Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Super heroes don't have to be angry

One of my nephews is a gifted artist . Draws incredibly well . A good combination of imagination and talent . On a recent visit he showed me his drawing books which had a mix of abstract images , trees , earth images and lots of super heroes . I was struck by his artistic ability . After seeing 2 books I realized that all the super heroes had one thing in common . They all looked angry (varying degrees of anger ) . I looked at my nephew . He's a sweet and gentle 8 year old . I could not understand why all his super heroes looked so angry . On asking why this was so he was somewhat puzzled . To help him understand my question I showed him some of super hero images he had drawn and especially some character called 'The Incredible Hulk' . A look of understanding dawned on him and he replied " don't you know the super heroes have to be angry to be powerful ? They get their power only when they are angry ". After recovering from this answer I asked him to draw a happy super hero for me . He could not recollect a single super hero who looks happy (or rather who does not look angry ). I suggested Superman ( hey , at least he does not look angry ) . He drew Superman in a few minutes and gazed at (possibly) his first non-angry superhero . I assured him that super heroes can be powerful and happy .

Clearly there's a whole bunch of irresponsible commercial organizations responsible for children holding the view that super heroes derive their power from their anger . What then would children do to feel powerful ? 

In my nephew's case this belief could be identified because of his artistic expression . What about kids who don't draw but hold the view that anger is a/the source of power ? Or some such misguided notion. 

The tragedy is that misguided notions don't always end with childhood. They morph into deep beliefs which form the foundation for many adult lives...
Money makes you powerful 
Your success is primarily determined by your monetary wealth
The end justifies the means
I am powerful because people report to me (applicable to corporate types)
I was only doing my job 
If I don't follow the system I'll be ostracized 
I am just one (powerless ) person . What can I do ?
My religion is more important that yours
It is important to be seen as being successful and powerful
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Welcome to the modern day world . 




3 comments:

RAHUL AITHAL said...

true.. A super hero should be charming, smiling, mischievous, flirtatious, sangfroid, task-master, solution-seeker and above all a friend by your side in dire cirumstances. Character of Lord Krishna fits the category.

Arvind said...

Try think of it. A whole generation grew up with Amitabh Bachhan as the Angry Young Man - the character to emulate. It takes lots of time to conceive something that will not have a detremental efrfect. Once I needed to make an illustration of "Prosperity" that I needed to use in villages. It took me two months. Options like a tractor or a pucca house had to be discarded.

Neelakantan said...

And brick by brick the mindset grows into an immovable object. Good that you took a brick off that kids "wip" mindset :)