Since my reading pile has been growing a bit, I figured that tonight was a good time to work through some of it. Normally, I’d re-order it so that I would read what I was looking forward to first, but I didn’t this time. I wish I had. Went through the latest issues of Batman & Robin and Green Lantern without any issues with them. But then I came across Superman #706, and it stopped me in my tracks. I haven’t been pleased with the “Grounded” story, but because of unforeseen circumstances, we’ve gotten two fill in issues, this being the second one. Both have been even more boring than the regular story. This story is about Perry White dealing with the current issues facing newspapers when the writer of a blog attacks the Daily Planet. However, there are a few lessons to be learned within this issue, and those are below.
1. Blogs are filled with lies.
In this “thrilling” Perry White-centric issue, Perry deals with an accusation from a local blog, bent on bringing down the Daily Planet. Perry sends in a young photographer to become a mole within the blog’s staff, and report back on what he finds. The young man named Sandeep, who Perry cannot be bothered with to get his name right, easily infiltrates the blog’s inner circle, and is told what they have. The compromising info are some financial information that doesn’t match up with official statements, which they say proves the Daily Planet is bribing Superman for interviews. They also have a picture of Superman and Lois Lane kissing. Both issues are easily dismissed by Perry. The money is his own, that he puts toward the summer internship program. Also, without very much time to investigate, Sandeep easily finds that the picture is photoshopped from an advertisement. So, the point here is that blogs don’t bother to do a single bit of fact-checking before posting stories.
2. Young people are lazy.
This is connected in part to #1. You have the editor of the blog, a self-professed member of Generation Y, that is too lazy to be bothered with really researching for a story. But also, there is the story of Sandeep. In the beginning of the story, Perry yells at him for taking a bad picture of Superman. Sandeep’s excuse was that Superman flying away, so the only shot he could get was of Superman’s back, below him. Perry says he should have not been afraid of “splitting those sprayed-on pants…by climbing up a danged fire escape.” So, the point here is that young people don’t want to put the effort in to doing their job well.
3. Blogs are inferior to newspapers.
When Perry hears what the blog has against him, he demands a meeting be set up with the guy. Perry is certain that he’ll meet with him because he’s Perry fucking White, the editor of the Daily fucking Planet. (Cursing is mine, but it might as well have been in there.) Does Perry have to actually contact the guy to set up the meeting? Of course not. He’s the editor of the largest newspaper in the city. So of course the blogger meets with Perry in Perry’s office. Why should Perry have to leave to have a meeting? Also, when the blogger’s errors are uncovered, Perry offers him a spot in the Summer intern program, for just a chance at a job at the Planet. He isn’t offered a job because the investigative journalism that he has done is meaningless because it was done for a blog. So, the point here is that a newspaper is prestigious, while reporting on a blog is meaningless.
4. Perry White doesn’t know Superman’s secret identity.
This isn’t going to be a discussion of why Superman’s secret identity does or doesn’t work to fool the general public. This is about his secret identity fooling those closest to him. A while back, can’t remember which title it was–maybe Superman/Batman, there was a line about Jim Gordon being too good of a cop to not know that Bruce Wayne is Batman, and Perry White is too good of a reporter to not know that Clark Kent is Superman. And I was happy with this understanding. He knew, but he would never say anything about it. This story undoes that. If Perry knew Superman is Clark Kent, then he would know that Lois is married to Superman. He would not have needed to call Lois to see if she had ever been in a compromising situation with Superman. If he knew, he’d already known the answer, and not needed to call her. He would have just dealt with the situation, and not made her worry about it. So, the point here is that Perry White is not a good enough reporter to know the identity of Superman.