Popular culture seems obsessed with mutants. We’ve come a long way from The Elephant Man, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Mask, or The Great Mutato in The X-Files, as mutants have campaigned for better representation in the media. No longer media figures that teach the rest of us empathy and the value of humanity, mutants can now be sexy, beautiful, powerful, and enviable. There appears to be a strong divide between “good” mutants or “bad” mutants, meaning those who use their powers to help others versus those who become crazed with power, but “sad” mutants don’t really appear to be pop culture figures anymore (with the possibly exception of Rogue from X-Men). Mutants are now so desirable and hip that people are trying to make everyone mutants, from Mohinder in Heroes to Jordan Collier in The 4400. Mutant powers come from a variety of sources, including the ambiguous “future” in The 4400 who introduced an entirely new neurotransmitter, random genetic mutations in X-Men, genetically born with extra midi-chlorians in Star Wars (making some people seriously force-sensitive), and something to do with the adrenal gland in Heroes. Of course, we’re all actually mutants, but given that a large chunk of the U.S. public doesn’t believe in evolution and most of the rest don’t really understand genetics, we can go with this vision of mutants.
About Sci-Fi LessonsI've spent most of my life watching sci-fi. I think I've learned some important lessons. Yes, I'm a bit sarcastic, but I really have learned these things from beloved sci-fi, for good or ill. Some of the lessons are ridiculous, but they might come in handy. Who knows the next time I'll find myself accidentally invisible?