"Truth, Justice-and thankfully no longer "The American way!"

Discussion in 'Super-World' started by Fantasyartist, Apr 26, 2006.

  1. Fantasyartist Registered

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    has anybody noticed that Superman has stopped using that inane slogan "Truth, justice and the American way!".
    What after all is the point of it?- it's not as if he's meant to somehow represent America to the rest of the world as say Marvel's Captain America or even his JLA colleague Wonder Woman. it might be argued that in a sense Superman is the "ultimate American-immigrant boy makes good" but i seriously question whether the "American Way" is wanted or even desired by significant sections of the planet's inhabitants( save generic desires for freedom).

    Like it or not, Superman is supposed to be the world's protector-not just simply Uncle Sam's super powered bully boy/enforcer-and his using this slogan seriously prejudices his acceptance by many other countries around the world(and not just in the Arab/Muslim world). yes, I recognise that the Man of Steel has saved the world many times as have his fellow JLA members( incidentally doesn't their very name -The Justice League of AMERICA- indicate a demonstratable nationalistic prejudice-at least the Avengers refer to themselves as "Earth's Mightiest Heroes"-indicating that their care and concern is not for a single nation state but the entire planet even if it included avowed enemies of their country(Iran, iraq, North Korea, the old USSR and its dependencies in Eastern Europe).
    The wisest thing Superman did was to drop that ludicrous expression "-and the American way!"

    Terry
     
  2. The Kid AMERICA FTW

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    I never thought it meant Superman ignored every body but americans. I thought it meant he valued everybody the way America does (or is supposed to) Being that it's an nation of immigrants from all over the place. But I guess it's all perspective in this case. I think it's not a big deal, others may and we all know hollywood will be forced to submit to threats from anybody nowadays because of terrorism.
     
  3. Fantasyartist Registered

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    Dear Wesyeed

    I think the phrase "-and the American way", which may have had some validity back in 1939 and the subsequent World and Cold Wars has simply become dysfunctional in the 21th Century-given things like Vietnam, Watergate (and of course Iraq) which suggest that the "American way" may simply not be for everybody.
    Even the Man of Steel tacitly recognised that like it or not, things are WAAAYYY more complex nowadays than they were back in 1939.

    Peace,

    Terry
     
  4. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    I personally liked "The American Way," if only because it gave a clearer perspective on what Superman was really all about. "Truth and Justice" are way too vague of terms, especially since that's pretty much what every superhero in the world fights for, too. But like it or not, Superman was raised in the American heartland and upholds what he believes to be American ideals.

    And yeah, the US has gone through all kinds of turbulence and strife since WW2 and the Cold War, and the country's become deeply divided over the issues of today, but that's why it's so important that Superman makes the case for it. "The American Way" to me (let me repeat that: to me -it can mean a thousand other things to other folks) is the set of ideals that have been set into the mind of the public. It might not be what we are, but what we should be. Sure, it's easier to just water his politics down to not risk alienating people, but I'd rather see a Superman that stands for something I might not agree with than a Superman who doesn't really stand for anything.
     
  5. AmbientFire "Listen."

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    "the american way" seems like a remnant from the good ole manifest destiny days - aka the right to "americanify" across america was their right and it was unavoidable - american way breathes and lives on the assumption that "the american way" is unique and right.
     
  6. Binker Registered

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    Actually, Superman's motto as heard in the Superman cartoons of the '40s was "Truth & Justice".

    But in the '50s, and in the Superman TV show of course became "Truth, Justice-& the American way". Reason? Well what do you think was going on at the time that would make sense with the change in motto? The Cold War.

    Nowadays the "American Way" is still used but last I heard: its "Truth, Justice & Peace" now.
     
  7. Michael Corleone Don Corleone

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    reguardless of the reason the saying was started. Why do people always have to assume that "the american way" deals with the political standing of the US? I understand it being dropped in recent years. Unfortunatly the views of others and the current president's "views" have given the phrase a stigma.

    I have always felt that it meant more than the cold war meaning that was behind its initial incorporation. The American way was always a symbol of Superman being that ultimate imigrant. An alien being acepted into the way of life. When Freedom was used as an ideal and not a politcal speech. I never saw it as a sign that he was an american icon and nothing more. More that he was embraced as one our own(an idea that still to this day seems to be debated in recent events.) My hope is one day "The American Way" will mean something again rather than dig up sentiment for an administration and political views. After all to quote one of the films...."I just wish you could all see the Earth the way that I see it. Because when you really look at it, it's just one world. "
     
  8. Fantasyartist Registered

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    As I noted, Superman unlike Wonder Woman or Marvel's Captain America(with their red white and blue costumes) is supposed to the world's protector not Uncle Sam's bully boy/enforcer. Personally the "man of steel" who explcitly belongs to a "syper race" makes me more than a little uneasy(Yes, I KNOW that he's no racist, but "Superman" literally translated from the German is "Herrenvolk"-literally "master race" a la the "Aryan ideal" so beloved of teh Third Reich. In Nietszche's belief the "Superman" was literally beyond good and evil). Yes, I know Superman's creators were the sons of immigrant Jews, and that the same could be said of the blond, blue eyed Norse God of Thunder( Superman's closest Marvel counterpart ,Thor), but at least he's a deity and not a member of a super race. |I certainly feel uncomfortable with the idea of a such a being enforcing the "american way"-even for teh best of intentions-on a reluctant and recalcitrant world!

    Terry
     
  9. Fantasyartist Registered

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    Oops I forgot that the German word for "Superman" is "Ubermenschen"-but you get my drift, i presume!

    Terry
     
  10. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    Well, I suppose one would have to at least be wary of someone throwing around that much power. He could very easily knock out all of the tyrants, terrorists, crooked politicians, corrupt tycoons, and all the rest of the world's "Undesirables" to shape the world in his own image, and there's very little the rest of the world could do about it.

    Much like post-Cold War America, in fact. The US has done more in terms of humanitarian action and aid than any other country in the world. During the latter half of the twentieth century, the US devoted its military power time and time again to fight the expansion of communism, an ideal that American culture found reprehensible (and if you listen to the stories that refugees from North Korea, China, and the former USSR tell, you could see why). Nearly the entire United Nations opposed the US's entry into Iraq, and we did so anyway, and win or lose, the changes in Iraq and Afghanistan will change the political outlook of the Middle East forever (though whether that's for the better or worse is very much undecided yet). Many of these actions have permanently damaged America's image in the world community, but the fact remains that for good or for ill, the US is the largest and most active force of change the world has seen in centuries.

    We could go on for days on end about the rights and wrongs of that, but I'm beginning to digress a bit from my original point: why "The American Way" is still relevant to Superman. It's extremely easy to distrust someone with that much power and question his motives. Just look at how easily Lex Luthor has managed to turn public opinion against Superman from time to time. And it's easy to dismiss a dimension of patriotism as either holdover Cold War rhetoric or a love song to an unpopular administration. But politics aside, his status as the world's leading superhuman, the standard by which all others are weighed (either in how much alike or how different they are from him), and his dedication to his ideals make him almost perfectly mirrored to America's influence on the world. Whether it's in the motto or not, Superman is very much the embodiment of the American way.
     
  11. Morgoth Registered

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    Nothing wrong with saying the American way. God Bless America. In times like these America doesn't need to be put down. I'm sick of it.
     
  12. Fantasyartist Registered

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    Bottom line, if you were not just Fidel Castro, Saddam Hussein or Kim Il Sung, but say a middle ranking potentate not on friednly terms with the US, sat Robert Mugabe or Muammar Gaddafi, wouldn't you BE at least at little suspicious of a "super being" who not only resides in the United States , openly belongs to a group called "The Justice(whose justice?) League of America" and whose avowed raison d'etre is todefend "Truth, Justice and the American Way!"
    On thing I've noticed in especially marvel comics(but also DC) is the frequent distrust with which other societies view American based super heroes( all far less powerful than The Man Of Steel), many even going so far as to form their own teams of costumed champions- Big Hero 6, The Winter Guard, Alpha Flight et al.
    "Too much power corrupts...."

    Terry
     
  13. spencer6891 Registered

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    I believe the "American Way" is referring to equality, opportunity, and liberty---not politics, not war, not controversial policies. Course, I guess even equality, opportunity and liberty are offensive to some people/nations.

    Oh well.

    :supes:
     
  14. Andy C. Repent, Harlequin!

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    Like I said before, it's extremely easy to distrust someone with a lot of power and an agenda. I'm not arguing with that. What I'm arguing is that Superman shouldn't be turned into a watered down P.C. generic smiling face just because it might alienate some readers. Much like the media referring to Christmas as the "Holiday season," it takes the backbone and one of the key dimensions out of the character. Sure, Superman's a lot more world-friendly than he was during the Cold War era, but he's still very much an icon of Americana, and so the classic American ideals are still very much embedded into the character.
     
  15. AmbientFire "Listen."

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    I don't think that's the part that people take offense to at all - I think it's in the view that these qualities/ideals are inherently "American" as opposed to belonging to the entire world. It's the exclusivism-mentally that people take offense to, not the ideals.
     
  16. Fantasyartist Registered

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    True enough to note that to an inhabitant of a theocratic polity(Saudi Arabia, Iran, Taliban ruled Afghanistan) especially a woman, the "American Way" looks pretty good(but this is more likely to make her identify with Wonder Woman than The Man of Steel). The question is: is "the American way" suitable or even desirable for the rest of the world. I still think that Superman should drop the overtly politically sloganeering( and leave the nationalism to say, Wonder Woman or her Marvel counterpart, Captain America). That's not his metier anyway!

    Terry
     
  17. Don Corleone Consigliere

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    couldnt have put it better myself!
     
  18. Nerial Hopeless Sci-Fi Geek

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    Wonderfully put.

    The United States has great ideals, and as an American, I feel very lucky to be where I am.

    However, as stated, the American ideals aren't just American. There are so many people in the world that follow the same type of goals, and it feels very one-sided to have a superhero known all over the world exclusively declare American Ways.

    Besides, it begs a question: What if Superman's origin wasn't the U.S., and he declared, "Truth, Justice, and the Japanese Way!" or, "Truth, Justice, and the Sweden way!"

    As someone who never lived in these countries, I wouldn't know what on earth they were talking about. Isn't it a little arrogant to assume that everyone in the world knows what, "The American Way," actually stands for?
     
  19. Fantasyartist Registered

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    Well said, Nerial! There is an alternative reality graphic novel of Superman entitled "Red Son" in which the future Man of Steel crashlands not just in the good ol' US of A but Stalin's Soviet Union! Just shows how much happenstance and coincidence can define the life of a man(or a woman of course)!
     
  20. ImperfectIcon Registered

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    Alot of people around the world are sick of America. Not saying I am though.
     
  21. CLARKY Registered

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    my thoughts exactly. I'd like to write something more but U got it exactly
    :up:
     
  22. Fantasyartist Registered

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    To sum up, few outside the criminal community in Gotham City fear Batman (although many are critical of his "vigilante" tendencies- and the Caped Crusader is far less powerful or overtly nationalistic than Superman), but many around the world(and not just unreconstructed lefties or Islamic fundamentalists) are uncomfortable to say the least with a being as powerful as Superman( possibly stronger than Marvel's Hulk and Thor put together) who not only resides in the US but whose avowed raison d'etre is to fight for "Truth, Justice(whose justice?) and the AMERICAN way!"

    I rest my case!

    Terry
     
  23. GreenKToo In the fire

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    The american way is freedom,liberty,and the right to do,and say what you will,without fear of persecution,to protest without fear of reprisal.we are a nation of laws,its not perfect,but no country is.over 7 million people a yr try to get in the U.S.for the ''american way''to dare and hope for a better life.That many people cant be wrong.I could go on and on,but I wont.I dont have to,the fact that we are discussing it proves OUR point.
     
  24. The Question Objectivism doesn't work.

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    The problem I have is the "American way" ad described in SUperman's little catchfrase is in no way exclusive to America. It's a set of ideas that was around long before America was a country and will exist long after the U.S. has melded into other cultures and no longer recognisable as it is now.
     
  25. Superman79 Superman79 Returns

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    Amen. :up:

    The American Way is not the policies by any means. It is the spirit of what this country was founded on. Freedom, fellowship, brotherhood, and most importantly opportunity. America is still a place with more opportunites than anywhere else in the world (if you don't believe that, I have 11 million illegal and some 15+ million legal immigrants who would tell you otherwise).

    That is what Superman stands for, not oil, not republicans, not democrats, not liberal or conservative, but Hope, Opportunity, Freedom...these are things that America has embodied for years and despite current issues will embody for years more.

    Truth, Justice, and the American Way is not inane, it's idealistic optimism, which is exactly what Superman is...that's why I think it's still appropriate.:supes:

    BTW- It's still used...I just bought a Superman shirt that had it written on the front.
     

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