What would Batman do?
Odd to be back over here, especially when I have something like three posts sitting in the Drafts folder over on the other blog I'd like to finish. But they're harder work than the stuff I post here.
So I was thinking about CRASH the other day. Specifically, that scene where Ludacris and Larenz Tate carjack Brendan Fraser and Sandra Bullock.
Brendan Fraser's character did exactly the right thing. It's what we're all taught to do, when armed people try to rob us -- cooperate, get it over with, then call the cops. And it has nothing to do with how manly he is, or how good at hand to hand combat he may be. He could be Steve Austin, Kwai Chang Caine, Jet Li, Chuck Norris, Peter Parker, or Steve Rogers -- doesn't matter. The presence of a non-combatant who is also being menaced at gunpoint dictates that a responsible adult respond exactly as Brendan Fraser depicted -- meekly. Cooperatively. Docilely. Keeping everybody alive and unhurt.
Because no matter how fast you are, how strong you are, how tough you are, how high a degree your black belt is -- when you're a merely mortal human being up against a loaded gun or two, and there's someone else besides you at risk -- you back off, and pick a better spot.
Again -- exactly the correct thing to do. No matter how humiliated one may feel during and afterward.
Then I got to thinking -- suppose instead of Fraser and Bullock in a movie, it's a comic book, and the people on the other end of the guns are Bruce Wayne and, say, Vicki Vale?
This shouldn't change the equation at all. Bruce should still do exactly what Brendan did in CRASH. Or, so it seems to me. He may be able to handle two hoods with hand guns no problem... but things can go wrong. Guns can go off. People -- in this case, Vicki -- could get killed. Bruce especially, more than nearly anyone else in the entire world, should know this.
Also, there's that whole secret identity thing. What's Vicki going to think, if Bruce puts these two gunmen down with a couple of quick Tae Kwan Do flourishes? She's going to think there's more to Gotham City's most worthless wealthy socialite than is readily apparent. And, you know, she's a reporter, so all in all, that ain't such a great idea for Bruce.
And yet, I imagine this, and then I imagine the uproar that would ensue throughout the fan community if such a scene ever actually appeared in any comic book, anywhere. Batman -- even in his civilian guise -- standing there and letting two punks get over on him? Oh no, fuck that.
(Let me take a moment here to specify: reverse the genders of the two people being mugged -- make it Selina Kyle, or Dinah Lance, or Buffy Summers -- out walking with a non-combatant -- or make it Bruce Wayne and he's out with a non-combatant male friend, assuming he has one -- and it's still the same. If you're alone and you want to do something stupid, that's your look out. If someone else is on the bullseye with you, discretion becomes the better part of valor. This has nothing to do with gender.)
I realize this is entirely hypothetical, so I'm not going to belabor this into the ground. Obviously, I could be entirely incorrect; perhaps such a scene could be presented in, say, next month's BATMAN and nobody would even think twice about it.
Still... I doubt it. My genuine expectation is that the genuine expectation of Batman's fans is -- Batman will never submit. Batman will fight, no matter what the odds. Batman doesn't bend over for anyone.
No matter who his actions may put at risk.
It seems to me that, if I'm correct -- and I know, that's a big if -- then essentially, what the fans want is a really stupid, completely out of control, utterly reckless, totally irresponsible Batman.
This is, apparently, (assuming, again, that my speculation on a mere hypothesis is even remotely accurate) the kind of hero we want nowadays.
Well, suddenly I have a much better understanding of how half the country votes for Bush...
ADDENDUM: I thought it would go without saying that, you know, if I'm wrong in my speculations as to how Bruce Wayne knuckling under to a hood with a gun would be received by his fans, then I'm wrong about everything proceeding from that speculation, too. I thought that was obvious. However, Marionette has been good enough to disabuse me of that presumption. So, let me say it -- if I'm wrong in my hypothesis, or my further speculations on that hypothesis, then, yes, I'm wrong about the kind of hero modern day America is looking for, and that probably has no bearing on why so many of my fellow citizens voted for that murderous asshole in the White House.