Saturday, January 05, 2008
Dignity In Satin: Part Four
"If I let my child out into this world, will they be safe?"
This is the thought that runs through the mind of every good parent. This is the same thought running through Queen Hippolyta’s mind at any given moment and Wonder Woman, as a daughter, knows this. Diana, unlike her comrades-in-arms Batman and Superman, was born not out of sacrifice but of a mother’s desire to love.
Diana was raised in an Amazonian society where everyone was taught to respect the uniqueness of the individual. Like her Amazonian sisters, she was blessed with immortality. As Diana, she was born the last of the Amazons. As Diana, she knows having family is also a blessing. As someone blessed with immortality, she’s come to respect and understand the short, mercurial nature of the human life. Wonder Woman, herself a stranger in a strange land, as she probably sees it, there is no better way to honor human life than her to do so with dignity.
As swiftly as the power of Mercury makes things possible.
As efficiently as the wisdom of Athena will allow.
In her protecting the lives of others, there is no greater show of love and respect to the lessons taught her by her mother.
Wonder Woman is what most heroes strive to be. Their mother’s child, strong, proud and assured, ultimately making her the most human of heroes.
Wonder Woman displays a mental clarity that other heroes simply seem to lack. She is simply comics’ most self-possessed super-hero. She believes in herself. She believes in her mission. She believes that every experience she’s ever had has brought her to this day. In this, she commands the respect of others. Wonder Woman once in motion, she is confidence personified.
Wonder Woman is "us," out there. Out there making the best of a world we don't wholly understand, applying the lessons handed down, good or bad.
Lately, I find it much, much harder to give my time and money to "genius" teenagers who clumsily walk headfirst into unshielded radioactive danger. Sure, characters of that kind will always occupy the avenues of my heart zoned and named "Mainly" and "Nostalgia," but these days, I need my heroes to be something more than the by-products of radioactive ignorance. I need for them to be heroes in the truest sense of the word. As a grown man, I need them to be brave, strong, and self-reliant.
In writing that last line, I’ve come to realize that the majority of comic book characters should act more like Wonder Woman.
Thirty-plus years ago, I saw dignity take form in satin.
Today, I believe I’ve been made a better man for it.