Cover-Up Life vs. Authentic Life, Via “Iron Man”


This clip from the end of the 2008 film Iron Man really encapsulates for me the difference between living the “Cover Up” life and the Authentic life.

Tony Stark, a well-known public figure, has just been embroiled in some kerfuffle involving men in robotic suits beating each other up + massive damage everywhere. But a “cover” for him has been provided by essentially the CIA (SHIELD) so he can “get out of it” and nobody will know he was really one of the guys in the suits.

And so Stark has this press conference and is reading stuff off these pre-prepared cards; and it’s this standard-order Superman/Clark Kent “wild coincidences” bullshit, which a reporter immediately calls him on. He then has a Freudian slip, tries to get out of that, and…here’s the clip.

And so at that moment, Stark has to make a decision: live the Authentic life (with its advantages and, of course, drawbacks) or stay in the cover-up.

Watching all the subsequent Marvel movies, one might question if he indeed made the right decision. Then of course there is the question: is Stark really, literally “Iron Man”—is the persona attached to the suit really “more” Stark than the public persona of Stark is?

But anyway, there you go. There’s your bit of philosophy for the day.