From: Knight Rider and Spider-Man 3
Genre: Television and Movies
Who said it?: Wilton Knight and Stan “The Man” Lee
The story behind the quote: Okay, this is going to be rather difference as these two quotes have pretty much the same meaning so I’m giving them it’s own entry. The first is Wilton Knight from the hit ’80s television show, Knight Rider. The second is from the prolific comic book legend, Stan “The Man” Lee
The quote was said in Knight Rider during the first episode of the series. When Michael Knight (played by a legend in his own right, David Hasslehoff)
gets his new identity, he meets up with Wilton Knight, the man who rescued him. Wilton, while on his death bed, pleads to Michael to use KITT (a highly sophisticated car equipped with gadgets and a rather advanced AI) to fight crime because he feels that, even though he is one person, he can still change the world for the better.
The second quote is much more recent as it came from the 2007 superhero movie, Spider-Man 3. As Peter Parker (played by Tobey Maguire) walks along Times Square, he sees a news flash saying that Spider-Man will receive the key to the city. It just so happens that, as he stopped to read the news bulletin, Peter Parker was standing next to Stan Lee. Stan Lee then turns to Peter and delivers the quote.
Geek wisdom: We sometimes feel helpless and that whatever we do will not have an impact in the world. However, we can still influence the world around us. Even if it is the smallest change, we are still making an impact on the world. The only time when we won’t make a difference in the world is if we don’t even attempt to make an impact on the world. The point is, we have to keep on trying.
Who said it?: Mary Jane Watson
The story behind the quote: Wow, when it comes to comics, I seem to either go to Batman or Spider-Man… but this is a bit different since it isn’t the hero that gives the quote. Rather, it’s the love interest of Peter Parker, Mary Jane Watson.
We have to get into a lot of backstory regarding this quote to really get the full impact of the wisdom from it. Prior to her first (official) appearance in the comics, she was just this faceless girl that Aunt May kept on trying to set Peter Parker up for a date (initially mentioned in Amazing Spider-Man #15). Peter kept blowing it off since he assumed that, since his aunt liked her so much, he wouldn’t really like her. This actually kept on for a really long time and it became somewhat of running joke of the series.
Finally, in Amazing Spider-Man #42 (around two years after she was initially mentioned), Peter does meet Mary Jane, who turns out to be a bombshell of a red-head who jokingly mentions how lucky he is.
Geek wisdom: You shouldn’t be afraid to try new things once in a while. Sure there’s going to be a chance that the experience is awful. However, unless you try it, you’ll never know if its something that’s plain god-awful or something given from God. Imagine if Peter Parker never met Mary Jane. He wouldn’t have had met the love of his life. Remember, you may hit the jackpot, too, if you try something new.
Who said it?: Spider-man
The story behind the quote: One of the most popular, yet misunderstood, powers of Peter Parker/Spider-man is his Spider Sense, mostly because the hero himself doesn’t know how it works as well. In general, this ability gives him the ability to feel danger. One of the problems of this is that it doesn’t really tell him what the danger is. It could be as simple as a punch coming at him while he’s fighting a bad guy but it also could manifest if his secret identity is also in danger of being exposed. However, even with this small drawback, it has been really useful in saving his butt in a lot of instances.
Spider-man has been able to use this in conjunction with the Spider Tracers he’s invented. Initially, the tracers would have to be tracked by a small device he carried. However, in later stories, he managed to adapt the tracers to work with his Spider Sense. So, while it’s still a mystery on how it works exactly, the Web Head does have some sort of handle on it.
Geek wisdom: Actually, if you really think about it, we all have this ability (even if we haven’t been bitten by a radioactive spider). It’s called a gut feeling. We’ve all felt at one time or another to go against conventional logic and just go with our instincts and what feels right. Realistically, sometimes it pays off and sometimes it doesn’t. However, the point is it does pay off from time to time!
Against all logic and reason, your gut feeling is correct sometimes. The point here is that while logic is good and all, sometimes we gotta go with our instincts.
Who said it?: Uncle Ben
The story behind the quote: Although the quote is usually attributed to Peter Parker/Spider-man’s Uncle Ben, this is actually wasn’t true in the first appearance of the web-head in Amazing Fantasy #15. In the original version of the story by Stan Lee, this was the moral lesson that Peter Parker took away since he let a mugger get away and this same mugger killed his Uncle Ben. If he only stopped the man earlier, his uncle wouldn’t have died. Also, the original quote was actually “With great power, there also must also come… great responsibility.”
Later versions of Spidey’s origin revised the story. The story now is Uncle Ben would usually tell a young Peter Parker this lesson while he was alive and Peter Parker would remember this. These revisions also shorten the quote to the current version, which comes off as more poetic.
Geek wisdom: A lot of people think that, once they have some form of power, they can usually laud it over people and abuse it. History has a lot of people showing them becoming corrupted because of great power: Napoleon and Hitler are just a couple to name a few. Even in a small scale, we do see powerful people beat down on the weaker ones. Bullies, abusive spouses, and corrupt politicians are just a few examples of the kinds of people we see every day that use their power the wrong way.
“With great power comes great responsibility” has a simple meaning; if you have the ability to do something, make sure that you do it for the good of others. Highly admired people like Ghandi and Ninoy Aquino have done things that follow the spirit of this message. If you can stop something bad from happening, do it. You don’t have to be a superhero to follow those words of geek wisdom. It’s possible to do small actions that have a big impact in the world.