "Superman, posing as Clark Kent", he was "Clark Kent, the kid with a Big Secret"

      I like the way it was put in one episode of the TV show "Lois & Clark".  Lois has finally figured out the Secret Identity thing and angrilly accuses him of lying to her, pretending to be Clark Kent when he was actually Superman.

      "I am Clark Kent!" he insists.  "Superman is just what I do!"

      "All the World's a Stage and Everyone's a Critic." -- Mervyn Alquist

      by quarkstomper on Tue Feb 19, 2013 at 05:31:19 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

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