Sunday, October 26, 2008

The Epic Song of Superman in Five Parts: Part Four

Part Four

“A Pocketful of Kryptonite”

 When Superman is painted a braggart, a fascist, a misogynist, it’s no surprise that the next batch of songs decides “enough is enough.” But instead of fighting the real enemy, and without making the distinction that heroes are contextual, they decide to take down the man of Steel himself. How’s the best way to do that? Kryptonite, of course…

 The Spin Doctors take on the alter ego of uber-nerd in “Jimmy Olson’s Blues.” Watch out, because “Superman’s pal,” maybe after listening to Eminem, doesn’t think Lois is with the right guy:


It drives me up the wall and through the roof/

Lois and Clark in a telephone booth/

I think I’m going out of my brain/

I got it so bad for little miss Lois lane/


Jimmy tells Lois:

Lois lane please put me in your plan/

Yeah, Lois Lane you don’t need no super man/

Come on downtown and stay with me tonight/

I got a pocket full of kryptonite/


Jimmy, of course, the score:


I’m Jimmy Olsen, not a titan, you see/

He’s faster than a bullet, stronger than a train

I can’t believe my dilemma is real/

I’m competing with the man of steel


Women want the man, not the nerd…and while I pointed out earlier that one of the flaws of Superman is the “brawn over brains” approach, and that it’s admirable that Jimmy is reading Shakespeare instead of leaping tall buildings in a single bound…well, it’s not that Jimmy wants to build himself up, but to take Superman down…and if he’s not able to take him down physically, he can do it psychologically, with mental Kryptonite, which we find Three Doors Down: let’s point out that not even Superman can solve everything, and punish him with his own virtue for not being omniscient:


I took a walk around the world to

Ease my troubled mind/

I left my body laying somewhere

In the sands of time/

I watched the world float to the dark

Side of the moon/

I feel there is nothing I can do


 Superman tries to defend himself, saying


You called me strong, you called me weak

But your secrets I will keep /

You took for granted all the times I

Never let you down/

You stumbled in and bumped your head, if

Not for me then you would be dead/

I picked you up and put you back

On solid ground/


Still, the damage is done:


If I go crazy then will you still

Call me Superman/

If I'm alive and well will you be

There holding my hand/

I'll keep you by my side with my

Superhuman might/



 With this dose of Kryptonite, the Man of Steel has been emasculated…in this weakened state, the “man of tomorrow” can barely get out of bed…the man who can move planets can’t even get it up, as we are told by Five for Fighting:

I can't stand to fly/

I'm not that naive/

Mean weren't meant to ride/

with clouds between their knees

And if that weren't enough, we find the Man of Steel given to self-deprecation:

I’m only a man in a silly red sheet/

Digging for kryptonite on this one way street/

Only a man in a funny red sheet/

Looking for special things inside of me/

And the would-be nail in the coffin:

Up, up and away...away from me/

It’s all can all sleep sound tonight/

I’m not crazy...or anything.../

Is this the way our heroes end, not with a bang, but a whimper?

 NEXT: Conclusion: Doomsday