All the News That is Fit to Print, And Then Some
By Dan | July 3, 2006 - 6:56 am - Posted in Best Of, Foreign Affairs, Media & Marketing, Metropolis Today

New York Times
Metropolis, July 3, 2006
Man of Steel or Kansas Farmboy?
The New York Times has learned that Clark Kent and Superman are the same person. Mr. Kent, a reporter for the Daily Planet, has apparently been disguising his identity for the last 10 years or more. He has worked as a reporter for the Daily Planet since 1999, according to records obtained by the New York Times, the same year the Superman first appeared in Metropolis, prior to his 5-year absence. “Superman,” a.k.a. Clark Kent was ostensibly searching for his home-world, without luck.

“In retrospect,” said one fellow reporter who preferred to remain anonymous, “it’s kind of obvious that the two of them disappeared at the same time.”

Shocked and hurt by Superman’s cruel deception, Lois Lane–Clark Kent’s fellow reporter and Superman’s alleged paramour–lashed out. “No comment,” she cried with the rage of a woman scorned in her eyes.

Ms. Lane’s son, Jason, is rumored to be the Superman’s love-child. Dr. Maydjaluke at the Metropolis Scientific Institute says that, if true, the boy will likely eventually posses the same powers as his alleged father, Superman. “That is not to say that he is invulnerable now. It is very likely that he is now between the stages of boy and superboy, as it were. I’m sure a sufficiently sharp object could kill him until he were in his mid-teens.”

The New York Times has also learned that Superman himself is not entirely invulnerable. Apparently radioactive pieces of his home-world, known as Kryptonite, are deadly to him. Dr. Maydjaluke confirmed that, even in small amounts, ingestion and metabolization of kryptonite would probably kill him. “Unlike a simple shiv or a kryptonite bullet, either of which can be removed, ingestion of the kryptonite would probably be irreversible and lead unalterably to his death,” Dr. Maydjaluke said. “So make sure your morning coffee is kryptonite free, Mr. Kent,” added Dr. Maydjaluke.

We caught up with Mr. Kent at the Starbucks at 43rd and Lexington, where he buys his unique triple cappuccino with extra full-fat cream. With guilt trodden eyes and blushing with a sense of remorse, Mr. Kent denied the allegations.

Mr. Kent, a native of Smallville, is still very close with his widowed mother, Martha Kent, who lives at 33614 Prairie Oak Drive, Smallville Kansas, and frequently spends her time alone. Indeed, the nearest neighbor to the Kent farm is certainly outside of earshot and cannot be seen without a telescope. Mr. Kent is said to have been devastated at the loss of his father several years ago and “would have done anything to have him back.”

Mr. Kent denies the charge and his alter ego, Superman, has asked this paper not to publish this report. Although the New York Times understands the need for some personal privacy, we feel the public’s right to know trumps any one (or even two) person’s privacy.

Indeed, the public has already expressed its appreciation for our principled reporting:

Thank you so much for your wonderfully informative article. Can you confirm whether Mrs. Kent keeps any firearms in her home? Also, what are your rates for classifieds–say a full-page ad for oceanside land in Arizona?
-L. Luther, Metropolis

Wonderful story New York Times! I love all the information you provide on a daily basis–can’t get enough of it. Speaking of which, would you know when the next meteorology exhibit showing a sample of kryptonite would be? I would love to see it for myself.
-Dr. M. Fine, whereabouts unknown.

LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the story! I wonder if you know whether that Starbucks is hiring? Your employment section was mum about it. Cheers!
-Oswald Lumis, Metropolis Penitentiary (temporary address).

Shockingly good reporting! Could Dr. Maydjaluke say whether young Jason Lane is yet impervious to electricity?
-Leslie Willis, Metropolis.

[Grunts]. Me like. Me kill you last.
-Doomsday, Outerspace.

Superman Returns
By Dan | June 29, 2006 - 7:07 am - Posted in Metropolis Today

 There are things in this world that could be better: the government, media objectivity, highway maintenance schedules, even other people’s driving. We are surrounding by things in need of improvement. Superman Returns is not one of them.

I caught the film last night and it was mindblowing. If you enter the theatre with a crate of cynicism, never having seen or heard of Superman before, after 154 minutes, you will believe that a man can really fly. That it’s possible to stop a plane crash. That bullets do bounce off the man of steel. That Lois is worthy of him.

The film was beautifully done and is the best film I have ever seen. It is a tribute to Richard Donner’s first two films and everyone who contributed to them. Brandon Routh performs as Superman as well as Christopher Reeve did, and that is saying a lot. I was concerned about Kate Bosworth as Lois, but she does a really good job. She’s no Teri Hatcher, but she’s not Margot Kidder, either (thank God). The only complaint I have is this anti-American nonsense, which is sad, but I’ve already said my piece about it, twice.

The most amazing feat in the film is the attention to detail. It is everywhere. From Clark hiding his suitcases in a broom closet (why rent an apartment when you can float above Metropolis) to the amazingly realistic physics. (Don’t read any further unless you want me to spoil things for you).

In the first reappearance of Superman, he has to detach the space shuttle from an airliner when the couplings fail to unlock and the two craft are headed into space. When the shuttle is clear, he sees the plane spinning out of control and plummeting. He races towards the plane and grabs a wing, only to have it break off from the stress. He has to fly through the other wing as it snaps off and sails toward him. As the fuselage screams towards Earth, he struggles to catch up and stop it. As he catches it, the nose-cone is crushed by the weight of the fuselage.

The entire sequence, from his zipping onto the scene to the climax, you see the struggle, the drive and the tenacity. It’s made all the more believable because it seems so difficult for him. Moreover, the quick glimpses of him by the passengers, the partial views-which in the past were signs of the limits of technology-make it more real. His small size relative to the plane and the panicked glances of the passengers all contribute to the belief that (1) there is real danger and (2) he is doing everything he can to save their lives.

Too often in renditions of Superman, we see him nonchalantly saving people or preventing disaster. There is no hint of struggle or difficulty. This misses the point of Superman. He is not an omnipotent god, but merely a man with an amazing gift. How he uses that gift and how difficult it is for him, makes him who he is.

Brilliant job, Mr. Singer.

1 Comment
Brother Blog
By Dan | June 19, 2006 - 3:01 pm - Posted in Metropolis Today, Personals

If you want the same conservative analysis with a Kansas farmboy slant (and less venom), check out my more pensive blog:

Superman Does Not Stand for Etcetera
By Dan | - 11:16 am - Posted in Best Of, Media & Marketing, Metropolis Today

[Calmer, gentler version here]

Leave it to a whiny liberal magazine like Newsweek to leave off the patriotic leg of the most recognizable comic book cliché. In his review of Superman Returns, Newsweek’s David Ansen can’t bring himself to say truth, justice and the American way:

In “Superman Returns” (written by Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris from a story they cooked up with Singer), the caped crusader for truth, justice, etc. (Brandon Routh) returns to crime-ridden Earth after a five-year detour amid the remains of his home planet. [emphasis mine].

It’s the “American way.”  I suppose that when you accept global warming and gun control as truths and clemency for Mumia Abu Jamal and Tookie Williams as justice, the American way just doesn’t mean anything to you. This is exactly the kind of multiculturalism that makes people distrust the media. American culture is better than Stalin’s Russia, than Pol Pot’s Cambodia, than Che and Fidel’s Cuba, than Ahmadinejad’s Iran; than Saddam’s Iraq, than Hugo’s Venezuela and better than any other culture ever known to man.

Sure, it’s not perfect here. America has blotches and scars, just as any other culture. We eat too much. We idolize celebrity. We spend too much and save too little. We let the government get away with unconscionable neglect and malfeasance. We have a history of compassion punctuated with violence. But find a culture that is better than ours. Living or dead. The Greeks and Romans? Think slavery and greedy conquest by legions of conscripted farmers. Think sex with underage boys. Vomitoriums!

If you’re not convinced, imagine what would become of a man of infinite power who grew up in Cuba or North Korea. How long do you think your world would continue to exist as it is at the mercy of an omnipotent superman who thought, as socialists, communists, islamofacists and their ilk do-that might makes right; that governments are instituted to enslave mankind; that taxes are owed to those with the power to collect them? Instead, Clark Kent was raised in a nation of laws; where governments are instituted among men by the consent of the governed; and where taxes are a burden borne with patriotic reluctance, not blind obedience. That is what makes Clark Kent Superman. Not his powers, not his ancestry, but how he uses them.

He is an American and he is proud of it. Superman is not a shared resource, he is a product of our culture, no one elses. Other cultures may look up to him, but his origins are here.  He is not to be shared. He cannot to be claimed by any other culture or country.

He is the symbol of everything that is good in America. He is our industry, our courage and our valor. He is the sacrificial kindness that gives humanitarian aid to people who want to kill us.  He is the selfless courage and restrained power of our military, who have freed continents for nothing more than a soldier’s ration.  He is the industrious mind, that sees things not just how they are, but how they should be-and works to close the chasm.  He is the love that propels mortal men into an inferno to save strangers, armed with nothing more than a helmet and a firehose.  He is the mother’s love that sacrifices her ambition for the welfare of her children.  In short, he stands for Truth, Justice and the American Way.

[Note, the screenwriters, cowering in the face of world opinion, apparently drew the same or a similar conclusion as Mr. Ansen.  Pity.  It's a black mark on an otherwise fantastic film.]

Spiderman Reveals His Identity
By Dan | June 15, 2006 - 9:22 am - Posted in Liberals, Metropolis Today

Daily Planet
Metropolis, June 14, 2006.
Opinion by C. Kent.

Another super hero came out in favor of the Super-Human Registration Act today as Peter Parker of the Daily Bugle announced that he was in fact, Spiderman. The announcement shocked New York, our sister city to the North.

I don’t pretend to know what it is like to be a super hero; I am a humble country boy from Kansas. I do know Peter Parker, though. He was a great photojournalist and, whatever his reasons for revealing his identity, I trust he realizes what this revelation will do to his career and his personal life.

His revelation will undoubtedly place at risk his friends and family. Ever since the appearance of super villains, a secret identity has been necessary to prevent the exploitation of loved ones to coerce the super hero to do the villain’s bidding. I would hate to think what I could be made to do if someone held my partner, Lois, for ransom. This remains a significant threat, and I hope Mr. Parker and his wife, Mary Jane, are able to cope with all that may come. I expect they can rely on Superman and other members of the super hero community if he should be in need of help.

There are other issues, however, that Mr. Parker must confront alone. The true burden of being a super hero is the knowledge that you are different. You will never catch cold. You will never need surgery. Of course, Mr. Parker was once human–he was bitten by a radioactive spider. But other super heroes come from places more remote and forgotten than Forest Hills, Queens. These super heroes, will never know the full truth of their origins. They will never know a home that welcomes them without question.

For these men, the loneliness is only bearable because they can, for short spans of time, pretend. They can summon up another identity. Someone who is not super, not abnormal and not alone. For them, a secret identity is an escape from the loneliness and the penetrating glare of the mere mortals who wish to be rescued from their own mediocrity.

Superman was asked about Mr. Parker’s announcement (see Ms. Lane’s article on page 1) and said, “Mr. Parker is a very brave man, more for his decision today than for anything he has done to save that fine city. But the important fact is that he made a decision based on what he felt was right, not what some politician told him to do. Identity and privacy should not be concerns of the state.”

I agree with Superman. Make no mistake, there is evil in this world. Super heroes were placed here by the fates to protect the world from evil. They do so in the same way that fireman, policeman and soldiers do–at the risk of their own lives for men and women whom they have never met. The terrible events that unfolded in Stamford would have been far worse, were it not for the super heroes and their selfless battle against evil. The first and most important purpose of government is to protect the people. Any government interference with the activities of super heroes is unwarranted and illadvised.

As for his own secret identity, Superman chuckled and said, “My name is Kal-El, and I am the lost son of the planet Krypton. That’s all anyone need know.” When asked if he maintained a job somewhere in Metropolis, he replied, “Saving the world is a full-time job, Ms. Lane. You would be hard pressed to see me behind a desk somewhere.” Indeed.