Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The First Black Superhero

I want to thank all the fanboys and girls for their many comments, calls, both supportive and rabid, on my three word quote in today Washington Post re: Obama and Rev. Wright. Huh? That's news? What Obama and Rev. Wright issue? hahahaha. Precisely. The Daily Show put the satirical icing on that cake--thank god for John Stewart. We've seen the distruction, the utter craven whoredom, of a once venerated US television news universe. As you watch Glen Beck or The Today Show, or George Forman as pundit yearning to "eat" Jeremiah Wright on Fox News, you can hear Edward R Murrow weeping if you put your ear to ground.
So I wonder if Barack, as our putative hero--as contemplative as Batman when he was running against The Penguin for mayor of Gotham City, could channel heroes of the past for strength? No not Douglass or King. Superheroes. Who was the most powerful, the most pervasive? Fanboys and geeks will argue, duel, slap each other, cajole. But I know who was and is mine. He came about in at a time when riot-scarred neighborhoods still smouldered. When any notion of diversity was still scoffed at--especially on TV. Yeah, he wasn't a comic book hero. Indeed, he was likely een by more Caucasian eyes than the powers-that-had-been would have liked. He didn't have a name like "Luke Cage," or "Black Lightening," or "Falcon," or "Storm" or "T'Chala."
No, his very name meant action. Literally. And he changed the world when I was a kid. We beheld someone who looked like us, who taught us, who made us proud! And thousands of white children who'd never had never imagined such a hero or a world saw him too...much to their parents' dismay or puzzlement...



James H. Robinson said...

Damn, that's old school! That's what these little bastards need nowadays, some Schoolhouse Rock.

Lisa said...

Oh yes--I remember. Certainly this is not a dark and stormy comic book super hero but I agree that he was probably seen by more children's (and adults) eyes and had a bigger audience than most of whatever my older brother was reading under his bed at that time! I you don't count Bill Cosby'sVERY strange and ambivalence Fat Albert, it was probably the ONLY urban setting on Saturday morning.

I like your application to today. Maybe you are exhorting Barack to look more like that and less like a professor or writer (no offense)?

VERB that's what's happening! Did Ben Vereen sing that?

Anonymous said...

Verb and Dora the Explorer should get together and be the activist power couple of the American cartoon universe...

Pebbles Flintstone said...

Wow, a true blast from the past indeed! I remember that, and all of those cool school house rock ditties that I still remember fondly. Good comparison Chris! Who are our heroes? This one from yesteryear certainly laid forth the good fight for young people and children of color in particular.

Anonymous said...

OLD old school. Why is this stuff so hard for networks to put on now?

However for thepolitical meaning, Fox News would try to find out if Verb and the little kid had any affiliation with violent blacks, or if he'd molested the boy.

CapCity said...

Yep - LOVED me some school house rock! can't u tell by my great grammar! LOL! Good post;-)

Keith B said...

Undoubtedly, VERB is the hippest of all the School House Rock cartoons. I agree that Mr. Verb was the coolest of all the disco era TV superheros and the antithesis to the norm, but one can hardly appreciate Verb without at least an acknowledgment of Hong Kong Fooey (voiced by Scatman Crothers).

On second thought, HK Fooey was a buffoon. Verb it is.

Anonymous said...


What a concept - TV that educates AND entertains! When I look at the vast wasteland that TV is today all I often shake my head and mutter a line borrowed from the movies - "I weep for the future"

plez... said...

one can never go wrong with School House Rock! oh, how i pine for yester year... a kinder, gentler, and much more optimistic time! the CRAPOLA i have to stop my daughter from watching these days is astounding!

Unknown said...

Yes, the old school rules! I have watched the old Johnny Quest episodes in the past few years. I even pulled up the old Japanese shows Jonny Sokko and His Flying Robot and Ultraman.

wallruss said...

I definitely think that Barak Obama is the newest Black Superhero, one for the history books.
I'd say more young people, especially those closer to voting age, are thinking about him than Batman.
Oh and thanks for the School House Rock throwback video.

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