Why Superman Is More Relevant Than Ever

Why Superman Is More Relevant Than Ever

The world is changing fast, but the Man of Steel can keep up.
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He’s the original superhero, a hugely successful media brand, and one of the most iconic characters in history. So why isn’t he more popular today?

We’ve all heard that Superman isn’t cool anymore. He’s a relic of a simpler time, the argument goes, and today’s audience needs darker, edgier heroes. The Big Blue Boyscout is just too straight-laced and blandly wholesome to cut it in these troubled times. It may sound convincing, but there's plenty wrong with that line of thinking.

For starters, let’s have a little history lesson. Superman first appeared in Action Comics #1, way back in 1938. He was the creation of two young Jewish men, Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster, who grew up in the Great Depression. Both were the children of Eastern European immigrants, and their families struggled to make ends meet. In his last interview before his death in 1992, Shuster recalled drawing his first comics on discarded wallpaper because he couldn’t afford to buy drawing paper. At the time, he was such a shy, awkward kid that it’s believed he was the inspiration for Superman’s unassuming alter-ego, Clark Kent.

The very same year Action Comics #1 was released, Adolf Hitler was named Man of the Year by ‘TIME,’ after he invaded Czechoslovakia and the rest of Europe allowed him to in the Munich Agreement. Anti-semitism was already commonplace in the 1930s America, and now a racist maniac was quickly becoming one of the most powerful people in the world. Make no mistake, Superman was not created in an idyllic past, but during one of the most troubling times in world history.

Before gaining careers in the comic book industry, Siegel and Shuster collaborated on a 1933 story called “The Reign of the Superman,” about a man who gains telepathic powers and attempts to conquer the world. That same year, Siegel decided that Superman should be a hero, rather than a villain, and began developing the character that would debut five years later as a crime fighter taking on gangsters, wife beaters, and corrupt politicians. This change is a perfect example of the hope that Superman represents: it suggests that someone with incredible power might choose to help the weak, rather than seek individual gain.

Superman remained one of the most popular comic book characters in the following decades, eventually appearing in the iconic 1978 film adaptation starring Christopher Reeve. When people complain about Superman being corny, outdated, or too perfect, this is the Superman they’re referring to. He’s cheery, courteous, and even saves a cat from a tree. ‘Superman: The Movie’ stands out in the crowd of darker films that the 1970s are known for, but it proved to be a massive success. Between a severe recession, unrest in the middle east, and increasing fears of terrorism, the social climate of the 1970s was not entirely different from today. Superman has always thrived in difficult times, specifically because he stood in contrast to the bleak world around us.

Superman’s relevance hinges on the fact that he represents everything we want to see in the world: those in power defending the weak, people standing up for what they believe, and the collection of hopes and values best termed the American Dream. After all, Superman’s creators were the children of immigrants, and Superman himself is a refugee from a doomed planet. The core story of Superman is one of a child finding refuge in America, discovering his abilities, and using them for the good of society. Ultimately, that is the essence of the American Dream, not getting rich or buying a house in the suburbs. The fact that the quintessential American hero wasn’t born in America says a great deal about our national identity. If we really consider Superman to be irrelevant to the world of today, I think that’s serious cause for concern given what he represents. Superman is the embodiment of our better nature, the humanist ideal wrapped in a cape. He doesn’t represent ideas that we’ve outgrown, but rather the ideas that we’re in danger of giving up.

There’s nothing wrong with darker heroes. In fact, many of them are very compelling characters. As living, breathing human beings, it can be appealing to see heroes that struggle with their inner natures and don’t always do the right thing. However, we should be able to relate to Superman’s hopefulness every bit as much as we relate to Wolverine’s psychological trauma. Superman is the every-man, a regular guy with a supportive family from a small town, working in the big city and hoping his pretty co-worker notices him. It’s not the power that makes him exceptional, it’s the choice to do what he can to make other people’s lives better, the same choice in front of each and every one of us.

I’m not saying you have to like Superman. If you happen to prefer Batman or Iron Man, feel free to continue doing so (better yet, write an article about why you like them so much). However, if we dismiss Superman as irrelevant, we do a disservice to the ideals he represents. If nothing else, maybe read a comic or two before you make up your mind.
Cover Image Credit: DC Comics

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30 Things I'd Rather Be Than 'Pretty'

Because "pretty" is so overrated.
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Nowadays, we put so much emphasis on our looks. We focus so much on the outside that we forget to really focus on what matters. I was inspired by a list that I found online of "Things I Would Rather Be Called Instead Of Pretty," so I made my own version. Here is a list of things that I would rather be than "pretty."

1. Captivating

I want one glance at me to completely steal your breath away.

2. Magnetic

I want people to feel drawn to me. I want something to be different about me that people recognize at first glance.

3. Raw

I want to be real. Vulnerable. Completely, genuinely myself.

4. Intoxicating

..and I want you addicted.

5. Humble

I want to recognize my abilities, but not be boastful or proud.

6. Exemplary

I want to stand out.

7. Loyal

I want to pride myself on sticking out the storm.

8. Fascinating

I want you to be hanging on every word I say.

9. Empathetic

I want to be able to feel your pain, so that I can help you heal.

10. Vivacious

I want to be the life of the party.

11. Reckless

I want to be crazy. Thrilling. Unpredictable. I want to keep you guessing, keep your heart pounding, and your blood rushing.

12. Philanthropic

I want to give.

13. Philosophical

I want to ask the tough questions that get you thinking about the purpose of our beating hearts.

14. Loving

When my name is spoken, I want my tenderness to come to mind.

15. Quaintrelle

I want my passion to ooze out of me.

16. Belesprit

I want to be quick. Witty. Always on my toes.

17. Conscientious

I want to always be thinking of others.

18. Passionate

...and I want people to know what my passions are.

19. Alluring

I want to be a woman who draws people in.

20. Kind

Simply put, I want to be pleasant and kind.

21. Selcouth

Even if you've known me your whole life, I want strange, yet marvelous. Rare and wondrous.

22. Pierian

From the way I move to the way I speak, I want to be poetic.

23. Esoteric

Do not mistake this. I do not want to be misunderstood. But rather I'd like to keep my circle small and close. I don't want to be an average, everyday person.

24. Authentic

I don't want anyone to ever question whether I am being genuine or telling the truth.

25. Novaturient

..about my own life. I never want to settle for good enough. Instead I always want to seek to make a positive change.

26. Observant

I want to take all of life in.

27. Peart

I want to be honestly in good spirits at all times.

28. Romantic

Sure, I want to be a little old school in this sense.

29. Elysian

I want to give you the same feeling that you get in paradise.

30. Curious

And I never want to stop searching for answers.
Cover Image Credit: Favim

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To The Generation That Might Not Care, A Green New Deal Is Crucial

Take care of our planet and our future.

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The reality of climate change and method to address the issue has been a source of contention in the United States for far too long. While Republicans trail behind Democrats a great deal in the percentage who believe long-term, irreversible climate change is a real problem, an equally if not more important gap to acknowledge is that between generations.

A universally taught science concept in elementary school is the difference between weather and climate. Weather is the day-to-day condition of the atmosphere — rainy, sunny, etc. Climate is the weather of a particular geographic location over a long period of time. The weather in an area may be snowy on a particular January day but might overall have a warm climate (Trump has yet to learn this concept).

The gap between generational support for not only believing in the reality of climate change but if the government should take steps to prevent further harm on our planet is apparent. A few reasons that older generations may not support aggressive climate change policies are that many are not going to see the lasting impact of their harmful actions, may not want to acknowledge that their way of life for a majority of their life was detrimental to the environment, or that they simply do not think it is the government's role to further regulate current practices and lifestyles in the name of the environment (an argument supported by many conservatives).

Data For Progress

The "Green New Deal," proposed earlier this month by Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez and Sen. Edward Markey is mainly a list of ideas and goals rather than a carefully laid-out plan, though aims to eliminate greenhouse emissions through the creation of millions of jobs in the renewable energy industry, moving toward public ownership (a major source of disagreement among Republicans and Democrats), and much more. This plan is a comprehensive overview of many sources of environmental degradation that our nation has not addressed, despite the majority of the nation believing the climate change is a real issue.

There will undoubtedly be a major shift in the operations of many companies due to aggressive climate change policies, which could have been avoided at a drastic level if our nation had chosen to make climate change prevention a priority. Unfortunately, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, global temperatures will rise to an irreversible level in 12 years if the United States and other countries that greatly contribute to rising temperatures do not take action. A sense of urgency has been lacking for far too long is crucial.

Written into the recently proposed Green New Deal is a section detailing how it will attempt to remedy the inequality of those most directly impacted by climate change. Vulnerable communities, particularly communities of color, are not seeing an equitable distribution in disaster funding to prevent damage inflicted by the increasing frequency and intensity of natural disasters that have resulted as an increase in rising global temperatures — Which, regardless of your age, should be a glaring flaw in our current system.

I personally doubt that the entirety of the recently proposed Green New Deal will be enacted, however, I believe that anyone who values the quality of human life, clean air, clean water, food sources, for not just those in the United States, but around the world, should be supportive of a Green New Deal.

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