Why does a mild-mannered mom, a frumpy middle-aged suburban housewife and teacher’s aide (that is really what a parapro does), an empty-nester trying to find herself when her children are no longer children–why does this woman love Superman instead of Dr. Oz? Why does she spend hours dreaming of heroes who cannot be instead of watching the news to see what is really going on in the real world? Why does a responsible person who food shops, balances a checkbook and gets her oil changed give over to flights of fancy and dreams of an alien hero who flies–get that, flies–in a red cape, sees through walls with x-ray vision, and repels bullets by simply puffing up his chest?
I love Superman because I love heroes, and he is a hero for our time and place. He is an all-American hero for all 315 million of us, and he not only saves the day, he unites us by saving us all without prejudice regardless of ethnicity, religion or economic standing. He is unfailingly honest in a world overrun with dishonesty (“Lois, I never lie.”) He is physically perfect, but modestly hides behind a mask of weakness (“disguised as mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent”). He stands for the dream of this country, what we all wish it could be (“truth, justice and the American way”). He is a successful immigrant in a land populated by immigrants. And, most important to me personally, he is strong enough to lift even me from a burning building or rampaging flood, something no average human man could ever hope to do.