As I write this I am listening to the movie’s score and am also one hour away from seeing the new Captain America movie.
When the Dark Knight Rises opened there was the shooting in Aurora and yesterday, another shooting at Ft. Hood.
As excited as I am to see this new movie – I am also bothered by the negative and tragic incidents that mirror the violence and conflict that are a part of most comic book heroics.
I love Captain America. For me, he is the ideal American male – what we should strive to be. He is the little guy who made good, who was granted a gift and used to to defend and protect, not exploit or to hurt. As a young boy growing up I had the sense that America was the greatest country in the world… but now, at 51, I know what a lot of us have been thinking for a decade or more: we are not the greatest country on the world.
Cap was symbol of American greatness for me, something that went deeper than the red, white and blue. Cap was a defender, a front line combatant, the guy who would stand and who would compromise or quit.
*I am back from the movie – So pleased:)*
I wanted to write a post about all the good that Cap represents, my frutration with the decision to kill him in the comics and the elation at seeing him finally presented on the big screen just as I had imagined him from the comics – or at least what I remember him to be, colored of course by my own notions of what I want him to be.
Cap was and is a vibrant example of the ‘good guy’ standing up against the bully or those who use fear to subjugate and control. I want to believe in Cap… but what I am begrudgingly having to admit is, that Cap is just too good to be true.
I wanted to write this post about how excited I was about seeing the film to provide my thoughts about the film and where I thought they were taking things in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I was caught up in the excitement of seeing part of my childhood brought to life… instead it was marred by an act of violence in the real world.
I wanted to fill this page with giddy child-like glee. But I’m forced – through terrible circumstances – to confront the fact that this ideal I look up to is part of the problem. That Cap is just too good to be true – the morals and justice he represents, is just absent from the USA today. The major symptom of the problem I’m talking about is gun violence in America.
I’m not going to get on a soap box about it. My feelings and opinions about gun laws and controls and whether or not we should own guns or what type is simply my opinion. I’m not going to tell someone they are wrong for wanting to own one or to keep it in their home, for whatever reason.
A long time ago I wrote a short story that was turned into a overly long and not very good film with the help of some wonderful friends at my undergraduate university. I say it was not good not because of the acting or whatever, but because it was a first time film-making process by a bunch of folks who were not well schooled in the hows and whys of film-making. Anyway, the point is there was a two lines of dialogue that opened the short story and that were used in the film:
Like a raindrop that shatters the serene, mirror-like surface of a deep still lake, a single event can occur that completely disrupts the dull routine of our lives.
And like the concentric circles spreading slowly outward from the point of that drop’s impact, so do the effects of that event reach out and touch every aspect of your being.
On some level I realized that each moment we have isn’t just a moment when it comes to others.
In the new Cosmos series with Neil deGrasse Tyson, at the end of the first episode he relates a story of a moment that profoundly affected his life – when as a young budding scientist he wrote a letter to his idol Carl Sagan, the host of the original Cosmos. Dr. Sagan, after reading Tyson’s letter, responded by inviting him to spend the weekend with him.
How generous, how positive and how far reaching that moment was. Another scientist or astronomer might have just been content to write a letter, or another might not have done anything at all. But because Dr. Sagan allowed reached out and touched Mr. Tyson’s life, that effect has blossomed through the years and advanced not only the knowledge of one man, but of many more besides.
The ripples of that event are still ongoing. And I hope will continue for many more years to come, shining light into the dark corners for all of us.
On the opposite hand, you have people like the shooter at Ft. Hood, who – because of circumstances we may recognize or identify with – do the exact opposite.
I am not judging or condemning the horrific act perpetrated by a lone gunmen – I am merely pointing out that that moment also has far reaching effects, effects that will continue to ripple outwards, undoing the positive in people’s lives, creating grief and misery and a host of other feelings that will echo for years to come. Blotting out the light that others are trying to keep illuminated.
Captain America is a source of light for me – but the violence and reality of the world I live in keeps that light dimmer than it should be.
I want to believe in Cap, I really do.
I want my heroic reality – the one where someone saves the day – not the reality that results in the senseless deaths of others because someone was hurting to the point where they saw no other recourse but to act in an un-heroic manner.