Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Challenging the gods

Christopher Reeve, aka Superman, died yesterday, after spending the last 9 years paralyzed from the neck down due to a riding accident. He died of complications from a pressure sore.

That's a shitty way for Superman to die. Matter of fact, it was a pretty shitty deal that Superman was paralyzed by being thrown from a horse, not by fighting a super-villain, reversing the rotation of the earth or all the other cool stuff he did. And there won't be a Return of Superman. (Other random thought: "Kill Bill v2" has an interesting little snippet on what made Superman different from all the other superheroes].

Another thing I find pretty screwed-up, beyond just the fact that nobody should have Parkinson's, is Muhammad Ali's condition. The idea that somebody who was once one of the most fearsomely physically coordinated people in the world now has to submit to the indignities of Parkinson's disease killing off his motor functions just seems wrong, as if the universe is trying to make a point.

Looked at through the lens of Greek mythology, it's almost as if Christopher Reeve and Muhammad Ali were intended to be warnings by the jealous gods of Olympus against hubris etc -- come too close to having god-like powers and you get taken down a peg. (Yes, I know Christopher Reeve wasn't actually Superman). In mythology, the Greek gods are portrayed as being pretty human in their motivations, basically what you'd get if you took a random bunch of people and gave them immense powers -- chances are pretty good that you'd end up with a few a$$holes with immense powers, always a bad idea.

Ok, enough rambling about the symbolism associated with the lives and deaths of public figures.


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