If you have not read the previous post, go read that now. It’s important. I wanted to solidify two points in the last argument; Batman is incredibly smart, and he’s incredibly rich. Why is that such an issue? Wouldn’t a wealthy genius with an armament of gadgets be the perfect vehicle for fighting crime?
What are the causes of crime?
We first need to examine why people turn to a life of crime in the first place. Statistically, criminals come from a lower socioeconomic background. The average person who takes up crime isn’t doing it because they want to be criminals, but rather they have to take these dangerous illegal positions. Think about it, how many people do you think actually want to work with the Joker? A psychopath who might kill you for kicks, that’s sounds like a great employment opportunity. Most thugs are taking these jobs out of desperation. And the ones who are actually crazy, unfortunately there’s only one psychiatric ward in Gotham, and we’ll get to that later.
Gotham city, we’re told again and again, is so crime ridden that Batman rarely sleeps. The police are so under funded and corrupt they’re seen as largely ineffective. Gotham is a symbol of what happens when the gap in wealth widens to staggering proportions. Thomas Wayne, Batman’s father, was turning the tide against this gap by investing in local jobs, public transit, health care and other progressive measures. Why didn’t Bruce Wayne take up this mantle of forward thinking? That list I produced in the last with the degrees Batman has? Here’s a better list of things Bruce Wayne should have studied.
- Urban Planning
- Political Science
- Business Management
- Civil Engineering
- and a slew of other things
With his genius and his money, turning the city around should have been easy. He could have revolutionized Gotham city’s industry, turning it into the next Metropolis. Batman chose to fight crime on the ground as a super vigilante. You might argue ‘But Bruce Wayne gives tons of money to charities’. You mean charities in Gotham? In a city where the police, the elected officials, the bankers, the doctors, and pretty much everyone is corrupt? I sure the people distributing money to the poor are squeaky clean.
The thing about Bruce Wayne is that he has to act like a rich jackass to keep his identity a secret. Bruce is portrayed as an alcoholic playboy, someone with more brains than money. He’s the stereotypical rich asshole everyone loves to hate. This is important, and I want you to remember this part. Bruce Wayne acts like the one percent poor people tend to despise.
Is Batman creating his own enemies?
The low level thugs he beats up, for justice? This is what that looks like. Here’s a clip from the video game, and it’s considered the definitive take on Batman’s fighting prowess.
Batman is braining thugs left and right. Remember, Batman is a guy who can easily bench a thousand pounds. How many concussions does Batman hand out on a regular basis? Batman has never killed a man, it’s against his code of ethics, but apparently giving a guy a brain injury isn’t out of the question. Let’s say a guy, out of work in Gotham, wife and kids at home, decides to sign up to a gang to make something, anything for his family. Some dude dressed in pajamas swoops down, cracks his skull, and now he’s developmentally disabled. Where are they sending him? Arkham Asylum.
Arkham Asylum – Making the sick, sicker
Arkham Asylum is a big part of the Batman lore. It’s the only institution in Gotham city that treats people with mental health issues, and it’s a notorious hell-hole. Not only does it house Batman’s roster of violent villains, it’s a decrepit nightmare of a building. Run down, underfunded, it’s infamous for having doctors more twisted than most of the patients. It’s also haunted. If you were a regular guy who ran into Batman going in, you’re coming out a certified crazy thug when you get out. Arkham is not a rehabilitation facility, let’s make that clear. Arkham Asylum is a Batman punching bag factory, where practice dummies are manufactured for Batman to assault later on.
And where did all these crazy, super powered villains come from? There weren’t any Killer Crocs, Poison Ivys, Banes or Jokers before Batman. Why are there so many now? Becoming Batman has had a butterfly effect on Gotham. He’s the greatest fighter on the planet, and has attracted villains from all over the world with a chip on their shoulder, looking to pick a fight. The reason Bane came to Gotham? To challenge Batman. And how did he get Batman’s attention? By letting out every single insane inmate from Arkham Asylum out of their cage and on to the streets. There was chaos, property damage and widespread murders. All so someone could take on the Batman. The Joker is the most iconic of the Batman villains. The only reason he causes destruction and mayhem is to force Batman to break his one rule and have Batman kill him. That’s it. There are Batman stories where the Bats dies, and the Joker winds up either leaving Gotham or becoming normal again, and actually feeling bad for the damage he’s done. It’s been stated numerous times in the comic books and the movies; the only reason the Joker exists is because Batman does. The scariest, most ruthless villain on planet Earth exists solely because there is a Batman.
Batman is terrible because he’s self-perpetuating the problems he’s claiming to fix. He’s attracting monsters to Gotham who are looking for a fight. Due to the brutal methods of his form of justice, he’s created a legion of mentally ill, unstable men, who’s only chance of redemption and rehabilitation is an underfunded psychiatric ward. And where is Bruce Wayne, Batman’s alter ego, in all of this? Pretending to be drunk and carefree. Bruce could have gone into politics, or studied the social issues surrounding crime, or gone after white collar criminals as a genius lawyer, and is so smart could have easily done all three. Instead, he learns Krav Maga and starts kicking the shit out of poor people.
Do you think Thomas Wayne would be proud of his son? Thomas was a doctor and a man who aspired to help those who couldn’t help themselves. Would Martha Wayne be proud of her boy? She was dedicated to the charities she ran that made Gotham a better place. The Waynes are rolling in their graves. Their son is inadvertently keeping the city poor and destitute so he can fight crime with his fists, so he doesn’t have to grow up and realize that sometimes bad things happen to good people. Being Batman is a form of twisted therapy, to alleviate the guilt Bruce feels because he wasn’t able to save his parents as a child.
Batman is an asshole.
The Illustrious Mr. Charlton
p.s. In the third installment, I’ll be talking about what is mentally wrong with Batman.
p.s.s. And everyone knows it’s the villains that make Batman interesting.