GOTHAM CITY—Several of America’s greatest superheroes, including Superman and Spider-Man, say they “feel dumb” wearing tights and other “design affectations” like capes and masks and have agreed among themselves to stop doing it.
“I’ve never been comfortable flying in my tights,” says Superman, also known as the man of steel. “I started wearing the costume in the late 1930s because I needed to protect my identity. But I also needed to convey a sense of separateness, otherwise people would constantly come to me and say they want to stop trains and out-run bullets. But the world has changed. Today, we have smartphones and tablets. People have moved on. What’s important today is authenticity.”
That sense of authenticity was the theme of the gathering at the Drake Hotel here. “If you notice, businesses are doing away with the whole notion of uniforms,” says Peter Parker, the science graduate student who became Spider-Man in 1962 when he was bit by a radioactive spider. He created his distinctive red and blue costume to shield his identity while he dispatched criminals like Dr. Octopus and the Green Goblin. “Many of the most successful new businesses like Whole Foods Market and Starbucks have done away with employees wearing standardized clothing. At those places, although team members wear identical aprons, they nevertheless wear their own choice of clothing, which not only preserves their individuality, it conveys authenticity.”
“Even the business tie is going away,” says Reed Richards of the Fantastic Four whose ability to stretch enables him to defeat such foes as Dr. Doom. “Anything that tries to mask who you are is quickly becoming a thing of the past, which is why it’s important that we, as superheroes, show leadership by fighting crime as ourselves and not as some fantasy figure whose otherness creates a barrier between us and ordinary people. Even the term ‘ordinary’ is demeaning to people. We should just say ‘people.'”
The one hold-out at the meeting was Wonder Woman, also known as Princess Diana of Themyscira, who argued forcefully that their costumes were integral to their identity. “Yes, sometimes you just want to fight crime in your sweats, but of course you don’t because you know you represent a standard, an ideal. The costumes we wear are integral to that ideal, a personification of it, if you will. I continue to think we’re making a mistake fighting crime as ourselves and not as our ideal.”
As a compromise, the group agreed that Wonder Woman could continue to wear some form of distinctive touch to her outfit if she chose, to account for her royal background as a princess.
“She really does bring a different perspective, because she stems from Amazonian royalty,” says Daredevil, whose real name is Matt Murdock.
Another compromise lets superheroes who possess no super powers, such as Batman and Green Arrow, to continue to wear distinctive clothing, because as crime fighters who can’t draw on extraordinary capabilities, their costume is integral to their ability to cow enemies. “Bruce Wayne didn’t stay for the entire meeting, because he had a dinner, but he did make clear while he was here that he would be put at a disadvantage against the Joker and the Penguin, among other enemies, if he couldn’t draw on the mysteriousness of his costume,” says Daredevil. “And we agreed that his point makes a lot of sense. So, unless he gets hit with a dose of radiation or something and develops a super power as a result, he can run around in his tights all he wants. We get it.”
The other key compromise concerns superheroes who rely on elements of their costume for their super power. Among these superheroes are Thor, who needs his hammer to manipulate the weather in extreme ways, and Captain America, who relies on his shield as both an indestructible source of protection and as a weapon.
The group of superheroes stopped for a drink at the Drake lobby bar to toast their agreement. Bar patrons didn’t bother them because the superheroes were all dressed as themselves and not as their alter egos. There was one confusing moment when Clark Kent heard a cry of distress about a mile away and announced, “This is a job for Clark Kent,” in his commanding baritone before flying off to see if he could be of assistance. But things quickly returned to normal, because it was clear among the patrons at the bar that he was just a man doing his job, which is exactly the kind of reaction the superheroes had hoped their policy change would bring about. “Now we can just live our lives and be ordinary people,” says Peter Parker. “Plus, we don’t have to run around in tights, which has always been an embarrassment for me.”
This is a work of satire. It is fictional news article not meant to be taken seriously. Photos: st, ga, and sh (Creative Commons). Not necessarily an endorsed use of images.
Cross-dressing Society Sues Garment Industry for Not Making Women’s Clothes That Fit Men, and Vice Versa
Calling it “unconscionable” that no women’s clothes are made to fit men, and vice versa, the North American Cross-Dressing Society filed lawsuits in the United States and Canada today against the garment industry in the hopes of forcing manufacturers to end size discrimination. “These lawsuits are for cross-dressers everywhere who are tired of the slim pickings they find at clothing racks across the United States and Canada,” says John Sebers, president of the cross-dressers group and a cross-dresser who lives in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “In a day and age when heroes like Caitlin Jenner are breaking down barriers for transgender people, we cross-dressers continue to find our favorite coordinates and our essential mix-and-match outfits completely mis-sized for us.” More.
Saying it shouldn’t just be straight couples who lead lives of bonded servitude and imprisonment, Dave Turner of Indianapolis has come out in support of the right of gays to marry. “Taking out the garbage, withholding sex for some petty reason—sure, if gays want to institutionalize their misery, let them go for it,” says Turner, 42, manager at an auto parts distribution center. Turner says he recognizes that gay couples already have good relationships or bad relationships, just as married straight couples do, but the difference is that married straight coupes have institutionalized their misery, while gay couples are still free, at least in the eyes of the community, or the law, to split whenever they want. “So, if they want to tie their hands in the same way my hands are tied to my wife, they should be free to do that,” he says. More.
NASA today released a stunning image of the famous “Martian face” rock formation in which the “mouth” appears to be turned upward, as if smiling. The image was taken about 12 hours after a previous image of the mouth-like crevice is shown expressing no particular emotion in a way that’s similar to thousands of previous pictures of the formation that have been taken. “It’s really a remarkable image sequence,” says Kristin Rogers, NASA chief of geological imaging. “We are starting with the assumption that the change in appearance is simply a change in the angle of light on the surface features. But we’re not prepared to say that with certainty, because it’s a shift we haven’t seen before.” More.
NEW YORK CITY—One of the top art critics in the United States today said abstract art, from Jackson Pollock to Pablo Picasso to Willem de Kooning, is “just plain dumb” and people are “morons for buying into this crap.” Richard Bartley, the Richard Colby Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History at Harvard University, whose books are widely considered the gold standard among critics, is raising an outcry with his remarks, which he gave at a gallery opening here. Bartley called today’s art industry a “total con game” in which people are suckered into buying “meaningless brush strokes of paint” on canvas and other media that have no worth outside of the market that artists, dealers, curators, and investors have created. More.
Allan Harper just did some stretching, a sit-up, a couple of push-ups, and jogged around the block in his first workout in almost a decade, but unfortunately there’s not the slightest improvement in his body—as far as he can see. “It’s not that I expected to look like Charles Atlas or anything, but I thought I’d look a little tighter or something,” says Harper a 39-year-old policy analyst in Washington. Harper’s been meaning to get back into workout mode for years, especially since several of his friends have taken up running and his girlfriend is starting to make snide remarks about his weight. But it’s hard to get started. “I don’t want to just start doing some sit-ups, you know? I want to build it into my lifestyle.” More.
Saying it’s impossible to be mad when you skip, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for leaders around the world to take up skipping, the “hippity-hoppity” gait that comes so naturally to children. “If you remember the last time you skipped, you will no doubt remember feeling frisky and carefree,” Ban said in a statement released today. The U.N. last week passed a referendum declaring the week of Dec. 18-25 World Skipping Week, which the international organization hopes will inspire people everywhere to skip rather than fight. More.
Officer Jeff Barnes of the Emes, Iowa, police force has big plans for when he retires in three years: start his own consulting business for criminals who are prepared to pay good money for ideas on how not to get caught. “After 25 years in police work, I have an expertise that will command a pretty penny for those who are worried about committing a crime that they’re not sure they can get away with,” says Barnes, a lieutenant. Prior to coming to Emes in 2008, he was with the Columbus, Ohio, police force for 19 years. Barnes said he was something of a petty criminal himself before he enrolled in the Columbus police academy and became an officer one year later. “I stole a car once,” he says, “but mostly it was small stuff: candy, cigarettes, and beer from 7-Eleven, a wallet from Sears—you know, nothing to write home about, although I’m proud to say I went about a four-year stretch without paying a cent for beer.” More.
Thousands of families in cities across the United States today thanked the National Rifle Association for instilling a culture of fear throughout America with its demonization of anyone who talks about regulations to keep automatic weapons out of the hands of criminals and people with a history of mental illness. “It’s with our deepest gratitude that we, families of America, extend our thanks to the National Rifle Association for everything it has done to create ‘communities of fear’ across our great country,” the families said in a statement released today. “Thanks to its resolute stand that families like ours should take our security in our own hands, whether by hiring private security guards or keeping guns under our pillow at night, we live in a growing state of fear and distrust. And that’s something the NRA deserves credit for.” More.
Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin implemented sweeping guardianship laws yesterday that prohibit men from doing many of the things they’ve been accustomed to doing, like marrying without their mother’s permission, leaving the house without a female escort, and signing contracts without a female co-signature. “Men have been responsible for most of the disasters in the world throughout history, including wars, environmental destruction, and domestic violence,” says Fallin, who was elected Oklahoma’s first woman governor in 2011. “It’s time to stop the madness, so as of yesterday, thanks to the law passed by our state legislature, men can only marry with their mother’s permission and can leave the house only when accompanied by a woman, among other provisions that serve to protect men, women, and in fact our communities.” More.
Back in the good ol’ days you could get away with things like makin’ up stories from a war zone,” Brian Williams says. The well-known NBC Nightly News anchor is on leave from his job following revelations he misled the public about his experience in Iraq while reporting on the U.S.-led invasion there 12 years ago. “It’s social media that’s ruining everything. Facebook, Twitter—how’s a guy supposed to buff his image when he can’t even tell a little tale without the whole frickin’ world knowin’ about it?” We caught up with Williams at a bar in New York City to find out how he’s doing since stepping down from his duties at NBC. We were joined by other prominent figures who’ve been ground up in the social media maw. More.