TaSin and I went to see Superman Returns. I mistakenly thought it was Batman Returns or something like that. It wasn’t until I was reading the story’s introduction and trying to figure out where Morgan Freeman’s name was in the credits that it dawned on me that the film was going to be a lot different than I expected because though I remember Superman from the comics and afternoon TV, I hadn’t seen any Superman films, never read a comic book and remember vaguely the original actor suffering a riding accident and being paralyzed. So I’m sitting there and well…I started to analyze the film.
My mind only operates in the revolutionary mode…I see in black and white.
My daughter told me to turn off the analysis, and I really tried to sit there and let the fable of white supremacy wash over me, but hell…I couldn’t help myself, the parallels were so obvious, especially when Superman appeared so flawless, so perfect even in his mission which was to save the world.
In this episode he’d been gone on a quest for too long, evil steeping while he was away and was now ready to pour. His lady, Lois Lane, was so pissed with him, she wrote this Pulitzer Prize winning scathing feature entitled: “Why the World Doesn’t Need a Super Hero” or something like that.
Superman as God
Deep blue eyes, his father someone unearthly, his woman, well he doesn’t really have a woman, just a vessel he conceives a son. And so the story continues – the Jesus story as painted by Michelangelo all over again.
The ®2006 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. artist’s updated depiction of this on-screen god has blue eyes, his dark hair always in place…even his lift-offs are perfect…and despite his weakness he cares about humanity more than his life.
Yes, there is the obligory death scene and return to life. Hum…I think he even tries to walk on water, but that’s another story. Isn’t it? No, the son of god is capable of this too.
Why does the world need a superman? Well, for one if he exists then our responsibility to save ourselves is eliminated. If this savior looks like the dominant culture then our insecurities are reinforced, and Bush & Co. rule! If superman is the savior then God is not a part of our community. Therefore, we are powerless.
This might not be a Pulitzer Prize winning syllogism, but you get my drift.
I wanted to believe all those who believe in superman are super wimps, yet, the superman idea is so attractive, and so not us...how could the minds of the innocents escape unscathed?
As Superman flew through the air, both he and his nemesis Clark Kent airbrushed and computer-enhanced to perfection, all I could do is sit back and watch the story unfold. Transported to another world where Black people appear on the news but not in any significant roles in the film I thought, if only this were make-believe.
I tried to watch with an open mind but had reservations about the subliminal effects of such blatant white supremacist propaganda. There were no African people in the newsroom at the Daily Globe where Superman’s alias worked nor were there were heroes or heroines who looked like my people there covering events, shaping public opinion. The only non-white characters were victims.
Then when it came out that Lois Lane had a son, guess whose son he was? The immaculate conception all over again…or was it? That aspect of the story remains unexplored, but as the absentee dad departs once again he tells Lois that he’s always around—
Just like god, right? Ready to drop in for a quickie?
Art: TaSin Sabir "Imagine Superman as a Blackman;" concept Wanda Sabir