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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Why Really Did the Right Like The Dark Knight?

Posted by on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 2:37 PM

...Because, as Zizek points out, it's about the importance of lying...

In one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Putin and Medvedev are compared to Batman and Robin. It’s a useful analogy: isn’t Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s organiser, a real-life counterpart to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight? In the film, the district attorney, Harvey Dent, an obsessive vigilante who is corrupted and himself commits murders, is killed by Batman. Batman and his friend police commissioner Gordon realise that the city’s morale would suffer if Dent’s murders were made public, so plot to preserve his image by holding Batman responsible for the killings. The film’s take-home message is that lying is necessary to sustain public morale: only a lie can redeem us. No wonder the only figure of truth in the film is the Joker, its supreme villain. He makes it clear that his attacks on Gotham City will stop when Batman takes off his mask and reveals his true identity; to prevent this disclosure and protect Batman, Dent tells the press that he is Batman — another lie. In order to entrap the Joker, Gordon fakes his own death — yet another lie.
  • U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

However, Nolan's next film, Inception, is great because it offers an excellent example of the relationship between time and size. In the movie, the levels of dreaming, from top to bottom, happen at the same time but at different speeds of time—the highest level happening much slower than the deepest level. The same is almost true for animals. A small animal like a mouse has a short life but a fast heartbeat. A whale, on the other hand, has a slow heartbeat and a long life. But the number of heartbeats a mouse has in its lifetime corresponds with the number of heartbeats a whale has in its lifetime. They essentially have the same life but at different scales. This order is like those dreams in Inception, with the highest level approximating a whale (slow) and the lowest a mouse (fast). One other thing: The whale's closest relative is the hippo. One more other thing: the human animal has somehow found itself outside this order. We are nowhere near the size of a whale but we can live longer than one.


Comments (16) RSS

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The idea that people on the right lie more than people on the left is just as idiotic as the idea that people on the left lie more than people on the right. Of all those people, of course, none lie more than Democrats and Republicans.
Posted by LJM on January 18, 2011 at 2:44 PM · Report this
fucking spoiler alert, you asshole.
Posted by Jack Moff on January 18, 2011 at 2:51 PM · Report this
Josh Bomb 3
Jesus dies but then lives again.
Norman had his dead mother in his basement.
Private Ryan lives.
Dorothy makes it back to Kansas.
ET makes it home.
Marty makes it back to 1985.
Indiana Jones finds the Ark. And the Holy Grail.
The Von Trapp family escapes to Switzerland.
The Planet of the Apes is just Earth many years later.
Seabiscuit wins.
The Cleveland Indians suck at first but then they win in the end... twice.
Charlie wins the chocolate factory.
Rocky wins. Then loses. Then wins. Then Apollo dies and Rocky goes to Russia and wins again. Then he becomes an arm wrestling truck driver. Or something like that.
Rudy gets to play.
Frodo destroys the ring.
They find Nemo.
They shoot Old Yeller.
Darth Vader is Luke's father.
Verbal Kint is Keyser Söze.
Neo is the one.
Soylent Green is people.
Rosebud was a sled.
Posted by Josh Bomb on January 18, 2011 at 2:54 PM · Report this
Fistique 4
Don't forget that human women, in addition to their long lifespans, have a unique period of infertility near the end of their lives. Since pregnancy, birth, and nursing are the main strains on the female (whose caloric needs, as you know, form the limits on the size of the animal), this post-menopause is one major contributor to the longer life of the human mammal.
Posted by Fistique on January 18, 2011 at 2:59 PM · Report this
Dougsf 5
The words in the headline are in a peculiar order.
Posted by Dougsf on January 18, 2011 at 3:15 PM · Report this
rob! 6
My hat is off, @3. My movie memory's limited to vague details of the last flick I saw (best-case scenario). FIFO.
Posted by rob! on January 18, 2011 at 3:19 PM · Report this
Joe Szilagyi 7
Why so serious, Charles?
Posted by Joe Szilagyi on January 18, 2011 at 3:24 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 8
Inception couldn't hold Heath Ledger's Joker's jockstrap.
Posted by Max Solomon on January 18, 2011 at 3:27 PM · Report this
Inception was a turgid, boring, badly in need of editing, obvious POS with some interesting action sequences (give you the zero-g hall fight was innovative but about a third of it would have been fine). And was that final shot supposed to be a surprise or was it a huge FU to the people who sat through to the end (I saw that coming over two hours prior)?
Posted by usagi on January 18, 2011 at 4:02 PM · Report this
dirac 10
This is a Chris Nolan movie. Of course, it would end like that. See Prestige for a recent example. It's an old and worn-out trick, but still works on the masses just fine. ZOMG! Life is filled with ambiguities! That made me think!

Anyway, I am sure most of Inception's novelty was covered in Star Trek: TNG with lower budgets.
Posted by dirac on January 18, 2011 at 4:27 PM · Report this
Mary P. Traverse 11
@3 I totally have that tee shirt.…
Posted by Mary P. Traverse on January 18, 2011 at 4:33 PM · Report this
keshmeshi 12
The Right liked The Dark Knight because it endorses vigilantism.
Posted by keshmeshi on January 18, 2011 at 4:59 PM · Report this
Julian Assange is definitely a super-villain but I think he's more of a Goldfinger or a Dr No than a Joker.
Posted by Ken Mehlman on January 18, 2011 at 5:44 PM · Report this
Fish Wrench Asteroid 14
@1 You obviously haven't read any news lately or watched TV news since it's invention.
Posted by Fish Wrench Asteroid on January 18, 2011 at 5:48 PM · Report this
@14, you obviously are unaware of U.S. history in its entirety. Liberals tend to be more honest than conservatives. Democrats have never been more honest than Republicans. But, then again, Democrats have never really been liberals, so much as they've been merely slightly less conservative than Republicans.
Posted by LJM on January 18, 2011 at 9:42 PM · Report this
I'm not sure of the average lifespan of whales, but some have definitely lived for over two centuries, unlike any human being.
Posted by BigTimeBob on January 18, 2011 at 10:51 PM · Report this

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