I wrote this for the Sonoma State Star last semester and I feel that it might be a nice change of pace to post on the blog. So, here is “Hero.”
I read comic books. Every Wednesday, the new adventures of characters like Batman, Superman, Spider-Man, Wolverine are published for the world to read and I am like a kid on Christmas every week. While I enjoy the spectacle of comic books, I also like reading it to see superheroes fighting villains.
At their very best, superhero comics show us what it is to stand up injustice. I get a rush seeing Superman defeat Lex Luthor because it is that reminder that evil never wins, a message that seems to be falling further down the wayside everyday in this world of ours.
Last semester, I wrote an article that was about being a hero. It started off as an April Fool’s Joke that spiraled into an unapologetic attack on the Sonoma State administration. While I don’t think I was in the wrong with what I wrote, I will admit that I was acting more out of anger than as an actual call for heroism, which, in my opinion, is a much more noble pursuits.
Like I said, I get a rush reading about villains being defeated. The more unlikely it is that the villain is going to be stopped, the better the feeling when the hero is triumphant. Maybe it’s a guy thing,
maybe it’s an American thing, or hopefully it’s a human thing, but there is something visceral, powerful about staring evil right in the eyes and saying “screw you!”
Maybe I was right the first time and the enemy is actually the administration. Maybe its the people in Sacramento or Washington D.C. or Wall Street. Maybe the enemy is as rock-n-roll as being every adult. But there are definitely people to fight and a desperate need for fighters, for heroes.
We live in a time where anything can be marketed. The messages of truth and justice are sent around the world only if they can make a buck. We use the words of heroes to look trendy, not to live by them. This isn’t about wearing a Superman t-shirt, but rather being numb to the thoughts of JFK, MLK, John Lennon, Gandhi, Mohammad Ali. We use their words to get laid or impress, not change the world.
I read this comic book recently that I think sums up this feeling: “Why does everyone want to be Paris Hilton and no one wants to be Spider-Man?” We care more about what the world thinks of us instead of how the world is working. What value is the opinion of a hellhole?
And if these words are striking a chord, know that this is not a life of ease. Just watch a super hero movie and see what the cost of the hero is, what it takes to stand up to the forces against us. It is a life of sacrifice and pain, a life of inconvenience. If we want to fight what is going on, from the smaller problems of student fee increases to the larger injustices of the world, we have to be willing to live in the uncomfortable.
Joining a Facebook group or writing an op-ed piece for The Star can’t stop these things. They require sacrifice; they require us to give up something. We are lucky in the West because that usually requires the loss of social standing or the loss of some of our freedom. In parts of the world, people lose their lives over standing up for what is right.
There is a mantra that I try to keep in my head when I think of what I’ve just written. “Heroes don’t accept the world the way it is. They fight it.” We need to continually call out for heroes. The Bat-signal always needs to shine because it is so easy to forget, to succumb, to accept. I put these words out there not just for today, but for tomorrow. For the version of myself who has grown too jaded in the future and needs to be reminded of the importance of the good fight.
Our world is definitely broken and hopefully we can step up to fix it and fight what is going on. There is only one thing left to ask: “Are you a hero?”
Spider-Man artwork copyright Marvel. All others copyright DC Comics