Rees’ Pieces: Superheroes 2014

Ben Rees, Columnist

We can no longer Marvel at modern day superheroes. The world has become far too interconnected to portray enemies like the Soviet Union as a red version of Magneto or a robot with a furry hat on. Things now need to be politically correct and practical; superficiality and profound ignorance can no longer be an excuse for the propagandist superheroes of the 50s-70s. For example, a 2004 Florida State Congress candidate called his opponent “Taliban Dan” in a slanderous advertisement, and rightfully caught a great deal of flak (this is totally true)!

The superheroes of yesteryear just aren’t as exciting as they used to be. The world now has science to find out answers to the big questions whereas in the past imagination used to fill the void. After all, who needs Superman when you have 3D printers? What’s the point of Batman when you have the SWAT team? The issues today are new, more complex, and somewhat less glamorous. That doesn’t mean that superheroes can no longer exist—no, no, no—superheroes are alive and well …

Modern superhero sagas go something like this:

(Stage direction: enter, city in flames, general populace in panic)

Distressed Citizen: “Zounds, another political crisis has arisen in Washington! It looks as if we only have one month, or 43,829 minutes, to ameliorate the standstill. This sounds like a job for Stalemate Man! Only with his iron handshake and congenial disposition might we finally make a decision on student loans!”

Second Citizen: “You’re missing the point! The big banks have made bad investments with our money and the financial system is on the verge of collapse. All we can hope for now is that Values-Oriented-Accounting Lad might save the day! Only with his courage and honest mettle can we forage through a system that nobody seems to agree on.”

Third Citizen: “Rest assured, young wards, all we need to fix everything is just a day’s work for the Pneumonia Punisher, the Windpipe Wrassler, the Bronchial Braveheart—Whooping Cough Woman! She can banish our black lung epidemic and make society … ”

Second Citizen: “The black lung? Whooping Cough Woman? Isn’t there a vaccine for that?”

Another caped crusader disappears into the annals of history. ~Fin~

As you can all see, the superheroes of today are hip, exciting, and super cool. Pragmatism and efficacy supersede all of that wasteful malarkey of the past. Why have exciting when you can have solution-oriented heroes?! Who wants to read about leather-bound vanquishers when we can change the world, step-by-step-by-step? Move aside Cat Woman; this is the day for MCAT Woman.

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