Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The President on Television, and A Look at "World's Finest Comics" #235

President Obama has appeared on several "entertainment" type shows lately- The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Tonight Show with Conan O'Brien, and The Colbert Report- and someone at The Baltimore Sun named David Zurawik is a little unsettled by some of it:

I am also concerened about President Barack Obama getting involved with the faux show and taping a message to Colbert and Odierno that was played on the show. In the message, Obama ordered Odierno to cut Colbert's hair. Does the president's involvement in the shtick not undercut the life and death seriousness of war? And is there any latenight show the president doesn't have time for?

To anyone concerned about a powerful man going on television for seemingly trivial reasons, I would like to direct you to the modestly-titled "World's Finest Comics," issue 235, dated January 1976. In it, Clark Kent delivers a stinging "Special Comment" during his nightly newscast for WGBS:

Accusing someone of being involved in "uncool capers" is obviously strong stuff, and Sagittarius, the object of the "Special Comment" doesn't want to take his medicine, so immediately begins litigation. Clark's response is fantastic, and a devastating critique of journalism that is relevant, even today: "What I said could have meant anything!"

(Aside: How "uncool" is it for Superman, in his secret identity, to appear every night on a television newscast? I realize that Superman would vibrate his face whenever anyone took a photo of him, thereby obscuring his features, but still, doesn't that seem risky?)

Anyway, Clark is suspended, but he still wants to get back on the air to deliver another withering blast of advocacy journalism, so he gets the producer to agree to let Superman to appear in his place, to deliver the local news for Metropolis.

That's right. The most powerful person on the planet decides to step in and read the news on television. It doesn't take him long to alienate the producer:

"Sagittarius, the sinister mentalist, had better stop his not too legal actions! Justice is closing in on--"

Way to take a stand, Superman. No wonder Lex Luthor was never really afraid of you. (At least he didn't use the same "hep cat" jargon Clark used in his "Special Comment"- otherwise someone might have tumbled to the fact that they're both actually the same person. Someone at WGBS, or the Daily Planet Newspaper. Where, you know, journalists work.)

Superman/Clark Kent's plan ultimately works, and the sinister mentalist is eventually brought to justice (Spoiler Alert: He dies by tripping and falling into an empty grave, breaking his neck).

The President, who is a comic book collector himself, understands that there are times when powerful people have to make television appearances that might to others seem trivial, but are in fact necessary to achieve a certain goal. His appearance on "Colbert," for example, was more "for the troops" than Colbert. His appearance on "Leno" had something to do with pitching his economic plan. And of course he appeared on "Conan" to catch a sinister mentalist.

By the way, the cover of "World's Finest Comics" no. 235 is one of the greatest of the Bronze Age:

Superman, with a wonderfully shocked look on his face, is being grasped by a giant hand (the ring finger of which appears to be in his crotch) that squeezes him so hard that his head pops off the top of his body. Batman, running at top speed, is helpless to stop the carnage.

Of course, the story has nothing to do with the amazing premise suggested by cover- the "Superman" grasped by the "giant hand" turns out to be a toy built for inclusion in a scale model for "New Metropolis," which is an entirely new city to be built right beside the original Metropolis "to siphon off excess population, empty the ghettos, provide jobs and a better environment for all!"

All worthy goals- but what's that got to do with Superman's head getting squeezed off?

Barack Obama is like Superman.

Barack Obama with Superman pic source.

1 comment:

Miss Malevolent said...

I'm tired of seeing his smug mug everywhere...

And yes, just like I got tired of Bush going on vacation instead of buckling down and doing the work of the people, I get tired of Obama's social bunny schtick.

Our country's leaders are a joke now. It's absolutely pathetic.