Friday, October 9, 2015

Always Be Batman, unless...

I love the meme: "Always be yourself. Unless you can be Batman. Then always be Batman."

Except that Batman is damaged goods.  I mean, here is the guy who obsesses on how to destroy every superhuman on the planet, especially the ones who are his "friends" who save the planet on a regular basis.  Not merely obsesses, but then builds really elaborate plans, and sets aside vast stores of equipment to pull it off. Just in case he ever has to shutdown his friends.

And he won't ever kill. He won't ever kill guys who have murdered dozens or hundreds of people. Hey, Bats, you do realize you're kind of becoming an accessory to murder right? I mean, talk about "enabling."  If you're the only guy who can ever shutdown the Joker, then your repeated failure to keep him shutdown kinda means you're enabling him to murder again and again. Look, I totally respect drawing a moral line in the sand, but sometimes the Punisher really is the better option. How screwed up are you when the Punisher or Wolverine have the moral high ground?

"Bruce Wayne" isn't the secret identity. Batman is the real persona, and "Bruce Wayne" is just another character disguise Batman slips into when he needs to move among the norms and get things done via subterfuge and the gears of human machinery.  Sometimes, the Bigger Hammer of Batman isn't subtle enough, and pretending to be a charming and silly billionaire playboy has its uses.

(Model Mia Khalifa)

Ultimately, we want to be Batman, because he is human. We identify with his lack of superpowers. Batman is awesome, because he defeats everyone by out-thinking them. Batman plans ahead, trains himself, and then "cheats" like crazy to save the day, save the world, and be a hero. We all want to be that resourceful. We all want to believe that when the chips are down, a mere mortal could think of just the right thing to do, and save those we love.  Of course, we also all want to be billionaire masters of kung fu, smarter and more charming than everyone else, but the out-thinking bit is still why the meme says "Always be Batman," and not "Always be Iron Man."

But, to return to my point - Batman is damaged goods. Batman is the real person, and Bruce Wayne is the fiction he slips into when the hood comes off. The mind of Batman is obsessed and always whirling. It is obsessed with Justice, to be sure, but it ends up being a dark and distorted justice, invariably willing to grant "second chances" when useful and convenient, but ultimately unforgiving.

In contrast, Tony Stark is a guy who puts on a suit and tries to make a difference. Stark has gone public with his identity, and evokes at least as much change in the world out of the suit as inside the suit.

So, it's actually healthier to adopt a view of "Always be yourself. Unless you can be Tony Stark. Then be Tony Stark."

But, you know, I'm a girl, so I'm going with "Be yourself. Unless you can be Pepper Potts. Then be Pepper Potts."

Via: Obvious Winner

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