Superman: Truth, Justice, and . . . all That Stuff

Apparently, Superman is not an American anymore.

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SUPERMAN’S motto, “Truth, justice and the American way,” has been rewritten in the new “Superman Returns” to “Truth, justice and . . . all that stuff.” Jeannie Wolf reports on Movies.com that screenwriters Mike Dougherty and Dan Harris wanted to avoid outdated jingoism. Dan: “I don’t think ‘the American way’ means what it meant in 1945.” Mike: “He’s not just for Metropolis and not just for America.” Dan: “He’s an alien, from Krypton; he has come to Earth to be kind of a savior for this world, not our country . . . And he has no papers.” Mike: “What would happen with the immigration laws we have now?” Dan: “I’d like to see someone kick him out!”

Lovely. I understand the sentiment–Superman has been saving the (fictitious) world (he fictitiously inhabits) for decades. Still, it’s just wrong somehow.

Via “Tyler Durden,” who is somewhat less understanding.

Gone Hollywood

FILED UNDER: General,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is a Security Studies professor at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Brent Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He's a widower and father of two young daughters. He earned his PhD from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Now you’re questioning Superman’s patriotism! How did it ever come to this?




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  2. Steve Verdon says:

    He’s and illegal alien to boot! We need an inter-stellar wall!




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  3. Stevely says:

    What a pair of punks, these screenwriters.




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  4. Len says:

    Apparently, Superman is not an American anymore.

    He never was, was he? Isn’t he from Krypton or someplace like that?




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  5. Anderson says:

    Superman just lacks plausibility any more. Where was he on 9/11? Why hasn’t he rounded up Osama, Zawahiri, & such? Enough with the tree-lodged cats and the bank robberies, already!




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  6. James Joyner says:

    Len: Well, sure, he was born there. But he was raised from infancy in Smallville, Kansas.

    Anderson: Good point. Of course, he didn’t round up Hitler and Mussolini, either.




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  7. just me says:

    Well since he was sort of adopted by American parents, he probably is an American, he just can’t run for president.




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  8. TLB says:

    Of course, what’s actually important here is that this is proillegal immigrationpropaganda that will be seen by millions of people. Those who are crooked enough to support illegal immigration probably have no qualms about supporting this propagandaa.




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  9. Christopher says:

    Well, the American way is peace, freedom, and prosperity. So why wouldn’t he be for the American way? Why wouldn’t ANYone? LOL! I guess liberals wouldn’t!




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  10. legion says:

    Meh. I see it as a purely economic decision. If they’d left ‘American way’ in, nobody in the US would have noticed, but it would get loads of bad press in any overseas market. Then they’d have to decide whether to even keep the line in the overseas releases or edit it out, and that would just generate bad press back here. I would’ve kept it, myself, but I can the quandry the writers were in…




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  11. James Joyner says:

    legion: True. But they didn’t just edit out the line–they took out “the American way” in favor of “all that stuff.”




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  12. legion says:

    James,
    Yes, it seems they took the worst of all possible options with that – changing something that could have been subtle and then ensuring a controversy by drawing attention to it. But perhaps that was intentional, in the old “there’s no such thing as ‘bad’ publicity” line…




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  13. Bodog says:

    You know why Superman needs to stand for the American Way? Because he’s an American creation that succeeded in American capitalism and created a whole new American literary form…comic books. The very concept of Superman is American.

    I hope that it was an economic decision, though it’s easy to get around that. I mean, by the time the bad press hit the states, they would have made their money off of us. No, I suspect it’s political and it has nothing to do with the difference between America 1945 and America 2006.

    Man, this made me so mad, I made a shirt




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  14. CEE LEIGH says:

    JUST TIRED OF DEALING WITH THE ANTI – AMERICAN WAY. THIS MOVIE HAS LOST $ 16.00 FOR MY HUSBAND AND I $36.00 FOR MY GRAND CHILDREN WE WOULD HAVE TAKEN AND THIS MEANS WE DON’T PURCHASE DVDS OR GAMES ASSOCIATED WITH MOVIE. SHAME ON SOME OF MY FAVORITE ACTORS FOR PARTICIPATING IN SUCH A BLATANT PUN ON AMERICAN. I THINK ITS TRUE THOSE WHO CHOOSE TO DESTROY OUR BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY WONT NEED TO SEND BOMBS, MISSILES IT WILL COME FROM WITHIN FROM ALL THOSE PEOPLE THAT HAVE ENJOYED THE AMERICAN WAY. SO SAD




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  15. Paul Lowe says:

    The writers could have avoided the fuss by simply leaving out the entire line. Would anyone have noticed that no one said “Truth, justice and the American way.” had it been omitted completely. I sincerely doubt it, I don’t recall the line in any of the four Superman movies produced in the 1980s, but then if it was in them I wouldn’t have necessarily noticed it. Changing it makes it remarkable. Thus, the change was made clearly for political reasons. Keep in mind that the movie was financed by Time-Warner the owners of CNN. Free publicity never hurts though :/




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  16. Jettboy says:

    “Truth, Justice, and the American Way” was said at least once (very clearly) in the 1979 version. He said it very seriously and with no shame. Interesting how that movie still made a whole lot more money than what they thought internationally. I am very mixed on if I want to go see this thing. Maybe on DVD after I borrow it from someone. Very few movies are worth going to the theater or financially supporting these days.




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  17. Emily says:

    Okay.

    That’s just wrong.

    If they were worried, why not just “Truth and justice” or something…?




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  18. Sean Richardson says:

    “No, I suspect itâ??s political and it has nothing to do with the difference between America 1945 and America 2006.”

    The line wouldn’t have been said in 1945; it was created in the mid-50s for the Superman TV show, where Superman *was* limited to America (unlike every other medium’s Superman before or since).

    “â??Truth, Justice, and the American Wayâ?? was said at least once (very clearly) in the 1979 version. He said it very seriously and with no shame.”

    That’s a half truth; he says it without shame, but he’s immediately mocked for saying it.




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  19. Amel Piznarski says:

    In all versions of Superman’s origin story, Jonathan and Martha Kent adopted Kal-El (Superman) and gave him the name Clark Kent.
    He may not be a natural citizen, but they did adopt him which made him a U.S. citizen. He has always stood for the American Way! If the film maker didn’t think ‘The American Way’ in the dialog would sell overseas, he should have just left the entire line out. No one would have missed it – and more imporatantly, no one would be offended by the change. It’s just too bad the film maker was worried more about overseas sales than staying true to the story (and this great country.) God bless the U.S. and the American Way!




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