My Superhero

Disney, Marvel Comics, Superheroes. Last night’s news showed a little boy in a little wheel chair wearing a miniature Spiderman costume with mask. “Who’s tougher, Spiderman or Batman?” his mother asked. “Spidey!” came the cry of glee from behind the mask. The child really IS tough, having barely survived being shot in a crossfire at a neighborhood park his mother brought him to for his enjoyment. But the kids aren’t the ones feeding the meter for the recent history of superhero films and their continuous sequels. These films are enormously popular with today’s big kids. Someone/something is creating an identity/connection with having (genetically) unique, exceptional and extra ordinary capabilities and whatever reason it is that makes grown-ups decide to part with their pay on a particular film rather than another (movies are rated in terms of how much money they bring in over a designated stretch of time, not because of any “enduring quality” of the film). To say that being set apart from mere mortals by the ability to fly down the sidewalk on a surf board, or flutter like a bat, swing across town on silken threads, become a walking flame, etc. is for whatever reason desirable would be an understatement. Having the capacity to do something that no one else can do would be like being the sole winner of the largest lottery jackpot, or raking in the royalties from possessing the intellectual property rights on something that humans cannot do without. Oh, it’s just a fantasy like Shrek.

My fantasy of a superhero would be someone named “Just Another Brick In The Wall.” It’s kind of hard to imagine Commissioner Gordon or some ensconced government politico saying “This is a job for Just Another Brick In The Wall.” Or “Thank Gawd for Just Another Brick In The Wall. We couldn’t have done it without her!” Besides, how would Just Another Brick In The Wall enter and exit, distinguish himself from other mere mortals?

I think we need some action movies featuring Just Another Brick In The Wall as a superhero, able to save the world through the exceptional and extra ordinary capabilities (genetically) unique to Just Another Brick In The Wall. Maybe Just Another Brick In The Wall action figures. Often I find myself absorbed in conversations with various of the same folks subsidizing contemporary superhero flicks. After recounting another memorable weekend consuming the box office flavor of the week, we sometimes discuss things like education opportunities for their kids, the globally over heated world their offspring will live in (and they will retire to!), or the increasing polarization (and becoming ever weirder ratio) of the distribution of wealth. Sometimes the conversation will actually break free from the knee jerk references to recent releases like Elysium and we’ll become grounded in the local, the everyday, what we share in common, the neighborhood playground where someone’s child has been hurt through senseless violence, etc. It’s uncanny (and sad) that we part with sighs of relief that we are not like that, that doesn’t involve us. The backyard we just talked about is not mine. We are (genetically) unique. Our identity revolves around our exceptional and extra ordinary capabilities. After all, ya gotta sell yourself to get/keep a job these days!

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