So, I went to see a friend in Camps Bay yesterday. We shared some Pineapple beer, which hit home like the 5Kg's of sugar used in its making was meant to.
I got home with a head of steam on me, and since there was nobody to answer the “honey I’m home” call, I decided to turn to Netflix for stimulation.
I don’t mind me a Marvel or DC movie. Yes, I know that these don't stretch the intellect in the same way as “7 Years in Tibet” or “Ghandi” would, but therein lies their charm too.
With DC or Marvel, hero’s are generally archetypes which we can either identify with or learn from. So I turned to “Batman Begins…”
At some point in the movie, probably where the curve between pineapple beer and my waning concentration span, overlapped perfectly, I got to thinking about this Dark Knight character…
As a kid, I had steered away from Batman, partially because I did not like Michael Keaton’s mouth as it protruded from under the mask (and I just couldn't take the “Elfred… prepare the Batmobile” routine seriously) and partly because everybody was into Batman and I didn’t want to be like everyone else.
— So I turned my attention to Superman, but not because of his fashion sense (wearing your undies over your tights just isn’t a look in this day and age…)
You know when you're a kid and you get back from a movie, you just know when you’ve seen a hero that you like. You lack the intellectual sophistication to dissect your attraction to the hero in a Youngian way, but who cares… He beat the bad guys…. The cape you fashion out of mom’s towel, makes you look like your hero and it even dampens the fall slightly as you launch yourself off make-believe buildings. You wanna be like your hero. The hero element, as far as you could mimic it as a kid, becomes part of your repertoire. They are products of fantasy but you take them on as a kid …who becomes a grown-up…
So Superman became MY dude with his hair combed to the side wearing glasses as a disguise. I liked that he did not need a suit to be a hero like Iron Man did. In fact, he was the super guy, to begin with, and wore a disguise to become more human. Superman is probably the most powerful of all the superheroes. He can afford to not get upset.
If you as a kid, model yourself after this guy, then you are going to want to stay cool under pressure as he does. Your hair will not get out of place and you can fumble your way out of the direst situations because you’re faster than a speeding train and stronger than a…. you get my drift.
If you're not really a superhero and you're just a kid who wants to be more like Superman, this means becoming a good citizen of Metropolis. Meet a kid in the schoolyard, who wants your lunch sandwich, and instead of getting down and dirty, you behave magnanimously and walk away from the conflict as Supie would….
That’s good BUT it’s bad too.
So now the cape-wearing kid has become an adult and your girlfriend/wife / spouse wants your lunch sandwich and your dignity on the playground. You’ve learned over the years, that you can’t really lift a truck above your head or to stop a speeding bullet, so you do your own impersonation of Clark Kent, and you choose to avoid the conflict, keep your hair in place and exhibit extreme strength by “taking it on the chin” and choosing the path of peace.
What would Batman do if you took his sandwich? Batman is the Dark Knight.
He’s a human dude, who is not afraid to break some eggs to get his omelet made…
He’s dark and ferocious.
He bleeds and is not afraid to admit it.
Batman compensates for his “human-ness” by being dangerous. He is feared by Gotham's worst, because of what he COULD do to you if you picked the pocket or robbed the bank.
Let me ask you…In real life, who is going to keep the peace more with the schoolyard bullies when there’s a fight over a dignity sandwich?? Is it Superman, whose ability to reason and be magnanimous is only overshadowed by his kindness or is it Batman, whose human side makes him dangerous enough that you know he’s going to fight for that sandwich?
Have you ever met people who just agree with everything you say?
We all do things for differing reasons. I find that I am too agreeable with people. — Not because I am weak-willed, but because I like to think that I”m doing the Superman thing, shouldering the burden with a smile. It’s how I have addressed many issues in my life and it’s probably garnered me many karma brownie points, but not won many sandwiches back.
Batman on the other hand, being a human, has to stop that shit right there. An issue arises, and he’s gotta address it then and there, or it will come and haunt him later. He knows that in order for there to be peace in Gotham, The Joker needs a kick in the balls so that he thinks twice before he misbehaves again. Being Superman with someone, ends up being a no-win situation because they’re not aware that you’re being magnanimous or trying to be Super. They’re not into super hero’s and think you’re a pussy.
If you're a human (and you probably are), then be fierce and be a little dangerous. Be Batman, Stand up for yourself, and kick, bite and scratch when your life and dignity depend on it. Don't be too agreeable. Don’t be Superman, cos you're not from another planet. Be Batman, cos you’re afraid of things like bats, but you face them anyway!
The next time you’re in a situation that goes against your grain, ask yourself “what would Batman do?” — chances are, The Dark Knight will fuck you up if you do wrong. He’s the one with the darkness that he has learnt to control. It’s in all of us, and can serve us well if we know how to focus it.
I still like Superman, (I can show you a tattoo of the Superman emblem on my right shoulder, so he must have made some sort of impression on me) but I’ve changed my superhero adulations to include Batman, because the school playground is where most human Beans hang out, and please
… don’t even get me started on Robin… ;)