Sunday, June 30, 2013

Super Spying

There is an argument that Superman is spying on people when he overhears their private conversations about their evil plans, and this could be construed as all kinds of invasive. However, I just recently had an interesting thought, for Superman, unless he is deliberately taking measure to counter actions that under normal circumstances would genuinely prevent him from hearing or seeing these events were he someplace it is completely acceptable to be, it's not spying if his senses are simply better. At that point it's just doing things where he could see or hear them, I think.

He didn't deliberately acquire these powers for the purposes of invading people's privacy. It's just a different expectation of what privacy means, if you're aware of the implications of Superman's existence. For him, walls that aren't lead lined simply aren't the same things as walls. It's like if someone built a house out of glass, you couldn't be accused of spying if you just watched them through their transparent walls.

It appears comic authors are fine with comics loaded with deeper issues as long as they don't have to talk about them.

This character is just... wasted. There are so many cool questions we could ask. If this character were really alive, what would actually be the legal ramifications of his actions? Is that spying? He could literally put all of his energy into saving people's lives, or preventing them from ever being put in danger to begin with,  so to what extent is he responsible for not doing that if he is simply so good? He could literally kill himself doing as much good as he possibly can and it still wouldn't be enough, because Superman is just one man, and that's not enough to simply save everybody. And is it right to save everybody? Is the sanctity of human life more important than the quality of that life or the capacity to make decisions that might be detrimental to that life? Should Superman even have to think about that?

Any and all of these questions are so interesting, and almost none of them are ever explored, at all, even when Superman is doing things that are questionable, like faking Clark Kent's suicide just to expressly and deliberately antagonize Lois Lane's fragile and caring emotional state just because she wont go out on a date with Clark.

It's not even funny anymore. Almost all exploration of any issue or implementation of a less than heroic nature of Superman is done at this point entirely out of the biased, misogynistic, thoughtless writing that people are able to express when they're hiding behind the pages covered with the cape of heroism. It's the ultimate morality power fantasy. Where you can append moral authority whatever you do. And, I don't think that's wrong from time to time, but you have a character here who is almost exclusively written that way, and he's the first and he should set the model for what the medium is capable of. And he doesn't. For a lot of reasons, he doesn't. And that's why he's the most boring character ever. And that's why all of his stories boil down to him getting beat up, and failing to keep people alive, until he can punch everything better at the end.

He should have to deal with things that can't be punched better.

The things that make you feel the most helpless, and take away all sense of empowerment are the ones you can't fix just by doing what's right. Superman should have to grow up.

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