8 thoughts on “We Always Suspected”

  1. Ralf Goergens,

    Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Actually there is because:

    (1) Batman is 30-something and Robin is a minor (the “boy”-wonder)

    (2) Bruce Wayne is Robin’s legal guardian and foster-father making a sexual relationship emotionally incestuous if nothing else. (Maybe Bruce is a big Woody Allen fan?) More generally, it is immoral to have a sexual relationship with someone over which you have that much power and authority over.

  2. Doesn’t the fact that Batman doesn’t exist make concerns about his behavior moot? I don’t think a fantasy character is a “role model” or any other kind of model.

  3. Jonathan G ewirtz,

    I would say that all role-models one does not personally know are in a profound sense “fantasy characters.” We don’t see all the inherent complexities of a a real human being but only those often exaggerated traits that come to us through various forms of media.

    Know one alive today knows anything about the “real” Abraham Lincoln, for example. We only know him through the distorted lens of many historians. In effect, Lincoln functions as a role model due to the “mythology” that has built up around him. He might as well be a fictional character in this regard.

    Fictional characters do exert a profound influence on people especially children. We educate children about the world using a series of increasingly realistic fictional characters. Even adults use fictional characters as props in many kinds of debate and have done so since ancient times.

    Of course, what makes the Batman joke so funny is the realization that, given the era the comic was created in, virtually nobody would have given any thought to the idea Batman and Robin had a sexual relationship. The fact that we find it funny today says more about us than the original comic.

  4. Lincoln is a model because of his behavior as president. The myth was created to reinforce the lessons of the behavior. The fact that he actually did the things for which he is famous makes all the difference. It is the difference between “should” and “did.” We can evaluate his actions because they had results in the real world.

    Batman is at best a metaphor for “should” and as such resembles other fairy tales. As a guide to behavior the Batman saga isn’t much different than global-warming simulations: maybe Batman’s way is really the way to behave, but it hasn’t been adequately vetted by experience and shouldn’t be accepted uncritically. Perhaps it isn’t a good idea to wear tights and drive a pimpmobile and run around looking for “problems” to “solve.”

    The superhero paradigm for virtuous behavior deserves greater scrutiny.

  5. hmmm getting pretty deep here it seems to me. Batman and Robin; Abe and the captain of the guard….probably scurrilous projections of jaded people in a decadent society.

    “….all role models one does not know personally are in a profound sense “fanatsy characters”.”

    Shannon, this may be too limiting. I’d say “all role models are in a profound sense fantasy characters”. To paraphrase the words of the great R+B philosopher, Mick Jagger, “….the mugger can shove in his knife but when he gets back to his children he’s a family man….” (or words to that effect).

    I suppose being a fantasy doesn’t detract from the usefulness or value of role models. The problems arise when we peek behind the curtain
    and see reality is at great odds with what the fantasy espouses.

    Now I’m starting to think about Santa Claus (not to mention congressmen and baseball players). If he’s a Midnight Rambler don’t tell me.

Comments are closed.