The 70’s was a time of cynicism, there was an ongoing war, gas prices were skyrocketing, the middle east and terrorism was on peoples lips, the movies all reflected this cynicism, the news broadcasts were full of violence and drug use, etc. Sounds kind of familiar doesn’t it? The difference now is that things haven’t changed, at least not for the better. I was watching a program last night about the civil rights bill and the trouble it had getting passed. Listening to the rhetoric of 1963, I was stunned to realize it sounded a shit load like today’s rhetoric. It seems we haven’t changed one bit. Again, maybe for the worst. In the 70’s, in the late 70’s, something happened. Superman, and then more importantly Star Wars. A couple movies that gave a spark to the world, and escape, a sense of hope and optimism. There were probably a few good years of this until the blockbuster became just another tool of the propaganda machine, and with the darkest movie in the Star Wars series being everyone’s favorite, you realize that the tide of cynicism has not left us, even in the romping eighties. This of course led to the nineties and grunge music and the so-called generation x. The slacker generation that rebelled by doing nothing – then pop songs and reality TV took over – all blockbuster movies started to lack character, charm and meaning anymore and simply became video games on a big screen, simply there to wow your visual mind long enough to forget the world and how fucked up it is. It is a testament that the darkest comic book hero made the most money at the box office. This current batman franchise (really well done mind you) shows you no vestige of hope. If you really look at it, batman is only there for his own vengeance, in reality this is not his only motivation, at first it is, but he always tries to help mankind, even if he’s a cynic, he fights for what’s right. Look at the movies and tell me if that series is anything but cynical. If we’re all fucked and not going to change, why fight crime?
Our cynicism has gotten so bad that it beats out any goodness in anyone; good people have to go and hide their good side in order to seek refuge from berating and criticism or mocking. Even Barack Obama was a great symbol of change and hope – the man is doing a good job or a bad job, depending on your view on politics, but what he hasn’t managed to do, is I think his most powerful tool, inspire people for change, and give everyone hope. I know that’s a lot of responsibility, but if the leader of the free world can’t provide us with hope, then who can? I think everyone’s biggest criticism of him is that he hasn’t changed what we all really want. Politics and infighting. The thing is he can’t change it with policy on his own. He needs to do two jobs, policy making, and inspiring people. The people, both in politics and outside politics need to change. They need to believe in something. God is dead for most people, they only believe it’s too late anyways and they aren’t waiting for salvation but for their rapture. Look people, we’re here, and we’re all in this together.
The world needs superman. Not a redesigned more cynical superman to reflect our times, no we need something that does the opposite, that doesn’t reflect our times – that shows us a new way, shows us hope, how we all need to change. Politicians are not the problem, we are. They have done their shit because we all let them. You do not show your voice by voting, you show your voice by speaking out, reaching out, doing everything you can to be that symbol of hope for people around you. You make a difference in your world. If everyone was doing that, we’d get the ideal of our western world was at the beginning. A society free, and full of good decent people treating each other like they deserve. We should be beyond the point of regulations and police states, but we’re not. We’ve all sat back and dropped the ball. We spend way too much time trying to escape reality than dealing with the problems of the world. Our grandfathers would be disgusted with us. If you blame someone else for your problems and take no personal responsibility, you are a part of the problem. The only way we can change our society is to get together and change it. Marching on Washington for a bill, even an important one, is not the only answer. You cannot be a part time freedom fighter. One bill will never change what needs to be changed. I only hope the masses are finally seeing what I started seeing 15 years ago. The system needs changing, but so do we. We need to evolve. We should be able to do it on our own, but more and more, I’m realizing that we can’t. This world needs Superman.
“They can be a great people Kal-el, if they choose to be. They only lack someone to show them the light.”