Editorial: The power of Superman is not in his fists, but in his inspiration

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Hey guys, Jared here.

What a week we are having in the United States.

First, the bombings in Boston. Then, the ricin-laced letters being mailed to the President and others from a guy who lives in my hometown of Corinth, MS.  Then, the fertilizer plant explosion in Texas yesterday that has leveled an entire town.

 

These are dark times for America. Even in the dark times though, we’ve been given stories of true heroism amidst the chaos though… stories like the “Cowboy” who rushed in to help one of the Boston bombing victims who lost his legs in the blast. Stories about Police officers, Firefighters, Nurses and ordinary bystanders who rushed in to the smoke and confusion to help as many people as they could. Honest to God, real life heroes. These people are an inspiration to me.

 

At some point Monday, as I was reading my Twitter feed for Boston coverage, someone had retweeted someone else saying “Days like today make me wish Captain America and Superman were real. :-(”

That tweet really struck a chord with me.

I’ve always had a very overactive imagination. Immediately upon reading that tweet, I started imagining being there on the street in Boston, surround by such horror and being confused and angry and unsure of what to do, but then looking up and seeing Superman fly overhead and knowing, just at the sight of him, that it was going to be OK. That whoever did this was about to have a world of hurt come down on them.

If only things worked like that in the real world.

Later, after all the coverage of Boston, I finally got around to watching the newest trailer for “Man of Steel”, the new Superman movie. As a Geek, I’ve been very wary of this film. After being burned by “Superman Returns” years ago, I haven’t been very confident that we could ever have a good, faithful Superman adaptation. So I’ve kept my expectations in check with “Man of Steel” and hadn’t allowed myself to be very excited about it.

Until I saw this trailer.

 

Wow. Much has been said about Warner Bros. attempting to “Dark Knight” this movie. Make it dark, gritty, have a more “real world” feel to it. I’ve had mixed feelings about this approach. Shouldn’t Superman be as far from “real world” as possible? Shouldn’t it be a bright, fantastical movie with as many aliens and earth shattering fist fights as possible? Shouldn’t it set a tone for a DC Comics universe that has people like The Flash and Wonder Woman and Aquaman? Those aren’t real world!

But then this week happened.

And in this trailer I see what they are going for.

This Superman is like many of us. He feels alone. Like an outsider. Not sure of his place or purpose in the universe. He’s different.

His loving parents have taught him the difference between right and wrong. But they’ve also taught him to look after himself. In previous trailers, a young Clark Kent saves a bus full of kids just to have his father warn him about using his powers and being discovered. Clark asks “What was I supposed to do? Let them die?” To which his father replies… “Maybe.”

So that apparently sets Clark on a path of wandering through adulthood… never setting down roots, never making friends, moving from one job to another.

But here is the thing… it’s not in Clark’s nature to stand by and NOT do what he can to help people.

Eventually this gets Lois Lane on his trail. She follows stories of a mysterious man who appears and saves people when disaster strikes, such as the oil rig explosion in this video.

See, despite what his Father tried to ingrain in him… that sometimes you have to put yourself above the needs of others… Clark can’t quite stick to that. When he sees people hurting, he rushes to help. No matter the cost.

Sound familiar?

Maybe like some of those people in Boston I mentioned earlier?

Superman has endured for decades now in American culture because of what he represents: unwavering goodness and decency standing against evil.

Superman may be the most powerful super hero ever created. But it isn’t his strength, x ray vision, heat vision, or flight that makes him super.

It’s his heart. And his example.

An example carried out by the good people of Boston that day, and by good people all around this country. When evil strikes, good people respond.

America is full of Super people.

I leave you with his line, spoken in the trailer by Superman’s birth father Jor-El.

“You will give the people an ideal to strive towards.

They will race behind you, they will stumble, they will fall.

But in time, they will join you in the sun. In time, you will help them accomplish wonders.”
-Jor-El (Russell Crowe)

Let’s work to have those words apply to us as well, my fellow Americans.

-Jared

@JaredWallin

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Smartphone Fail!

That Samsung Galaxy III is nice, eh? Why not post from it then? Someone is looking for a new job right now. Related