By Maya Satin
Today’s world is turbulent and chaotic. With climate change on the rise, a global pandemic, and the horrible French Smurf rally, I find myself wondering, “What can I do to help make the world a better place?” Then I realize that while there may be things I can do, I don’t need to do them, because I am secure in the knowledge that someone better, brighter and bolder than me will take care of these problems. At least, that’s what I’ve learned from watching superhero movies.
Don’t get me wrong- I’d love to be leading the charge on solving these issues and be a real-world superhero. But, like most people, I’m not an Avenger. I’m just your average Jane. I’m not Captain America punching an alien in the face, I’m the scared lady who ran away when the alien showed up on my block. If I was supposed to be an Avenger, it would be obvious- I’d have obscenely wealthy parents, or I’d be the subject of military experimentation, or I’d be a scientist in the military experimenting on someone else. I don’t have any of those things. I do have a bloated tummy from eating 2 and a half family-sized bags of kettle chips while watching Netflix.
See, in superhero movies, the average Janes and Joes don’t do any day-saving. Their days get saved, and all they have to worry about is running away from the danger. They are like me: Weak, cowardly, self-centered. Human. And at the end of the movie, after the world is saved, the average Janes and Joes are still there to enjoy it, because their meekness kept them safe while others did the work.
That’s what makes superhero movies great. They absolve me (and you) of any responsibility for improving the world. Sure, things seem bad right now. They probably are bad! In fact, the worse things get, the more like a superhero movie real life becomes. And that’s wonderful, because it means that you and I don’t have to put any thought or effort into changing things for the better. There’s no need to try and reduce our carbon footprints by eating less meat or using renewable energy, because someday soon a real-life Captain Planet is going to show up and whoop pollution’s ass! There’s no need to practice “social distancing!" Go to a crowded bar and kiss thirty strangers, don’t worry about a thing, because some supergenius will have a Coronavirus vaccine developed and distributed globally by the end of the week! And there’s no need to berate the French for their terrible Smurf gathering, because nothing could be more embarrassing or shameful than having simply attended the event to begin with!
So the next time you find yourself feeling worried about the icebergs melting or your loved ones falling ill, just remind yourself that it’s not your problem and that everything will be okay. Someone smarter and stronger than you is totally working on fixing these things, so you just relax, put your feet up, and watch Thor on Netflix. Or is it on Hulu now? Or the Disney one? Ugh, too many streaming services, someone should really do something about this. Not me, though. Someone else.