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Fun fact: I exist in multiples!
There is a reason I love Twitter, you can instantly connect with kindred spirits you would otherwise have never met. This is the case with my great Twitter friends Rebecca and Nancy. I met them both through Jane Austen related Twitter events and the more I got to know them, the more I was convinced I had been separated at birth.
Turns out we all love Austen, Star Wars, and Superman.
Rebecca and I were discussing why there would be more than one of us who had such seemingly dissimilar likes, and it occurred to us that they aren't so dissimilar after all - each represents a different kind of hero . . . and we, my friends, are a generation sorely in need of heroes!
I thought it would be fun for the three of us to start off a series of blog posts on this hero theme today on Valentine's Day.
Rebecca has a sweet and funny treatise on Han Solo on her blog A Word's Worth, and so it falls to me to talk about Superman.
At first blush, it seems easy to understand why we are fascinated with Superman as a hero . . . I mean, after all he is a super man - "faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful, that a locomotive, and able to leap tall building in a single bound." And let's face it - he is hot. Superman isn't human, he is from the planet Krypton, and it is because of this - because he is basically an alien living among us - that he manages to be a super hero. On his planet (if it still existed), it is possible he wouldn't be anything special, although my guess is he would still be hot. So, it seems unfair to compare any real man to Superman because, really, how can they possibly measure up? How can we say that we need the men of our generation to step up and be heroes, and then hold up the unattainable as an example?
I think Superman is still a valid - and attainable - hero. He is more than an automaton or a piece of physical perfection. He is also Clark Kent. I truly believe Clark Kent is more than just an alter ego. He isn't a cover Superman invented for himself, he was raised as Clark Kent before he ever even knew of his alien origins. I truly believe his passion for "truth, justice, and the American way" came as much from being raised in Kansas by the Kents as it did from hours and hours of study in the fortress of solitude.
In fact, if he were only Superman - only following the unemotional advice of his father Jor-El, then he wouldn't be as involved in human affairs as he is, he wouldn't turn the world back around to save the woman he loves, but he does. In fact, Superman sees the best in humanity, what humanity can be . . . and this is because he is Clark Kent.
Sometimes I wonder if it is really Clark Kent that we get all weak-kneed over. We love how much he loves Lois, we love his sincerity, his kind of geeky oversized glasses. Of course it is awesome that he can rip off that button up shirt and be Superman, but Superman without Clark is really just a stereo-type, an alien come to earth that we can admire but never connect with.
So, why is it that I love Superman? Because he does represent the ideal of truth, justice, and the American way - the thought that with hard work, perseverance we can overcome any obstacle. And that, I think is what we are looking for in a hero - be honest, be fair, work hard, and love hard.
Be a Clark Kent.