Thursday, February 03, 2011

Superhero Fatigue

 Am I the only one who's tired of superheroes?

Just a sampling of recent superhero stuff in the media: No Ordinary Family, The Cape, The Green Hornet (the movie), X-Men, Batman, Watchmen, Spiderman, Superman, and I just heard they're going to remake the TV show Wonder Woman. I guess the time is really right for that kind of move. We haven't had enough of ordinary people with extraordinary powers doing special things out of the sheer goodness of their hearts for humanity as a whole. Motives of pure gold, that's what they have. The rest of us just have to watch and stare in wonder.

I tried to watch The Cape. I think I missed the first fifteen minutes of the show or maybe it was the first half hour. It didn't matter because the last bit I saw was boring, even though it involved a lot of double-crossing and fight scenes and chase scenes and spectacular explosions. It even involved a little boy watching the news as his dad ran from some bad guys one morning, as the little boy ate breakfast in the kitchen with his mom. Then they watched as a cargo trailer exploded. It was being filmed live. And his dad was under that trailer.

I didn't feel a whit of sadness for the family as they hugged and wept. Maybe because I knew the dad was alive? Or maybe because I wasn't invested enough in the show? Perhaps I have a heart of stone. Or . . . it could be that the story just sucked.

I don't know. But often, even when I know the opposite is true ("X is not dead, he's just buried under a pile of debris!" or "X is alive! She's just in a coma!"), I still manage to dredge up a few tears for the poor unsuspecting loved ones who feel the loss of their mother, father, or friend. I'm just following that wise admonishment to "weep with those who weep," and etc. And I'm a sap. Need I say more?

Ok, so I'm a sap. But I'm not mindless. And I'm trying to figure out what the crap is wrong with the networks and all their lame writers who think the public wants MORE superhero tripe. It wouldn't be so bad if the writing was actually good and the stories they were telling us were compelling. But so far I can hardly stand two minutes of No Ordinary Family. It's like the Invincibles. Only the Invincibles was cute and funny, and when it came out, there hadn't been a story about a family with superpowers.

To top it all off, why is it assumed that the public is enamored with the idea of heroes having special powers to assist them in their do-gooding? Can I say that? Do-gooding? Why do we want to celebrate heroes who are endowed with "special" powers and not a normal human who extends his or herself beyond the average and achieves something great, because that's the traditional definition of hero. And anyone can be a hero.

Currently, I suppose, there is this bubbling undercurrent of curiosity regarding the possibility that oh wow, humans have mutated and now all of us have the ability to fly! Or, suddenly I can see through walls! It was all those preservatives in the Twinkies. I ate a lot of Twinkies and it mutated my DNA. And now I'm superhuman. Yeah. It was the BPA. It toyed so much with my estrogen that now I have super-strength. Go figure.

That's what people are thinking. I know it. Sadly, the BPA and Twinkies are not going to mutate us into powerful creatures. And same with toxic waste and genetically enhanced spider bites. They'll just kill us, as bad things do.

For some reason, we'd apparently rather hear stories about morons who develop special powers through accidents that ought to destroy us (which, I guess you would argue, is how the superhero is born—because they're "no ordinary" human, they just become powerful, and not dead . . . ) and do awesome things rather than hear stories about real heroism.

Yesterday I deleted the Jack Handey quote in my Facebook information and put in a quote by James Talmage, and then I tried to fill in the "people who inspire you" section. I typed in "my mom, Stoker, my family," and hit save. Guess what? You can't put that sort of nonsense in (Facebook seems to say). It didn't work even when I typed their names in (so it could link to their pages).

Facebook will not have it. Facebook wants me to put in names of people so it can link my page to those pages of, I guess, people it deems appropriate for me to admire. It wants names like Thomas Jefferson, Ayn Rand, Galileo, and other sundry people who everyone can admire and link to.

I might admire those people, but this is the commercialization of hero-worship.

What bothers me is that I can't choose who I admire and for whom I wish to advertise my admiration. I would like the world to know and the people who know me to know that I'm not fooled by fame*, I'm not a member of some cult of personality, I have seen the reality of what a hero truly is: it is someone who does something very difficult, under the pressure of the possibility that if they fail, the people who matter to them will suffer, and yet they do it anyway. Even if they don't succeed, their sacrifice is noted, their attempt is recorded and the ramifications felt. Those ramifications might simply be the realization, "this person loves me very much," or "this person loves others more than him/herself."

And come to think of it, the only reason a hero ever does anything is because of that: love. But superheroes? I don't really know about them, having never known any personally.

All I know is that I'm done with superheroes. Green Hornet? Not going to see it. More iterations of Spiderman? Won't be seeing them. The new Wonder Woman? Ha. Fat chance. Her costume will probably be strips of tape and a bikini bottom and rather than using any skill, earned or inherent, she'll stop crime with her sluttiness. Bwah ha ha ha ha ha.

In the next few days, I'll be posting about being tired of the following: cop dramas, doctor/hospital dramas, firefighter dramas, law/courtroom dramas, crime scene dramas, serial killer/heinous crime dramas, and slutty housewife dramas. Does that encompass everything on prime time? Oh, dang.

*I really want everyone to admire me for not admiring moronic famous people. It's a defining characteristic of who I am.

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