Is "The Dark Knight" an allegory for the Bush administration?

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Unspeaked, Aug 11, 2008.

  1. Unspeaked macrumors 68020

    Unspeaked

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    #1
    Some of you may have come across this recent op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal in which author Andrew Klavan gives his reasons for thinking the latest Batman film is really a right-wing propaganda piece:

    LINK

    The gist of it is you've got this person in power (Batman/Bush) who is fighting a unconventional terrorist (Joker/Bin Laden) and is forced to use unethical, dirty tactics (sonar weapon/whatever the heck the Bush administration is using) to gain the upper hand in this battle. In the end, the hero (Batman/Bush) ends up being hated by the people (Gotham citizens/Americans) but did what he had to do and got the job done...

    I think he certainly makes a case that one can draw similarities between the film and real life, but is he grasping at straws with his conspiracy theory or is he really onto something?
     
  2. remmy macrumors 6502a

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    #2
    The first and very important difference is that Batman puts his life on the line, were as Bush doesn't.

    The second is Bush as got no were near to getting the Joker.
     
  3. MICHAELSD macrumors 68040

    MICHAELSD

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    #3
    Dumbest. Wall Street Journal. Article. Ever.

    Nuff' said...
     
  4. skunk macrumors G4

    skunk

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    #4
    Was Tacitus really describing George W Bush in the words he attributed to the highland chieftain Calgacus:

    "Auferre trucidare rapere falsis nominibus imperium,
    atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant"
    ?

    To ravage, to slaughter, to usurp under false titles, this they make the measure of their power; and where they make a desert, they call this peace.

    Such foresight.
     
  5. Queso macrumors G4

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    #5
    My thoughts exactly. The plotline of the flawed hero who causes destruction in pursuit of the greater good is as old as recorded history.

    And no, I don't think Bush falls into that role :p
     
  6. MacGeek7 macrumors 6502a

    MacGeek7

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    #6
    I think he's grasping at straws, yes, there are parallels but that's it.
     
  7. BoyBach macrumors 68040

    BoyBach

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    #7
    No. 'The Dark Knight' is a rather poor comic book film masquerading as a summer blockbuster. Does this article pass for journalism now?
     
  8. MacHipster macrumors 6502

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    #8
    This sounds like something an Apparatus-ist would write in Sight & Sound. Written by Robin Wood's ghost, perhaps?

    Edit: Nevermind. I see that Professor Wood is still alive and deluded.
     
  9. EricNau Moderator emeritus

    EricNau

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    #9
    No more than Harry Potter is, or Pirates of the Caribbean. Many movies follow the universal theme of questioning authority, and virtually any administration would fit in one way or another.
     
  10. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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  11. Sun Baked macrumors G5

    Sun Baked

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    #11
    This is what happens when reporters have acid flashbacks. :(

    Next thing you'll know, the WSJ will be reporting alien babies flooding the White House.
     
  12. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #12
    The WSJ's editorial section has long been a playground for right-wing fantasies and propaganda.

    Reviewers...legitimate reviewers...have already commented on the parallels between Batman's surveillance system and Bush's; and the message has been (and I think this is plain from the movie) that Batman has compromised his role as "the good guy" by taking it to illegal/unethical extremes...a point Lucius Fox certainly understands by the end of the movie when he walks out of Batman's life.

    So: is "The Dark Knight" trying to portray this sort of behavior in a positive light? The verdict (from everyone except the overly-inventive Mr. Klavan...any relation to Cliff?) is no.
     
  13. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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  14. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #14
    Except that Batman is a vigilante superhero and Bush is the President of the United States. And I'd trust Batman's judgement over Bush's any day. You see, Batman doesn't have a dog in this fight, unlike Bush whose closest advisors and moneymen all have direct interests in his policies.

    If you want to actually take the theory seriously (that Batman is like Bush) then it's even more a condemnation of Bush's tactics. Lone, vigilante superheroes can bend the law. Government cannot. You might remember the end of the movie where Batman took the fall so that Harvey Dent (law & order) could survive untarnished.

    Imagine, instead, the mayor of Gotham telling the GPD to arrest anyone who looks like a criminal and have them waterboarded until they confessed. This is more like what Bush has done. Oh, and then they invaded and occupied Pennsylvania to protect Gotham's freedom, of course.
     
  15. leekohler macrumors G5

    leekohler

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    #15
    This whole idea is just damn silly. It's a superhero movie, for god's sake. It's a story as old as the hills too. Why can't people just go enjoy a film without turning it into some insidious political propaganda plot? Someone tried to do that with Wall-E in these forums too. Stop it! Life is too short to waste on goofy theories like this. :rolleyes:
     
  16. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #16
    ----Spoiler Alert-----

    If you haven't seen DK, this post will ruin the movie.



    Some thoughts. I just saw the movie this weekend, but I think the movie is one of the best dramas I've seen in years. There are several distinct parallels, some of them latently obvious: the Joker is every nihilistic terrorist (or Burmese renegade) who seeks disorder and destruction; and some of them very complex: Batman's relationship to Harvey Dent.

    In some ways, we see that Harvey Dent is the United States. Scarred and angry, Dent lashes out using any means necessary to find his revenge. He doesn't mind going to the "dark side" because good and evil don't matter anymore, "the only morality is chance." This framework is his own, but in some ways reflects the "we make our own reality" notion that came from the White House as reported by Ron Suskind.

    Of course, the police are also us, some are trying to do good, some are corrupt, some are just inept. Many stand by the sidelines and say "I didn't know what was going to happen." So while Gordon is trying to hold the situation together as best as he can, with the Joker trying to tear the city apart and Dent pilling up the bodes, Batman operates outside of these structures, simultaneously trying to uphold justice by capturing (but not killing) the Joker—although bouncing his skull off the wall is worth it—while trying to protect the city's "white light." Note, here is the "ticking bomb" scenario that often justifies torture, but we also get to see how torture fails. The Joker just needs time, and he can take the beatings long enough for something terrible to happen.

    One of the most important thing to note about DK is that Batman has failed in nearly every way possible. He has failed to protect the innocent, he has failed to stop the Joker (mostly), he fails to protect either Rachael or Harvey Dent, and the civilians in the boats survive because of their own choices. One of the great turnabouts is the prisoner who looms up and takes the detonator and throws it out the window, thereby accepting his fate and becoming more noble than nearly anyone else in the movie.

    Ultimately, I think the movie is too complex to form into a nice neat political package. The morality of the film is complex and mutable and thus anyone who believes it means one thing or another has missed the point.
     
  17. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #17
    If this movie was truly allegorical, Bush would be represented by the Joker - the force of evil.
     
  18. hulugu macrumors 68000

    hulugu

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    #18
    No, no. That can't be right. All of the Joker's complex machinations work; Bush was nearly done in by a pretzel. ;)
     
  19. obeygiant macrumors 68040

    obeygiant

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    #19
    You're so predictable, SMM. :)
     
  20. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #20
    Because there are too many people with agendas, and they all want to be right.

    The question is, if we ignore the ramblings of the theorists, will they go away? I say no. So, why not consider and deconstruct their assertions? If nothing else, maybe someone searching the issue will find this type of thread and come away realizing how silly those ideas are.
     
  21. Thomas Veil macrumors 68020

    Thomas Veil

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    #21
    I'd beg to differ...a little.

    Obviously works of fiction are often informed by the times in which they are created. It's been a long time since "pure" heroes like Napoleon Solo and Will Kane dominated our pop fiction. Now that we know that "we" can be as rotten as "them", we can hardly help it that a lot of our story plotting reflects this.

    I do think it's too much to say that "The Dark Knight" in its entirety was a commentary on Iraq and the "War on Terruh". But at the very least, it was clearly an attempt to make us think about exactly what it is that differentiates anti-heroes from villains. And from there it's a very short hop from talking about fictional anti-heroes and villains to real ones.
     

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