Monday, July 2, 2018

Ways of Interpreting Batman

Ways of Interpreting Batman
By Angela Smith, HEAL National Coordinator/Co-Founder

Batman's back story is that he is filthy rich and pissed off because some street "thug" (Joe Chill) robbed and killed his parents, stealing his mother's pearls or breaking the necklace (a symbol of false wisdom), who becomes a "superhero" to avenge the death of his parents.  He fails to realize that his parents contributed to the problem of wealth inequality which led to the desperation of characters like The Joker who are simply trying to survive in the modern jungle.  In continuing in their exploitative business practices, he himself could be considered a "Two-Face" and Batman and Two-Face may be allegorical or represent the reality of both men as balancing good and evil within. 

However, Two-Face started out as a hero and becomes a villain when he realizes the system is too corrupt to be fixed from within.  He chooses to give up and turn to a life of crime since he sees no heroes in the vicinity.  In addition, Batman is a player who seduces women which makes him kind of a whore of sorts.  This is one interpretation and may explain why Two-Face turns to crime in order to mock the supposed "superhero" in the "black mask". 

Beyond this, other "villains" in the Batman series are all victims of exploitation, crime, intellectual property theft (i.e. The Riddler), and various forms of oppression.  Since Batman is trying to make sure they stay in their place and avoid challenging his authority or that of the den of thieves known as the "upper class" in modern society, he himself may be considered a villain and people misread the comic book.

Of course, we also have the Suicide Squad which is obviously a group of people who have been used in human experiments and therefore have a valid reason to challenge the status quo and give a big "fuck you" to those responsible.  Since Wayne Enterprises works on defense contracts, among other things, it is clear that Batman is most likely a symbol of the RAND Corporation.  A symbol that on the outside may seem benign or helpful, but, beneath the facade is actually responsible for the world's suffering.

Now, it gets even worse...  Batman, a supposed womanizing bachelor, adopts a male gymnast named Robin that he continually puts in dangerous situations where his life is threatened.  They have an underground lair (like a dungeon or basement) where they play "dress up" and you can read into that what you like.  But, as far as I understand it, when a single man adopts a gymnast and plays with the kid in a dark cave or basement, it isn't a good thing for anyone involved. 

For these reasons, I tend to root for the "villains" in the Batman series.  And, I have always preferred Superman/Clark Kent.  Superman always does the right thing, helps people for the sake of doing good in the world, and is loyal to the woman he loves.  He is also an honest journalist and protector of all that is good.  So, in a battle between Batman and Superman, I'm for Superman all the way.  And, Superman actually has super powers, unlike Batman who just uses his defense contracts to use the money to build and experiment with weaponized toys for his own personal gain and pleasure. 

That said, I loved "The Dark Knight" and Christian Bale did a great job.  I have no issue with any actor who has taken on the role and believe that good people see the good and sometimes buy propaganda without questioning more.  It is great to like cool gadgets and want a hero to make the streets safer.  But, the streets should be safe for everyone, not just those who can afford a night on the town and are too stupid to dress down when visiting the city at night.  I also think Alfred should have been given an early paid retirement as soon as Bruce was old enough to take care of himself instead of being held captive for companionship for a boy who never grew up and couldn't understand that his parents had it coming.
[Note: I love what Kevin Smith did to improve the storyline with Bluntman and Chronic.  Now, that's a dynamic duo I can get behind.]

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