Saturday, January 28, 2012

Superheroes are part of the 1%. (Is This Art?)

The other day, I took a walk to the Museum of Modern Art, where I was horribly disappointed to learn that I was two weeks too early for the Houdini show. I don't know what Houdini art is, but I want to see it.

Which brings me to the Human Slinky: Like Houdini Art, I don't know what it is, but I definitely want to see it:

THAT, as I said, is Human Slinky, otherwise known as a guy named "Veniamin."

I learned about Veniamin because I heard that there was a Human Slinky costume for sale, and like everybody, I have always dreamed of being a Slinky. Who didn't, as a troubled kid growing up in the seemingly idyllic town of Hartland, Wisconsin, occasionally sit on the green-carpeted front steps of their house mulling over how much better it would be if, instead of being an overweight shy kid with a lazy eye, one could be a Slinky? Are you with me on this?

Really? Just me?

What if I left out the part about the lazy eye?

Still nobody else. Hm.

Anyway, I heard there was a Human Slinky costume for sale, and that is exactly the kind of thing that I would want, because not only would I get to say "Hey, guess what, I own a Human Slinky costume," and don't underestimate the power of that at parties -- I'm always looking for something to make me the life of the party -- but also consider the other things that a Human Slinky costume would let you do, things like:

(A) Really freak out your neighbors when you take the garbage out as a Human Slinky.

(B) Allow you to park in the handicap spots at the mall, since I assume that nobody is going to challenge a Human Slinky about whether or not it is handicapped.

(C) Be a superhero:

Woman in distress: "Help! I'm in distress, probably from a mugging or perhaps an assault of some kind!"

All Other Superheroes: "That's kind of penny-ante, isn't it? I mean, it's like the time Superman helped break up organized crime in Metropolis. Even Batman aims for bigger things, now, like terrorists. Call 911."

Human Slinky: "I'm on my way! Let me just tilt this giant 2x4 down from my perch atop this tall building where I have built the Slinky Lair. There! Now, here. Whoops. Start over. Hey, it's tangled. How does this... what... it's like it's tied in a knot? What? No, I don't want to just roll it down sideways. Hey, quit pinching me. Mom!"

All Other Superheroes: "That's why we didn't let him join our group."


There is a Human Slinky costume actually for sale, on eBay. List price:

No, seriously:

You may think that's kind of a hefty price, because it is. But consider this: 10% of the proceeds from the Million Dollar Human Slinky costume are going to go to benefit the American Cancer Society, so you could really help out cancer research by buying the costume.

You could help out cancer research MORE, of course, by simply donating your $1,000,000 to cancer research, but then you wouldn't have a Human Slinky costume, would you?

Besides which, have you considered that, as superhero outfits go, Human Slinky is really kind of a bargain? How much do you suppose the Iron Man suit cost? Or Batman's junk? And even Spider-Man's webshooters, because everyone knows he has webshooters and not gunk from his wrists, must have cost something.

As it turns out, someone has figured out about how much an Iron Man suit would cost for real, and the fact that someone has already done that is either proof of why America is great, or proof of why America is now a third-world country. I'm not sure which. It's probably both.

But someone has figured it out, and the total cost for an Iron Man suit, at today's prices, is:


Which seems surprisingly low, given that the same article says simply developing a fighter jet is in the $95,000,000-$113,000,000 range.

Which brings me to another point:

Where did Superman get his money?

Ma and Pa Kent were dirt farmers, right? And Clark Kent worked as a newspaper reporter, and then briefly a TV anchor in the 70s in the comics, and none of those spell superrich, at least not back then. So if we assume that Clark Kent was doing okay (although he lived in Metropolis, where one can assume the prices were equivalent to New York City, if not more expensive), Clark Kent was not rich.

But Superman was. He had his Fortress of Solitude, remember, and according to this site, which has "Superman" in the URL and so must be authoritative:

Here in this secret sanctum, far from civilization, are the fabulous trophy room, housing the hard-won memorabilia of more than a thousand adventures; the workshop and super-laboratory, where Superman labors in search of an antidote to kryptonite and performs other experiments; the gymnasium and recreation facilities, where Superman exercises, relaxes, and indulges in a variety of super-hobbies; the interplanetary zoo, containing live species of wildlife from distant planets; special rooms and memorials in honor of Superman's parents, foster parents, and closest friends; the bottle city of Kandor, a city of the planet Krypton that was reduced to microscopic size and stolen by the space villain Brainiac sometime prior to the death of Krypton; special monitors for communicating with Kandor, the undersea realm of Atlantis, the Phantom Zone, distant planets, and alien dimensions; Superman's Superman-robots and other special equipment; and numerous other rooms, exhibits, weapons, machines, and scientific devices. Indeed, since the invasion of the Fortress by an outsider could result in the placing of these devices in the hands of evildoers - as well as endanger Superman's secret identity - the exact location of the Fortress remains one of the world's most closely guarded secrets.

How is he feeding those animals? And building Superman-robots? And a lab? Batman has a lot of junk, but Batman at least has an explanation for his money: He earned his $6,500,000,000 (according to Forbes) by stealing military technology and exploiting it for himself.

But Superman? He doesn't even appear, I bet, on a list of richest superheroes. I would tell you for sure but the only list I found I can't get to load on my laptop, so let's just assume I'm right that Superman is not known to be wealthy.

So what's he doing to keep his living standards up? Part of Superman's secret may be moving jobs offshore. While it was always believed that the Fortress of Solitude was in the frozen arctic, scientists recently actually found it in Mexico:

Artist's rendition of Superman's

Actual picture of scientist
standing in the Fortress... in Mexico:

So the Fortress was built using the same techniques Apple employs to let you have a voice recognition system that is slightly more sophisticated than Moviefone. (Apple's constantly releasing new phones, as everyone does all the time, isn't responsible for just wrecking the lives of millions of workers everywhere; it's also going to bring about the end of major cell phone companies, which lose money when they sell you fancy phones at a discount. As phones get newer and better, cellphone companies' operating margins disappear, which is probably why they're paring costs by eliminating unlimited data plans and the like.)

(Just to be clear: Apple, and other tech companies, are wrecking the lives of millions of third-world countries' workers because despite their giving them wages and a job, they're also not properly monitoring working conditions, allowing the contract partners to get rich off exploiting people while Apple and other tech companies look the other way, and while that's going on they're helping bankrupt vital communications companies in America.)

So back to superheroes. For $100,000,000, you could be Iron Man. For the cost of simply your soul and some presumably-stolen goods, you could be Superman. For just a million bucks you could be Human Slinky.

And for less, you could be Veniamin's kind of creepy Human Blowfish:

Or the Octopus:

Is it just me, or are these getting less fun and more nightmarish? Before you answer, this:

If you watched that all the way through, you saw there were hot chicks in those costumes. And hence...

The Verdict: ART. And Congress needs to hold hearings about Superman.


Grumpy Bulldog, Secret Agent said...

Yes anything with hot chicks involved has to be art. Maybe they could make a Human Slinky movie like Human Centipede.

As for Superman, maybe he just shakes down governments for some money, like, "Give me a billion or I'll bust into Fort Knox and take it."

Stephen Hayes said...

I must confess that I'm "Slinky Challenged." I've never been able to make a Slinky do anything. I've pushed them down stairs and steep slopes and they just sit there and mock me like many an unmoving, uncuddlable reptilian pet.

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