Friday, July 25, 2008

Batman and "W"

Now don't throw-up. I saw The Dark Knight this week and it was a great show. I couldn't help but draw some parallels to Bush in the movie, and it appears that I am not the only one. In the movie the people start ragging on Batman as a menace rather than a hero. They complain about how he protects them and even begin to vilify him. The Joker challenges Batman with regards to the "rules" of engagement that he follows vs. how criminals and terrorists have NO rules, therefore they win. The conflict arises on how to restore order to a chaos and crime ridden city. Batman decides to tap into all cell phones in the city to combat a ruthless terrorist criminal with no conscience or purpose, other than to murder, to beat him at his own game. Morgan Freeman challenges Batman on this approach and sees in the end that it was necessary to beat an otherwise deadly outcome. The question is asked whether you would be willing to make choices where you and you alone are responsible for the outcome...I dare say no. The American citizen much prefers to relax and criticize after the fact, and oh so arrogantly at that. Here we are worshipping a Presidential candidate who has done virtually nothing to deserve the accolades that he receives and we can't even thank the current President for the job he has done keeping us safe from an enemy who wants to kill just to kill and destroy. If you think Obama is the answer to your gas prices going down then you are in a delusional world with the rest of the Obamakins. I am not the only one who drew such parallels in the movie. Andrew Klavan of the Wall Street Journal had the same experience. Here is his article in its entirety and a link if you prefer...What Bush and Batman have in Common ...I enjoyed the movie A LOT and have no clout in saying that it is awesome. America is seeing this movie as it is breaking all kinds of records.
What Bush and Batman Have in Common
July 25, 2008; Page A15
A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."
There seems to me no question that the Batman film "The Dark Knight," currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society -- in which people sometimes make the wrong choices -- and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.
"The Dark Knight," then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year's "300," "The Dark Knight" is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
Conversely, time after time, left-wing films about the war on terror -- films like "In The Valley of Elah," "Rendition" and "Redacted" -- which preach moral equivalence and advocate surrender, that disrespect the military and their mission, that seem unable to distinguish the difference between America and Islamo-fascism, have bombed more spectacularly than Operation Shock and Awe.
Why is it then that left-wingers feel free to make their films direct and realistic, whereas Hollywood conservatives have to put on a mask in order to speak what they know to be the truth? Why is it, indeed, that the conservative values that power our defense -- values like morality, faith, self-sacrifice and the nobility of fighting for the right -- only appear in fantasy or comic-inspired films like "300," "Lord of the Rings," "Narnia," "Spiderman 3" and now "The Dark Knight"?
The moment filmmakers take on the problem of Islamic terrorism in realistic films, suddenly those values vanish. The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us. Why should this be?
The answers to these questions seem to me to be embedded in the story of "The Dark Knight" itself: Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous. Many have been abhorred for it, some killed, one crucified.
Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.
Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.
The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.
When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."
That's real moral complexity. And when our artistic community is ready to show that sometimes men must kill in order to preserve life; that sometimes they must violate their values in order to maintain those values; and that while movie stars may strut in the bright light of our adulation for pretending to be heroes, true heroes often must slink in the shadows, slump-shouldered and despised -- then and only then will we be able to pay President Bush his due and make good and true films about the war on terror.
Perhaps that's when Hollywood conservatives will be able to take off their masks and speak plainly in the light of day.
Mr. Klavan has won two Edgar Awards from the Mystery Writers of America. His new novel, "Empire of Lies" (An Otto Penzler Book, Harcourt), is about an ordinary man confronting the war on terror.


Khaki Elephant said...

Wow, really interesting post. I haven't seen the film but I will now. And I hope you don't mind if I link this to my blog.

Sandi said...

I haven't seen this, either, but I want to. And I'll keep your comments in mind while I watch the movie. Another thought-provoking post.

Freadom said...

Holy, Batman. I can't believe you wrote this, considering I thought the exact same thing as I watched it with my wife. This movie was a very accurate flick to real life in America and the world. Awesome post. Honestly, this is exactly how I felt as I watched the movie, and never thought anythong of it until I read this post. Yes, Mr. Elephant, you should definitely watch this flick.

Nikki said...

Hey Khaki you definately need to see this movie and feel free to hot link me up! :)N

Sandi, you will like it, lots of action and definately a philosophical movie as well. I was actually surprised at how well I liked the film...I am usually a harsh critic. :)N

Freadom, my husband had the same reaction after the show. We both kindof philosophized about it afterwards...great minds think alike! :)N

ba and the boys said...

i am happy to hear that i am not alone in not seeing batman yet! i will read this after i see it...(it may be awhile)

thedailyelephant said...

batman was the diggity. yea, i see what you're saying, it kind of does resemble the current situation of our president. poor dubya.

Coby said...

Extremely interesting post here, Ms. Nikki. Hailing from the great state of Texas I do have a parallel offering. George W. Bush had no experience other than the extremely poor job he did as the Governor of Texas. His claims of Education reform in Texas showed how utterly disconnected he was from reality. His state consistently performed in the basement of scoring nationwide. All the while Dubya bragged. George was a poor student in college, and he is still a poor student. It doesn't take brains to be a bully. Does he have his positives? sure if you are a corporate entity, but what if you are just working hard? What if you don't make 70-150K per year? What if you are the average American who makes 35-45K per year? What if it costs you $260 extra a month just to get to work? Anyone out there that doesn't think that this is a burden is either disconnected or extremely well off. I wish we could all drop the political labels and just look at what a mess our country is now compared to 8 years ago. I know I was doing great! I know I have been impacted by our, in the basement economy, failing mortgages, and gas prices.I sell New Homes. My industry has taken a nose dive! It is not comming back either. That is reality, republican or democrat, makes no difference. Our country is in trouble, and we need to admit it and correct it. John McCain cannot nor will he correct it. It will be more of the same.
Thanks Nikki for the chance to just express myself. I am not writing to make anyone mad just to state my opinion. Thanks!

Nikki said...

Coby, I appreciate you giving us another point of view. I don't think a lot of our problems should be blamed on the President. I don't know about Texas, but I do know he won Texas in both 200 and 2004, and had won back to back gubernatorial elections whick was unprededented in Texas, not to mention his approval rating in Texas was over 60%. I am not saying what yousay is incorrect but I just thought I would mention it. Gas prices and the mortgage crisis are both problems americans have brought on themselves and IMO have no one else to blame. My family is far better off than we were 8 years ago so I have no complaints. I suppose if you were in the housing industry, the auto industry or needed to purchase fuel for a living, then there would be something to gripe about. But make sure the blame is properly placed. Obama will do nothing for gas prices and congress is already planning a housing bailout that the President will sign to the chagrin of most rebuplicans. The President lifted the ban on drilling and as the summer winds down there will be a decrease in prices as the vacation season ends and less strict gas emissions go into effect. Supply and demand is what is causing the rise and the weakened dollar, Give dirty looks to those who drive big SUV's who are driving the price where it is, and other countries who are using far more oil than the US. Lifestyle changes for all of us are a good idea. Thanks for a different perspective...its good to show both sides of an argument! ;0N

Nikki said...

oops my smile is off...:)N

Nikki said...

and sorry :)N

EDGE said...

Oh Nikki! You're killing me!!! I haven't seen this yet! Sounds like I could put this movie on my blog!

Nikki said...

Edge, definately go see it soon! I would love to hear a review from you! :)N

EDGE said...

I'm giving you a hat tip Tuesday on my blog! I saw BM today and liked it!

Nikki said...

woohoo Edge, can't wait! :)N

DB said...

Nice post, but I did realize one thing...Bush will become popular after he leaves office because Americans like to romanticize the victim. Sure, the economy isn't entirely his fault, but he is the president and charged with the welfare of this nation. The economy goes to crap, people turn to their leader. Fair or not, that's how it is.

DB said...

Wow, just watched the flick. Great movie, best Batman, best Joker, totally rocked.

With that aside, I watched for the parallels...and realized this constant comparison is nothing more than the right yearning for their own "hero." I can understand the frustration, with The Messiah on the left and nothing on the right. The biggest complaint from the right is that Obama is a rock-star, but is the complaint anything more than envy? Of course, no one would admit envy. The right is still the party who worships Reagan, after all.

Now I let this comment slide until I got a chance to see the movie, but the author above (not Nikki, but Andrew Klaven) said... "Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past." Sad. There should never a time for those boundaries to be pushed and that is an issue I have with this war. I agree we should be fighting for their rights in Iraq (should have been more honest of pretenses) but we should not sacrifice our own rights and values for that sake. If anything, the terrorists hate us for the freedoms we have. Taking those away, even just a little with "intentions" to give them back is giving in to the reason we were attacked. To be scared.

And to stretch a little, I would go as far as saying that "little" things like pushing the boundaries of our civil rights has given the left a referendum to end this war, which has become a popular stance, and is quite likely now, which one could argue is a less safe road to take. This might not have made us safer in the end...

I know all you righties with the mindset that "the only ones who should be scared of civil right abuse is the bad guys" will have fun with this one. Those who sacrifice liberty for temporary safety deserve neither. Cheers.

Nikki said...

DB, there is a saying from another movie(a chick flick)that says, "don't worship me until I've earned it" this is the Obama problem...he hasn't had a chance to make mistakes and misjudgements because he hasn't done anything. Bush has made mistakes and misjudgements and has made difficult decisions with courage, and dare I say he has done some things right...your precious civil rights that you so valiantly cling to are no more demeaned than your unborn babies getting sucked out by a vacuum. Let's have some moral clarity when it comes to the moral high ground. cheers...:)N

DB said...

You are right, screw any defense of civil rights because of the abortion issue. So, it would be ok to give up your 4th through 8th Amendment rights based on the fact that the Supreme Court in 1973 (before I was even born, let alone don't make major US decisions) made abortion legal? I would rather ban abortion than burn the Bill of Rights! So, we should give all power to the President. Can you imagine what the Messiah would do with such power? It would be forced Hannah Montana concerts across the nation!

Please correct me if I am wrong, but for most of Bush's term, the Conservatives controlled all three branches of the government...yet abortion is still legal.

Nikki said...

DB, I am not arguing for or against point is that your moral high horse is selective. yes like everyone elses, so don't get all wound up in your moral fortitude when it comes to "our rights being trampled" by phone the tapping of criminals...its no more morally disgusting than abortion. now go to bed. :)N
unless you have more to say of course. :o