Imagination Land

Friday, November 30, 2012
Imagination Land
For any South Park fan the title of this story is a flashback to an awesome trilogy episode created by Matt Stone and Trey Parker. A quick summary for anyone who missed that episode, the infamous Eric Cartman and Kyle Broflovski have a bet that Cartman can prove that leprechauns are real. Cartman succeeds in proving Kyle wrong, and at the same time, people's imaginations have been taken over by terrorists and imaginations are running wild. Like most South Park episodes there is always a message, the message is this "who are we to judge whats real or not?" Characters like "Popeye" are fictional but we learn a lot from them, sometimes a lot more than from real people. I don't think eating spinach would have been an option in my life if it wasn't for Popeye. For those not familiar with Popeye, the character always gained incredible strength to defeat his enemy and save the girl by eating a can of spinach. I was amazed by this cartoon as a kid and today I can genuinely say "Thank you Popeye" for helping me eat spinach! Today it's one of my favorite dishes. As a cartoon junky I started to think about the different characters I've been watching in the past years and how each one of them taught me something really valuable. So I decided to share some of my "Imagination" learning journey by introducing some "fictional" characters from a different perspective. Not tight costumes and super powers, but more of how their struggles were more real than ever and how they dealt with issues and the lessons learned. I shall choose some of my favorites to show you. "Spiderman and Batman" are the ones I will cover.
Chapter 1
The Amazing Spider Man
"Amazing Spiderman" indeed, not just because he can walk on walls and shoot webbing, but because with all that he faces he always finds a way to stay on top. For people not familiar with the character created by the awesomest human alive Stan "the man" Lee, here's a quick synopsis. Peter Parker is a teenage science genius who faces normal teenage problems like getting the girl he wants and getting picked on by a bully. After getting bit by a radioactive spider, he turned into the "Amazing Spiderman". He gained super human strength,"amazing" agility, sticking ability and a spider sense that warns him when danger is coming. But Peter's secret weapon was always his intellect.
Peter decided to lead the life of a superhero after the death of his Uncle Ben who taught him that "with great power comes great responsibility". His life was torn in half when he had to maintain his high school life while maintaining his secret identity. The lesson Uncle Ben taught Peter is the hidden message of almost each and every spiderman story. The power of being an extremely intelligent student and the responsibility to use that blessing to help enrich your life and others. The power of being able to lift a car and throw it 10 meters away and the responsibility of saving the world from villains that are constantly trying to destroy it. So what can we learn from our web headed friend? Well honestly this character is an encyclopedia of lessons, but Ill choose my favorite Spiderman lesson "Perseverance". You can see this character struggling every day from trying to keep his grades up, to a part time job taking pictures for a newspaper, to taking care of his aunt May and saving the world. The level of responsibility and perseverance is a lesson that everyone should follow. Never give up even if you are trying to the save the world; or if you can't start exercising because you're lazy or you can't get yourself the house you want, never give up. Plan, put a strategy and fight to reach your goal. "Your dreams are your responsibility, channel the power of your mind to accomplish those dreams"... From your friendly neighborhood Spiderman.
Chapter 2

I think everyone is familiar with the character "Sherlock Holmes", a fictional detective created by author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in 1887. The character used logical reasoning and forensic science to solve difficult cases. Batman, is the enhanced Sherlock Holmes in the comic book world created by Artist Bob Kane and writer Bill Finger. He is the number one detective in the entire universe, armed with an infinite number of gadgets (designed by him), a black belt in almost every martial art and a monopoly of almost every single industrial sector in Gotham City and some parts of the world... Not to mention he is also loved by the ladies as Bruce Wayne. So in general he is the guy that almost every kid wants to become because he is the easiest to achieve his status (theoretically). Im not going to go into details and brief the Dark Knight's story because I think everybody is familiar with it, but the origin of this character enlightens us with one of life's most valuable lessons.."You have to face your fears to overcome them". Bruce Wayne's life was shattered when his parents got shot in an alley and at home he fell into a cave that was filled with bats which made him suffer from "chiroptophobia" (fear of bats). After a journey of self discovery and martial arts trainings he returns to fulfill his duty as the hero of Gotham City, but first he must overcome his own fear to become a symbol of terror in the hearts of his enemies... BATMAN!. Some of my personal favorite Batman traits is his "attention to details and strategic thinking. This is one of my favorite practices of the world's best detective, and a very useful habit to pick up, it will come in real handy when going into any new experience or when handling conundrums created by the devious "Riddler"? So, take your time, analyze the problem from every single aspect, do the research, consider the options, do the required tests and formulate a result.
Finally, after revealing Batman and Spiderman from a different perspective, I leave you with a word from Kyle Broflovski in the same south park episode that started all this "It's all real. Think about it. Haven't Luke Skywalker and Santa Claus affected your lives more than most real people in this room? I mean, whether Jesus is real or not, he's had a bigger impact on the world than any of us have. And the same can be said for Bugs Bunny and Superman and Harry Potter. They've changed my life, changed the way I act on the earth. Doesn't that make them kind of real? They might be imaginary, but they're more important than most of us here. And they're all gonna be around here long after we're dead. So, in a way, those things are more realer than any of us."


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