Kemarin iseng-iseng blogwalking, gak sengaja nemu blog bertajuk ThoughtCatalog. Banyak artikel menarik, salah satunya adalah tentang analisis mengenai tokoh Superman dan apa makna tokoh tersebut bagi diri kita sebagai manusia.
Sebagai manusia, kita merupakan makhluk yang terus berusaha memberikan makna dalam hidup. Sumber pemaknaan ini bisa berasal dari mana saja, bisa dari pengalaman pribadi, buku novel, buku pelajaran, kitab suci, maupun buku komik.
Sometimes I wish I am smart enough to make an analysis like this.
“…Your name is Kal-El. You are the only survivor of the planet Krypton. Even though you’ve been raised as a human being, you are not one of them. You have great powers, only some of which you have as yet discovered.” Those are Jor-El’s first words to his son; his speech to Kal-El/ Superman, years after his son has arrived on planet Earth. He’s been raised by a kindly couple from Kansas — Jonathan and Martha Kent. They have given him the name Clark Kent, but that is not Kal-El’s real name.
Even though you have been raised as a human being, you are not one of them. Could there be a more universal statement of otherness? As humans, we are unique in feeling apart from things. Dogs accept their… dog-ishness, for lack of a better word. Cats accept their cat-ishness. And so on for every other species on this planet. Humans are unique, because we can stand in the middle of a crowd, and still feel lonely. No other species can feel like that. And as humans, we all feel a sense of terminal uniqueness. We all feel special, and so thus we all feel apart. Paradoxically, this is what unites us, and this is why Superman speaks to me as a metaphor. He symbolizes the feeling of apartness, and also our secret belief in our own awesomeness — the belief that I experienced as a child, as I waited on the playground for wizards to whisk me away, and to teach me my true destiny. It never happened, but I never stopped believing in it.
Superman is unique among superheroes because he is the reverse of other superheroes. This has been pointed out many times before. Batman’s true identity is Bruce Wayne, millionaire playboy. Spider-Man’s true identity is Peter Parker, geeky teenager. But Superman’s true identity is Superman. The “costume” that he wears is not a costume — the red cape, the chest medallion, the boots, the belt; those are his normal clothes. When Superman dresses up and pretends, he pretends to be a normal human being; but he is not one.
We all feel like this. Every day, when we schlep off to work, wearing our foolish work clothes — we all feel this way. We feel as though we are wearing a disguise in our jobs, our relationships, even in our interactions with, say, a barista at Starbucks. We jealously hide our true, secret nature, because the world cannot know who we truly are. And why? Because the world couldn’t handle the truth.
And Superman enacts the same ritual as we do, each and every day. He could be living in a crystal palace on the North Pole. He could fly to Jupiter, or burrow through the Earth’s core to China. Instead, he plays his role as a schlubby human. He enacts the role of “Clark Kent.” He puts on the tired work suit, the busted wingtip shoes, the boring tie and the ugly glasses, and gets on the subway and rides off to his fake job as a reporter.
But inside, Superman has secret powers, because we all do. He is separate and special and different — because we all are. Even though he has been raised as a human being, he is not one of them. We are all Not One of Them. We are all Uniquely Us — just like Superman. And that’s what Superman means; and that’s why Superman matters.