When one is conversing with enthusiasts of Lounge, such as you, dear reader, one can safely assume a few things. For instance, you enjoy the finer things in life, like to read about an eclectic array of topics and, most importantly, will not judge a journalist by his headshot (top left) that adds 10 pounds of extra camera weight to an otherwise chiselled face.
Also, I can safely read out a passage from a work by Aristotle and be sure that you will not immediately cast aside this page and proceed to any of our other columns.
So, with your permission, I will quote, with necessary abridgement, Aristotle from Book III of his work on political philosophy, called (duh!) Politics:
Pioneer: Aristotle wrote of superpeople centuries before Stan Lee
“If there be some one person whose virtue is so pre-eminent that the virtues of all the rest admit of no comparison with his, he or they can be no longer regarded as part of a state; for justice will not be done to the superior. Such a one may truly be deemed a God among men; and for men of pre-eminent virtue there is no law—they are themselves a law. Any (person) would be ridiculous who attempted to make laws for them.”
In that pithy little passage, Aristotle is talking about superpeople who are above mere mortals—titans who can do no wrong, and are not to be contradicted. Who is he talking about? Exactly…my editors.
I am only partly kidding, of course. Aristotle wrote those words sometime around 350 BC and gave us one of the first definitions of the superhuman. And if that superhuman used his superior virtue and ability for good, we would be in the presence of a superhero. Someone very much like Batman, the masked and caped do-gooder who stands tall over this issue of Lounge, which is chock full of Dark Knight lore.
Start with Vir Sanghvi’s column on why superhero movies need to grow up a little (Page L5) or just rappel into the cover story on Page L12, where R. Sukumar presents a deluxe edition of ‘Cult Fiction’ with a listing of the 10 must-read Bat-books. Turn the page, and, KAPOW!, you get a brief history of the caped crime fighter followed by, BLAM!, the Indian impact of the Bat-phenom.
Gents, kindly drool over the Batmobile, intimately profiled on Page L15, while ladies can get the lowdown on suiting up like the superheroes with a little help from Priyanka Chopra (Page L9).
And, to polish it all off, we have our very own interpretation of the do-gooder on Page L22. All credits should go to Jayachandran’s fantastic artwork and Melissa A. Bell’s borderline illegal imagination.
In fact, this whole issue was anchored by Melissa, who was last seen standing atop one of the buildings at Delhi’s Connaught Place in the middle of the night, dressed all in black, her eyes scanning the horizon for any dastardly deed. Saving the world can work up an appetite, and so we also have articles about food and food books: “Holy Japanese eggplant sushi, Batman!” Robin might say.
As a parting thought, wouldn’t it be nice to have a few locally relevant superheroes of our own? Nothing fantastic or too radical. I suggest a “Captain Sensex”, a hero suited up like a bull, who will swoop in exactly an hour before the markets close and buy up crores of mid-cap stock, thereby never letting the index drop below 15,000.
What superhero would you like to see? Tell us. You know how.
Priya Ramani is away until August. Catch up on her travels at Blogs.livemint.com
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