Whether the Superman curse is real is debatable, while Superman’s rejection of realism is a curse not worth debating, because Superman is dead. He died for his own sins, mortal sins, in defense of the creation of heaven on Earth. He died three times, first, in 1987, for writing and starring in “Superman IV: The Quest for Peace”; second, in 1995, for failing to break his fall—for failing to avoid falling—from his horse; third, in 2004, when he returned to the ground, earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
And yet he lives on in the mind and memories of mankind, through the power of his horse; from the glue that was his horse, because the glue that binds us together—the glue that binds Superman’s bedsheets to children’s pajamas—is the same glue the writers and artists at DC Comics inhaled before announcing that Superman’s son, Jon Kent, is a supporter of a planetary United Nations. Also, per DC’s announcement, Jon is bisexual.
The announcement is an outing, not a coming-out party, violating Jon’s right to be let alone. What, after all, is the purpose of solitude if the world trespasses on Superman’s Fortress of Solitude, shattering his glass house and rifling through his closets and drawers, and drawers, as he is unable to eat his wedding cake in peace?
Had DC not made kryptonite of the American way, Jon’s private life would be irrelevant. But the transformation of “Pajama Boy” into Superboy into Superman is a joke.
Americans should not care that Jon loves Jay, or that Jay publishes The Truth, because the more important issue—more important than DC’s forthcoming issue about Superman’s love life—is that neither Jon nor Jay knows anything about John Jay or James Madison or Alexander Hamilton. The characters know nothing about the character of truth, justice, and the American way.
As a character, Superman is a Kansan, an American, a man.
As a symbol, Superman is a prophet and savior; his father’s only son.
As a hero, Superman is a testament to the Old and the New.
He represents the greatness of our civic religion, of reverence for law and reason for living, caring for the widow as she cared for him, for he was an orphan and a stranger in a foreign land. He is an icon, a star of hope, who is nonetheless vulnerable to flying too close to the sun.
The star that feeds Superman can just as easily blind him with the lights of stardom. When he falters, Americans lose their ability to see the way; we lose ourselves to false promises and vain politicians, idolizing one above all, as we relearn the lessons of history.
The history of Superman is strong because it is simple.
Less simple is the will to resist those who would modernize history to the point of absurdity, leveling every field of endeavor until all that remains is a plain of rubble.
Remember, too, that a people without a sense of mystery will never believe a man can fly.