Being a regular kind of dude, I have to admit I’m not a frequent (or even infrequent) consumer of The New Yorker. However, last week I read several notices and received a few emails informing me that The New Yorker had published an article focusing on two of my favorite literary subjects: Michael Chabon and superheroes.
Of course, Michael Chabon wrote the article about superheroes, so that made it all the more enticing. Before I could read it online, a friend loaned me the magazine. I don’t know which I found more impressive: the fact he thought enough of me to go out of his way to loan me his copy of The New Yorker, or the fact someone living in Central Illinois subscribed to The New Yorker.
Nonetheless, as I waited to meet my wife at a local restaurant, I finally took the time to read Chabon’s cerebral article titled “Secret Skin: An Essay in Unitard Theory.”
This is an essay about adults’ misunderstanding of superheroes and the significance they have on the imaginations of children. Or, this essay is about how superheroes’ choice of clothing often reveals the very secrets they go to great pains to hide. No? Okay, this article is about the beauty of the human form, and how the greatest superheroes have the simplest costumes and thus reveal humanity’s potential for greatness. That doesn’t work for you, either, huh? Let’s try … this article is about the fact that a superhero’s costume can never truly be replicated in real life because it is more than just a unitard, it is the essence of all that hero symbolizes and such ideology cannot be sewn.
All right … I admit it. I don’t know exactly what this article was about. I’m not even sure if Chabon knew his “thesis statement.” He does, however, manage to churn out a fascinating read that, while difficult to follow, brings forth several interesting points about superheroes, their choice of clothing, and the plight of humanity.
Hey, Chabon is a winner of the Pulitzer Prize, his book called The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay is a love letter to the world of comic books, and he’s an admitted fan of the genre. The guy can write whatever he wants however he wants as far as I’m concerned.
I’m glad he chose this topic and I’m glad The New Yorker published it. Superheroes (in one form or another) have always been a part of the social conscience, and it’s high time everyone admitted to that. Whether it be Heracles, King Arthur, or Superman, stories of those with great power fighting for others have always been magnetic to mankind.
And who hasn’t wondered about those tights? Seriously, underwear over leggings? What’s up with that?
If you’d like to read Chabon’s article, high diction and all, hit the link at: