Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Madness and the Superman


Here I am as Superman.

Well, here I am performing a singing telegram as a Superman-type character who does not violate any copyright or trademark laws.

This picture was taken in 1982 or so.  In those days, I managed to perform over 2,000 singing telegrams across the St. Louis area for Eastern Onion and for Krazy Tunes.  The Superman telegram would go like this: I'd walk into a public place, such as an office or a restaurant, dressed in a business suit.  I'd ask for the birthday girl. 

When I found her, I'd say, "I've got a surprise for you for your birthday!" rip off my business suit (which was held together by velcro) and reveal my super-hero costume underneath.

Then I'd sing a birthday song, with the victim wearing a party hat and accompanying me on a party horn.  As you can see above.

***

One day, I performed a super-gram in downtown St. Louis.  I left the high rise and was walking to my car, dressed as Superman in tights and a cape.

Standing in front of the downtown Walgreen's was a crazy guy.

This was the famous crazy guy that all the cops knew.  He was probably 70 years old, and he would stand in front of Walgreen's every day holding up a sign telling everyone that his thoughts were being controlled by mysterious forces.  He saw me and began engaging me in conversation.  He told me that the Jews had inverted the law, and that that's why he was protesting in front of Walgreen's - because the Greens were Jews and "Wal" was "Law" spelled backwords, "Wal + Greens = Inverted-Law + Jews"

I talked to the crazy guy for a good fifteen minutes, with people passing by on the busy sidewalk.  He never once noticed I was dressed as Superman.

***

"He's imprisoned," I told a friend later.  "He's so locked in on himself and his own paranoid theories that he can't even engage the outside world."

Such is madness.  It is a prison.  It is narrowness.

Dale Ahqluist says of G. K. Chesterton

Chesterton shows that madness is narrowness – as he would later describe it as “the clean, well-lit prison of one idea.” He makes a remarkable connection between madness and idolatry. Idolatry is also narrowness. The worship of the false god leads to madness, because the false god will always be less than the real God.
Idolatry leads to smallness; it confines us.  And the smallest of idols is paradoxically the Superman. 

When we make man super or supreme, when man becomes the measure of all good, when we worship either our greed or our lust - sex or money - we go mad.  And we don't break out into madness, we break down, we break in.

Chesterton again ...

Madness does not come by breaking out, but by giving in; by settling down in some dirty, little, self-repeating circle of ideas.
And this dirty little self-repeating circle of ideas could be ideas about the biggest things in the world - sex, money, the Jews and their never-ending conspiracy - but the self-repeating circle gets smaller and smaller, until we become the tiniest of creatures in the tiniest of cages.

The worldly false prophets of release and liberation - be they sexual libertines or economic libertarians - are not selling liberty at all. 

They are selling the opposite.

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