We live in uncertain times. Everyday brings a new sexual harassment accusation, threat of nuclear war, or Twitter tirade by our Commander-in-Chief and it genuinely bums me out. We try to distract our day-to-day lives from all of the hate, violence, and obscenity that plagues the headlines these days but it seems to be getting harder all of the time. This got me thinking about Superman. You may be wondering, “what does a fictional comic book superhero have to do with the world we live in”? The answer? Hope.
When I see the tragedies in the Middle East, or think about how close our society comes to annihilating itself instead of focusing on the problems that should really matter, I think about Superman. I escape into the world of comics and read stories of the inspiration and hope that Superman instills and wonder how much better the world would be if we just took to heart what Superman represents. I get caught up in that feeling of optimism and for a moment I almost let myself believe that he is real.
Superman is an alien and yet his is more human than any of us, he is what we should all aspire to become, the best of us, the “Big Blue Boy-scout”. It seems naive, I know. This is a fictional character that has the powers of a god, it’s impossible to model society in the way of a comic book world. I don’t think that’s true.
This is a scene I go back to time and time again, when I think about the good Superman does. He fights monsters, alien invasions, alternate universe doppelgängers, yet he still makes time for someone hurting and ready to give up, that’s powerful. Why does that have to be a fictional dream? You don’t need super powers to make a difference in someone’s life and it shouldn’t take a superhero tell us right from wrong. While it’s unrealistic to believe that the world can be saved by one man in a cape, it’s not absurd to think individuals can do the little things to make the future brighter.
So why can’t we standup for someone who has ever felt abused? Why can’t our leaders make decisions that will help mankind instead destroying it? I think about this stuff all the time and when I feel the pressure of the world weighing down on me I go read a comic and it gives me chills to see Superman do something good, for nothing more than it’s the right thing to do. If you ever feel the need for inspiration or just need something to block out the noise that engulfs us, I highly recommend picking up a Superman story to brighten your day and maybe that optimism will spread.
Sadly Superman isn’t going to save us. But as cliché as it sounds, we can save ourselves. We can become that ‘fictional’ dream and stop the need to escape the headlines. It just starts with some hope…