AJ Valliant Arbitrarily ranks: The greatest men that ever lived , Martyrs part 3

March 28, 2007

CONTINUED FROM JESUS AND MALCOLM X

SPIDERMAN

BREAKDOWN:
Like all great men Peter started in the gutter. Orphaned, awkward, a pointdexter pariah that couldn’t even get his science on without being bitten by a radioactive spider. The only women in his early life was his 117 year old aunt; the only male role model, an uncle who’s death he was indirectly responsible for. And then he got Powers[1].

It was Bens death that taught him the big lesson “With great power, comes great responsibility”. A little dry and preachy on the surface, but when you interpret it the way Peter did it’s as poignant a guiding principle as any. Get this: essentially the greater your power and influence is, the higher your obligation to use that power for your fellowman…regardless of the impact on your own happiness. There is depersonalization; a shifting of your locus of being from self centered identity, to a force in service of an ideal.
  What Spiderman got more than any other hero, was that to really serve society you have to be fully immersed in it, but never really belong. You suffer as the masses do, but you cannot turn to them for comfort and connection. He was painfully apart from his world but never turned away: no fortress of solitude, billionaire bat cave, or clubhouse of peers to share the burden. He understood that the price of greatness is to be everything for them, but not them.

——————————————————-

STYLE: 8
Motherfucker’s spectacular: you think they just call someone that for nothing?
They just give that shit out like bibles at a bus stop…well they don’t. When he first got his abilities he was a scrawny sixteen year old with limited social skills….two weeks later he’s wrapping his buck thirty five of spider enhanced beef in a homemade spandex suit and brawling with Villians and murders that could kill him with one clean shot.                     

 Seriously, the dude swung around town in plain sight, waiting for his spider sense to go off so he could fight criminals…who were almost certainly going to escape any charges in court do to the nature of the arrest…and he did all of this while talking more trash than anyone since Bugs Bunny (back when he was allowed to use racial slurs).

    The thing with Spiderman: he didn’t cherry pick his villains and crimes like most heroes. He would fight the lowest level of street crime and hooliganism, yet if Galactus showed up in Queens you can be damn sure he would have at least given it a shot. And what really made him special is he was scared shitless the whole time. He knew how relatively fragile he was, and despite it’s crappiness he loved his life, yet without fail he threw himself into mayhem well beyond his capabilities. The only superhero I ever saw use a public payphone to try and call multiple other superhero teams, since he knew the rampaging villain way out his league. And when he couldn’t get a hold anyone, then ran out of quarters, he just fought the guy anyways….and won. (for the record it was Firelord he was fighting.) All the fear and insecurities of a regular guy; superhero responsibilities…and a sack so big I’m shocked he could swing with chaffing a hole in his suit.

—————————————————————————————

SHORT TERM IMPACT/LONG TERM IMPACT: 10/7

Every now again something would come up and Spiderman would have to save the entire world. That’s right, not a city, or country, or some abstract ideology….the entire goddamn planet. Cosmic cubes, Serpent Crowns…I think he punched the Beyonder in the neck once. It’s wasn’t his modus operandi, but it happened often enough to provide some nice resume padding. I suppose that counts for long and short term impact.

In a more grounded sense Spider Man gave hope to generations of skinny poor kids with glasses that you didn’t need a perfect life to be a hero. Even if you were awkward and strange you could still protect the people you loved, and stand up to overwhelming oppressors (and  occasionally beat the tar out of them). As much hype as the “With great power, comes great responsibility” line got, the real lesson of Spiderman was always: The more responsibility you take for yourself and others, the more powerful you become.

———————————————————————————–

COULD I DO THE SAME THING IF SUFFICIENTLY MOTIVATED: 9

A big part of my admiration for Spiderman comes from the recognition I do not have his temperament. You put me in the sort of Columbineesque pressures he was under in High school, then give me superpowers… lets just say Flash Thompson would have become captain of the wheelchair pep squad. Even with vastly more limited physical resources I responded to bullying in a pretty direct manner, and had certain criminal predilections. With my hard won adult maturity I might stand a chance at being a self sacrificing hero; the angry 16 year old A.J., with big glasses and a bad mullet, would have been subject of nation wide manhunt three days after the venom hit my veins.

Additionally: Spiderman invented a miracle compound to replicate webbing…in his bedroom with a chemistry set…when he was 16…because he felt it would suit his costumes motif…in like three days. If I manage to butter my toast all the way to the edges I feel my material science capacities strained to their limits.
————————————————————————–

DID THEY EVER KILL A MAN: 1

Just his Uncle Ben.
————————————————————————————-
QUALITY OF POP CULTURE HOMAGE TO THEM: 10
There is a lot more, but this is enough.

————————————————————————————–
WILDCARD: 3
It’s must be really hard to keep your game up when you have such inconsistent quality of opposition. On Monday your fighting some giant Rhino looking bastard that can crush buildings; Wednesday your up against some douchebag in a pin striped suit with a metal plate in his head. That not a power, it’s a disability.

————————————————————————————–
TOTAL SCORE AND ASSESSMENT: 39
Much more then he was a man with the proportionate strength of a Spider, he was a man. As absurd as it sounds he was the person who (outside of my family) taught me more about what being a man is then any other. Be brave. Take care of the people you love. Mourn your losses, but pay the price for your decisions without complaint. And above all: sometime you need to throw your self into a situation that is beyond you, because that’s who you are.

{1} Ok, so he got powers before his uncle Ben died. Writing it like that would have really messed up the flow the intro.

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23 Responses to “AJ Valliant Arbitrarily ranks: The greatest men that ever lived , Martyrs part 3”

  1. Esmerelda Sconeflinger Says:

    ”As much hype as the “With great power, comes great responsibility” line got, the real lesson of Spiderman was always: The more responsibility you take for yourself and others, the more powerful you become.”

    Brilliant.

  2. SG Says:

    Sounds very Libertarian to me.


  3. “Sounds very Libertarian to me.”

    Spot on. Both the piece, and my own political ideology


  4. Thanks you Esmeralda…I though you would appreciate that part.

  5. HitTheRhodes Says:

    “…the angry 16 year old A.J. with big glasses and a bad mullet would have been subject of nation wide manhunt three days after the venom hit my veins.”

    If only you could fly, AJ. If only you could fly…


  6. “If only you could fly, AJ. If only you could fly…”

    Thank you for riding your horse of salt through my deepest wound…Damn you Arron Sanchez!

  7. w0rmwood Says:

    Brilliant stuff sir, Spiderman was always my hero as well.

    Personally i never have been able to equate you with Libertarianism.

    I think once, when you were younger, you were infatuated with Libertarianism and, as infatuated men are apt to do, asked it out.

    But things didnt go well, Libertarianism started disrespecting you and stealing your socks.

    So you did the only thing you could, you and your pose (Zarathustra, Harry Haller, and some meth-ed out Peruvian mercinaries) lured Libertarianism out into the woods, and beat the stuffing out of it.

    You stole its pants and its ideal of self-ownership, left it in the gutter (probably where it was found by middle America) and never looked back.

  8. HitTheRhodes Says:

    “Damn you Arron Sanchez!”

    At least my name isn’t “Milk Sanchez”…

  9. w0rmwood Says:

    At least my name isn’t “Milk Sanchez”

    creepy, i was just thinking that…

  10. Esemerleda Sconeflinger Says:

    Spot on Wormwood.

    A noticeable change took place in AJ around the time his socks started to disappear. But he accrued from then on a startling amount of black slacks, much of which, mysteriously, were ripped through and through in the crotch.

    We all (and by all, I mean Jaybird, Pawtucked, Felicia and I, plus a few concerned representatives from the interpsecial-love Penguin-Panda Congress)immediately started suspecting it had to do with that dastardly Libertarianism of his, but he refused to have his pants mended and wore the few socks of his left many weeks on end, until they took on a life of their own (I still hear one in my closet at night, rumaging around for its prey of dust-bunnies).


  11. Esmar, Wormwy: Yeah, I definitely ascribe to a home brewed patchwork Libertarianism. It’s just handy to have a one word shortcut to give a general sense of politcal ideology is passing conversation.

    “You stole its pants and its ideal of self-ownership,”

    I’m sure Notmike know the real culprit behind that crime.

  12. engtech Says:

    But things didnt go well, Libertarianism started disrespecting you and stealing your socks.

    This is explains both the often mismatched socks, and the tendency AJ has to also steal socks.

  13. max Says:

    Aww. Spidey is one of my favorites.

    Say your imaginary people do not travel do they? They stay here? That could get a little spooky.

  14. thekenji Says:

    I’d say AJ has a ‘libertarian sense of honour’. And honour and respect are pretty high on his list so that’s where it all comes from.

    I feel the ironic thing about practical libertarianism is that it ideally takes a certain archetype of person to make it work; but the nature of that personality (especially in our society) is often to act in a way that is not truly libertarian.

    But anyway…

    Loved the post. I was never a comic book guy (more of an anime guy) but it was still very alluring.

  15. NotMike Says:

    First of all, “Milk Sanchez” is a name I think I’ve really grown into.

    Second of all, that no good webslinger killed Gwen Stacy! He’s a menace, I tell you! A MENACE!


  16. A noticeable change took place in AJ around the time his socks started to disappear. But he accrued from then on a startling amount of black slacks, much of which, mysteriously, were ripped through and through in the crotch.

    I cannot even read beyond this comment. It plays in my head like a record – broken, scratchy, but classic.

  17. monkey Says:

    And on his ego he, a story wrote
    One full of bluster, aspirations grand
    Some paid no heed, said he was but a mote
    Some disagreed, said he had made a stand
    All this worked beautifully to buttress his ambition
    In God’s eye to be lodged – a jagged grain of sand.

  18. max Says:

    Wow. You are a very poetic monkey.

  19. Anonymous Says:

    What, no commentary on Wolverine?

  20. engtech Says:

    Wolverine steals your shit.

    It’s the Wolverine mindset.

    I can’t help it.

    re: Marvel Ultimate Alliance


  21. Never let the facts get in the way, AJ. Spiderman never did.


  22. “Never let the facts get in the way, AJ. Spiderman never did.”

    Facts are just opinions with a sense of entitlement.


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