Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nikolai Gogol and the Superheros of Literature

You guessed it form the title: OurDad has a new book, and so it's off to Lit Land again as he tries to explain his latest find at the used book store.

"This guy created the anti-hero. His stuff is both sad and hilarious at the same time. He captured the absurdity of real life 100 years before Kafka."

Now there's trouble. Once he mentions Kafka I know the full-on lecture is coming, complete with another reading about that bug again. I had to think fast.

"A hundred years before the communists made Russia really absurd, and 100 years before Orwell, " OurDad continued.

Now Orwell and that Farm book. I was in real trouble, and GreatMom wasn't home to save us with orders to go clean our rooms. I had to get him off track and I thought of just the thing.

"So dad is he a hero or an anti-hero? Is he like say Superman or Lex Luthor?" Misdirection it never fails.

"Son it's not that simple. First off William Shakespeare is the Superman of literature, and Lex Luthor of literature-- that would be L. Ron Hubbard. Gogol would be one of those obscure nearly forgotten heroes maybe one of those mixed up anti-heroes, not all bad but good in a bad way. Actually Gogol might be the Northstar of literature. He was the first superhero to come out the the closet, but really it's only speculation the Gogol was a homosexual." I realized this was backfiring terribly, and it could only get worse if I didn't work fast to control the conversation.

So if this Shakespeare person is Superman, who's Batman, or Spiderman? Who are the other super villains of literature? OurDad thought for a minute and I could see a light at the end of the tunnel.

"Batman-- a heavy hitter, very popular, a dark side, but with no real super powers-- maybe Steven King. Spiderman-- that's got to be some satirist, very popular-- Of course that's Sam Clemens, better know by his secret identities Mark Twain and Kurt Vonnegut.

"So who's Wonder Woman dad?" That stumped him and thank God I could get back to my homework.

That's our dad...


SourDad said...

So do you agree?
Shakespeare = Superman
King = Batman
Clemens = Spiderman
Hubbard = Lex Luthor

Is Joyce the Riddler

So who are your picks for the Superheros, anti-heros, and Supervillans of literature?

And just who would you call Wonder Woman? Please no JCO.

Miranda said...

Hubbard is NOT Luthor. Luthor actually was competent and not necessarily evil while Hubbard is just evil. And a bad writer. Although certainly not stupid since he figured out a system for parting clueless celebs from their cash.

SourDad said...

Ok M if it's not Hubbard, and I think I've got a good argument there certainly a supervillan, then who.

How about Joseph Smith for Lex Luthor.

SourDad said...

I think Philip Roth would be Magneto. An angry Jew out to piss-off the establishment?

Miranda said...

I am totally loving Roth being Magneto. Maybe he could play the character for X-Men 4 and channel that Newark Jewboy angst? In the movies, I am way more sympathetic to Magneto. Funny thing.

Since today is Sunday....I wholeheartedly support your Luthor=JS assertion. Just sayin' as someone leaves the house for the day to do organizationally sanctioned stalking for the day.

I'm also giving Margaret Atwood Wonder Woman props since she's really called it in her dystopian novel A Handmaid's Tale.

And no JCO anywhere EVER.

Miranda said...

Actually, I've been thinking on this all day and I think that Joyce Carol Oates is the Lex(a) Luthor of the writerly crowd. As much as likening Joseph Smith to an evil figure makes me very, very happy (you can't possibly know just how much), truth his ol' Joe is just as much of a scheister as ol' L.Ron Hubbard.