Film unmasks Bush as the real Batman
FINALLY Hollywood makes a film that says US President George W. Bush was right. But director Christopher Nolan had to disguise it a little, so journalists wouldn't freak and the film's more fashionable stars wouldn't walk.
So he hides Bush in a cape. He even sticks a mask on him, with pointy ears for some reason.
Sure, when the terrified citizens of Gotham City scream for Bush to come save them, Nolan has them shine a great W in the night sky, but he blurs it so it looks more like a bird.
Or a bat, perhaps.
And he has them call their hero not Mr Bush, of course, or even "Mr President", but . . . Batman.
Mind you, the same excuses for violence, and for defying the public's will, is used by vigilantes and tyrants. And Nolan is so careful to sugar his pill that some critics, and not only of the Left, have taken his film as an attack on Bush instead.
Take Variety.com's deputy editor, Anne Thompson, who seizes on the scene in which the Joker taunts Batman: "What would I do without you? You complete me . . . To them (the public) you're just a freak. Like me."
Concludes Thompson: "The film-making suggests the Joker has, like a Shakespearean fool on PCP, hit on a harsh truth: Batman has more in common with his killer-clown foe than with the normal people he means to protect. So should we conclude The Dark Knight argues that Bush and bin Laden are two sides of the same coin?"
Answer: are you kidding? In fact, the Joker is saying that without Batman's great good to oppose, his great evil would never be realised in its horrific glory.
It would be like Hitler being allowed to exterminate nothing more than mosquitoes. Who'd care?
What's more, Batman clearly has more in common with the people he tries to protect than does the Joker with people he tries to destroy, or the audience wouldn't be cheering him, and the next film in the series wouldn't be Batman III but The Joker II.
No, the cinema audience understands what the Gotham citizens do not - Batman's dilemma and the awesome imperatives of responsibility. And they are with him, not his critics.
So why don't Americans in particular leave the movie cheering Bush as they cheered Batman?
Because in leaving the cinema they stopped being that audience and re-entered their own real Gotham City - with a real Batman they once more feel driven to hate for all the hard things he's had to do to protect them.
They have become the citizens of Gotham they were watching just minutes before with contempt.
But Bush would understand. As Alfred says: "He's not being a hero. He's being something more."
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