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Thursday, 24 June 2010

Superman In Heaven

There is a feeling of impotency you get when you are late through public transport. You go up to a guard and say, what if I get the Piccadilly line, and the bastard just smiles at you and shakes his head. This is an attempt to get you to accept the inevitable. But you can't - you think, I'll do a Bruce Willis in Diehard 3, I'll twat a passing yuppie and commandeer his stupid fold-up bicycle, surely if I want it enough there has to be a way. Then that feeling creeps over you when as a child, it first sank in that needing something didn't make you any more likely to get it. Suddenly it isn't about being late for someone but a lot of things in your life.

There is an issue of Superman where Clark brings Lois back from the dead by pulling the world so it spins backwards. Before the horrible science gives you a brain freeze, consider this - what would Superman want in heaven? We struggle against our natures to better ourselves: Superman already is better. All human suffering is caused by having none of Superman's potency. When he streaks past us rescuing innocents, he isn't saving us - the only way he could save us is by desensitising us to suffering. While he catches little Jimmy on the thirteenth floor, he can't stop his mother's alcoholism.

Even when Superman suffers, it's as a martyr. When we suffer, it's because we're in the wrong. The selfishness of wanting someone back, the weakness of flesh, the hubris of self-sacrifice. Superman never steps into a place of worship because he has no need of God. Some analysts think that he is God, but in fact he's a powerful argument against faith among mankind born to suffer and sin. His perfection makes God the creator look like a child who puts the cat in splints just so she can tend to it. Standing in the station glowering at my fellow sufferers, I feel exactly like that outraged cat.

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