Classic literature provides an apt allegory for life in the Twenty-First Century.
The Adventures of Superman is introduced to our American culture with a tale of an unheeded warning and foreboding doom due to a willful act of ignorance.
The planet Krypton, we are told, was the home of human beings who had evolved to ultimate perfection. Well, that was a load of crap.
No sooner are we introduced to the marvels of the Kryptonian society than we are brought to the “Temple Of Wisdom,” another load of crap.
A special session has been brought to order by the President of the Council so that our hero’s father, Jorel, can enlighten the Council as to recent phenomena affecting the planet Krypton.
As we are introduced to the Council Members, we are struck by their appearance. They do not look like superhumans to me. In fact, they seem to lack much in the knowledge department. As we soon find out, this will be their downfall, and millions of Kryptonians will perish due to their shortsightedness.
A little bit more about our Council members. No one on the Council is younger than fifty. No women make up its membership as well as any people of color (a term Kryptonians never seemed to adopt. Well, to be fair, they didn’t have much time left for further evolution.)
Rodan, the President, introduces Jorel as “our brilliant young scientist.”
This is a setup. You continue to believe that Kryptonians are these super people, dare I say, Master Race? Jorel’s presentation will destroy that notion.
Jorel proceeds to tell the Council that Krypton is being drawn closer to its red sun. This will result in Krypton “popping like a bubble” into millions of fragments and the demise of all Kryptonians.”
UNLESS WE ACT!
Jorel proposes the construction of a large rocket fleet to whisk the population away and leave all their problems (at least the sudden and catastrophic destruction of their planet) behind them.
Council Member Gogan poses a question to Jorel, “And where will we go in these rockets”?
Jorel calmly and succinctly replies, “To the Earth, Gogan. To the planet Earth, Gogan.”
The council members laughed hysterically and, as Jorel later relates to his wife, Lara, “They marked me for a fool.”
Subsequently, Jorel and Lara put their baby boy, Ka-El, into a prototype rocket that Jorel was prepared to use to test his plan out, hoping to have the Council fund the production of a large fleet.
Within seconds of the rocket’s departure, Krypton explodes into a million fragments just as Jorel, Krypton’s brilliant young scientist, predicted. Presumably, with millions of Kryptonians with the fateful words of Jorel echoing in the Council members’ ears.
So, back in 1938, when Superman comics first appeared and again in 1952 when The Adventures of Superman first aired on American TV, we were introduced to the concepts that we should not ignore science or scientists and that climate change could be devastating.
I am not sure those were the academic goals of both Superman iterations. Still, it is interesting to learn a lesson or two from an American Immigrant who fights a never-ending battle for Truth, Justice, and The American Way.
So, what have we learned?
Immigrants have made this country better.
We should listen to science and scientists.
Mocking research because we don’t like the result is not a good thing.
I realize this is a lot to take in on a Saturday morning, but I felt it necessary to share these lessons from people who should have known better.
I hope that the people who should have known better take note now and try to put their partisanship back in their pants and think intelligently about the issues that now confront us.