The Key of Awesome’s Dark Knight Parody

In just over 12 hours, The Dark Knight Rises!

I’ll be seeing the whole trilogy in the theater tonight and reporting back!

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Raging Bee

    I have no intention of paying any money for anything “Batman.” A certain amount of fascism is always present in superhero stories — hero-worship being one of the most basic features of fascism — but “Batman” is the most overtly, humorlessly, malignantly fascist of the whole genre: anti-liberal, anti-due-process, anti-law, portraying criminals as not even really human, and oozing contempt for ordinary people to the point where the places and people shown in the movies bear no resemblance to places and people in the real world.

    “Batman” started out as a cartoon for little kids, with all the bad guys conveniently distorted and dehumanized for a little kid’s “understanding.” And even though the creators have tried to make it all dark and brooding and “grown up,” the same infantile world-view pervades the whole story. And that infantile world-view — with its exaggerated terrors of unfathomable evil — is another defining feature of fascism.

    And speaking of malignancy, check out this Salon article about the “Batman” fans’ over-the-top-and-beneath-the-bottom reaction to a less-than-flattering review of the latest Batman movie:

    And here’s an article implying that “Batman’s” fascist, anti-populist message is even worse than I had thought:

    I strongly advise you to reconsider giving these propagandist scum your money.

    • M Groesbeck

      Batman first appeared in 1939, well before the CCA and the infantilization of comics; so the character was, basically, a macho right-wing vigilante power fantasy from the very beginning. The comics scene has since made a few gestures towards social liberalism, but Batman tends to do so only in a vaguely Libertarian one-percenter sort of way. The essentialization of “criminal” status tends to be even bigger in Batman than superhero comics generally; the current run of movies, especially WRT the Joker, is definitely part of the “anyone against us is fundamentally evil, and even trying to understand them is unacceptable” ideology.

  • John Horstman

    Hey, I’m going with a few friends to see the whole trilogy too! It should be great!

  • leftwingfox

    Raging Bee: Funny, I just read a completely opposite view from a progressive feminist film critic, noting that the film is very much shades of gray, and that you aren’t meant to be mindlessly rooting for Batman. There’s also been a lot of talk about the “fandimentaism” mentality over there in the comments as well.

    I’m certainly going to check it out, probably late Tuesday.

    • Raging Bee

      In the immortal words of Marge Simpson, “Hmmmm…”

      In fairness, my view of Batman is largely colored by the “Dark Knight” comic books, which were a lot more vindictively fascist than the one movie I saw. Hairy-legged PC feminazi criminal-coddling dyke and all.

      If I want to watch stupid superhero movies, there’s plenty of heroes more entertaining and sympathetic than Batman, and plenty of villains with more believable motives than the Joker et al. (Case in point — Magneto: while his special power was just as laughable as everyone else’s in the plausibility department, his motives and reasons were spot-on believable, including the abused child’s inability to direct his anger at the authority-figures he was conditioned to obey.)

      Batman is, was, and probably always will be a little children’s cartoon. And despite all the over-the-top pretentious attempts to make it “dark” and “deep,” it somehow managed to remain the LEAST grown-up cartoon in a genre that’s been growing up noticeably for decades.

    • Raging Bee

      Okay, I just read that review you cite, and here’s where I call bullshit:

      There is only grinding reality to be endured in the harsh mirror it holds up to us in the audience.

      Um, no, in the REAL world, there are huge numbers of unsung and unnoticed ordinary people trying to help others and do the right thing. And what does this movie reportedly do? Refuse to notice them. This movie, and the narrow infantile attitude it seems to foster, are part of the problem, without hinting at any real solution.

      The last thing America needs now (or ever, for that matter) is another bunch of assholes denigrating and denying ordinary people’s capacity for goodness, and pretending they’re “holding a mirror” to us. Isn’t that what abusive parents and spouses say to their victims?

  • Daniel Fincke

    I spent most of my Philosophy of Batman talk trying to make people take seriously Batman’s fascist dimensions (more on that after I finish watching the trilogy and start getting into all things philosophical about Batman this weekend), so I am sympathetic with your concerns. But, no, making (or loving) a Batman movie hardly makes one thereby a fascist.

    • Raging Bee

      I didn’t say that watching a Batman movie made you a fascist; I said that paying for it helps to finance fascist propaganda aimed at young people whose values were still being formed.

    • Daniel Fincke

      It’s not fascist propaganda. Nolan’s intention is not to propagandize fascism. Batman is a character in art. He is interesting as a subject for illuminating truths about the world. I remember in high school, as one of those impressionable minds, reading Batman and learning about all sorts of complexities involved with the ethics of vigilanteism. I even remember a Batman writer in an interview talking about how he would oppose a real life Batman and discussing the problems with it.

      And there is more going on in Batman than just the fascist themes, much more.

    • Raging Bee

      According to the review cited, the elites rule without regard to the cost they impose on the 99%, but the 99%’s only alternative is mob rule led by madmen. How is that not classic fascist propaganda?

  • lorn

    Haven’t given a whole lot of thought but while watching the film, particularly the last one, it occurred to me that Batman is something of an exploration of two themes that have haunted humanity for a very long time: How do you chose which good to do when resources are limited, and how much evil is justified when pursuing good.

  • Alareth

    @Raging Bee

    In fairness, my view of Batman is largely colored by the “Dark Knight” comic books, which were a lot more vindictively fascist than the one movie I saw. Hairy-legged PC feminazi criminal-coddling dyke and all.

    So your entire rant and hatred of a character with 70+ years of history is based off one movie and one artist’s extreme interpretation?

    Miller’s Dark Knight is not the be all and end all of Batman. Personally I’ve never been a fan of it.

    • Raging Bee

      So my criticism isn’t valid unless and until I pay to see all the movies?

      Are you also going to tell me I can’t criticize Ayn Rand unless I’ve read her every book from cover to cover?

  • jakc

    Despite my love of comics and superhero movies, I seem to be one of the few who found the first two Dark Knight movies dull (with the exception of Heath Ledger’s extraordinary Joker). I can’t imagine watching 8 hours or so Dark Knight movies without a break, though I’m sure I’ll eventually watch the third movie (maybe in the theater, maybe on video). I’m hoping that the next reboot is a little more Neal Adams (more tortured, less fascist I suppose though I think the fascist comparisons to Batman are a little strong).

    • Raging Bee

      Even the TRAILERS for those movies were dull: dark scenery, relentless heavy monotone background music (that didn’t really stay in the background), pompous lines laden with phony self-conscious “depth,” and absolutely nothing that made me want to shell out any money for more of the same.

      Seriously, why stick with a retrograde 1930s dinosaur like Batrman (whom I couldn’t believe in even as a child) when there are so many more superheroes who have evolved since then? What’s next — another Dick Tracy movie with more big-budget CGI?

      Then again, we’re stuck in a 1930s-style depression, thanks to Republican policies dredged up from the Roaring Twenties; so having our “entertainment” regress to a 1930s cartoon character seems kinda appropriate.