In the Loop

Being "super" ain't all it's cracked up to be

Posted at 2:55 PM on March 3, 2008 by Sanden Totten

Last week's post got me thinking about my crime fighting heroes. Growing up hooked on Spider-man, Batman and Wolverine gave me the notion that with one small radio-active spider bite, one gamma-radiation experiment gone awry . . . I too could develop superpowers and do great good for the world.

Little did I realize that it's not getting the powers that's the hard part. It's putting them to use. I've been reading up on this trend of "real-life superheroes" (the City Pages did a really great overview a few issues back). These are men and women who have the look, the specialized tools, and sometimes the tactical training to take on a bad guy . . . But few of them ever get more action than helping out a lost tourist with directions.

Check out this interview Fox News did with Indianapolis based hero Mr. Silent:

His big accomplishment of the week? Returning someone's purse. Looks like these "real-life superheroes" are picking up where the Boy Scouts of America left off. Don't get me wrong. I'm glad they're out there. And I'm sure that lady is really happy to have her purse back. But these hardly seem like "super" deeds.

Even with the right skills and motivation, finding your chance to vastly improve the world with one swift punch is nearly impossible. The truth is, good and bad are rarely well defined. Having superpowers wouldn't make solving poverty induced crime or global hunger any easier. I guess the real "power" heroes like Mr. Silent have is a tireless ability to keep trying, even when you know you are only improving the planet one purse at a time. But hey, that counts for something right?

What do you think? Is there a place for "real-life superheroes"? Imagine someone like Superman existed, would they really be able to make a difference in today's complicated world?

March 2008
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