Growing up, most of the comic books I read starred superheroes who society feared and hated. Yet month after month, Spider-Man or the X-Men or whoever would fight to save those people.

It was <i>Just What You Did</i> back then. A bit of <i>noblesse oblige</i> mingled with the assumption that, whatever the publicメs lack of thankfulness, they fundamentally deserved the heroメs best efforts. These stories assumed too that the status quo, for which the hero was ultimately fighting, deserved to survive.

Yet nowadays, there are lots of <i>Just What You Did</i> type things that are being exposed as shams. Buying a house and taking on a mortgage was once something you just did. So was taking on mountains of debt for what were often worthless degrees. Among men, word is getting out that marriage is financial Russian Roulette. Each stands revealed as a societal sucker deal.

Fighting for a society that hates you is another legacy idea that deserves to die. By all means, stop the bad guy from blowing up the world because thatメs where you keep all your stuff. But for the more day-to-day herowork, what’s the point? Why do it for the ungrateful and undeserving?

Why save the reporter that, depending on the needs of the party, will just writes lies about you anyway?

Why save the people from a would-be dictator when, left to their own devices, they increasingly elects thugs anyway?

Why protect a country from foreign spies when its government is the biggest spy of its own citizens?

What good stopping the bank robber when peopleメs money is taken from them quite legally by the state, and then used to buy votes from preferred groups?

And on and on.

The future of superhero stories isnメt in fighting for a society that hates them, putting their abilities in the service of the corrupt and undeserving. Itメs in showing how heroes might uproot a rotten order, and replace it with something better.

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