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.
From: The Incredible Hulk
Genre: Television, Comics
Who said it?: “David” Bruce Banner
The story behind the quote: The Incredible Hulk television series was based on the comic book character of the same name. However, the TV series differs greatly from the comic version. While the origin for the Hulk is pretty much the same (the hapless scientist gets bombarded by gamma rays which alters his DNA), every thing else is different. Even the scientist’s name was changed from Bruce Banner to David Banner (Bruce became his middle name). The plot was altered so that The Hulk (played by Lou Ferrigno) is being hunted for the alleged murders of the scientist that was helping Banner. This causes David Banner (portrayed by Bill Bixby) to drift to different towns to escape law enforcement as well as trying to help people he meets along the way.
The quote actually comes from the very first episode, where David Banner catches a tabloid reporter snooping around near the place where the experiments had taken place. David Banner catches the reporter and delivers the quote, stating that he should stop looking into the story or else.
Geek wisdom: Don’t poke the bear! We all have the tendency to be bullies (yes, even the bullied will bully people even weaker people). We think there are going to be no consequences to teasing and riffing on people; we think they won’t do anything. We may think that but we have no way of thinking what they’ll do in the future.
We’ve seen movies, television shows and comics where the person being bullied becomes someone extremely powerful and then take it out on those who bullied them. In fact, we have even seen people just snap and go on shooting rampages just so they can get some form of “revenge” on society. We have no idea how they’ll focus their anger in the future. Sure, they may be in control of it now. But we have no idea how they’ll deal with it in the future.
David Banner may seem like a weakling but, well, don’t get him angry. That goes for other people as well. We have no idea if they will just Hulk out one day.
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.