Why I have a problem with Batman

He’s a billionaire superhero who believes that the answer to solving crime in Gotham City is to severely beat criminals to a pulp. He doesn’t kill, but he’ll make sure his victims are brain damaged and unable to live a normal life ever again. He targets the poor and destitute, and only after beating so many, does he go for those that made wealth off of the suffering of lesser men. Criminals are only that way because the way of life in society has failed them. The corruption at the top has trickled all the way to the bottom, and Batman loves to beat the shit out of those at the bottom. This was no better evidenced than in the trailer for the new Batman movie, who’ll be played by Robert Pattinson, when he viciously beat down a henchman to the point that the other henchmen looked on in fear, horror, and tears in their eyes. The worst bit was the audacity to say “I’m vengeance.” No, you are far from that. You are another tool in the corruption of Gotham to ensure the wealthy stay that way.

As a teen, I loved Batman. I enjoyed every bit of media of him: movies, TV shows, animations, toys, and games. But then as I grew up, I realized what a failure of a hero he is. He’s got unimaginable wealth, and instead of funding numerous social programs and education, he funnels it into his vigilantism. Instead of targeting the corrupt CEOs and those that steal from social programs, and those that design the education system to keep others trapped, he goes for the victims of society. I would much rather have enjoyed a scene of Batman beating the corrupt Mayor of Gotham to a pulp while saying, “I’m vengeance” because that would make a whole lot more sense.

Batman is social engineering at its finest. He’s been tuned over all the years he’s existed, and keeps getting people to celebrate beating down the hungry, the poor, and the violent. A human’s propensity for violence comes from not being able to support themselves or their family. It comes from hunger. And ever so rarely, does it exist naturally, in something like a psychopath. And yet, in Batman’s world, a disproportionate amount of his criminals are psychopathic. The world is not like that. Those that have psychopathic traits are the ones that run the companies, not the criminal down the street that robbed an old lady for her medication. If there was a social program in play where that criminal could attain medication, for free, or cheap, that would have an infinitely better outcome for society than Batman swooping in and beating that criminal up.

Batman is a not a hero. A hero is “a person of distinguished courage or ability, admired for his or her brave deeds and noble qualities.” None of his deeds are noble, or brave. It doesn’t take courage to beat down lesser men. What does take courage is to raise those men up, show them a way without violence. A path where they can live comfortably for themselves and their families. And the whole dressing up as a bat to be a symbol is a load of crock. He does it to bring fear to the masses. Why would I ever call him if, for example, someone robbed me? I don’t think robbery deserves the sentence I know he’ll carry out. He’ll cripple that individual and if anything, he’ll inspire them to be worse. And that’s the majority of his villains, they were inspired by him to become what they are. He didn’t deter them, rather encouraged them to become worse. Batman’s a strain on hospitals and clinics. I’d imagine all the doctors and nurses actively hate him because of all the suffering he brings.

This extends to all superheroes, designed to encourage regular folks like you and me to hate those lesser than us. Superheroes are a fantasy. Vigilantism does not work. Unifying your fellow kindred spirit to work together against the system that’s made to keep you down, that’s what works. But even then, the system is designed to take your resistance, apply part of your wishes to it, modifying it slightly, then continuing to keep you down while you thought something changed. This is where Batman needs to come in, where all the superheroes need to come in. They need to attack the system at the top. The governments run by the corporations, those at the very top need to feel Batman’s fists and wrath. Then he can supplant his own puppets, his own workforce, use his wealth to ensure that those corrupt are taken out and replaced with better men. And even then, power corrupts – absolutely. And then they need another reminder, and Batman steps in again.