Ever wonder what our nation looks like to folks from afar? Here we look at how a uniquely American story--the kind of news we have trouble explaining even to ourselves--is being told overseas. Want to see a particular topic covered here? Let us know.
American conservatives weren't too pleased with news that Superman mentions renouncing his American citizenship--in a comic, of course. The character made the threat in a recent issue. What did folks abroad think? After all, they aren't American citizens either.
"Surprise in the world of comics," runs the El País story. "Superman, one of the quintessential superheros of the United States, wants to give up his nationality." The Spanish daily notes the irritated responses from The Weekly Standard. "Another interesting aspect of the announcement," the story continues, "was noted by The Hollywood Reporter, which suspects that the real purpose of this threat is to sell better in the international market following a drop in readers."
"This plan sent readers into a flap," notes German newspaper Die Welt. "Superman's declaration seems almost like a betrayal of ideals, according to comments on the Internet." Fritz Göttler for the Sueddeutsche Zeitung writes that "the most famous immigrant in the world is doing a one-eighty. America's most trusty hero hero, that thanked the state that had been so generous to him with indefatigable dedication for its ideals an goals--the legendary Superman--doesn't want to be a U.S. citizen anymore." Further Germanic interpretation of the event: "Superman is, like many other superheroes, a child of the Depression and the Second World War, a time that longed for energy and decisive action for the just cause. Who today, with economic crises and inscrutable political entanglements, should be responsible for acting for the entire world? Should Superman be active not only in Iran, but in Egypt, Libya, and Syria?"
Chinese, Japanese, and Russian media are relatively free of Superman commentary, though the Ukranian Russian-language Korrespondent magazine does run a short item online: "This new release of the Superman comic book touched off a flurry of negative emotions among Americans," it notes. "Superman, created in 1938, has long been associated with the United States."
Heather Horn is fluent in written German and French, proficient in written Arabic, and has received purely decorative doses of Irish Gaelic and Western Armenian. All other languages are muddled through with the help of Google Translate.