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Part 2: The Superheroine Dilemma - Three Opinions
Superheroes in Today's World
By: Cat Grant
The famous newspaper writer, H.L. Mencken, had it right when he said "The only way a reporter should look at a politician is down." When the press looks at a politician with fawning adoration, they lose their ability to think critically. Politicians have flaws, they make mistakes - they need to be held accountable for them. The same is true for superheroes and superheroines. I've been a critic of Supergirl, and I've taken a good deal if criticism from those who kneel at the altar of superheroes, wanting to never point out shortcomings. After all, they're HEROES. And I do, indeed, respect their sacrifices, their courage, and their selflessness. But that doesn't mean they don't have shortcomings. And like any celebrity or politician, when they fall short of the ideals they're claiming to hold, it needs to be highlighted.
Such is my problem with Supergirl. In the short time she's been on this planet, she has caused numerous problems all in the quest to 'help people.' Clubs closed down, buildings destroyed, innocents assaulted. When I had the opportunity to question one of the most well respected female heroes on the planet, Wonder Woman, I was met with defensiveness. And understandably so, from their perspective at least. When a supervillain or criminal attacks a superhero, they are attacked back. When criticized by the press, especially a normally fawning press, they respond with defensiveness and aggressiveness as well. But the press is not a supervillain - it's the foundation for a free society.
Today, I saw myself as the lone voice in the press who refuses to be apologetic for a superhero's mistakes and lapses of judgment. Considering I have made a name for myself at the Planet as a fashion and gossip columnist, it's distressing that I seem to be the one who has to take the mantle of critical questioner, while others make idle chatter about fashion wardrobe or lob softball questions. The recent 'retirement' of Superman being so shortly after Supergirl's still freshly remembered tirade across the West Coast should make reporters at least wonder if the two incidents are related, as I have wondered.
Wonder Woman, during the interview, said that "Above all else, the role of the hero is to inspire." She admonished that "methinks the lady doth protest too much" when I questioned Supergirl's recent activities. Inspiration should be reflected from a hero's actions, though. The examination about how Supergirl was dosed with synthetic kryptonite, the alleged cause of her rampage, is being supposedly investigated by the Justice League according to the Princess of Themyscira, but have the government or police been brought in on this at all? With so much secrecy, how can we be sure? So... to quote someone a bit older than Shakespeare, and one whom Wonder Woman may b e more familiar with - a fellow Greek, in fact, Plato - "Who watches the watchers?"
Supergirl still strikes me as being unsure of herself, even saying during the interview, "I didn't really ask to be a hero. To be honest, when I first came to Earth, I told Kal read: Superman that I didn't want to be anyone's champion. It's just so much responsibility." At least there, this reporter and the wayward superhero are in agreement. If that labels me as an undesirable in the superhero community as an unwelcome spotlight on their less-than-heroic actions, I will wear that badge proudly, just as Mencken did when being a critical spotlight on politicians a century before.