THE SUPERMAN CURSE
What is it about being Superman?
When I was a kid in the 1950s, I loved reading the comics about the Man of Steel. I loved the cheesy, black-and-white TV Superman played by George Reeves. The Superman of those times was a moral man. He wouldn�t lie, steal, cheat, or hang around with loose women. I remember all the times that Superman�s enemies would force him into a dilemma where it appeared he would have to do evil in order to save the day. He always refused.
While there were speculations and fantasies of Superman falling in love with and marrying Lois, or Lana, it was always that chaste kind of love and marriage, which was the ideal of the time.
Of course, everything about Superman was ideal. He fought for the weak and helpless against those who were unjust. The one thing missing was that he had no faith in God. None was ever mentioned � or even alluded to. I cannot recall even the alter ego character, Clark Kent, even mentioning church. Maybe that�s where Superman�s problems started.
The TV Superman was first to go. I was only 11 when Reeves committed suicide (or was murdered, if you believe the conspiracy theory). It was not the kind of thing a young Superman admirer needed to hear. Suicide, after all, was the coward�s way out. In either event, it was a tragic end.
I didn�t dwell on it long; after all, I still had my Superman comics. However, it wasn�t long before the arrival of the less-than-ideal super hero. Even they, though, were relatively clean cut in the beginning.
Around that time, I left my comic books behind; but I still always thought of Superman as the upright, moral hero.
By the time the first, modern Superman made his movie debut played by Christopher Reeve, I was curious. It seemed that with the new movie technology (terribly outdated now) of 1978 that the old TV shows would be greatly outdone.
I came, I saw, I was disappointed.
This was decidedly not Superman. He was vain, sarcastic, and, worst of all, sexually active. He had become a reflection of the Disco culture. In my absence, the Superman of the comics had trod this ground, now the movie took up the cudgel to beat the �old� Superman to death.
Superman had become �80s Man. No more the ideal of morality, temperance, and civility, Superman was just another guy � a guy with super powers. In my mind, Superman had died all over again. I didn�t bother seeing the sequel.
This is what became of a moral Superman who did not know or acknowledge God.
Then there was the tragedy that struck the real-life person, Christopher Reeve. A horse-riding accident plunged him into a wheelchair and a quadriplegic existence. However, Reeve came out swinging. He was tenacious, proclaiming that he would walk again. He would seek the world for a cure. For that, people called him �hero� but he was really fighting for his own survival
His own report was that he briefly heeded some people�s advice to pray. �It didn�t help,� he said as though God should bend a special ear to heal someone such as himself. He eventually chose to be a Unitarian � a �religion� that pretty much leaves it up to you what to believe or not believe. He didn�t believe in a living, hearing God.
Reeve was fortunate. He had considerable resources. Money, friends, the ear of the media were his. He used it all to advantage. There was a natural outflow of that advantage to those who researched spinal cord injuries and hope to those who had them. Always, though, I saw the ultimate prize he sought was for him. I always used the word �hero� to describe those who selflessly acted on behalf of others. Once again, Superman had become simply another guy.
The desperation showed most when research into fetal stem cells was announced as a potential cure. Suddenly, Superman became a cannibal. He decided to help himself to the weak, rather than help the weak. If it would save his own life, he would gladly dismantle unborn babies for the materials to do it. When I heard that, Superman died once again.
Now it has finally ended. Christopher Reeve is the late Superman. He died without morals and without God. He was no hero, only a man scrambling to save his own life at any cost.
As Jesus said in Matthew 16: 26, �For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?�
� 2004 Paul deParrie - All Rights Reserved
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Paul deParrie is a 17-year veteran of anti-abortion street activism, a preacher, and a social critic. He is the author of "Dark Cures: Have Doctors Lost Their Ethics" (Huntington House) available at NewsWithViews Online Store Front. deParrie may be reached at: [email protected].
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