The Urban Sherpa - a blog by Christopher DeWan

(helping you climb mountains of media...)

Read Work and Other Essays, a collection of nonfiction by Christopher DeWan.

The Man of Tomorrow rating=4

Superman was persuaded to hire an IT guy. "Why do I need email?" he asked. "I can see clear to the horizon. I can hear radio frequencies across the globe." But his mother Martha wanted to send him photos, and Lois was always looking for a decent Scrabble partner. Most compelling, the NSA had evidence that Lex Luther was developing an advanced computer virus to take over the world. "How are you going to save us," the President asked him, "if you don't even know how to open up Outlook?"

"If I can't open up Outlook, I'll be the only one safe from the virus!" But he didn't like to think of himself as ignorant, so he hired a cousin of Jimmy Olsen's to install a complement of hardware and software into the Fortress of Solitude.

"How do I turn it on?," he asked the IT guy.

"The Internet? You don't turn on the Internet. It's always on, like the Sun."

Lois came over to show him how it all worked. "You should Google yourself! Look: one million, four-hundred sixty thousand results! Hey, click on the 'News' link: see if my stories are at the top."

"It says I already have a page on MySpace. What's MySpace?"

"Don't worry about MySpace," Lois answered.

When she came back a week later, he was still sitting at the computer. "Hey Lois! I'm the mayor of the Fortress of Solitude! @ThatSuperman has 400,000 followers!"

"You have a Twitter account?"

"I've got to protect my online brand, Lois."

The Internet afforded Superman with a whole new set of data that he could use to monitor crime, and to keep peace and order across the planet.

"Wait—Lex Luther is your Facebook Friend?"

"Well, we know a lot of the same people. And sometimes he harvests my crops in Farmville. Anyway, he doesn't really have time for world dominion anymore."

The Internet was far more effective at eliminating violent crime than Superman had ever been, because the criminals now mostly stayed at home—uploading photos of old capers, editing Wikipedia entries on classic bank heists, and playing each other at Mafia Wars till they fell asleep at their keyboards, icing each other all night long, from the safety of their dreams.