Steve Witherspoon is the author of the second (of 4!) Comment of the Day reacting to the query as to whether changing Superman’s motto to seeking “a better tomorrow” without any American reference is unethical, as in irresponsible, or disrespectful, or un-American. Here is his intense reaction to “Ethics Quiz: Superman Ethics”:
“If thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought.” George Orwell, 1984
Propaganda, that’s what Orwell was talking about.
Superman’s motto change; “Truth, Justice, and the American way” vs “Truth, Justice, and a better tomorrow.”.
“Is there anything wrong with DC making the Superman motto change?”
In keeping with what I wrote yesterday that “our society and culture has dramatically changed in the 21st century” I’m going to approach this from a changing cultural viewpoint.
Looking at Superman as a idealisticº cultural icon¹ (that’s what the character is) the answer to the question “is there anything wrong with DC making the Superman motto change” has to be no. The fact that they are changing the motto is signature significant, in that this single act is so remarkable that it has predictive and analytical value showing us how much our culture has actually changed and the act should not be dismissed as statistically insignificant. The Superman comic strip and its motto had an underlying theme that was pure propaganda² and that was to promote the American way of life as good, a huge cross section of our culture has moved away from that idealistic view of America and it’s inevitable that as the culture shifts away from American idealism that new propaganda will replace the old. Out with the old, in with the new.
SPECIAL NOTE: I think it’s very significant that we’re this invested in the motto of a comic strip character that was literally the purveyor of idealistic American propaganda.
All that said…