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So American...

“What Makes Superman So Darned American?” contained a very well-put argument. However, it neglects one small detail that is touched on in the other reading, “Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow: An Examination of the American Monomyth and the Comic Book Superhero.” Simply put, what it means to be American has changed drastically since Superman’s conception.

Where there was once idealism and a greater overall trust in the government, there is now widespread cynicism. It seems that public opinions of good and evil have become much more vague and inconsistent than they were when good American soldiers went overseas to fight the evil Nazis. Now people are unsure of who can be trusted and who cannot, and struggle daily to find the right decisions for themselves.

Consider the path of Captain America, as described in the latter reading. His original job was indeed to fight the Nazis, including the iconic Red Skull. However, after experiencing a Watergate-like scandal, the Captain lost faith in the government and gave up the job, calling himself Nomad. Though he did return to his old job, he was never quite the same character.

Even in modern storylines such as Civil War (which we will read later in the semester) the Captain struggles with decisions of the greater good. Although he is usually found on the side of the government, he is no longer quite as obedient to his superiors. The presence of this doubt changes the character drastically.


cocoababez87 said…

Based upon the readings this week and I walked away with two very different views about Superman. After I read What Makes Superman so Darn American?, I realized my first position. Superman stands for the outsider who came much representative of the immigrants who came to the United States, he found a way to fit (assimilate) into mainstream culture. Superman was sent by his parents to earth after his home planet exploded, and so luckily landed in the arms of the Kents. He grew up as a normal child until his powers were discovered. He enjoyed middle-class America without any suspects of being a “freak”. He had friends, played on the football team and even had girlfriends. Then as an adult he was the nerdy but brilliant reporter, Clark Kent. This alter-ego functioned well for Superman, he was able to do everything that Clark Kent wasn’t, but Clark was able to articulate that in which Superman couldn’t. Although it seems America will always be in need of hero, we must examine how efficient superman was at fulfilling that void. He then used those powers to protect the rights and liberties of the disadvantaged. Yes, Superman was not only out of this world but everything he did was out of kindness and for the greater welfare of others. He represents what every outsider desires to become popular, strong and help those that once represented their situations.
My second view makes me believe that Superman was an instrument in which helped Americans justify their regret for not being involved during the time of Hitler and the Holocaust. Superman represented what the American army should have done against greater evils. Protect those who need saving instead of turning a blind eye against it because it didn’t directly effect us. As we know the character of Clark Kent was an investigate reporter and saw all the crime and bad things in Metropolis, so he was able to enlist Superman to fix these things.

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