Saturday, July 26, 2008

Batman as Cypher

Now that The Dark Knight has indelibly etched himself in our collective social subconscious, articles and blog posts are aflutter with news of the newest "deeper meaning" of Batman (not the Batman. NEVER the Batman). First was this article trying to guess various superheroes' political affiliations, with this to say of Bruce Wayne's alter ego:
Bruce Wayne is pro-gun-control and against the death penalty, which places him among left-wing Democrats.
Source: Chicago Tribune. Very telling. Next we have Kyle Smith's review, wherein:
Liberals live in a world of “and.” Full security and full civil liberties. Universal health care and the best quality with no waiting. A dynamic economy and full welfare and unemployment benefits. Liberals, in other words, live in that scene in “Spider-Man” in which Spidey, forced to choose between saving a tram car full of innocent civilians and saving his girlfriend, chooses both. Liberals live in a fantasy.

Conservatives, though, live in a world of tradeoffs, of either/or. For having this relationship with reality, conservatives are caricatured as grumpy, stingy and negative. Surely all it takes is a bump in taxes on the wealthy and everything will be affordable? Where’s the Hope? Where’s the Dream? Yes, we can!

“The Dark Knight” lives on a razor edge of tradeoffs. In the coin flips of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent there is a message that not only can’t you choose both heads and tails, but sometimes you’re up against a trick coin that ensures you lose either way.

Innocents get killed, civil liberties are infringed, and Batman ardently defends lies over truth in the pursuit of propaganda. Extremism in the defense of liberty is Batman’s virtue, and he ventures much farther into the wilds of lawlessness than any politician would dare. Moreover, his Gotham is a place where some believe that chaos can be managed, that giving into a simple demand from the Joker that Batman turn himself in might be a workable alternative in the long run.
In other words, Batman serves as a justification of the George Bush administration and the whole GWOT. Further thinking along this line here. Finally, this very evening, I come across an article by Ilya Somin in which libertarian aspects of Batman are detected and dissected, with quotes from the comments:
"Superman seems like more of a cultural conservative superhero, someone who has supernatural powers in whom to grant authoritarian trust. Batman seems libertarian, a private party using his skills and intelligence to overcome wrong, outside the government." Plus: "The only villains Batman goes after are those who have themselves violated the harm principle (usually by killing innocent people). He doesn't go after perpetrators of purely victimless crimes or people he dislikes because disapproves of the way they live their private lives."
(Quotes dragged up via Instapundit).

So there you have it. Batman is both a liberal scion, a conservative hero, AND a libertarian crusader! Now where have I heard this before: a lone hero with amazing powers and capabilities beyond normal human capacity, changing the world for the better, in whom everyone sees something of their selves, and projects their own hopes and beliefs onto the blank slate of his personality?

Holy projection, Batman! You're Barack Hussein Obama!

Okay, okay, now I feel bad, because Batman is totally awesome, and I just compared him to someone who may well yet prove to be the Antichrist. Ugh.

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Anonymous Marty said...

Of one thing we can be certain. Batman is not Green.

9:18 PM  
Blogger Benjamin said...

I'm waiting for "Batman: paleocon ronpaulian". Just... waiting...

6:18 AM  

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