Monday, March 21, 2011

Analyzing the Superman/Batman mythos

OK, I admit, I look at some silly things from time to time. But my son, clever boy that he is, proposed the infallibility of every one's boy in blue and red. Of course, he logically came to the conclusion that superman is not real. But, in his rationalization of the subject, he endeavored to understand why there would even be a batman if there was a superman. I found this idea pretty intriguing, so now you all get to suffer through a blog on it.

We all know superman. Fly faster then the speed of sound. Can pick up staggering objects such as buildings, chunks of earth and planes. Can run at super speeds, Blow freezing air out of his mouth, suck in with a hurricane like force, and shoot beams of energy that are equivalent to solar flares from his eyes. Oh ya and he bounces conventional weapons off his chest for fun too. Pretty amazing list of abilities. Now lets not forget his xray vision, his super hearing, and his super quick mind.

Batman on the other hand, Well lets see. Orphaned at a young age, serious trauma PTSD issues from watching his parents get killed. Rich beyond all means, a fine tuned physique the product of a regiment that would practically allow little else but time spent exercising. Martial arts experience in just about every known form. Gadgets that are extremely lightweight, durable and cutting edge. A keen knowledge of laws and their application. The almost unending need to travel the night fighting bad guys, meaning he never sleeps normal hours, yet still manages to pull off running a multi-billion dollar company.

Both of these are some pretty astounding feats. Batman's are of course more realistic, in that he is just a man, he can be hurt (and has). Superman has been hurt as well, but it always ends up being some form of universe ending thing that does it. Could either truly stand up to their tasks at hand.

Superman, raised by Midwest culture driven, ideological, assumed devout christian parents. Now we plunge his naive rear into a world filled with megalomaniacs, radicals, and even just the common hoodlum. He can hear EVERYTHING, he can see just about anything he wants. In other words he cant hide from the worlds evils. In truth for all his power, he cant fix the source of the real problem in the world which is mankind's own dissatisfaction with his current position and willingness to sacrifice others to increase that station. Would it even be possible, knowing superman's upbringing for him to forgive and pardon that many people. Or would having his beliefs destroyed be enough to push him over the edge. You have all this power, and yet none of the ability to stem the tide of evil at its source. In recent years they have sort of limited superman's intelligence down to being on a more normal scale. In fact, at one point superman comes into Gotham during a crisis and trys to "fix it" and this very point is proven to him by batman. "You are not a god nor do you have the right to pretend to be one" Despite his otherworldly origins we have to assume that he is still a product of his environment. Capable of only rationalizing most things as a "human" not as a kryptonian. I don't think someone in his position could do it without being driven insane at their inability to actually solve the worlds woes and protect it from itself.

Batman on the other hand, Well, Batman lives in the dark coils of humanities excess and greed. He was born understanding wealth, and quickly was taught that having everything doesn't protect you from losing what is most important. One could argue that with his parent's deaths, a portion of Batman's humanity died as well. Unlike Superman, I don't think he had any ideals to be lost. He has never had the ability to feel like he could solve all the problems of the world. To him it has always been a single driven purpose of one criminal at a time. Could someone like this exist? I am quite sure they do in one form or another. Police officers, DA's, even judges I think having spent time with the seedy underbelly eventually build up a tolerance and a understanding of what is needed and what battles can be won. Batman, to me is a all to realistic product of what society could truly create.

I understand the point of all this is discussing a moot point. Superman and Batman are both works of fiction. Neither exist in the world. But, I wont discourage my son from wanting them to exist. In this age where, kids quickly forget the core values of truth, justice, and the American way (A way which i pray one day we find again) I think a little hope of one day being the scourge of crime in Dacono is just fine for a boy age 7. Sure, like myself, he will grow up and change his mind several times before deciding what he wants to be. But maybe just maybe, he will carry a little bit of that boy inside him who wants a better world, one way or the other. And maybe that little boy will drive him to make it happen. I can only hope to be half the inspiration to him that my father was to me. And my father always let me dream. Even if it broke a few shovels (those who know me know the graveyard of broken shovel handles my youth left behind.)

Trying to quiet my overactive brain
Keep your chin up

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