There was this one time Superman saved a young girl from committing suicide. He didn’t do it in any sort of flashy way. In fact, he didn’t even use his super powers to stop her from splattering all over the pavement at the last minute…
Superman prevented the tragedy by talking to the girl and then giving her a hug. It seems naive to think a hug can mean that much. But wait up! Think about how you felt the last time someone gave you a hug and meant it. That kind of feeling would make you reconsider suicide.
Give someone a hug. Even if you don’t literally save a life, you’ll be making it better. Plus, you’ll be more like fucking Superman!
WARNING: Spoilers for The Dark Knight Rises abound in this article.
Art via cakesandcomics.com (click to visit)
My friend and I were talking about a lot of things the other night. Mostly about The Dark Knight Rises and two girls we knew got married this past weekend. We talked about how fucking crazy the 00′s were and all the nonsensical shit that happened in our lives. We talked about how Christopher Nolan‘s Batman movies encapsulated so much about this time period, while also standing alone as a statements about the human experience.
In conclusion we hoped that The Dark Knight Rises may give us an ending not just to this particular Batman story but to an entire era of human bullshit that reach its peak in the past decade.
Yes, part of of what made the 00′s crazy was 9/11. That shit was earth shattering, literally, for those of us alive today. There’ve been other events of this magnitude, or greater, in the past but nothing that most generations alive today were around experience. We’ve all seen a lot of fucked up shit but a massive attack, successful executed on the homeland of the world’s most powerful country trumps all that. It shattered any illusion we may’ve held about finding a place that’s guaranteed to keep us safe. It showed us that nothing – not the best army nor the most money – could necessarily keep us from losing our lives in the blink of a crazy person’s eye.
But then Batman comes along and says “fuck it, there are better options.”
I believe The Dark Knight Rises is not just an awesome movie that ends an awesome trilogy of entertainment. I think it’s a message in a bottle, even if the people making the movie didn’t realize it. It tells us a story that, before any of us saw it, didn’t realize we wanted. I think if you told people how this movie would end before they saw it, they would say it’s antithetical to all that makes Batman such a popular character. Yet, when we see that closing scene with Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle, it brings an uncontrollable smile to even the most cold hearted person’s face.
Who ever thought you could actually end Batman’s story with “and they lived happily ever after?”
And I hope that reflects the end of the world we’ll see in 2012. I’m tired of living in a world that expects heroics to end in tragedy. In second movie of Nolan’s trilogy an idea is stressed that can sum up an entire epoch of human history: “you can either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” In The Dark Knight Rises Batman gives us a new and much better option:
One of my new favorite shows is Psych. Sure, it’s mostly because of the immature, silly humor and my deep down desires to have wacky, heroic adventures while making pop culture references from my childhood and teenage years. But there’s a reality underpinning the fantasy that reveals a truth about humanity.
In case you don’t know the premise, here goes: Shawn Spencer is an expert but amateur profiler who uses lateral thinking and basic truths about human nature to solve crimes. However, since he has no other socially acceptable way to validate his skill, he tells the cops he’s a psychic.
The first truth: people are not that unique. If you’ve paid enough attention and let your instincts take charge, you can figure them and their situations out pretty quickly. Yes, YOU. Any of us can. That doesn’t excuse a lack of due diligence.I’m just saying the amount of time needed to “get to know someone” isn’t really that much. It takes a lot less time than most people think it does, which is why most don’t let themselves do it.
Which leads to the second truth: when faced with a person who can sum up a situation quickly, people really would rather be skeptical or believe in a fantasy like psychic abilities. Probably because it shatters the aforementioned deception that it takes time to get to know people. The easiest way to explain someone who does it successfully without shattering that illusion – unless you’re a skeptic and just say “phooey” at things like gut instinct – is to describe them as somehow gift or outside the norm.
A topic like this deserves a deeper breakdown. My English teachers would tell me this is a good start but I need more than declarative statements to make my point. Luckily it’s my website. But I do hope that throwing these ideas out there get some of you thinking. Or, at least, I hope it convinces you to watch Psych so you get my references.
Batman always has been and always will be my favorite superhero. The other night I had a dream that I saw an early screening of The Dark Knight Rises. In my dream it was a meta-existentialist film that included a Robin who also dressed like Batman and Jack Nicholson playing an older version of Heath Ledger’s Joker.
That doesn’t seem like a bad way to bring back Nicholson, by the way.
Another sign of superior mental health: not wearing red trunks outside of his pants anymore.
However — and I know this will sound “controversial” as far as comic book fandom goes but whatever — I think Superman’s psychology is far more interesting. Batman is not complicated: a kid sees his parents killed and goes off on a vendetta, complete with a rigid moral code. It’s interesting, sure, but only because it’s relatable and, by extension, uncomplicated (that is to say, if it were complicated it wouldn’t be so relatable).
I can’t actually wrap my head around Superman’s psychology, though. A lot of it stems from his relationship with Lex Luthor. One of the first things I wrote about on this blog is why Batman must not kill the Joker. Yet I can’t understand why Superman hasn’t flicked Lex Luthor’s head right off.
Seriously. That dude’s a giant dick. All Superman has to do is look at Lex Luthor and made that bald head blow up. Do it!
Over and over, Lex Luthor finds other people to take the fall for his crimes. Superman knows this. But he chooses to do nothing until he can capture Lex fair and square. Maybe this is why it’s better that only fictional characters be gifted with powers beyond those of mortal men. I’d be hard pressed to not overreact at least once, after deciding I knew better than everyone else, and take matters into my own hands. Lex would be the first guy who’s head I’d take off with a superdropkick.
Honestly, there’s a very good chance l would decide most people are too stupid to be trusted and crown myself ruler of the world.
That’s where the psychology becomes even more interesting to me. It’s not that Superman resists temptation to be selfish (i.e., take shit because he wants it and he can) but how does he resist the temptation to take care of humans by simply treating them like children? That’s probably what I would do with his powers. I’d force everyone to obey my rules for their own good. I’d be like the scary kindergarten teacher that no one wants to fuck with. Only my students would be everyone on the planet. And I’d teach lessons like “don’t be stupid assholes.”
Maybe Superman just realizes all-powerful does not mean all-knowing and his rules are just as likely as anyone else’s to be flawed. He seems to understand the need for democracy over dictatorship, if only to try and compensate for the inherent mistakes of any one person. Which implies an incredible amount of healthy self awareness on Superman’s part.
I think we can say that Superman’s greatest super power may be super mental health. Is that a by product of his other super powers? Is it a product of his upbringing? What’s it like to be some mentally stable?
We all deal with mentally unstable people in our lives. We all have our own psychological issues. These are important things to explore. But Superman’s healthy mental state will always be more fascinating to me. If only because people like that are so rare both in real life and in fiction.
I’ve said this before, but let me preface this rare, politically-charged post by reminding everyone that I am not a reporter, nor am I college student writing a paper. The idea for this piece came from listening to this week’s This American Life. I’m not going to look up names, citations or facts. Take that however you want.
Alabama has passed a really harsh immigration law that hopes to encourage self-deportation by making the life of illegal immigrants really hard. I could talk about how the law will actually torpedo the economy, having already caused international companies to bail on multimillion dollar projects in Alabama. I could also talk about how fucked the people who pushed this law are now that they want to take some of it back; they’ve got to un-convinced their constituents that getting rid of Mexicans is the answer (how ironic).
No, what really got to me was hearing the original guy who started coming up with these ideas in the first place. It began, unsurprisingly, with 9/11. A few of the hijackers were in the country illegally. He realized that they’d all gotten traffic violations. His theory is that if cops were forced to check citizenship status while pullingthem over, these guys would’ve been caught and 9/11 avoided.
I see this all over the place in the past decade: people with half-assed ideas that think 9/11 could have been avoided if only one thing was solved. In this case it’s if we had better immigration law enforcement that convinced people to self-deport.
Because a bunch of guys who willingly kamikazed themselves would say “man, it’s so hard to be in this country illegally, I’m going to self-deport.”
More importantly, the terrorists were smart and capable. In a way, yes, it would be nice to think it’s our own fault and would have had a simple remedy. But we’re talking about an organization that planned and executed the murder of over 3,000 people, taking the Twin Towers and a chunk of the Pentagon with them. Do these law makers really believe that if we had stronger enforcement of immigration laws the terrorists wouldn’t have found a way around it?
It’s scary to know there are smart, organized people out there plotting to kill you and your loved ones. Literally. I spent over a year working in Times Square and now I work by Penn Station. My wife works by Grand Central Station. Let’s be clear: if there’s another successful attack on the United States, me, my friends and my family are very likely to be involved. They were on 9/11.
I can’t say I’m educated enough on immigration laws to debate their value. I don’t believe that they’re costing US workers that many jobs (at least jobs they’re willing do) but that’s a gut feeling that could be wrong. I will say, without a shadow of a doubt, the people who will self-deport or get kicked out by these laws will not be terrorists with rich organizations backing them and years of plotting. They will be poor workers making low wages.
Posted by Rolando Garcia on Jan 16, 2012 in Non-fiction
Careful, Marty! One mistake and you could end up as Eric Stoltz!
I’ve never been much of a gamer, let alone thought about designing games. Those dreams died in third grade when I designed my idea for a Super Mario Bros. 3 and sent it to Atari (look, I didn’t have a Nintendo at the time, okay?). They sent it right back saying they couldn’t accept unsolicited ideas and something to the effect of “but keep at it!” Thanks for the faux-encouragement, Atari. Way to kill a kid’s dream.
Recently I came up with an idea for a video game I would love to play. I call it PARADOX. And it’s just as nerdy as the title implies
The game would have to take place in a relatively small geographical area and over a short period of the protagonist’s time (like 24 hours). Otherwise, the story and puzzles it presents won’t work as well.
The goal is to accomplish something (doesn’t matter what, that’s just the McGuffin) that requires you to keep going back in time throughout the course of the game. Of course, every time you go back you duplicate yourself: the first time there’s the you who lived through the events originally, and the you who traveled back. The second time there’s the first you, the second you who traveled back in time first and the current you. And so on.
However, to win the game you can’t create any paradoxes by changing what one of your past selves did in a way that would cause them to change their actions. For instance, if earlier in the game you uncovered a clue that helped you get where you are now, you can’t alter that moment in a trip to the past.
There could be more complicated layers to it by not only having to avoid creating a paradox by interfering the past but completing pre-destination paradoxes. For instance, if during one trip through time you run into your future self who tells you something important, later in the game, when you’ve become that future-you, you must do exactly what you remember him doing.
Sounds awesome, right? I bet Atari wishes they’d hired me now.