“Dad” is an American institution. An icon. A force of nature. Like thunder, or lightning. Or mold. The less you see of your Dad as a young boy, the better a Dad you have. Because the longer Dad is gone during the day, that’s all the harder he’s working to slay the dragon and bring home the bacon. He disappears between the hours of 5am and 7pm. Then he comes through the door–like an apparition–and takes a seat in his barcalounger. Your Dad sits there and drinks a Pepsi and watches The Game or some other such thing, then goes to bed at a sensible hour, all to do it over again the next day. Then on the weekends, your Dad takes you to Fuddruckers for a burger and to the barber for a haircut. The American institution that is Dad is a guy you kinda know, but not too well. But that’s the way it’s meant to be. Dad Inc. has a lot resting on his shoulders…he can’t be blamed for not having too much patience for your immature bullshit. He’ll threaten to smack you if you get wise with him, but usually doesn’t. That’s ‘Dad’. Dad Incorporated. This is what Dads do.
If ‘Batman’ were a real guy, he’d be a complete and total psychotic.
…I once spent the better part of a month with a roommate who swore up and down on multiple occasions that the ghost of Tupac Shakur would appear–like clockwork–at the same exact time and position, every single night, at the foot of his bed. I don’t know what ever happened to that guy.
But if he has at any point in his life since my time sharing a room with him ever slipped on a mask at all resembling the one depicted below, then he is for all intents and purposes the real-life ‘Batman’. That’s all it would take. A nut who sees Tupac at the foot of his bed every night donning a cape and cowl. That is the real-world definition of ‘Batman’.
Terrible things happen every day. Bruce Wayne’s mom and dad aren’t the first mom and dad to ever be murdered in cold blood. Yet he elevates this plainly tragic event to the level of crusade (a pathologically psychotic crusade). One that causes more harm to the general public than good. And I’ll never understand why he doesn’t leave law enforcement to trained, qualified professionals instead of building a tank and going out to blow shit up. (Furthermore, you would think–in this day and age–that ‘Bat-Tank’ would easily get tracked by GPS and satellites and the CIA and Interpol or any combination thereof, and be seized and impounded within seconds of retreating to the ‘Bat-Cave’…)
‘Batman’ is a severely psychologically scarred character. Not only because he feels the need to put on a mask and avenge his parents who were gunned down in an alleyway outside a performance of Die Fleidermaus…but because what he does with that pathology for vengeance is fundamentally flawed: he never does what is necessary to END the cycle of killing that, in earnest, is responsible for the creation of his own pathology. Maybe it’s a bit more pathological to even suggest–but the reality of it is, ‘Batman’ could put an end to the killing ‘The Joker’ does simply by shooting him with a .45, or snapping his neck, or slicing his throat…a wide array of murderous options. And make no mistake–that is what ‘Batman’ signed up for. Murder. How he chooses to frame and explain away that murder, that’s up to him…
‘Batman’ was created by ‘The Joker’, who represents the impetus for the pathology that drives him. That’s in the bag. Done. But rather than A) close the circle in simply killing the ‘The Joker’ and ending the back-and-forth, or B) breaking the cycle and opting for medication and intensive psychological treatment, the ‘Batman’ pathology chooses option C) that is–chooses to perpetuate the cycle, engage ‘The Joker’ without solving ‘The Joker problem’, all the while inspiring more and more psychopathies and pathologies in their own right. I’ve spent much time so far in my life locked within close quarters of all kinds of psychopathies and pathologies. Some see the spectre of a slain rapper at the foot of their bed, some believe the CIA and FBI are inside their head, or see mechanical spiders crawling along the ceiling and try to convince you, too, to see them…others hear the Devil himself talking to them (often about pretty mundane stuff, interestingly). None wore masks. If the mechanical-spider guy were to put on a mask and try to stop an armed robbery at 7-11, however, he’d be, in truth, the more psychologically disturbed party in that scenario…by far. All (presumably) noble intentions aside.
The crazies come out at night.
‘Batman’ sets out to “avenge” a sad event in his own life, but all he succeeds in doing is to create more crazies just like himself. And he still won’t do the responsible thing (if you’ve already gone down this road), and simply shank ‘The Joker’, kill him dead, so he won’t wind up killing others in the war of pathologies that never ends…
This makes ‘Batman’ not only terribly mentally ill. It makes him an asshole. His quest for justice is a poorly disguised private, psychological war, with himself. And the bodies multiply because he is either unable or unwilling to solve the problem. If my roommate and his ghost of Tupac incurred the same level of collateral damage to real people’s real lives that the depicted altercations between ‘The Batman’ and ‘The Joker’ do, I think I know exactly where he would be right now (at the present, in reality, it’s anyone’s guess):
Maximum security prison…serving out multiple life sentences…or, on death row. Or, dead.
Thankfully, the guy I roomed with who would complain intermittently about the ghost of Tupac haunting his bedside has a bit more sense than Bruce Wayne. I’m sure he hasn’t racked up millions in property damage, countless dead bodies, and endless movie sequels because of it. He’s probably doing just fine. Whether Tupac still visits him or not.
He never wore a mask to tell me about Tupac’s visits. Intellectually, and in every other way, he was far more honest, responsible, and upstanding a citizen than to do that. Far more than Bruce Wayne…