“Sir, have you been drinking?”
“No. What makes you think that?”
“You’re eating a cigar and smoking a Slim Jim.”
“They’re healthier that way.”
“Hmm, point taken. Have a good evening, sir.”
“We can almost recycle everything now. If we lived within our means, by being prudent, the 7 billion people in the world could have everything they needed. Global politics should be moving in that direction. But we think as people and countries, not as a species.” — José Mujica, president of Uruguay
For Superman as he exists now to be the character that he is, he has to grow up in a relatively sheltered environment. He and the family that has adopted him can not be subject to persecution or victimization; he has to be able to empathize closely enough with dominant culture that he adopts their values & morality as a given, and he must never encounter anything as a child that would challenge that.
The occasional burglar / out of town gangster / dam bursting / forest fire / alien invasion not withstanding, Superman while growing up can not be either subject to or a witness to systematic persecution, much less systematic persecution based on racial or religious discrimination.
And historically, discrimination is what happened to people who fell outside the white Christian camp in North America, particularly rural North America.
Now, it’s entirely logical & plausible that by either the grace of God or miraculous good fortune, Kal-El was adopted by the Kents, who being white Christians in a predominantly white Christian culture did not get persecuted by their neighbors yet who at the same time were good enough as Americans and/or Christians to instill in Clark the importance of liberty, justice, and equality for all people of all beliefs.
When Superman finally makes his presence known to the world at large (we’ll presume that outside the immediate community, his exploits as Superboy were written off as the equivalent of UFO or Bigfoot stories), he has a fully formed set of ethical & moral values that could only come from a person who believes the system is intrinsically fair, that everybody who plays by the rules has a shot of success & happiness, and that discrimination is not the norm nor should it ever be tolerated.
That would not be his POV if he grew up as an African-American child in rural America. To this day African-Americans are discriminated against and treated unjustly on the basis of their skin color; if you don’t believe me, go find some African-Americans on FB and ask them to give you their POV re Ferguson & the shooting of Michael Brown.
An African-American Superman — raised as an infant in rural America — would not see the dominant culture as A Really Swell Thing but rather an obstacle that must be overcome. The fact that Superman as he exists today is lauded and praised by the dominant culture is proof he is no threat to them; if he was black & beating the snot out of racists, the reaction would be far, far different.
Let’s look at the
other side of the
Thanx to progress that has been made in America, today the possibility of the child of an African-American billionaire deciding to avenge his parents — killed in a non-race related crime — is as plausible as a white kid doing the same. Operating in an urban environment, Batman would encounter a variety of people, good and bad, from all races / classes / religious backgrounds.
Batman as a concept is also comfortable with the idea that the system — if not inherently corrupt — has been subjected to corruption that must be addressed through extra-legal means. He is not the cockeyed optimist that Superman is.
Billy Batson, altho white in previous incarnations, has also grown up in a lower class urban environment; his worldview is not as far from a lower class urban kid of any other ethnicity / religion. Captain Marvel (whom Billy exchanges places with; he does not transform into the big red cheese) is a supernatural being from a spiritual realm; he is literally above and beyond ethnic identity as practiced in North America. He could be any color — including green — and still fill his function as Captain Marvel, and Billy could be any color so long as he was from a lower class background and understands what it means to be the underdog.
If Clark Kent was not raised by wise / protective parents in the background of a dominant culture that he was presumed to be part of, he would not be Superman. An African-American Bruce Wayne or Billy Batson would still produce a Batman or a Captain Marvel.
For those Joe and Transformer fans out there, the American Cinematheque is hosting a double feature at the Hollywood Egyptian on March 7, 2015. Both films will be shown and sandwiched in between ‘em will be writer/story editor Flint Dille, voice actor Neil Ross, director Don Jurwich, story board director Larry Houston, writer Don Glut, and yrs trly to talk about the films and the other series produced by Sunbow in the mid-80s.
Anything we can’t remember, we’ll make up…
The fun starts at 7:30, tickets are $11 (but only $7 if you’re an American Cinematheque member, so why doncha join?), and the Egyptian (my personal favorite of the classic Hollywood movie palaces) is located at 6712 Hollywood Boulevard, between Las Palmas and McCadden, just east of Highland Avenue in Hollywood.
Don’t make us come looking for you!
Josh Hadley, that’s who.
Josh interviewed me earlier this year for his podcast, but a funny thing happened when he uploaded it.
He used an audio sample from Visionaries, one of the series I wrote for oh so many moons ago, as part of his intro to the interview.
Seems Killah Priest, a Wu-Tang Clan affiliate, has also sampled the same segment from Visionaries for one of his recordings, and his label has ‘bots crawling the ‘webs, looking for anybody who may have ripped them off.
Basically, they told SoundCloud to take down Josh’s Radiodrome podcast for copyright infringement!
Ha! It’s going to take more than mere ‘bots to stop Josh or shut me up!
Magnus, Robot Fighter brawl by Vic Prezio
It’s very simple, Senator.
We need you to support a bill to provide a nationwide anti-bullying app for all school kids.
If they’re bullied, all they have to do is enter the name of the person bullying them.
Of course, the reports are anonymous…
The idea is to link specific abusers with specific victims.
Oh, we’ll make a show of bringing the young miscreants in, give them a good scolding, a sound talking to, that sort of thing.
But in reality we’re going to track them, guide them, steer them to careers in law enforcement, tax collecting, social services, prison guards.
See, we’re also going to track all the victims as well. And when they’ve grown into tax paying adults, we’re going to keep them in line by bringing their childhood nemesis back into their lives. Make them more compliant, as it were.
This way the gears of society will keep grinding and the money will keep flowing.
Our citizens will dutifully select their own personal tormentors, and fines and taxes will be levied, and the prisons will stay full, and your offshore account will reflect all this.
What’s that? Why of course we can find a position for your son.
text © Buzz Dixon
art by Rene Gruau