Saturday, November 26, 2005

We Can Be Heroes
An editorial

This is the first in a series of editorials discussing real-life and fictional characters that I find important.

Looking back on early childhood, my first heroes were the Ghostbusters. They wore cool suits, swore, smoked, and shot fire rays at funny ghosts that ate Cheetos. Of all the Ghostbusters, my hero has to be Egon Spengler. Widely regarded as the brainy Ghostbuster, few realize that Egon was in fact the ballsiest, craziest member of the team. Why you ask? For the answer to that question let's begin by looking at E=mc^2.
According to E=mc^2, energy equals mass times the speed of light squared. Now, if you take one's mass and multiply it by the speed of light squared [8.98755179 x 1016 m^2 / s^2], which is a lot, you come up with the amount of energy one would give off if their atoms were converted into energy. An average sized human would wipe out North America if they were able to convert their mass into energy.
Now back to Egon. Early in the film, Egon warns Venkman and Stanz not to cross the streams. "Imagine," he said, "all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light." Essentially, crossing the streams would convert one's mass into energy, thus wiping out the country.
Later, when confronted by Zuul, Egon suggests crossing the streams in order to send Zuul back to her dimension. Egon says of the plan, "There's definitely a very slim chance we'll survive." Being a scientist, he must have known the consequences of having one's molecules explode at the speed of light. Egon put the lives of everyone on the planet in jeopardy to defeat Zuul, which makes him by far the most insane Ghostbuster. He knew that it was us or her; he'd take her out or blow everything up trying.
Egon Spengler represents the type of bold men of action that served as role model that young Americans desperately needed in the 1980s. I hope that this has somehow changed the way you think about Egon Spengler, if you think about him at all.

Next Time
: Aaron Burr

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