“I Am Superman” Says The “World Leader Pretend”

The final song on the album Lifes Rich Pageant might be one of the largest collections of the first-person personal pronoun “I” within the limits of a song under three minutes. In fact, it is uttered no fewer than 40 times in a song that has around 170 words in its lyrics.

And the protagonist just might be one of the most conceited, arrogant, smug, and brash stalkers to ever narrate a song.  Whether that’s the intention of the original writer of the song, Gary Zeckley, or not, that cocksure voice in the lyrics certainly thinks an awful lot of himself and not as much of the object of his desire.

It has been noted that the reason that Mike Mills sang lead on this song is that Michael Stipe was not keen on putting the song on the album. And it works. The scratchy beginning, the strong bass, and Mills’s voice made this a favorite of many a rural Georgian teenager in the mid-1980’s. Yet the song has more gravity in the thirty-something years after it was first played from a cassette tape bought at a record store on Alps Road in Athens. GA.

Think of what the narrator claims he can do. He can “see right through” her. He will “track her down” even if she is a “million miles away.” He knows “what’s happening” and he “can do anything.”

Now think of our current president – a man addicted to talking about himself, what he believes he can do (and has done) and relishes his “effect” on others.

The one letter word “I” appears forty times. In fact, in every line of each verse save one, “I” or “me” is the subject and exerts the action of the verb. And no one likes to talk about himself as much a Donald Trump does.

Consider the following quotes from our current president:

  • “I have a great relationship with the blacks.”
  • “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border, and I will make Mexico pay for that wall. Mark my words.”
  • “I beat China all the time. All the time.”
  • “I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”
  • “I have so many websites.”
  • “My Twitter has become so powerful that I can actually make my enemies tell the truth.”
  • “I will be the greatest jobs president that God ever created.”
  • “I’m their worst nightmare.”
  • “I take advantage of the laws of the nation.”
  • “I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I’m more honest and my women are more beautiful.”
  • “I’m proud of my net worth; I’ve done an amazing job.”
  • “I think that would qualify as not smart, but genius….and a very stable genius at that!”

Lots of first-person personal pronouns. Lots of bragging. Lots of tweets about how he is some superman.

From a “world leader pretend.”

220px-R.E.M._-_Superman

 

“I am, I am, I am Superman and I know what’s happening
I am, I am, I am Superman and I can do anything

You don’t really love that guy you make it with now, do you?
I know you don’t love that guy ’cause I can see right through you

I am, I am, I am Superman and I know what’s happening
I am, I am, I am Superman and I can do anything

If you go a million miles away I’ll track you down, girl
Trust me when I say I know the pathway to your heart

If you go a million miles away I’ll track you down, girl
Trust me when I say I know the pathway to your heart

I am, I am Superman and I know what’s happening
I am, I am, I am Superman and I can do anything

I am, I am, I am Superman and I know what’s happening
I am, I am, I am Superman and I can do anything”