[Reposting from March 2008]
A discussion in the comments at the Absorbascon:
The highlight of which is the comparison between the inspirational vs the aspirational.
[Monday, November 30, 2020 further thoughts]
I’m a little more utilitarian in my view of politicians. Do they communicate their plans for governing well? How well do they persuade? How well do they work with others of differing ideologies?
I guess it puts me more into the “aspirational” category, where I prefer to see them as humans with a job to do. I look at the founding fathers of the U.S. not as idols to look up to but as flawed humans who fought and bickered amongst one another.
Though oddly, it is inspirational too. That we, as simple, flawed humans, are also capable of being part of the process of government, and not just be citizens subject to other’s rule.
That seeps into my preferences for superhero stories. I prefer them to not be paragons for whom the only conflict is that of determining if their abilities are up to the challenges put before them; but people for whom the challenges of ethics, interpersonal relationships, questions about their ideals, and other struggles make their story.
This is why Superman’s backstory and how his adoptive parents raised him are critical parts of the story. I refuse to accept the view of Clark Kent as a disguise for Superman but prefer the view that Superman is an alias taken on by Clark to maintain an ability to hold on to a part of a normal life.