DISABILITY RIGHTS AND SECRET IDENTITIES:
So far, I’ve been reading enough Batman to keep me occupied. I had a weird dream that the X-men joined Occupy Wall Street again. I watched Season 1 of Star Trek: The Next Generation (Weird to see a baby faced Jonathan Frakes.) I’m trying to put more of what was important to me back into my life, so I’m not just a bored directionless college graduate. And I think that what was important to me was “foreign language” and storytelling as forces of individual expression. Which is to say, I need to define for myself, through my experience what “disability rights” are, and how they apply to my goals. Frankly, I’ve heard enough about “disability rights” coming from the government. That’s a monetary issue; it’s not to be given, but to be bought, or fought for.
But, now I know I can fight. I have found my own voice. I think it’s primarily a matter of making people aware of how their presumptions are limiting. Or downright oppressive. And there are well-meaning people who do this. They use their position as a way to avoid what they are afraid of. In a way, I am the night. For those people, I’m a kind of German-speaking Batman. A Luke Skywalker. But, the important thing is to not hold myself back because of unconscious goals or expectations others have set for me. Well, in that regard, I’ve gone back to doing things I like. I’m visiting the OSU German department, and getting back my old confident alter ego. Which brings me to another point that has come up many times recently: What is an alter ego?
I’ve heard many people (around Creative Living and even in some comics and films now.) say that alter egos are just ways of hiding from what you can’t face. It’s the quickest way to inform others that your beliefs (according to this definition; hereafter “argument a.”) are meaningless because you can‘t deal with your own incompetence. And certainly, alter egos are secret identities. Spider-Man in particular is a good example of someone who wrestles with “masking” himself. I view it more as allowing the impossible to take over reality for a bit. Because if you don’t dream the impossible, then you’ll never try it.
And anyway, how far do we want to take argument a? It’s no secret that people have obstacles in the way of their desires. We cannot all go naked and self-sufficient. Are cops hiding? (Even they wear a costume, and play a part.) That depends on the person. What’s important is what’s done in the uniform or on stage, so to speak. So, I take argument a to be one definition of alter ego; the other, which I mean, is the actualization of all the creative powers (and even superpowers) within the individual. In that case, my alter ego would be someone who isn’t limited by my disability. But, that doesn’t mean I’m hiding it; in fact it informs how I see myself, and hopefully helps others to see beyond my disability. From this point of view, one can even be weary of those who claim argument a. And it becomes exposed as another structure of power in and of itself, by focusing on appearance instead of consequences. It only appears that such people have nothing to hide.
The question remains though, of why a superhero (or regular person) needs an alter ego. But, I think by now we’ve returned to a discussion of the need for fantasy. It’s true that one can confuse fantasy and reality. The point is to reach beyond the fantasy and make it real. This scares the pants off of those who claim to be hiding or running from nothing; who have no connections to a power structure. For such “realism” can often be revealed as a sadistic fantasy. Villains, those who have nothing to hide, and no one to protect, can be unmasked too. Especially, if they don’t “look” like villains. If they’re only trying to “help”. It’s the heroes that make sacrifices for others behind the mask, and the villains’ mask lets them abuse their power because “that’s the way the world works.” I think my job is to express my story, the way I see it, and protect those who don’t have voices, even if I have to protect others who don’t agree with me to do so. The task is to unmask those who impose on and limit those who can’t defend themselves; who claim to have the “natural order.” And that’s what I’m being called on to do.