perhaps a better question might be who doesn’t want to be a superhero? stan lee (comic book creator of notable characters such as the fantastic four, incredible hulk, x-men and spiderman) is hosting a reality show for would-be superheroes called “who wants to be a superhero?“, complete with a secret super-lair and personal communicators (i.e., old blackberry devices). it’s basically as nerdy as it sounds (which suits me just fine!)… like most reality shows, there can only be one winner – after each episode, one contestant is eliminated.

the last challenge i saw had stan lee telling the superbunch that they would have to change from their normal clothes into their supergetup and race to a designated finish-line as quickly as possible. although they were supposed to find an inconspicuous place to change, one person changed in a garbage can (i know) and one guy changed in a grassy patch in plain public view.

anyhoo, stan had set up a little girl near the finish line who “lost” her mom, and was crying out for help. this, of course, was the real test. sort of a variation on the old “good samaritan” test which, depending on the version, has a group of seminarians being tested on or delivering a sermon on luke 10:25-37. when they arrive for their test, they are told it has been moved to another location – and to hurry up and get there already. on the way, the majority of them ignore a person who is obviously in need of help… thus failing to live out what they are in such a hurry to teach/preach…

true to form, most of the superheroes completely passed up the little girl – in one case, looking directly at her and then deciding to run to the finish line anyways… when stan lee called them out on this, most of them apologized – saying that they were so focused on winning that they didn’t notice anything around them. in fact, stan lee had told the group that they wouldn’t be tested on super-powers (which, despite their possible delusions, do not exist) but that they would be tested on what makes a superhero on the inside – honesty, integrity, compassion…

kind of reminds me of an old this american life segment i heard, where the narrator surveys people on whether they wished they had the ability to fly or become invisible. people thought very deeply about this issue – because it was not only the cool ability that they would have, but what it said about their character as well… flight being a noble superpower (picture superman swooping in to save the innocent bystanders) and invisibility being a not-so-noble superpower (picture… well, you get the picture)…

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