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|** Calling All Bahamian Superheroes ** (Dr. Ian Strachan, Nassau Guardian)|
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|Posted by:||Feb 1st 2007, 03:54:52 pm|
|Fig Tree News Team||Calling All Super Heros
By Dr. Ian Strachan, playwright
Holy Bottle Caps Batman! BOOM! POW! BANG! WACK!
I couldn't wait for my daily dose of Batman and Robin as a boy. Or Green Hornet reruns. Or Captain Marvel (Shazaam! Boom!). Or re-runs of the Lone Ranger and the Incredible Hulk. Or Wonder Woman. Or reruns of the Spider Man cartoon TV series.
Ah, Super Heroes. America produces them by the bundle; and here, in America's shadow, I grew up loving them.
Who am I kidding? I still love them. I've seen Blade I, II and III, Spiderman I and II, Punisher, Spawn, The Hulk, Darkman, Dare Devil, all the Batmans, all the Supermans, The Crow, The Phantom, Hellboy, The Shadow, Zorro, X-Men, the Fantastic Four, Catwoman-which was the worst super hero flick EVER--and so on and so on. Not to mention my comic book favorites: Ironman, Thor, Captain America, Submariner.
And what do all of these "Heroes" have in common, I ask myself? Well, for one, these heroes fight "Bad Guys." Criminals. Sick, twisted criminals who want nothing more than to see innocent people suffer 'cause they hate humanity so. (Either that or they want to be filthy rich).
And what else can we say about these Super Dooper Heroes? Well, duh, they have superhuman strength. And, they fight fire with fire. They meet depraved villains with force and they subdue or destroy them. They're all violent defenders of peace and justice. Brave, brash, macho, strong beyond imagination, and smart on their mouths to boot. (OK, Catwoman ain't macho).
And so, as I eagerly await the world premiere of Spider Man III, Transformers and Ghost Rider, I find myself asking, what in tarnation is going on?
It started in 1939 with Superman, I guess. Something about America's military dominance on the world stage. Something about the growth of large cities with skyscrapers and crime. Something about the long list of technological innovations Americans are responsible for, and the Dream of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The dream of a land where there is no limit to how far talent, ambition and hard work can take you; a land where you can be a STAR. All of these factors make WalMARTland fertile ground for the heroic imagination; for dreams of men of steel. Fearless men who face the night. Masked men who crusade for Justice . . . in tights. But hey, they kick butt!
And we can add one more thing to the mix : America's history of genocide, slavery, opportunistic war and expansionism. Somehow I think that frontiersman-Davy Crocket-John Wayne-mythos is partly responsible. I mean, let's face it, this is a country that names its cars after conquered Amerindians: Cherokee, Comanche, Tahoe, Navajo . . . That takes some testicular fortitude-and some moral blindness. There's an adventurer's spirit in America. That's why they have vehicles called Explorer, El Dorado, Navigator, Expedition. It takes ambition, energy and winner-takes-all chutzpa to wipe out nations of Indians, enslave millions of Africans, and build the world's wealthiest nation.
Only, America's Super Heroes just don't make sense to me anymore. First of all, I figure that if I'm as violent as or more violent than the Bad Guys then that's got to warp me somehow, and make me a little screwy. Who wants to punch people in the face all day? That's kind of depraved.
Furthermore, despite all the preachers, priests and evangelists that America produces and all the sermons that get beamed all around the world via satellite, ain't much Christ in the heroism that the movies laud, now is there? What happened to Love? What happened to giving a man your shirt as well if he sues you for your coat? He told us to do that. It's right there in black and white.
Man, I need a hero. I need to meet one. Desperately. I need to meet one, soon. In flesh and blood. One who puts on the old trousers one leg at a time and makes stinkies in the bathroom like everybody else.
Where are the Bahamian heroes today? And don't tell me about men and women who've passed on or who have stepped off the field of battle. I'm in the thick of it now, facing red tape, facing parochial attitudes, facing couch potato armies, facing mediocrity, facing obstruction, sycophants and sucknecks, facing "representatives" who make me laugh so I won't cry. Where are the heroes? Where are the young and not-so-young who, based on some principle other than their own social mobility, are ready and willing to SACRIFICE. To INSPIRE others by their SACRIFICE?
Isn't that what heroes do? But everybody is so bloomin' scared. Even my college students, who have no bills and no kids, are SCARED. Scared to speak up, scared to stand up, and terrified of a little civil disobedience. And definitely, they too smart to sacrifice for others. I think they beat it out of you at high school. They smother any potential our young people have to organize, to protest, to act on democratic principles, to demand accountability of the superiors. I think they call it STUDENT GOVERNMENT. That's where we teach them that nobody really wants to know how they feel.
But we're supposed to be a nation of Christians! How did we work that out? How can you be a Christian and not know fundamentally that you must sacrifice, even sacrifice your very life, for the cause of Good over Evil. That you must face down evil wherever you find it, call it by its name, and stand up? Since when are Christians supposed to be SCARED? Since when are Christians supposed to avoid the suffering that change demands? The simple beauty of it is that you win the war by dying for His sake. The war for your own soul. Right?
But what do I know? I'll guess I'll wait till Spiderman III on May 4 if I need a dose of heroism. Maybe all these preachers in Nassau are right, and being a Christian means I have the right to own a Benz free and clear.
Be it unto me according to my faith!
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