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Bush and Batman Are Alike

Batman and Bush — Actually More Alike Than Knight and Day?

If you caught The Dark Knight already, you might want to go back for a second look — did you know you may have been watching a flick all about George W. Bush? According to this WSJ op-ed, it's true:

There seems to me no question that the Batman film The Dark Knight, currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war.

The piece alleges that all movies with conservative values are fantasy flicks like 300 and that conservatives need to confront issues from their view point head-on. In current realistic depictions of terrorism:

The good guys become indistinguishable from the bad guys, and we end up denigrating the very heroes who defend us . . . Doing what's right is hard, and speaking the truth is dangerous.

So Bush wins and he's a hero? Is he George "Caped Crusader" Bush? Perhaps, it's not such a great thing. To see why,


Resident expert Buzz concurs that The Dark Knight is indeed an allegory for our time, but our time is complicated:

We're reminded that sometimes evil simply exists for no good reason. It taps into a very real, basic, and horrible fear: that in this world where terrorism could lurk anywhere, where chaos and war and murder exist, we struggle continuously to figure out "why?"

The WSJ argues that Batman is Bush precisely because he's shown in dogged pursuit of evil, that it's the mark of a true hero. Though if one takes that argument in the whole scope of the movie, perhaps the Bush/man comparison isn't so flattering?

Batman spends the movie thinking he can conquer the Joker because he has faith in the clear definition between good and evil — and to this end, he utterly fails. Batman misunderstands the evil. There is no success to be had in Gotham using his plan. As Batman spirals into his quixotic quest for the Joker, he turns on everyone around him, spying and wiretapping his way to paranoia.

Though perhaps the comparison between the two is accurate, maybe it's not as flattering a depiction as the piece would like. But in the end, maybe Batman isn't Bush — maybe he's all of us.

That said, can you tell the difference between the two?

Is Bush really like Batman?


Join The Conversation
Laurel-Anne-Hill Laurel-Anne-Hill 8 years
“Holy W, Batman! You’re like Bush?” I read the Wall Street Journal’s piece comparing the trials and tribulations of Batman to those of President Bush. Wow! Was that a bat signal in the sky, or the letter “W?” I found the comparison interesting but have my own opinions about heroes and battles against evil. On the rope of life, heroes climb above their weakest point, putting themselves at risk for the benefit of others. Love, compassion, duty and honor call them forth and they respond. Still, even heroes on a worthwhile quest against evil must search their own hearts for smoldering embers of hate or vengeance that could influence their actions and bring dishonor and disaster. We are only human. Heroes or not, we often fight our deadliest battles against ourselves and the best way to tame our dark, snarling inner desires is to flood those beasts with light. We live in the real world, one with presidents and CEO’s but no superheroes of fantasy fame. Public awareness and debate about all sides of political and social issues must comprise the beams of light in our darkened skies. And we should all vote according to the signals in which we believe. That “W” stands for “We, the people,” if we let it. Laurel Anne Hill Author of “Heroes Arise,” a parable about the necessity and complexity of breaking the cycle of vengeance. (KOMENAR Publishing, October 2007)
ohbaby7 ohbaby7 8 years
noo i do NOT want to think of my dear Christian Bale as the same as Bush....
goatimpact goatimpact 8 years
So I'll try to be vague while still attempting to make my points since parts of the movie were spoiled for me reading comments on other sites. I apologize in advanced if I ruin anything. When watching, I did see how parts seemed similar to the Patriot Act but I feel that there was a very huge difference. Pointed out in the movie several times was that Batman was a vigilante, not an elected official. He had the ability to work around the law for that very reason while the elected officials discussed how they weren't able (i.e. the Hong Kong sequence). I think hypnoticmix quoted the main theme of the movie. Batman realized that he was overstepping bounds which is why he worked with Fox. He realized that he could become a villain without some form of checks and balances.
MarinerMandy MarinerMandy 8 years
I said the movie was very political when I saw it! The cell phone part was pretty thinly disguised. But while it certainly had a political bone to pick, it was not by any means a wholesale endorsement of the Bush approach. Plus I don't think Bush has as many layers as the Dark Knight does. And Batman is yummy.
hartsfull hartsfull 8 years
Christian Bale! :drool:
verily verily 8 years
Ummmm, what?? Batman has been doggedly fighting for justice as an outlaw vigilante--feared and untrusted by the public--for longer than Bush has been alive. I think the writer is really reaching here for a comparison.
kristyrk kristyrk 8 years
I seriously don't see the connection. And yes, I agree - Bale is so much hotter in a suit. So there's that.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
Hey, where's the "Spoiler Alert" for those who haven't seen it?
rabidmoon rabidmoon 8 years
Everything (including the carnal feast comment) hypnoticmix said I pretty much second, I cannot add to this except to say "keep your Bush outta my Batman." :P
philleif philleif 8 years
I preferred "10 Things I Hate About You."
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Yes Mr. Bale is a carnal feast for the eyes.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
Well, Batman is hot and Bush is...Bush, so there is that difference. :p
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
The Joker was incarcerated and his ultimate plan was anticlimactic due to Batmans sacrifice. I'd say Batman 1, Joker 0.
UnDave35 UnDave35 8 years
If Batman doesn't beat the joker, then this isn't the Batman story I've known...
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
"You either die being a hero or you live long enough to see your self become the enemy" The situation/circumstances surrounding Gotham city and U.S.A. vs. their respective terrorists are relatively the same. The difference between Batman and The Bush Administration is motive. Batman is just trying to do the right thing, period. I also believe that the Bush Administration is trying to do the right thing, BUT, not period. Their version of the right thing is weighed down by ornaments of self interest, corporate interest, and shady dealings. The difference between Batman and George W. Bush is that one is The Dark Knight and the other is The Greedy King.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
I hate when people try to get deep with comparisons. just let Batman be Batman and Bush be Bush. Amen
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