For those of you that have followed the blog over the past few years (and I'm thankful to each and every one), you know that Macklemore is one of the artists that I've supported wholeheartedly even before his dramatic rise. While I try to keep this blog balanced, with some helpful critique mixed in with praise, Ben Haggerty and producer/wunderkind Ryan Lewis are two artists about whom I don't possess even a resemblance of journalistic integrity. I'm too close, too invested in seeing this local group live up to their immense potential. And it's songs like one, the first from the duo's debut album The Heist (dropping in October), that keep me coming back:
Like heroes of past eras, today's superheroes are never created ex nihilo. Our culture empowers them with their superpowers at the same time it instills them with our values and ideals. But unlike Achilleus, Arthur, or Kal-El of bygone days, today's heroes weren't born demigods. They aren't of noble blood nor gods sent from far-off worlds. Today's superhero is not blue-blooded. He is the everyman.
Peter Parker has always epitomized this Silver Age archetype. He is the quintessential outsider. Not born to be a hero, the role was thrust upon him and was a mantle he reluctantly chose to pick up. He was not the perfect, bulletproof Man of Steel from Krypton. He was a flawed, quirky, nerdy kid from Queens that didn't fit in and, through a stroke of fate, was gifted with incredible abilities. But it was never his web-swinging that allowed him to connect with readers. While Spider-Man's powers awed us, it was Parker's flaws that allowed many young men over the past five decades to see themselves in him.
It's the reason that Parker's story--his rise from nerdy, uncool outcast to stellar superhero--has been told and re-told again and again (and why it's being re-told again, only a decade removed from the last silver screen iteration of his origins). But the latest incarnation of Peter Parker, portrayed by Andrew Garfield in Mark Webb's superb reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man, doesn't match up with his uncool predecessors.
Today's Peter Parker wears Nikes.