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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8 Reasons Why My Dad Is the Most Important Man In My Life

Forever my number one guy.
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Growing up, there's been one consistent man I can always count on, my father. In any aspect of my life, my dad has always been there, showing me unconditional love and respect every day. No matter what, I know that my dad will always be the most important man in my life for many reasons.

1. He has always been there.

Literally. From the day I was born until today, I have never not been able to count on my dad to be there for me, uplift me and be the best dad he can be.

2. He learned to adapt and suffer through girly trends to make me happy.

I'm sure when my dad was younger and pictured his future, he didn't think about the Barbie pretend pageants, dressing up as a princess, perfecting my pigtails and enduring other countless girly events. My dad never turned me down when I wanted to play a game, no matter what and was always willing to help me pick out cute outfits and do my hair before preschool.

3. He sends the cutest texts.

Random text messages since I have gotten my own cell phone have always come my way from my dad. Those randoms "I love you so much" and "I am so proud of you" never fail to make me smile, and I can always count on my dad for an adorable text message when I'm feeling down.

4. He taught me how to be brave.

When I needed to learn how to swim, he threw me in the pool. When I needed to learn how to ride a bike, he went alongside me and made sure I didn't fall too badly. When I needed to learn how to drive, he was there next to me, making sure I didn't crash.

5. He encourages me to best the best I can be.

My dad sees the best in me, no matter how much I fail. He's always there to support me and turn my failures into successes. He can sit on the phone with me for hours, talking future career stuff and listening to me lay out my future plans and goals. He wants the absolute best for me, and no is never an option, he is always willing to do whatever it takes to get me where I need to be.

6. He gets sentimental way too often, but it's cute.

Whether you're sitting down at the kitchen table, reminiscing about your childhood, or that one song comes on that your dad insists you will dance to together on your wedding day, your dad's emotions often come out in the cutest possible way, forever reminding you how loved you are.


7. He supports you, emotionally and financially.

Need to vent about a guy in your life that isn't treating you well? My dad is there. Need some extra cash to help fund spring break? He's there for that, too.

8. He shows me how I should be treated.

Yes, my dad treats me like a princess, and I don't expect every guy I meet to wait on me hand and foot, but I do expect respect, and that's exactly what my dad showed I deserve. From the way he loves, admires, and respects me, he shows me that there are guys out there who will one day come along and treat me like that. My dad always advises me to not put up with less than I deserve and assures me that the right guy will come along one day.

For these reasons and more, my dad will forever be my No. 1 man. I love you!

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Why The Idea Of 'No Politics At The Dinner Table' Takes Place And Why We Should Avoid It

When did having a dialogue become so rare?

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Why has the art of civilized debate and conversation become unheard of in daily life? Why is it considered impolite to talk politics with coworkers and friends? Expressing ideas and discussing different opinions should not be looked down upon.

I have a few ideas as to why this is our current societal norm.

1. Politics is personal.

Your politics can reveal a lot about who you are. Expressing these (sometimes controversial) opinions may put you in a vulnerable position. It is possible for people to draw unfair conclusions from one viewpoint you hold. This fosters a fear of judgment when it comes to our political beliefs.

Regardless of where you lie on the spectrum of political belief, there is a world of assumption that goes along with any opinion. People have a growing concern that others won't hear them out based on one belief.

As if a single opinion could tell you all that you should know about someone. Do your political opinions reflect who you are as a person? Does it reflect your hobbies? Your past?

The question becomes "are your politics indicative enough of who you are as a person to warrant a complete judgment?"

Personally, I do not think you would even scratch the surface of who I am just from knowing my political identification.

2. People are impolite.

The politics themselves are not impolite. But many people who wield passionate, political opinion act impolite and rude when it comes to those who disagree.

The avoidance of this topic among friends, family, acquaintances and just in general, is out of a desire to 'keep the peace'. Many people have friends who disagree with them and even family who disagree with them. We justify our silence out of a desire to avoid unpleasant situations.

I will offer this: It might even be better to argue with the ones you love and care about, because they already know who you are aside from your politics, and they love you unconditionally (or at least I would hope).

We should be having these unpleasant conversations. And you know what? They don't even need to be unpleasant! Shouldn't we be capable of debating in a civilized manner? Can't we find common ground?

I attribute the loss of political conversation in daily life to these factors. 'Keeping the peace' isn't an excuse. We should be discussing our opinions constantly and we should be discussing them with those who think differently.

Instead of discouraging political conversation, we should be encouraging kindness and understanding. That's how we will avoid the unpleasantness that these conversations sometimes bring.

By avoiding them altogether, we are doing our youth a disservice because they are not being exposed to government, law, and politics, and they are not learning to deal with people and ideas that they don't agree with.

Next Thanksgiving, talk politics at the table.

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