Monday, 21 January 2008

Why Everyone Should Like Batman

heatherLet's pretend for a moment that you have stepped into my office for a job interview, and rather than asking you to tell me a little about yourself, or reading over your resume, or pointing out that on your resume you've stated that you fix asses, as opposed to, you know, being proficient at managing fixed ASSETS (It's a one-letter difference, okay? It could happen to anyone.), I tell you that I am going to ask you a series of yes or no questions. Ready? Just relax and answer honestly.

Tell me, are you capable of withstanding a poisonous kiss? Can you resist hypnosis? Are you able to extinguish an inferno? Survive a gas attack? Do you always win a coin toss? Can you rappel down a building? Can you climb back up the side of that same building using only a rope with a boomerang attached to the end? Can you make a criminal confess in a long-winded monologue? Are you capable of training a sidekick? Breaking a chokehold? Taking a kick in the head? Can you solve riddles under pressure?

Assuming you can answer yes to even five of those questions, I'll let you enter the second stage of the interview process. This time there is only one question--again, it's yes or no--and it's simple: Are you willing to take this abuse for free? That's right, this job doesn't pay. In fact, I'll need you to foot the bill for your work space, your company car, your office supplies, and your medical expenses (of which there will be plenty). You'll be working mostly nights. Still interested?

Okay, one final question: If you were forced to choose between your One True Love and Getting the Crap Kicked Out of You on a nightly basis, would you choose the latter?

Nu uh. You could not do the things I asked you to do. You would not do them for free. And you certainly wouldn't choose them over sex. (I'm assuming your One True Love wants to have a lot of the sex.)

But you know who would and could and has done all those things? Batman.

It's easy to love Superman because Clark Kent is handsome and righteous. It's easy to love Spider-Man because Peter Parker is geeky and sweet. But Bruce Wayne? He's a tortured soul, driven less by justice and more by vengeance. Superman can fly! Spider-Man can swing from building to building with his webs! But Batman? He is just a man with gadgets. Gadgets he has to build himself. Superman and Spider-Man smile. Batman broods. To put it Austen-ly (and why should we not) Batman is Mr. Darcy to Superman's Mr. Knightley.

Says Knightley to Emma: "My dearest Emma, for dearest you will always be, whatever the event of this hour's conversation, my dearest, most beloved Emma..."

Says Darcy of Elizabeth: "She is tolerable; but not handsome enough to tempt me; and I am in no humour at present to give consequence to young ladies who are slighted by other men."

See the juxtaposition? The kindness to the cantankerous.

Yet--and this might surprise you--you should love Batman most. Firstly: he's just like you, only better. He doesn't have superpowers, but he heroes it up anyway. Secondly: he makes the most of bad situations. If you got poison-kissed, you'd just give up and die, lips first. Batman, he'd take some antiallergents and fight through. Thirdly: you can barely complete a medium-level sudoku puzzle, but Batman can solve riddles and equations when people's LIVES are on the line. Fourthly: he's got the raddest costume ever. Fifthly: what other superhero can pull off this sentence: "I've just perfected an Electronic Hair Bat-Analyzer which may hold the key to this baffling question."

If that doesn't convince you, consider this: when your city is in peril, Batman would rather save your ass than get laid.

Can you say that about yourself?

No, no you cannot.

Batman deserves your love. But if you try to hug him, he might punch you in the face. When you regain consciousness, he'll have disappeared into the shadows and slipped away. Don't be troubled; it's just one more way he's better than you.

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