The truth of the Batman character is that there is an inherent tragedy to him. He is defined by the death of his parents. He fails Harvey Dent. He lets the Joker murder at least one of the Robins. But the point is, through all of this, that Batman somehow endures. He presses on, and shows Gotham that despite all the horror of the world, there is still good.
I mean, also Clayfaces. But still, good.
It's easy to call that fiction. Here in the real world, evil takes root and evil wins. And in the wake of the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado, how can we argue with that?
Well, Corey Rottman wrote on his Facebook "Shot in the leg at Batman. Where is he when you need him." Yesterday, he was there. Christian Bale went to Aurora to meet the survivors of the shooting, unannounced, not on behalf of Warner Bros. and without alerting the media. If we are going to acknowledge that there is evil in the world, we have to look at something like this as proof that good exists too. That a man, any man, can provide hope in the face of tragedy.
Why not the Batman himself?
And I'll admit, it feels odd talking about the "good in the world" in an article that has to do with the Aurora shootings. And I can see how something as small as an unannounced visit from an actor doesn't seem all that comforting when something like this shooting takes place. But I want to point out something Doctor Who once told his companion, Amy Pond—
I know, I know. It's weird referencing Doctor Who in an article about Batman. But Batman never gave a speech that so perfectly summed up why it's important not to despair or lose sight of man's capacity for good.
Maybe he should spend more time on inspirational speeches and
less time messin' around with f*ckin' Clayfaces.
In any event, this is the exact function of the Batman—to show people that there is good in the world even when we seem to be confronted only by evil. Yesterday Christian Bale, who spent so many years acting as Batman, really acted like Batman.
What are your reactions to Bale's visit? Let me know on twitter @mikeyfromsu or in the comments below!