In a world where people cry over dead gorillas and ignore starving or abused children, we need heroes. Now more than ever. But the world isn’t ready for superheroes.
Thanks to my new site tagline (thanks Social Media Jedi Kristen Lamb), Holding out for a Hero, there is likely to be more posts about what it means to be a hero, heroes in real life and so on.
If you don’t like Captain America, I promise not to make it all about him. If you prefer the anti-hero character type, I’m happy to direct you to some other site.
In my world, good and evil have distinct lines. Evil is never based on personal opinion or preference but by the clear and present danger it causes.
Now, to get this post back on track. There are three major reasons it’s obvious our world isn’t ready for superheroes. I will be using film and real-world examples to reinforce my points. (There will be Captain America references – so sue me!)
Everyone is plugged in to the internet. Our phones notify us of updates to social media or our news sites. If we want to know the score for the big game, it’s a click or two away. (And there’s an app for that!)
There’s nothing wrong with being informed, but how well should we trust our sources of information? After all, who didn’t see the posts claiming Jackie Chan died a few months back. Some things are pure hype.
And other posts are an attempt to get a reaction. When I wrote this post, various articles about the Stanford University rapist bogged down my Facebook news feed. Oh, and the gorilla incident I mentioned in the opening paragraph.
The articles became memes touting personal opinions – and calls for crucifixion of the criminal and the judge who gave him a “light” sentence. Whether I agree with these sentiments or not, the fact that a crime like this can blow up to become a worldwide discussion topic illustrates my point. (According to statistics, 300,000 rapes occur on US university campuses every year, but we’re only hearing about this ONE.)
The Fear of Power
With great power comes great responsibility – Uncle Joe Parker
People who have power fear people who might gain more power. And governments tend to be the biggest fraidy cats of all. This is the reason why information is controlled in so many parts of the world.
Because knowledge is power. If you know the truth, you can act upon it. If the truth can be concealed or packaged as a falsehood, then knowledge loses its edge.
In Captain America: Civil War, this truth was clearly demonstrated. After an accident during the apprehension of a terrorist, the United Nations met in an uproar. How dare The Avengers have collateral damage during their mission! Who even gave them permission to go into an African country anyway?
The governments feared the power of The Avengers (and they should). However, their fear wasn’t based in reality. If the team hadn’t stopped the terrorists, biological warfare would have been unleashed elsewhere in the world. Thousands of innocents would have suffered and died.
The UN didn’t care about the outcome, they wanted to control the power. What if The Avengers decided to step into the UN’s business? Who could stop them? But if the UN controlled their missions, the balance of power shifted into their favor.
Don’t be fooled. I used a fictitious example to prove this point, but the news headlines talk about dictators, warlords and plenty of others who exemplify this truth.
Just call us Sue-Happy
Think about some of the amazing rescues you’ve seen in superhero movies or the comics. These are when average people are saved from fires, explosions, criminals and accidents.
Now imagine this scenario. Spiderman sweeps into a burning building and removes two children, an elderly couple and even a cat from the flames. Just in time, too. The building collapses.
What if there was another unconscious person inside? Their family is incensed that Spidey discriminated against them by rescuing a stupid cat instead of their uncle.
And they sue him. Or the fire department. Or whoever they think they can get the money from.
If you think I’m exaggerating, let me remind you that McDonald’s paid millions to a woman who burned herself on their coffee. Why did she win such a silly lawsuit? Because there was nothing WARNING her that the coffee was hot.
Seriously? Because even a two-year-old understands that something on an electrical burner is HOT.
Perhaps these lawsuits wouldn’t happen because who knows who Spiderman really is. But there would be even more pressure to discover his identity. Would it keep him from making his nightly runs stopping crime and rescuing victims?
Maybe. Maybe not.
In any case, these are only three reasons that screamed out when this topic jumped to the forefront of my mind.
What other reasons are there that might hold superheroes back? What do you see in our world that deters heroics more than it encourages them?