Superman comes out of the closet
I must preface my opinion on this subject by saying that I am a libertarian-brand conservative in terms of principles. I do not work with the Libertarian Party because they have no idea how to get their principles implemented in a real political world.
I mention this bit of information because I am a VERY tolerant person in terms of what people do in their private lives. I have supported gay unions and then gay marriage when it was far less popular to do that. I have worked for gay people – and had gay people working for me.
I have also believed that what a person does in private is their business – as long as they are not directly hurting others. But most of all, I have long believed that a person’s private life should be kept private.
But even with all that open-mindedness, I am at a loss to understand why it was important to make the new Superman –the son of the original Superman — bisexual. In that spirit, why not make him transgender and fly around in a tutu.
As a comic book franchise, Superman had the broadest possible appeal. He was a man endowed with superpowers used on behalf of a universal vision of good versus evil. Superman has suddenly become a controversial figure – applauded by some and derided by others. His newly revealed sexuality now dominates his historic cultural role – fighting for “truth, justice and the American way.”
Of course, it is not about Superman – or even his son, Jon Kent. They do not exist. The ability to fly “faster than a speeding bullet” or to “leap tall buildings in a single bound” are fictional. Clark and Jon are nothing more than two-dimensional drawings on paper or the silver screen. They are only what the artists, writers and owners of the franchise make them.
So, why did they suddenly decide to make the successor Superman bisexual. There has been an intimate romantic attraction between Clark Kent and Lois Lane. In later movies, that was advanced to a more intimate relationship. I thought that was also needless – and a disappointing move.
One must assume that it must have to do with readership. Perhaps the sanitized stories of noble superheroes have gotten boring for the consumer. Or perhaps they are making the characters more interesting to a more adult audience – leaving the little kids with Kermit the Frog, at least until his relationship with Miss Piggy is more graphically revealed.
I do believe that there is value in having cultural icons that represent pure and uncomplicated goodness that appeal to the more innocent young kids. Is the bisexual Superman a better role model for the youngest generation? If so, then perhaps Cinderella should have a backstory of being a victim of white slavery. Should the old woman who lived in a shoe be used to promote abortion. And is Prince Charming to be chastised for giving Snow White an uninvited kiss as she lay helpless.
Some members of the gay community have applauded the decision to make Superman, Jr. the subject of an alternative lifestyle. It is something to which they can relate, they say. I can understand that, but why not just create a new gay superhero – much like Black Panther, who became – if not the first – certainly the most successful new superhero in terms of box office.
Superman – like many other superheroes — is a cultural idealized fantasy. He appeals to the angels of our better nature. One of his super qualities is to be better than we mere humans. More moral. More pure. To give him more compromised and controversial “human traits” makes him less of an iconic and idealized superhero. He becomes nothing more than human frailties on steroids.
The very essence and purpose of a superhero is to not have a dark side. To inspire and draw us to our good side. That appeal is diminished when our hero is traumatized by doubt and anxieties – or has the same human frailties as the rest of us.
Superman, Jr. did not really come out of the closet, as my own headline states. He is only a drawing on a piece of paper – an icon that is created by artists and writers. He does not have a sex life – straight or gay – unless those who create him give him a fictional sex life for some socio-political purpose.
I personally believe that people should keep their sex lives private – and away from public pronouncements. I have no desire to know what other folks do in the bedroom – or elsewhere. And that also goes for fictional characters such as Superman, Jr.
So. There ‘tis.