So, I payed a little more attention to this superhero as hero worship thing then I intended to. Partly because The House of Leaves is run by a pretty fantastic wordsmith, and partly because there is a tone behind certain counter arguments that is becoming concerning.
My original stance hasn’t changed, mind you. I still, largely, don’t care. It’s become less about the practice and more about the rhetoric.
I don’t take Scientology seriously; when it’s founder can be quoted as saying how he was going to make a fortune by starting a religion? I don’t buy it. Saying that I have issue with the practice or that I don’t take it seriously isn’t hate speech. I’m not plotting to kill, injure, or systematically ridicule people who find something of merit in the words of Elrond Hubbard.
I don’t take Mormonism seriously; when God suddenly seems to changes his mind about people of African descent, I’m less then open minded. How can the omnipotent, omnipresent God of Abraham issue a retcon and still be God? Sorry, I’m never going to be able to accept that as anything other then a political move…and portraying it as a “revelation from God” denigrates the credibility of the faith as a whole. Again, however, this opinion does not involve me planning to cause bodily or emotional injury to any member of the Church of Latter Day Saints. I think they’re wrong; I do not think that they’re sub-human, beneath me, or that their existence is an abomination to my Gods.
Some people worship Batman. As above, I can analyze this path and find places where it contradicts my spirituality and common sense. Also, as above, I’m not about to maim anyone who decides they want to worship Batman.
“I think you’re wrong.” isn’t hate speech. It can cause the listener a degree of stress, no doubt. That stress, however, is the kind of stress we all need to face at some point or another. It strengthens us, and it is often one of the most critical parts of any hero’s backstory. The X-Men are less profound without the detractors. So, in turn, may I say the same for Batman, Spider-Man, and just about any other entity from comics. You want to worship a super hero? You want that strength and power of personality within your own person? Good!
THEN ACT LIKE ONE!
Batman doesn’t go around, tossing ad hominems and sipping on “haterade“; he’s Batman, and Bruce Wayne couldn’t give an ounce of bat guano about anyone thinks about him or his alter ego. He doesn’t toss out insults. He isn’t disrespectful. He does what others aren’t capable of doing, and doesn’t expect a thank you. You want to put a Jungian archetype to that? Rock on with your self; pardon me while I opt out, but you have yourself a wonderful time.
However, when you consider being disagreed with as worse then what fundamentalist groups do to anyone who isn’t themselves a fundamentalist? You make it impossible to take you seriously as a person, no matter your faith. It’s not about you worshiping Batman anymore; it’s about you being disrespectful to actual pain and suffering experienced by real life people. To the side of that, I can’t take your practice seriously either; why are you worshiping Batman if you have no interest in taking on his morality and decorum? If someone one insults Batman, what does Batman do?
What does just about any superhero do?
You want to do this? Knock your damn socks off. Just don’t expect anyone to take you or your ideals seriously until you start doing something with them.