Super Stockpile

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So you're the U.S. government, and you've got a heavy hitter like Superman more or less on your team. He won't fight your foreign wars for you, but you can count on him for antiterrorist actions and emergency rescue operations. But the guy's a loose cannon. What if he goes on a bender, or comes down with Alzheimer's? You love having him on your side, but his power presents an enormous possible threat to national security. You'd have to guard against that possibility, wouldn't you?

I don't keep up with the Superman mythos outside of TV's Smallville, so I don't know how open the secret of kryptonite is. Is it like KFC's seven herbs and spices (everyone knows there's something, but nobody's sure exactly what) or more like JFK's extramarital affairs (everyone knows about it, but it's not considered polite to discuss openly)? Either way, the U.S. government certainly knows that kryptonite can take out the big S. It seems to me that the response would be twofold. First, the government would make kryptonite a controlled-- if not downright illegal-- substance akin to plutonium. It is radioactive after all-- according to Cartoon Network's Justice League, Luthor ultimately contracted cancer after years of carrying a chunk of the space rock on his person. The feds would want to keep kryptonite bullets off the market, and making possession illegal would authorize them to confiscate all samples they discovered.

The second step is a natural consequence of the first-- maintain a heavily guarded, lead-encased government stockpile. Just in case. If Lois Lane is killed by ecoli poisoning at the Metropolis Jack in the Box, we'd want some insurance in case Supes goes postal. Or, you know, decides to rule the planet.

This is what comes of eating lunch alone and seeing a USA Today article about superhero films.

6 Comments

Interesting questions, which are strikingly similar to some of the themes in Supreme Power by J. Michael Straczynski...

I was going to mention that! Supreme is Sweet!
First issue: space ship lands in Ma and Pa Kents back yard, they take the cute lil' space baby home, government knocks on door...

And yet, the article neglects what would be the most interesting statistic (as everyone always does) - number of asses in the seats. I've always believed that if you just count the number of people who saw a given film that it would pale in comparison to a lot of the films in the forties and fifties, and that's why they don't. Can anyone out there verify? I've never seen this stat officially anywhere.

I just heard, not too long ago, a piece on the radio about exactly that: box office v. attendance. Unfortunately, I can't remember where I heard it (though it was certainly on Public Radio).

But one thing they did mention is that some people who care about these things believe that D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation is actually the most-watched-in-the-theater movie, enjoying as it did an almost continuous 10+ year run in the theaters before anyone started taking attendance.

Of course, nobody talks about how many times a particular movie is _seen_ in any venue (including on tape, DVD, HBO, etc). If you take that into account, the Disney Princess movies through the work of my daughter alone.

For what it's worth, Kentucky Fried Chicken used to advertise their "eleven herbs and spices", not seven. They don't any more, possibly because William Poundstone revealed in his book Big Secrets that there are no eleven herbs and spices. The secret formula of Original Recipe chicken has four ingredients: flour, salt, pepper, and monosodium glutamate.

OK, I know this entry is nearly a month old. I'm a little behind on my reading.

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