Batman: Good Role Model?

Discussion in 'The Dark Knight' started by The Shape, May 26, 2008.

  1. The Shape In the shadows

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    I'm currently writing on essay on Batman as a controversial figure within his society and was wondering if anyone wanted to lend a helping hand, seeing as this also applies to the upcoming movie where Batman will be pushed to the limit. I already have my own ideas, but I wanted to see what some of you guys had to say.

    How is Batman controversial in Gotham City?

    Do you agree with Batman's illegal actions? How are they justifiable, or are they not at all?

    In our society, do you think Batman is a good role model for children, even though he solves problems by using violence and taking the law into his own hands?

    How can Batman be seen as a symbol to both the people of Gotham and the people in our world?

    Any thoughts or ideas would be greatly appreciated.
     
  2. explode7 Registered

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    ^Nah Batman isn't a good role model whatsoever he doesn't play by the rules like superman or spiderman. He's more along the lines of HULK except to a faaaar lesser extent.
     
  3. The Shape In the shadows

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    Though his actions may sometimes be more extreme than Spidey or Supes, his intentions are good and unlike the Hulk, he follows a moral code that he has established for himself.
     
  4. Hole Shot Better Than Smurfberries

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    The positive is that he's a man taking action in a world where the people that are supposed to take care of us - government, law enforcement, etc. have failed.

    You have a guy that is proactive instead of reactive. Superman and Spiderman for example swoop in to save the day after the plane has already began spinning out of control or the bomb has exploded. Batman on the other hand wants to hunt that terrorist down and subdue him before he ever gets to hijack the plane or set off the bomb.

    Although he uses violence, his greatest strength and weapon remains his intelligence and self-confidence.


    The negative is that he goes around a punches people in the face (which I think is positive).
     
  5. Gilpesh Registered

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    Batman is no role model. The only thing that may be something to look up to about him is as you said, his moral code and his resolve to follow that moral code to a tee.
     
  6. The Shape In the shadows

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    Very interesting points. I especially love that first part.

    Despite all of this, his actions are still illegal because he is not affiliated with any form of law enforcement or government. Do you think this could potentially send the message to children that it's acceptable to essentially "do what you want", as Batman does? This applies to Batman more so than any other superhero because he has no powers.
     
  7. tekken Registered

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    i think he's a good role model. yes he breaks the law, somewhat, but for a good cause. sometimes laws aren't worth following if lives can be saved when going against it. read the bible; all the stuff's in there. jesus healed on the sabbath to save lives, and the pharisees got all pissed at him cuz he worked on sabbath. jesus told them that it was definitely worth saving a life than to not work on sabbath as law requires.

    enough about bat's vigilantism, and let's see...he doesn't drink, doesn't smoke, doesn't do anything "bad"; good role model for kids i'd say. what else...he doesn't kill. good man.
     
  8. tekken Registered

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    oh and unlike some other super heroes, he trained hard to get where he is as a superhero. whereas the others just attained their powers by accident or birth, and decided that they had some responsibility with it.

    batman does what he does because he wants to, not by obligation. he does what he does so no one has to endure the same pains he once had to. of they do, they become robins. haha.
     
  9. explode7 Registered

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    ^Yeah as a fan you see it like that but what will the general audience see? They will see Batman
    kicking law enforcements ass in that clip where Batman was beating up some swat guys
    . Definitely not a good role model in the film.
     
  10. HUMANIMAL ...

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    a difficult question i think...he isnt the one who makes empty promises, hes a man of action ...and his success tell its own tales...he can be trustet even if he is controversial.....for the ones he'll be the saviour ....i guess for those who need help ...but others who fear to loosing theyr influence will call him a menace.
    for childrens i guess he shows that you can defend yourself if needed...he stops em, he dont kills em or harms em too much ... only really bad ones have to fear that they might get killed ...so he is partially seen a role model ...he has a good sense of justice...the stronger, who harm the weaker need to be stopped, and looking at this i would say its a good attitude
     
  11. batman11 7.20.2012

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    I think that in a sense, Batman is a role model for "doing what's right", just not how to get the job done.

    If children were required to look up to Batman as their role model, the way in which he completes his tasks may not be something that they should follow, but no doubt should they try to mirror his motivations. Putting aside the fact that his parents' murder is a strong reason as to why he is Batman, Bruce's intentions are noble, and ultimately selfless. He puts an entire city before himself, risking his life on a day to day basis in order to make the place better for the people, not for himself. Sure there is a bit of a selfish attitude on Bats' part, with the personal vengeance factor, however, it's what he does that counts.

    Now, I'm not saying that children should go around dressed as Bats, kicking people and riding in tanks because Batman does it, but they should truly think of him as a role model.

    1) He combats crime.

    2) He fights for justice.

    3) Essentially, he wants to make the world a better place.

    If the message that his actions are wrong yet his motivations are right can be conveyed to a younger audience looking for a role model, then Bats is definitely the person to look up to. Translate his punches into tipping off the police, transform his fear tactics into getting information on criminals out to the news, change his dark persona to that of a lighter one that represents justice, i.e. a non-corrupt police force.

    Batman is no doubt a role model, as long as you skin him down to the man behind the mask, and what he's doing, not how he's doing it.
     
  12. The Shape In the shadows

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    These are all great thoughts and everyone has interesting points.

    Can anyone think of examples when Batman has been controversial in our society, or any common criticisms of the character, especially when compared to other superheroes? Maybe the fact that he is ruled by the darkest parts of human nature?
     
  13. Beanjuice Human beanjuice

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    Batman is a terrible role model. totally badass, but not the best person to look up to. thought he has th best of intentions, his actions often lead to more problems than they've solved at all. on the contrary to Spider-Man who teaches that with power,should come the responsibility to use it right, Batman shows that if your parents are shot and you want you own justice, to dress up like a bat and hop on buildings fighting mobs. he does show a strong moral code for what he does,but unlike other heroes who try to save people, Batman focuses just on local crime,instead of taking on the bigger picture. Awesome crime fighter? correct. Awesome costume hero? correct. A positive inspiration for children and others?incorrect.
     
  14. batman11 7.20.2012

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    Well, I think that you could really do a whole topic alone on the aspect of Batman which solely revolves around his parents. Although this is gonna sound like Chase Meridian, LOL, but what she said was somewhat true: "What drives a man to do something like this? What curse is so terrible that he has to torment himself?"

    The psychological issues Bruce has, is unparalleled by any other comic superhero. In a way, he's very dark, very twisted, and in some sense, psychotic.
     
  15. Metropolis_Man Mister Doctor?

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    Batman to me, can be a good role model if looked at in that way. He doesn't justify killing and tries to live by a moral that helps out the community. Taking the law into your own hands can send out improper signals, but its also a sign of taking up for yourself and trying to right certain wrongs in a result that doesn't end in death or violence, if possible.
     
  16. Symbiotic Registered

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    Good role model? I don't know, but I don't think he's a bad one. His methods are extreme, yes. But the man fights for justice.
     
  17. jmc away for a while

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    Parents are role models, not fictional characters.
     
  18. batman11 7.20.2012

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    You're trying to tell me you've never jumped off a building cause you thought you were Superman?

    Cause...umm...I...er....haven't.

    :super:
     
  19. Nepenthes Registered

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    What subject are you writing this for?

    I'd write a little about the gay controversy in the 50's, Dr. Wertham, juvenile deliquents and such. Then Batman as a subversive camp icon in the 60's. In the 80's the mainstream public were aghast when robin was killed, people were wondering why comics had to go and grow up and turn all dark and nasty, Dark Knight Returns, Barbara Gordon, leading up to juggernaut that was the Batman movie. This in turn led to another parental outlash with Batman Returns, the raw sex of Catwoman combined with Penguins nose-biting black-blood vomiting child-stealing sexually salacious pervert creep. Then the gay fun was bought back once again with Schumacher and this time it was neither edgy nor entertaining, it was a time when Ellen had her own talkshow and being gay didn't have the same zing, it was old news.

    In some stories Batman is almost a fascist, going up symbols of American virtue like superman. In other stories Batman is the blessed last resort of an incompetant law and order system. Actually I'd keep this project simple and crib mostly from DKR. Also his greatest advantage is his wealth, the capitalist baron as the most positive agent for change.


    In a perfect world, maybe. There's no point denying that children are influenced by media and stories. Which include action heroes and fictive archetypes.
     
  20. sclabguy Registered

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    no he's terrible, wearing underpants on the outside of his pants... god damnit
     
  21. jmc away for a while

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    They maybe influenced to some degree, but that doesn't mean they should be endorsed, anyone who goes around saying they are has rocks in there head, real people are role models, not 2D illustrations and especially not one of a man who's methods of dealing with crime is to break the law and do what ever it takes to bring order. Batman is not a role model, cool character, but not a role model that should anyway be endorsed. I think a better essay to write would be 'Why fictional characters shouldn't be role models'.
     
  22. Finlandman Registered

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    He's one of the worlds best role-models in the world IMO.
     
  23. ultimatefan The Batman must come back

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    One idea I particularly defend is Bruce Wayne in many ways is much more heroic than Superman or almost any other superhero. It´s not so hard to be Mr. Nice Guy when you´re raised by two loving parents - even if adopted ones - in a nice farm in Kansas. But in front of what Bruce went through in his childhood, you can say anything about dressing up like a bat, but the truth is he could easily have become nothing but a depressed guy full of self-pity, a drug addict, a suicidal guy, even a serial killer. Instead, he took his tragedy and decided to use those dark feelings and motivation and make something positive out of it, help make his city a better place and try to prevent others from suffering as he did. Yeah, there is an element of hatred in revenge as well in what he does, but he still to some extent manages to keep that under control. Darwyn Cooke gave an excelent definition: Bruce gives other people a chance for a happiness he knows he´ll never experience himself.

    Here´s an article I wrote a while ago on his vigilantism:

    BATMAN – FRIEND OR FOE?

    Let´s face it, the concept of the superhero is inherently connected to that of the vigilante, that is, someone who exercises any form of law or “justice” enforcement without going through the proper legal channels to do so. Technically, even boy scout Superman is a vigilante. But the vigilantism debate always seems to gravitate more often towards Bats than other superheroes. Perhaps it´s due to the fact the character doesn´t have any superhuman skills, which makes him a bit closer to a “real” vigilante, even though legally it doesn´t really make any difference. One thing often said about the character is “in real life Batman would get arrested in his first night out” However, there are some circumstances about the dark knight´s vigilantism that are pretty unique when compared to real-life vigilantism. When all is said and done, is Bats a criminal?

    The short answer is yes, the long answer is… Well, Batman IS a vigilante, and he operates outside official law enforcement. However, not EVERYTHING that the dark knight does is necessarily illegal. Remember, things like citizen arrests and neighborhood patrols – if they don´t have authorization and supervision by official law enforcement - are forms of vigilantism too. When Bats apprehends a criminal, as long as there´s undeniable evidence that a crime has been committed or was in progress, technically that´s not illegal. Beat up said criminal, as long as it´s in self-defense and/or defense of others, is not illegal either. Actually, like anyone, he could even kill, which he doesn´t, as long as he´s doing it in self-defense. To investigate privately, as well, is not necessarily an illegal activity either, even though you should be licensed to do so, and he clearly doesn´t have such license. Some of Bats´ typical activities in comics, which are ironically some of his most effective ones, are indeed illegal, which includes breaking into private properties, his interrogation methods, which often include physically and psychologically abusing criminals, and often destroying public and private properties. In comics and movies, police force, commanded by Comissioner Gordon, mostly just looks the other way, which in real life would get them in A LOT of trouble.

    When Batman is called a vigilante, it must be taken into consideration that he´s a VERY unique example of that activity, when compared to real-life vigilantes, and I´m not just talking about the “dressing up like a bat” thing. Vigilantes can be indeed highly dangerous individuals to society, yet Batman is distinguished by a few crucial elements a) he doesn´t kill or apply punishment on his own, b) he´s highly resourceful and trained in criminology and self-defense. Those two elements alone differentiate him from the most dangerous types of vigilantes, the ones who make themselves judge, jury and executioner – The Punisher, anyone? -, and the enthusiastic amateurs who wanna “play cop”. Some of the things that distinguish Batman, however, also play against him. The mask element, even though justified in comics by his desire to protect himself and those close to him against reprisals, implies he doesn´t want to be accountable for his actions, and yes, the “dress up like a bat” thing, in spite of its symbolical and practical value for the character, will, let´s face it, raise a lot of questions about his mental stability…

    Even considering his activities as illegal, the “would be arrested in his first night” thing isn´t quite that simple either. There are criminals, and I mean TRULY dangerous criminals, like serial killers and drug dealers, who operate during years without being caught, and some of them aren´t nearly as resourceful as a billionaire who spent several years training and preparing would be. Which is not to say that he would never eventually get caught, but let´s give the dark knight some credit for his escape techniques…

    If Batman chose to, could he act legally and still be Batman - or relatively close? If you get past the whole “dress up like a bat” thing, in some ways he could, yes. Private investigators can be hired by the police as investigative consultants – that´s what TV´s famous obsessive-compulsive detective Monk does, for instance - and someone as well-prepared and resourceful as him would be of use in some of the more difficult cases. In fact, that´s kinda sorta what he already does in his assistance to Gordon in classic comics canon. Of course, there come the more vigilante-like elements of his activities, as the aforementioned secret identity, breaking into private properties, etc., which again would have to count on both his skill to be discrete and a VERY lenient police force/legal system, which are known to be VERY unsympathetic to vigilante activities, even some of the technically legal ones.

    But even beyond the merely legal problem, there´s the moral/ethical/social element of what Batman does. Traditionally, the myth of the vigilante hero is connected to the individual, a group or even the population as a whole being unsatisfied with the official authorities, due to corruption/inefficiency/authoritarianism. That´s where lies much of the brilliance of Frank Miller´s reinvention of the character´s mythos with The Dark Knight Returns and Year One. Miller created a context of a terribly violent Gotham City with corrupted/inefficient/plutocratic authorities where you can actually believe Bruce Wayne´s actions would feel necessary, building from sources as old as Robin Hood – oddly enough, pretty much all the major “revolutionary” theories and movements in history started within the elite, but that´s a whole new topic... Not unlike has happened with certain real-life vigilantes and watch groups, even chased and denied by the authorities, Batman gets support from a scared and tired population - and also from a brave man inside the force…Also like a lot of them, Bats is often accused of being sort of a “right-wing nut” who feels the solution for the crime and violence in our society is simply to go out and beat the crap out of thugs. Must be noted, though, that Bruce´s also a devoted philanthropist – the thug Batman beats one night may well become the ex-con Bruce hires one day - and also his rule of not killing demonstrates a surprising level of compassion for the ones he chases for someone so deeply scarred by crime, one that real-life vigilantes often lack.

    Legal or illegal, left-wing or right-wing, Batman leaves at least one lesson than can be used by all: one person can make a difference. We don´t have to and should not be apathetic and conformist in the face in injustice, violence, poverty, bigotry or whatever are the ills of the world that tick us the most. Of course that doesn´t mean we should dress up like bats to beat thugs or even that we should disrespect the laws – even though laws can and should be questioned and changed when they´re not serving the best interests of the people. But we can do our share. “Vigilante” comes from the Spanish word for “watchman” or “watcher”, that is, someone who watches, who takes care of.
     
  24. Chris Wallace LET'S DO A HEADCOUNT...

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    In terms of his morals, yes. In terms of his methods, I'd say no. He sends out the message that it's ok to defy authority, takke the law into your own hands, endanger public safety & destroy property. It's like the ends justify the means, & in the wrong impressionable mind, that mentality can make you a serious threat.
     
  25. Jack O Lantern Mad Jack

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    The ideal of Batman is something to strive for. Batman's mission at it's very basic form is to help his fellow man. He see's injustice in his world and takes steps to end that. He is also close to the law by having Gordon in his pocket. He can do things that Gordon can't and always has Gordon to pull him back in line.

    However, his tactics are questionable. He doesn't trust people fighting the same cause because they do things differently. He creates a bubble of righteous that he can't step from, he is close minded and rules his rost with an Iron Fist.

    Bruce Wayne is also not a good role model. Deep down he is till that crying little boy in that alley. He is afraid of life, he doesn't want to embrace it because he's afraid of losing it again. He would rather be safe and alone in a cave than vulerable in real life.
     

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