Power And Responsibility: Three Lessons That Spider-Man Can Teach Us

Power And Responsibility: Three Lessons That Spider-Man Can Teach Us

Personal philosophies of a down to earth hero.
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Spider-Man has been a long time flagship superhero for Marvel. His character is naturally more relatable in the fact that unlike similar heroes, he isn’t affluent like Iron Man or insanely overpowered like Superman. If he hadn’t been bitten by a radioactive spider, Peter Parker would have simply been an everyday teenager. He’s an extremely down to earth character that’s still learning how to handle tough situations and it provides a great avenue for reaching the reader on a personal level and letting them think through some of his same lessons.

I’ve included only three of the many philosophies that I believe to be the most central in what his character can teach us.

1. Every life is worth saving.

This philosophy is a staple of Spider-Man’s identity. Throughout his entire career, Spider-Man has never put the killing blow on an enemy. When his enemies do die, it’s usually because they were so preoccupied with killing Spider-Man that they make fatal mistakes. However, when Spider-Man sees their mistake happening and is able to save the villain from death he will save them every time.

In the real world, it can be easy to say that certain people deserve to die for what they’ve done. We think that we can be the ultimate say in who lives and dies or that someone “deserved” to die. Spider-Man sees it differently. He realizes that each life is full of moments that led up to where the person is now and that every person has the potential to change for the better. If he kills them now, they won’t even have a chance for redemption. Even though most would probably say that’s a naïve and unrealistic idea, I think it’s something worth contemplating.

2. Determination through adversity

Spider-Man isn't exactly the strongest superhero. Sure, he has much more strength than any normal person, but when he's compared to his superhero colleagues he’s an inexperienced small fry. He's often pinned as the underdog in the world of Marvel’s heroes and in fact, many would agree that his most intriguing stories happen when he faces a situation in which he knows he’s outclassed in every way, but continues to persevere until he’s won. Even though he may end up bleeding and broken he doesn’t stop - especially if someone's life is on the line.

Issue #33 of "The Amazing Spider-Man" has him trapped in an underwater base with tons of machinery holding him down preventing escape. Just at the point, the reader thinks Spider-Man has given up and escape is impossible, he gets a second wind of motivation and starts to tell himself he can do it. Slowly but surely he lifts the machinery off of his back and is able to escape the water-filled base. This was a pivotal time in Spider-Man’s history because it taught him he is capable of so much more than he had originally thought. He had been pushed to his absolute limit and yet he prevailed.

When we’re at a low point in our life, it can seem like there’s nowhere left to turn and that there’s nothing we can do. Spider-Man teaches us that even though in many cases you’ll be up against something completely out of your league, if you stay determined, eventually tough times will pass and things will start looking up. He teaches us to realize our inner strengths and persevere through the worst of times because when we do, we can look back and see how we grew during the process.

3. “With great power comes great responsibility”

This line is probably one of the most famous lines in superhero history and for a good reason. It has - in my opinion - an insanely deep philosophy that was learned the hard way by Peter Parker only after his uncle was murdered. Ever since that day, Peter has been trying to atone for his mistake by helping others when they need it. Peter jumps at every chance he has – even at the cost of his own happiness – to help out and do good for other people because he understands what the consequence could be should he choose not to.

This philosophy can easily be related to everyday life. For example, if you have the resources to give to the needy and provide for the less fortunate you should do everything in your power to make sure that happens. If you see someone being bullied or cast out, you have the ability to reach out to that person and tell them that they are not alone and that you’re there for them. The ethos that Spider-Man lives by is an invaluable lesson that can be used by everyday people.

Too often in this world, we are exposed to people that have power and use it for their own personal gain. Peter has great abilities and could easily extort it for wealth or fame but instead chooses to use it for the benefit of others. Even when the cost is high - which is often - he chooses to do the right thing over personal wishes every time.

The power and responsibility mantra doesn’t just apply to fighting super villains. It applies to any situation in which there is the potential to make the world a better place. Spider-Man has been my favorite superhero since I was six years old. In many ways, I attribute him to the person I’ve become today. I believe he is a great role model in the fact that he’s far from perfect, but is willing to do anything in his power to do what’s right. He puts others first before himself without even thinking about it. Doing good in the world is important to him and I think it should be a lot more important to everyone else.
Cover Image Credit: Alpha Coders

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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