Out of Frame


About this show

Video essays that explore the intersection of art, culture, and big ideas written & produced by FEE's Director of Media, Sean W. Malone.

Superman Is the Hero We Need Right Now

July 9, 2020

It’s a pretty dark time right now. From vitriolic political divisiveness pervasive on social media and the news to the looming threat of a second round of lockdowns and an increasingly shaky economy, it can be a struggle to find any kind of real bright spot.

But we have the hero we need—we've had a hero this whole time!—and it's Clark Kent. Not just Superman, but Clark Kent.

Since the 1930s, Superman has been the best superhero... but probably not for the reasons you think.

Superman originally started by satisfying a power fantasy as an extension of Nietzche's 'Ubermensch' and transformed into an aspirational, entertaining symbol of goodness. And as he started to develop a range of superpowers, from flight and strength to telekinesis, he evolved into the quintessential superhero of the 20th and 21st centuries. That's when his real superpower emerged: his principled humanity through his life as Clark Kent.

Clark Kent is a humble farmer's son from Kansas, and he's also the most potentially dangerous man in the universe. Throughout his development, Superman reveals and refines Clark Kent's values, and they're the values that make him a hero. The fact that he isn't evil—that he's our model of goodness and virtue despite his abilities and temptations—is his, and our, real strength.

Several months of talking about the ultra-depressing state of the world suggests that maybe we've lost our way. It's tough out there, from the appeal of nihilistic worldviews to very real, pressing problems globally. But as we navigate these challenges, we can look to Superman not only as a great superhero, but as an exceptionally good person—and the type of person we can be.

Clark Kent's virtue undergirds the role model the whole world needs right now. That's why we need Superman, and it's why we need you.

Written & Produced by Sean W. Malone
Edited by Arash Ayrom & Sean W. Malone
Asst. Edited by Jason Reinhardt


--How to Make Superman Relevant--


--Psychology and Superman--


(language warning) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aw_GlYve_Lg

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