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8.11.2006

Holding out for a...

Well, Dear Readers, it's time you knew the truth about me. So I'm going to come clean.

I

am

a Geek.

It's true. According to the McGill definition, geekiness is generally described not by level of intellect or how much studying you do. Instead it is defined by the level of your obsession and passion for something. Thus, geekiness extends to many areas of study (i.e., movie geek, sports geek, video game geek, underwater basket weaving geek, etc.). Characteristics include (but are not limited to): frantic shrieking and/or hyperventilating when the object of your geekdom is mentioned, ridiculously belabored conversations regarding the geek-worthiness of the particular subject, and large amounts of trivia, factoids, lines and lyrics being stored in your memory for handy dispensing on the uneducated, un-geekified masses. [Correction: the consise McGill definition of a geek is: "unhealthily obsessed." Also, please Nerds, do not take offense; I count myself among you, too.  {Nerdfighters, too.}]

Now, there are many areas I would admit to geekdom (and many you could probably guess without straining a single brain cell), but I'm here today to discuss one in particular: Superheroes. The truth is, I had no idea how geeky I was when it comes to comic book heroes. By no means am I nerdy enough to be an expert (geekiness doesn't require you to know things like the first ever appearance of Spider-Man was in what comic book released on what date, or who the original inker for the Fantastic Four was--though it often helps). When I went to see X:III with a group of people my age, I was surprised at how few others were outraged by some of the movie's blatant character redirection (don't even get me started, unless you want to see geek-fury). And certainly, if I may be slightly sexist for a moment, none of the girls seemed all that interested in the heated discussion that followed. Nope. Just me. Is it odd that I am into comic books? You would think not, in this day and age; but I still am a bit of a rarity. Truthfully, I'm about as geeky about superheroes as I can be without surrendering my second X chromosome. (And if you're curious as to why more girls don't read comic books, pick one up some time. You'll find less cleavage in a Victoria's Secret catalogue. Seriously. Don't ask me why—you already know the answer. I just wish they could understand how unrealistic that is...and how unappealing to a lot of females.)

I grew up being fascinated by heroes—any old swashbuckler would do in a pinch, but it was those masked men who really caught my interest. The intrigue of the double identity drew me in, as well as the daring rescues and commitment to helping those in need. I used to love to watch the old black and white Zorro show on Disney. And when I was a little older, I watched cartoons every Saturday morning—Batman, X-Men, and Spider-Man. I loved them. Now that I'm a lot older, I still find myself drawn to the caped crusaders. And not just in a hero-worship-fantasy kind of way. I recently read a fantastic book called "Superheroes and Philosophy" which discussed a lot of the philosophical, theological, and moral motivations behind what superheroes do.

In case you're wondering, yes, I do know that superheroes don't really exist. But it's fun to think about what it would be like if they did. (I've even written a story about it.)I've been watching the Sci-fi show "Who Wants to be a Superhero?" hosted by Stan Lee, since it premiered a few weeks ago. I know, I know, it's reality, and generally I really hate reality TV. But this one at least has challenges that are interesting to me. I still don't totally like...well, any of the contestants left, really. With good reason, I think. If nothing else, this show has proven to me that most people are not cut out for a superhero's life. Can you take a guess why?

Most people think about how cool it would be to have superpowers—like being able to fly, or turn invisible, or blow up something just by staring at it. The truth is, it wouldn't be cool at all. (Okay, maybe a tiny bit.) But most of the time it would freak other people out, so you'd have to keep it to yourself. And then you'd have to decide: are you going to use your powers for others, or for you? That's the difference between a Superhero and a Supervillain. And if you stop to think about it, what's the fun, really, in always being at the beck and call of a helpless humanity? That's why the Spider-Man comics coined the famous phrase "With great power comes great responsibility." And all heroes seem to struggle with the weight of that responsibility—even though they want to do what is right. It's not easy to put everyone else first.

And that, I believe, is at the core of why I love superheroes so much. Not because of how cool they are. But because they represent a struggle that is central to another group of people—ones that actually do walk the earth among us: Christians. We, as followers of Christ, also wrestle with our responsibilities. And have been from the beginning. (Look it up.) We may want to do what is right, but so often our desire to help others, to reach out to the lost, gets swallowed up.

Superheroes aren’t just great role models for humanity; they’re great role models for Christians. (Okay, not all of them. The ones that top my list? Flawed as they are—Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, Rogue, Nightcrawler, and The Thing.) They show us what it’s like to serve others constantly, and to struggle between being others-centered or self-centered. There are lots of reasons to love superheroes: this is just one of my favorites.

3 comments:

Brianne said...

"The McGill Definition?" *she snorts in disbelief.* Doesn't the fact that I make a distinction between the words "geek" and "nerd" mean that I am both? Also, I believe the words I used in reference to "geek" were "unhealthily obsessed." And now, if you'll excuse me, I think I'll go watch another episode of Buffy.

erin said...

You girls are funny. But, the first thing that popped into my mind when I read the "with great power comes great repsonsibility" quote, I thought, "Wow - superheros would be a cool classroom theme!! I could decorate my room around it, make all my classroom rules around it, theme my first reading and writing units around it...wow...so many possibilities." Of course, I'm not going back to the classroom this year, so many next time around. And, I'm not at what age the superheros theme would go from being cool, to, "how stupid is my teacher??" Those first impressions are important!!!

In other news...yes, I cut my hair. Its never been this short. I have a pic, but its on my home computer, and since I sit at a computer all day long at work, I dread doing stuff on the computer at home. Maybe one day I'll post it.

And Captivating...I've been kind of distrated lately, so I haven't been reading it, but this weekend I read to chapter 4. So far, so good. No more great Emma-insights, but there are several pages I've read to Travis!!! I liked the part where they compared the characteristics of women to characteristics of God - and how those "womanly" needs and wants really show us God's needs and wants... Very insightful. I think this book was written for older women...well, wait, not older-older, but more 20-and-older women, but I think it would be really need to take parts of this book and lead a high school girls Bible Study from it. This book, and "Lady in Waiting."

Anyway, sorry to write a book on your blog, but I have to say, I definitely enjoy blogging with you!

cynthia said...

love the pic!