Friday, July 25, 2008

So John McCain is Green Arrow?

Rarely has an article so quickly become a butt of jokes than Andrew Klavan's mind-numbing appreciation of the box-office smash The Dark Knight. And as even a cursory reading will show, rarely has that ridicule been so justified. Klavan's article doesn't have a bias so much as it has a comically ill-disguised agenda. It's like he thought George W. Bush deserved a crushed-ice blow job, but feared the legal ramifications if he provided it in traditional form.

You can't really say it starts well.

A cry for help goes out from a city beleaguered by violence and fear: A beam of light flashed into the night sky, the dark symbol of a bat projected onto the surface of the racing clouds . . .

Oh, wait a minute. That's not a bat, actually. In fact, when you trace the outline with your finger, it looks kind of like . . . a "W."

Okay, I know that's a joke. You know that's a joke. But does Klavan know, even as he's making it? This, by the way, is the Bat-Signal as it appears in the movie.

Yeah, pure "W."

Anyway, the author is soon onto strawmen made of low-quality straw.
Leftists frequently complain that right-wing morality is simplistic. Morality is relative, they say; nuanced, complex. They're wrong, of course, even on their own terms.

Left and right, all Americans know that freedom is better than slavery, that love is better than hate, kindness better than cruelty, tolerance better than bigotry. We don't always know how we know these things, and yet mysteriously we know them nonetheless.

Anyone who knows more than three leftists knows that there is now conflict between being on the left and being a moral absolutist. One begins to suspect that--shocking as it seems--Klavan's social circle is somewhat limited.

But the absolute gem is this quote.
The true complexity arises when we must defend these values in a world that does not universally embrace them -- when we reach the place where we must be intolerant in order to defend tolerance, or unkind in order to defend kindness, or hateful in order to defend what we love.

When heroes arise who take those difficult duties on themselves, it is tempting for the rest of us to turn our backs on them, to vilify them in order to protect our own appearance of righteousness. We prosecute and execrate the violent soldier or the cruel interrogator in order to parade ourselves as paragons of the peaceful values they preserve. As Gary Oldman's Commissioner Gordon says of the hated and hunted Batman, "He has to run away -- because we have to chase him."

So where does the hunting come in? Who is Commissioner Gordon? Bush is running away? As far as I can tell, Dub's future consists of sun, surf, good food, and not having to hide his drinking anymore. To be fair, Bruce Wayne is obscenely wealthy.

It seems unlikely that a movie trying to rehabilitate a failed presidency will ever crack $150 odd million in its opening weekend. But some of us will take solace in the belief that it's already happened.

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