To a certain degree, we’re a multiple choice culture. We want easy answers to complex questions. Sure, one could make the case that this has, to some extent, been the case for most of human history, but even accepting this would make the opening statement no less true. And who can blame us?
We want villains. Heroes. Democrats or Republicans. Wrap it all up and give it to us in a sound bite because we have a Jersey Shore marathon recorded on the DVR and a Hot Pocket boiling in the microwave. Complexity- like the aforementioned Hot Pocket – is messy. Who’s got time for it?
Education crisis? Gluttonous teachers and their underhanded unions are to blame. National and state budget battles? Listen to both sides and they’ll give you the narrative with their respective heroes and villains. So with busy lives, of course, it’s no surprise that we tend to shorthand it quite frequently, and sometimes, as a result, we undervalue and overvalue people, traits, or talents unfairly. So as your humble and handsome servant, let El Guapo get serious for a moment with important examples of the under- and overrated, particularly in the worlds of comic books and sports. Figured we should start at the very pillars of civilization.
1. Overrated: Batman’s Utility Belt
Like a used car salesman, some simpletons will oversell (or even -clearly out of jealousy -mock) the caped crusader’s toys, the cool bells and whistles that any crime-fighting millionaire must rock unabashedly.
Underrated: Batman’s Cerebral, Methodical Detective Work
Prolific home run hitters are impressive, no doubt. It doesn’t get better than watching a ball getting crushed out of the park (if it’s your team on the right side of course). But home runs alone don’t win games, and if you look at batters with the most strikeouts in a career it’s jam-packed with the top home run hitters of all time.
Underrated: Batting .300
The ridiculously impossible task of hitting a small sphere traveling up to 100 mph (or 106 as Aroldis Chapman may have reached the other night) with a relatively narrow cylinder consistently cannot be overemphasized. In fact, it’s so difficult that getting a hit 1 out of 4 at bats is average, 1 out of 3 is spectacular, and 1 out of 2 is unheard of.
3. Overrated: Highlight Reels
Not a slam at all. We all love the spectacle of a 360 dunk or a behind the back pass, but maybe we place too much emphasis on ESPN’s top plays. Just saying. It’s great to watch a guy throw down a dunk and pound his chest when his team’s down 30 in the fourth quarter.
Underrated: Old Dudes
Professional sports are a young man’s game. Scouts are working their way to signing athletic fetuses. Inevitably, athletes hit a point where their skills suddenly fall off of a cliff, seemingly overnight. However, we often fail to lift a glass of Metamucil to the old dudes that defy the odds and hang in their forever, like Shaq (38) and Tim Wakefield (44).
Overrated: Comic Book Inspired Movies
Christopher Nolan resurrected the Batman franchise after Tim Burton and company defecated on it and left it for dead long ago. And, while some comic-inspired flicks are intense adaptations others are Daredevil and Hulk.