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  #1  
Old 07-24-2012, 03:44 PM
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Default Dark Knight Politics

If Joker was the personification of the anarchist in The Dark Knight, then Bane is the personification of the revolutionary. Both are terrorists, however, Joker has no end goal in sight and just loves chaos for chaos sake, loves the disruption of law and order. Bane, as revolutionary, replaces one form of oppression (elected government, capitalist oppression) with another (rule by him and his unelected army), in the name of the people. You could say Bane and his army symbolize Communists. In this world, Batman is super-cop unfunded by tax payers and therefore able to bend the rules, who acts to restore law and order when the police of Gotham are outmatched. Batman, you could say, just supports the status quo, or more specifically, good cops (Jim Gordon) and good politicians (Harvey Dent).

Although, I love Christopher Nolan's Batman films, I can't say I agree with his politics, or at least, the politics he injects into his films. Does anyone here disagree with this assessment?

Last edited by chator : 07-24-2012 at 04:17 PM.
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Old 07-24-2012, 04:05 PM
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I don't think Bane was as well thought out as Joker in Fact...the truth is Bane's politics were Ras' al Ghul's Politics. Bane and Talia were just fanatical followers...mindless and thoughtless. This is proven by the fact they were willing to die for their cause which afterwards could not be guaranteed just by wiping out the politics of one American City.

Ras' goal wasn't to die gloriously but to guide a new Gotham from behind the scenes. Perhaps that is communist in nature but Communist are always more overt.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:14 PM
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You're right, Ras Al Ghul basically were believers in creative destruction. They were like a suicide cult, but terrorists also. So kind of like Aum Shinrikyo, or Al Queda. But since Gotham was enjoying peace time before the appearance of Bane, I don't see how they can justify their claim that Gotham was corrupt and in need of being made over. One of the shortfalls of the film was making that point palpable. So it really just appears as though Bane and his henchmen are power-seeking thugs. But there definitely was an overt attempt to make him appear as a kind of revolutionary/robin hood character.
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Old 07-24-2012, 05:52 PM
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That's the other concept in Dark Knight Rises. In this film they seemed to be implying that the gap between the have and the have nots had become increasingly wider. That's why they focused abit on Blake and the orphanage, the charity money from the Wayne Foundation that dried up, Fusion power for all and Selina Kyle whose entire purpose was like a female Robinhood taking from the rich and giving to the poor. That may have been the point of her female companion who look a bit lower than Selina.

While I see this I don't think it was very well told but it seems to be an extremely like perspective given much of particular dialogue pieces.
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Old 07-24-2012, 09:40 PM
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Well this is part of the problem in the film, Nolan throws a lot of economics based stuff into the film but he does it in a hugely hamfisted way.

The first thing is I don't believe communism has anything to do with this. For me, the actions taken are more an echo of the French Revolution instead and 'exile' replaces the guillotine after the sacking and rounding up of the rich. Again Nolan is trying to mirror the difference between the super-rich and the disparity between them and the rest. Kyle is supposed to represent the 99% probably but I don't think she quite works. I don't think the politics of the film are settled in as much as Nolan doesn't entirely pick a side here.

The problem with Bane is that he ends up nothing. He represents nothing because he has no goal or vision for Gotham and is only a henchman to Talia. In turn she is merely avenging her father. In this case, she isn't even a deluded fanatical follower. Just a daughter out for revenge. The reveal of her as the real villain instantly undoes everything Bane has previously said and done because it shows up he was really just having fun while the bigger plan unfolded.

But she's going to blow Gotham up anyway. So neither have much of a plan.

In all the films, someone is trying to destroy Gotham because that city is a metaphor for wider society. But none of them ever have much of a goal after that. Ras was simply going to repeat the cycle again, but Talia didn't even care to do that.
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Old 07-24-2012, 10:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chator View Post
If Joker was the personification of the anarchist in The Dark Knight, then Bane is the personification of the revolutionary. Both are terrorists, however, Joker has no end goal in sight and just loves chaos for chaos sake, loves the disruption of law and order. Bane, as revolutionary, replaces one form of oppression (elected government, capitalist oppression) with another (rule by him and his unelected army), in the name of the people. You could say Bane and his army symbolize Communists. In this world, Batman is super-cop unfunded by tax payers and therefore able to bend the rules, who acts to restore law and order when the police of Gotham are outmatched. Batman, you could say, just supports the status quo, or more specifically, good cops (Jim Gordon) and good politicians (Harvey Dent).

Although, I love Christopher Nolan's Batman films, I can't say I agree with his politics, or at least, the politics he injects into his films. Does anyone here disagree with this assessment?
The "we cannot tell the people the truth" ending of Dark Knight was already slightly authoritarian so it is hardly surprising that the sequel depicts left-wingers as violent villains without an actual plan. Furthermore the author of the Dark Knight comic, Frank Miller, is a pretty crazy right-winger and the idea of a rich guy beating up gangsters at night while sleeping during the day, when he could actually make a difference as CEO of his megacompany, is hardly a progressive setup to begin with.

"Batman is unable to see that the subjective crime he fights on a nightly basis is the direct manifestation of the objective crime he perpetrates on a daily basis."
http://peterrollins.net/?p=49

So I basically agree yet it is not a personal but a structural problem. Nolan is not a reactionary fellow, he simply revealed the truth of Batman.
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Old 07-24-2012, 11:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
The "we cannot tell the people the truth" ending of Dark Knight was already slightly authoritarian so it is hardly surprising that the sequel depicts left-wingers as violent villains without an actual plan. Furthermore the author of the Dark Knight comic, Frank Miller, is a pretty crazy right-winger and the idea of a rich guy beating up gangsters at night while sleeping during the day, when he could actually make a difference as CEO of his megacompany, is hardly a progressive setup to begin with.

"Batman is unable to see that the subjective crime he fights on a nightly basis is the direct manifestation of the objective crime he perpetrates on a daily basis."
http://peterrollins.net/?p=49

So I basically agree yet it is not a personal but a structural problem. Nolan is not a reactionary fellow, he simply revealed the truth of Batman.
Thanks for that. I knew you would have something good to say on this topic. You get the same themes running through the Iron Man character, Marvel comics' version of a Wayne/Batman character. Tony Stark, a wealthy industrialist, who makes his profits as a manufacturer of high-tech weapons to governments, uses his genius and wealth to create an indestructible armor, that allows him to play superhero and save lives. Is this savior complex perhaps a by-product of the guilt created by profiting off of the deaths of thousands due to the business of Stark Enterprises?

Ariel Dorfman has written about how our cultural heroes re-inforce the myths and stereotypes our culture wants or needs for us to believe. In the case of Wayne/Batman, he seems to believe the solution to any social or political problem is more money, either for charity, or to support "good" politicians (Dent), or to buy more expensive toys to deal with crime. So Wayne/Batman is perpetuating the cultural myth that the hero is the guy with the most money. Hehehe.

Last edited by chator : 07-25-2012 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 12:49 AM
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I totally agree. Batman is often promoted via a comparison with Superman, "this is not an alien with superpowers but an ordinary man, we all could be Batman" and so on. Obviously this ignores that the guy doesn't have to work from 9 to 5 and that he owns an enterprise in which he accidentally finds a tank in the basement.

You could say that Tony Stark (referring to the movie, I don't know the comic originals) is better than Bruce Wayne as he changes his company after he learns about its crimes.
But it is just a half-as*ed effort, he feels guilty so he plays this redemption game for a little bit but he doesn't make any significant changes. Like Bruce Wayne he enjoys his playboy life thoroughly and doesn't really want it to change. You could go one step further and claim that the purpose of superheroes is precisely this false activity which clouds that no actual change, be it about the crime and poverty of Gotham or the weapons and wars in the case of Ironman, occurs. Much ado about nothing such that everything can continue as it has.

Fight Club, at least in its first half before the protagonist sets up his fascist organization, shows that you have to first beat yourself before you can change anything "out there". In Ironman and Batman there is a bit of that, Stark works like crazy and Wayne physically exhausts himself, but neither of them is willing to go to the end, neither of them undoes his old life like the protagonist from Fight Club does when he burns his flat.
And isn't that precisely how the upper middle class left-liberal who drives a Prius or the upper middle-class conservative who gives money to charity tick? They are narcissists who wanna feel good about themselves and do not really want anything to change.

Your charity, toys, wave-flagging for politicians triangle captures everything which is wrong about Wayne or superheroes in general or in the end about ourselves.
The commonality of the three is that they are all individualistic. You just need a good guy in office, you just gotta take out your gun or your wallet to fight the evils of this world.
That's not how the world functions. Take Nixon, he was a crook but socially forced to be a good president. It's great that we folks in the West cherish the individual so much but this shouldn't make us idolize individual heroes, he it Hamlet, Rambo or Batman, as structural problems are impossible to solve like this.
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Old 07-25-2012, 05:52 AM
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All really good points. It will be interesting to see what Zack Snyder and Christopher Nolan do with Superman in the upcoming Man of Steel film. For decades, Superman was a symbol of U.S. imperialism, who stood for "Truth, Justice, and the American way." Superman was the ultimate American citizen. Then, last year, in a strange turn around, Superman, in the comics, renounced his U.S. citizenship, to become a world citizen. It will be interesting to see which Superman we get. Cultural heroes change with the times.

Last edited by chator : 07-25-2012 at 05:55 AM.
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Old 07-25-2012, 04:05 PM
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That should be interesting since they seem to be joing back to the Superman/Jesus Christ metaphor for Man of Steel.
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