Truth Justice and the American Way?

I’m just shocked about how much debate I’ve seen going on around TV and the internet about one minor line change in Superman Returns. Perry White in his war room asks his staff about the return of Superman: “Does he still stand for truth, justice… all that stuff?

Now as most of you know, the big line was usually “Truth, Justice and the American Way“.

So they changed that last little part in the film. No big deal right? Personally, I just thought they changed it because the line as a whole sound unbearably corny to me. But apparently there are other people who want to make a big political debate out of it. The debate rages stupid. As the folks over at Cinematical put it:

Angry Conservative Talk Show Host: Blah blah blah Hollywood hates America blah blah blah.
Movie Writers/Actors/Etc: Blah blah blah Political Correctness blah blah blah.
Angry Conservative Talk Show Host: Blah blah liberal pinko commies blah blah blah.
Movie Writers/Actors/Etc: Blah blah international hero blah blah blah.

Like I said, personally I just think they changed the line a little because it sounds corny as hell.

However, if you wanted to make an issue out of it… I think it makes sense that they changed it. Think about it in a couple of ways.

1) Superman’s adopted home (and this goes all the way back to Reeve’s first Superman flick) is not America, or Kansas or Smallville. It’s earth.

2) Some people try to say this is as bad of The Thing changing his battle cry from “It’s Clobberin Time” to “It’s punch you in the face time”, or Captain Marvel changing his power shout from “Shazaam!” to “Big Stonrg Man Time!”. They argue that you shouldn’t mess with a classic line. But the thing is… this was never Superman’s line. “This is a job for Superman” is a classic Superman line. “Up up and away” is a classic Superman line. The whole “Truth justice… blah blah blah” was never HIS line. So who cares?

3) The meaning of “The American Way” has changed over the last 50 years. Even the most conservative of pundits (and this may surprise you… but even though I have some strong “left” leaning beliefs, I’m actually a conservative at heart) agree with that. The international view of “The American Way” has also changed. So saying it today wouldn’t carry the same meaning it had 60 years ago. That’s not an Anti-American thing… that’s just a symantics.

Think of it this way. The word “gay” used to have a very different meaning right? It never used to be attached to a free alternative lifestyle. It just used to mean “happy”. Ok.. got that? Good. Now let’s say that back in the 50’s Spider-Man (I know I’m breaking lots of rules here) was known as the happy superhero and his big slogan was “It’s time to be Spidey-Gay!” Well… fast forward to 2006… and let’s say Raimi was just making the Spider-Man movie now. Do you think he would keep that line in there? No. Because it carries a different meaning now than it did then.

Would it have bothered me if they left “The American Way” in the line? Hell no… I just would have rolled my eyes and the corniness of it. Does it bother me that they took it out? Hell no. It’s totally understandable and fine.

Basically, this is a case of people who WANT to complain about something, just finding an excuse to complain about something.

But now I have to run… I think there is crime out on the streets and I must go fight it. IT’S TIME TO SHOW THOSE CRIMINALS THE POWERFUL JUSTICE OF SPIDEY-GAY!

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47 thoughts on “Truth Justice and the American Way?

  1. One’ s at risk for elimination are: Jason Yeager, Luke Menard, Robbie Carrico, and Danny Noriega. I think Jason Yeager is one who lost the most ground tonight. I can only attribute his staying power from last week is that a lot of old folks loved‘ Moon River’. Then it’ s between Luke, Robbie, and Danny. Despite Luke’ s how not- so- good performance, it was an improvement over last week and he’ s really really really good looking. With Danny, many voters will relate to him and he seems to be this year’ s…

  2. None of you get it.. The phrase Truth, Justice and the American Way is an ideal. It is what we as Americans and as humans should strive for. When the announcer used to say it on TAoS it MEANT something. It DOESNT mean America should tell everyone what to do or how to live. What it means to me is that ALL of us on the planet should strive to make our collective lives better and to treat our fellow man with compassion yet use justice to curb evil when neccessary, whether it is the evil of an individual or a government or corporation.

    There’s a bit of Superman in all of us…or there should be.

    And the ideals of ALL the onscreen Supermen will never die, political correctness be damned.

  3. hey Arthur,

    No it’s isn’t flawed. The actualy Superman Costume is 100% synonymous with Superman.

    “Up up and away” is the Major superman saying
    “This is a job for Superman” is maybe the next important saying.

    “Truth… Justice… American” isn’t even Superman’s saying.

    If the first 2 weren’t in there.. why not slightly change the third that isn’t near as important?

    And if you can’t tell the difference between the importance of the ageless Superman look, and some minor saying from his comic… then I honestly don’t know how to help you.

  4. I’m an “old School” kinda guy, to me changing the line “truth, justice & the American way is just another example of the political correctness that is out of control in this country, especially in Hollywood where everything is a politcal statement. Alot of the very same people who view America as the evil empire have no problem supporting a country like Israel, that basically stole Palestine (anybody remember that’s the country that existed before the Israelis usurped it) from the Palestinian people, and now they have no civil rights whatsoever. America is hated in the Muslim world mainly because of it’s support of Israel. Sure there is hypocrisy in America, but the biggest hypocrites are the “America Sucks” crowd who have been given every advantage in life BECAUSE of the American way & have done nothing in return. Let’s face it, America is the only superpower left because the American way works, warts & all.

  5. “this became a big political controversy because the writers themselves made it one”

    Well said – and it’s better to have us arguing about it than saying nothing about it. Otherwise it would have been just one more instance in which little by little the politics of ‘inclusion’ have essentially excluded “Americanism.”

    It wouldn’t happen in France, home of the very non ‘c’est la vie’ laws against using non-French words to denote new media, inventions, concepts, etc.

  6. Superman fighting the genocide in Darfur. That kind of filmmaking would take balls that Hollywood no longer has.

  7. I thought Superman protected EARTH!?!? If it is such a big deal and he is only an “American” icon then why doesnt he do us a favor and wipe out all the little annoying countries causing the world problems right now…speaking theamatically of course!!! Who cares what he says…this is an american made movie being shown AROUND the world.

  8. I kinda thought the line was sort of a nice inside joke (much like the “It’s a bird” “It’s a plane” “It’s” exchange). I guess I’m just an ignorant schmuck then…

    And Borloff, that might have been one of the best comments I’ve read on this site in a long time! Bravo!

  9. nord – Superman was created by an American and a Canadian who moved to America when he was a boy. So BAM yourself. Superman is an American creation.

    Many of you posting are supporting the decision to leave out the phrase, supporting your decision because you feel that it won’t play overseas because you see America as some great Satan.

    That’s not really the issue in light of Superman Returns less than stellar box office take. Hollywood doesn’t feel like it needs middle America anymore and that the global market is its future. But that approach has lead to poor box office returns over the past couple years.

    Elements of Superman Returns are in direct contrast to many ideals of Americans (whether you believe they are hypocrites or not is not the issue). Rumours before its release that Lois Lane has a child out of wedlock, Jimmy Olson is gay, and Superman doesn’t stand for the American Way effectively alienate middle America – an audience that would flock to a Superman movie that was more in line with their thinking. I’m not suggesting that creative risks shouldn’t be taken, but Hollywood rarely if ever courts middle Americans and a movie as expensive as Superman Returns should go for maximum appeal. It on;y makes solid business sense. American movie audiences are still the biggest source of revenue for studios, be it tickets or DVDs.

  10. Oh my god how gay r people these days how on earth can u moan about something as little as that, In my eyes Perry say’s Truth Justice And all thats stuff because only Superman should say it ans its a nod to the original films and superman ok i think its better that Perry didnt say it all when u hear it it make u smile and laugh a little cos it reminds u of old times

    From Alan

    Please post your replie comments to me .

  11. Umm…they’re actually REVERTING to his older call. Superman originally said “Truth and Justice” and only adopted “American Way” in McCarthy’s 1950’s America.

  12. Why is everything that’s good and just inherently American?
    surely there have been things America has come to do in the past 200 years that Superman would have disagreed with.

    I dont remember hearing this kind of outrage when Star Trek messed with “where no MAN has gone before,” and turned it into “where no ONE has gone before”

    for once, I think the Conservatives need to let this go. It’s a moot point.

    Besides. I for one think there are cultures on earth BETTER than america…and besides. Last time I checked, the american way had little to do with bending steel bars over ones’ head, flying without an airplane, wearing blue tights and using laser vision to heat a lake to cook a 40 foot crab for food.

    Sigh… amusing controversy. Something I really DID need this morning. I love it. But seriously. it’s a null point.

  13. Yep, every point I wanted to make is covered by now…”it’s time to be spidey-gay”, rofl, i’m going to start geting my friends to use it it’s funny as hell.

  14. Darren, I still don’t get that! Hollywoodland is a cool title, but ‘Truth Justice and the American Way’ is more true to the subject matter.

  15. A silly and pointless debate.

    If it was really that sacred, why did Warner’s pressure another studio who made a film about the mysterious death of George Reeves to change thier title to ‘Hollywoodland’?

    Chew on that carrot.

  16. the main reason they dropped all the highly patriotic references from superman is because people all over the world would have laughed their arses off if he had said the line or flown around carrying an american flag….

    it was cheesy back in the reeve films and it would have been almost unbearable now….especially since at the moment the american way would conjure images of people dying needlessly in a senseless war being waged by a bunch of draft dodgers but thats another story……

    this “controversy” is the type of bullshit guys like bill o’reilly pull out as proof that liberals hate america… his stupid get no traction at all thank fuck “war on xmas” stories….

    I love how conservatives will use anything to distract the people from thinking about the fact that after all the bloodshed, death and misery of the past few years due to this never ending war that THE GUY WHO ACTUALLY ATTACKED US IS STILL OUT THERE FREE AS A BIRD.

  17. If you think the debate on the “American Way” line is sending shockwave around the internet, you should see the hardcore religious folks taking offense to the word “Saviour” in Superman Returns.

  18. If Superman upheld the “American Way” he would outsource his crime fighting duties to India, his suit would have been made in sweatshops in indonesia and purchased at Wal-Mart, the fortress of solitude would have been made with the labor of underpaid illegal immigrants, Lois Lane would have him on Maury Povich on one of those “I done did birthded your baby””Bitch, that boy aint mine…… your shit be whack” episodes………. and Supes would be nowhere to be found when Idol was on.

    So i guess it’s for the best that they switched that line up a bit.

  19. Well first off Superman was created by a Canadian!

    BAM eat that Americana!!

    lol, and secondly, another point someone made earlier is that America is not the country it was when that line was created.

    America sat back and watched the world at war, watched Hitler gain insane ammounts of power and walk accross Europe taking everything he could get his hands on, THEN America jumped in and wooped some ass. That was the American way, Supermans way.

    Today America has a short fuse, and if you look at them sideways they will beat your ass to the ground THEN ask questions, that is the new American way.

    So if you were to include that classic line, then you would have to have Superman beat the crap out of Lex as soon as he walked out of jail, claiming that he was going to do something bad down the line and had to take him out now before he aquired WMDs.

    Wheres the fun in that plot I ask you.


  20. Perosnally, I think they changed the line because “the American way” doesn’t translate well overseas. A movie about a superhero that represents ONLY America wouldn’t do well overseas, regardless of a war or whatever. Besides, that line is the LEAST of this flick’s problems right now.

  21. I realize that my last post was “a sweeping generalization”, and John you were right in thinking that I was just kidding.
    It is however frustrating to see most American Media outlets (Fox in particular) spew conservative opinions all over the general public. For the most part, uneducated Americans seem to have the habit of taking what the TV has to say as “truth”.

  22. It’s just a bunch of pompous ‘Iraqi War’ Supporters that voted for the Yosemite Sam-type character with an Elmer Fudd-like brain, who are just pissed off because our country does own the world. Simple as that.

    Does anybody remember the “freedom fries”? Now that was Spidey-Gay!

  23. I find the new line to be funny. It’s moreless poking fun of that cheesy line. What does that mean anyway ”the american way”? Superman is not American and he stands for the whole planet not just one country. Superman will hardly go to Iraq and say ”I’m doing this the American way”. I’m glad they changed it and a debate like this is stupid. People complaining about this must take life too seriosuly.

    Sorry first post was a mistake :)

  24. I find the new line to be funny. It’s moreless poking fun of that cheesy line. What does that mean anyway ”the american way”? Superman is not American and he stands for the whole planet not just won country. Superman will hardly go to Iraq and say ”I’m doing this the American way”. I’m glad they changed it and a debate like stupid. People complaining about this must take life too seriosuly.

  25. To me, this is all just political correctness

    In the animated Justice League it was pretty much always for the world, not america. It really wouldn’t make much sense at all to make these superheroes just “American”. Realistically, they would protect everyone, and that’s what superman does.

    Times are changing. America isn’t the nation it used to be. These contribute to the omitting of the line.

    I really never cared for the line in the first place, probably because I never really like superman. But I don’t have a problem with them changing it.

  26. Intelligent response, b-tray. Thanks for posting.

    John, this became a big political controversy because the writers themselves made it one – their words were almost identical to what you said in point number 3. Had they kept their mouth shut, many pundits probably wouldn’t have picked up on it. The writers could have avoided the line altogether, but they consciously chose to omit part of it. The problem is that many Americans still feel the American Way of the 50s is the same today. They don’t believe that “the American Way” is a negative. Whether you agree or not, the question from a business standpoint is why invite the controversy? Controversy doesn’t sell as well as studios think. Warners should have learned their lesson with “V for Vendetta”.

    A couple other things: Christopher Reeve spoke that line in the first movie. Many people are comparing the new Superman to the 80s Superman. No point being made, just thought I’d throw that out.

    Finally, Superman is an American creation. Yes, he adopted Earth as his home planet, but he lived in America. He was part of the Justice League of America. He protected the planet as Americans wished it to be protected. His ideals represented America’s ideals and did so for many years. I would like to see the world safe from human evil. Superman did that. It’s how he evolved into an American icon.

  27. I thought it was a good change. We live in more cynical, wannabe-cool times these days, and that whole ‘Truth, Justice, and The Amercan Way’ spiel just makes people cringe. Like you said: it’s unbearably corny. The ‘all that stuff’ bit was a nice way of referencing the classic line without having to actually say it, plus it was funny. Nothing more political than that.

    This ties in well with your question about why Superman hasn’t done as well as hoped. Maybe we’re just too jaded for such a cornball piece of Americana in the twenty-first century. We prefer anti-heroes now, preferrably in black leather and sunglasses, all angst-ridden and violent.

    I like Superman myself, but it may just be that the character is out of step with the times.

  28. I dont understand how Americans are “Conservative Fucktards” when our conservative president has a 30% approval rating and the country votes 50-50 on the last two elections….

    B-Tray time to B-Educated

  29. When I was watching the movie for the second time this weekend I did hear a guy in the audience across the movie theater comment on that line, which I thought was annoying. Not only because we were watching a movie (silence is golden!), but also because it’s not necessary. Honestly, Superman does not only protect America – in the movie he’s an international hero. I think it was perfectly acceptable to change the line – it didn’t bother me one bit – I didn’t even think about the change until I heard that guy in the movie theater.

  30. Ummm B-Tray… that’s a pretty ignorant generalization. I hope you were kidding. SOME Americans can be that way… yes… so can some Canadians, British, Irish, Iranian… whatever.

    Broad sweeping offensive comments like that don’t really add to the conversation at all.


  31. I’m basically like you John… I’ve got quite a lot of Liberal beliefs, but I’m pretty much an independant(Reps and Dems are equally retarded) Conservative. If you wanna’ label me… I’ve been called a small l libertarian in the past.

    Before any of my political beliefs though, I’m an American and I for one and glad they took that cheesy ass line out. It sounded retarded! I’m patriotic as all get out, but I cringed everytime I heard Christopher Reeve say it…

    Anyway, just my two cents…

  32. DarkKinger—

    The casting of the four supermen won’t be that hard…..

    You just use George Clooney as the eradicator (he can get that grey on) and one of the zillion people they had cast to play Superman before as the cyborg, Michael Clarke Duncan as Steel, and Tom Welling as Superboy….


  33. Where did this ‘Spidey-Gay’ comment come from? It wasn’t the 50’s since Spider-man wasn’t around then. Would be funny if it was true though :)

    Everyone is just mad now since Superman is alot more flawed and closer to humanity then ever, ‘The American Way’ of course, he’s a deadbeat dad who had a kid out of wedlock. I love the idea how much this might cause a little anger in more harcore conservative comic fans. :)

  34. THIS is a big controversy?! ‘Batman and Robin’ was shit, and this is a bigger deal?!?

    SO WHAT with these small changes? Not every-DAMN-thing can be in the comic adapted movies!

    You know what, I’m going to say this now; the studio needs to KILL off Superman (in the sequel)!

    BTW, I’d like to see the casting for those 4 Supermen in the ‘Death of…’ saga.

  35. If they had changed it from “and the Irish way” nobody would give a shit.

    Another shining example of the american disillusioned patriotism.
    The USA is not the be all and end all of the world. This is global release. If you wanna limit Superman’ applicability to the USA then go right ahead and shit on an icon.

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