In the new Superman movie, Man of Steel, Lois Lane asks the hero what the letter ‘S’ means on his chest. Superman says, “It’s not an ‘S’. On my world it means hope.”
In this era of U.S. culture heroes are hard to come by. Sports figures, politicians, and even religious leaders fail us. Perhaps the most recent epic fail occurred this year when Lance Armstrong confessed to Oprah Winfrey that he used performance enhancement drugs to win races. He was stripped of his 7 Tour de France titles by the Anti-Doping Agency. Lance survived cancer and competed on the highest levels but he is no longer considered a super-man.
Who will we turn to now? Expectations have changed. Instead of looking to top-performers, people are looking to their neighbors.
The new hero is the local citizen, the common person doing something ordinary with extraordinary passion. Consider the surging popularity of Indie culture: Indie films, music, and art are capturing people’s attention more than the masterpieces of the elite creative class. Consider Oz, the Great and Powerful, which esteems the “good man” over the “great man.” (I’ll write more about this on a later post).
“On our world” people are finding hope not in the super but in the regular, everyday person. We are inspired by someone we know who is doing something with all their heart! It’s not an ‘S’, not a “super” we’re looking for; it’s hope we want.