2008
08.20

Talkin’ about the Bat

I know this is way past its point of relevance, but I wanted to wait until everyone had a chance to see The Dark Knight at least twice before throw my thoughts out for consumption.

- Like I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am in the middle of reading a biography on Albert Einstein. The idea that Einstein believed that there was a rule for everything is similar to ideology of Batman. Throughout The Dark Knight and other Batman stories, Batman sides with organization, process, and order. There is a formula to life. A routine to be followed. Batman’s outlook on life can almost be summarized with Einstein’s famous quote, “God doesn’t play with dice”.

Batman’s villains in The Dark Knight, on the other hand, represent the various stages of chaos. Two-Face is chance personified; and hence represents life and our existence on Earth. To date, we still can’t figure out why the third rock in our solar system was the one to spring life. So far, the odds are against life in the universe. We are the result of chance.

Then there is the Joker – utter chaos. There is no definable rhyme nor reason to the Joker’s actions. He is the big bang theory personified. He is the quantum mechanics to Batman’s theory of relativity.

- One more point: Several other sites, most specifically CNN.com, called the Joker a terrorist. Others said The Dark Knight is a statement on the war on terror(ism). What these writers barely mention is the origin of the Joker’s tactics. The writers of The Dark Knight had clearly studied the courses of action of successful insurgencies and guerrilla fighters.

(Warning: If you have not seen The Dark Knight, you might not want to read any further. I’m about to mention parts of the movie.)

For example, the flaming firetruck? Ripped from the streets of Mogadishu or Fallujah. The attack on the helicopter? Although the Joker didn’t use an RPG, that was from Mogadishu, site of the book “Black Hawk Down”. The cell-phone activated bomb? Only seen time and time again by U.S. troops in Iraq; they call them I.E.D.s – or improvised explosive devices. And then of course, there was the exploding hospital. That can be traceable to either the embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania, the Oklahoma City bombing, or even the attack on the World Trade Center.

What Batman and the authorities of Gotham City never attempt to do, and this honestly surprised me, was to go after the Joker’s logistics. To quote Jack Nicholson’s Joker, “Where did he get those wonderful toys?” The bombs, the guns, the rocket launchers – they had to come from somewhere. The Joker either had a warehouse full of munitions or he was being supplied by somewhere. Attempting to eliminate that source would definite have put a hamper on the Joker’s ability to cause chaos.

But then again, “The Hunt For The Joker’s Logistics” would not make for a very exciting movie.

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  1. An excellent post. I would only ask that one look a little deeper into history for other representations of the Joker’s tactics. Throughout history there have been instances when a small irregular force has outperformed a numerically superior foe or whatnot. In almost all cases, the deciding factor has been superior leadership (which leads to superior moral), and unorthodox application of resources. I would also add that the Batman movies not directed by Tim Burton have missed the important aspect of Bruce Wayne’s life. That aspect being that he is certifiable. He is insane. Because the more recent offerings allow this fact to slip away, I am often not convinced, and find it difficult to follow Batman as a legitimate vigilante or anit-hero.