Life Imitating Art

As Oscar Wilde once said, “Life imitates Art far more than Art imitates Life.” Evidence in support of his statement can be found in this mind-boggling article, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal:

Life isn’t easy for the self-proclaimed superhero who calls himself “Phoenix Jones, Guardian of Seattle.” A 22-year-old day-care worker by day, he dons a black-and-gold costume by night to harass drug dealers and break up street fights.

Mr. Jones, who declined to allow his real name to be published but whose back story checks out, dismisses the criticism. “I may be eccentric, but I’m not crazy,” he says. “I really am here to help the people of Seattle.”

Phoenix Jones is different. In the 10 months since he became prominent, he has shown a willingness to thrust himself into dangerous situations.

A mixed martial-arts fighter, he broke his nose last month while breaking up a fight, and he says he has been shot and stabbed, too. He often travels with a posse, sometimes carries a Taser nightstick and tear gas, and repeatedly has himself been mistaken for a criminal.

He’s even got side-kicks: “Two quiet men called Buster Doe and Pitch Black; a young woman named Blue Sparrow; and a superhero-in-training called Ski Man.”

That’s right. Blue Sparrow and Ski Man.

It’s difficult to know what sort of commentary could possibly be added to the WSJ’s story. Part of me wonders if this is a Spinal Tap situation. Part of me wonders if it could be a bit of viral advertising for Super. And most of me really, really wants to watch the video in that article again.

Since then, the two groups—the Rain City Superheroes and the Real Life Superheroes—have pretty much gone their separate ways.

“We’re not one giant family,” says Knight Owl. “After all, we’re a colorful collection of individuals. We’re superheroes.”

By

Joseph Susanka has been doing development work for institutions of Catholic higher education since his graduation from Thomas Aquinas College in 1999. Currently residing in Lander, Wyoming -- "where Stetsons meet Birkenstocks" -- he is a columnist for Crisis Magazine and the Patheos Catholic portal.

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