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4.10.2011

Hi-ho Silver, Away!" -The Lone Ranger

Here's another crossover from my planckscaleblog that seems relevant in light of what I've been discussing this week about doubts, raising kids and role models. It seems that we are always looking for a lone hero in our society and our obsession with superheroes in movies and celebrity and even politics (we want our leaders to be perfect and when they turn out to be fallible human beings we throw them over like so much trimmed fat). We need to raise children in the community of family if not the community at large. But one thing we can't do is expect someone else to come along and make things better and fix it for us. It reminds me of a Tom Toles cartoon with 2 panels. The first one, captioned "1950's" had a group of frightened people running scared from a flying saucer screaming: "save us!". The second one, captioned "1980's" had a group of frightened people running scared towards a flying saucer screaming: "save us!".

Here we go, from November 30, 2009...
I suppose the obsession with superhero stories these days is because the world is so stressful and problems seem so overwhelming that people dream about larger than life characters that can swoop in and save us all. I read Spidey and Thor when I was a kid because when you're a kid your immediate world is so overwhelming that dreaming heroes that understand and take charge is a parental kind of thing.

But, as adults do we really want to admit that our obsession in movies and TV with superhero, military hero, vigilante hero worship is really telling us that we're longing for mommy and daddy to swoop in and save us from the big bad world? All the adults in these stories are power hungry jackboots or buffoon 'yes men' who put obstacles in the hero's way. Unless, of course, it's a gorgeous blonde hiding behind black rims, a nuclear physicist in a D cup and compassionate lover of all things good. Is that how we really see society - through the eyes of a teenage male who is too young to even understand what he sees?

I wonder what we would make of it if one day we all woke up, our petty grievances resolved, our childhood problems washed away, bigotry and greed vanquished to irrelevance, leaving us with a clean conscience, positive attitude, and truly adult perspective on the world.

Who would save us then? I get the willies just thinking about it!