Batman, George W. Bush, and a blogger debate

I did not expect the Tygrrrr Express to become all Batman, all the time, but a liberal blogger discussed the connection between Batman and George W. Bush, just as I did. The difference is that their assessment was negative, while mine was positive.

I could have been significantly more tactful with this blogger, and I have to confess that if he and I competed in a graciousness contest, he would have won.

Our debate was spirited and respectful, and I give him full credit for that. Below is my debate about the Bat and the Dub. Directly below is the column that sparked the debate. While I disagree with his conclusions, he writes well.

To sum up, he manages to praise Batman (with some reservations) while condemning President Bush. I found this hypocritical, and let him know.

“You are obviously a liberal.

As soon as I walked out of the theatre, I immediately made the Bush/Batman connection, but for positive reasons.

You are able to accept Batman’s surveillance because you believe he is good. You are against Dubya doing it because you believe he is bad. Therefore, your bias allows you to see them differently even though what they are doing is exactly the same.

You could come to realize that perhaps the Dub is doing the right thing, but then your head might explode.”

I also included the link to my Batman article.

His response was reasonable, and I have to confess that he basically used my tactic of disarming people with great effectiveness.

“Hello blacktygrrrrrrrrr, welcome/nice to meet you. I don’t know if you will see this or not, but here is my official Clarification:

so first of all, the personal attacks were somewhat unnecessary. I realize I insulted someone you support politically, but given that I didn’t attack you, your comments about my head exploding, etc were inappropriate. I’m not deleting your comments (free speech, yada yada), but don’t do it again.

Second, the fact that you are clearly conservative did not lead me to dismiss your point of view, the way my political beliefs led you to dismiss mine. I went and read (most of) your post (sorry, it’s long!) and thought about your arguments. To avoid spending too much time on Batman, I just want to raise one objection to your argument. I agree with your statements that leaders such as bin Laden and Saddam Hussein are too pragmatic to be the real-world equivalents of the Joker. You then offer Zarqawi as a possible contender, and support the decision to kill him:

‘Talk of diplomacy can work with those that want to live. Yet with bloodthirsty madmen like Zarqawi, there is no room for dialogue. We killed him in a targeted air strike, and the world is forever better off for his death.’

Now, I presume we saw the same movie, but in the version I saw, Batman doesn’t kill the Joker. Batman shoots a good ole Bat-grappling hook after him and pulls him back to safety. Even though he is crazy. Even though he is bloodthirsty. Even though he might escape from jail, Batman leaves him for the police to find. He would never kill him, he can’t even LET him die, and he certainly wouldn’t do so in a long range missile strike that kills other people as well (even if they are only “insurgent leaders”).

This is what I mean by Batman doing Good. It’s capitalized because it is an absolute. I’m not talking about the kind of moral relativism that justifies any actions as long as they will probably save lives in the future. This is the very slope our nation is slipping down at the moment. Good is the kind of absolute morality where some things are always wrong, regardless of what they could bring us. I realize this kind of morality may only EXIST in fiction, but that does not mean that it can’t be striven for in reality (look at the whole non-violence movement).

My argument is that Batman can be trusted because he is searching for Good. But Bush is looking for the quickest solution that will make a few people that he cares about feel safe. This kind of good (lowercase) ebbs with the stock market, the weather, other people’s actions, and all other external factors; by giving Bush powers today, we have no idea what will be most convenient for him to do with them in a week/month/whenever. I know that the typical response to claims such as mine is that searching for Good is unrealistic. Impossible. That’s not how the world works. But look at where relativism has gotten us. Soaring oil and food prices. Falling currency value. Failing housing and job markets. And the lowest approval ratings for Congress and the President ever and in decades, respectively. Clearly, this way is not working so well, either.

[btw, I also think you fail to realize that the Joker is always insane, whereas most terrorist groups begin by making ‘sane’ geopolitical demands before moving to insane calls for the ‘death of america,’ and also that we bear responsibility for (literally) creating and arming many groups decades ago because it was ‘convenient’ for us, whereas Batman and Gotham only created the Joker in the indirect, literary analysis sense. But I won’t bring those up]

In all fairness, I owe you some kind of head-exploding comment. But it’s not coming. Instead, I’ll just say that the fact that we are arguing about this is a testament to the film’s power, to the troubling nature of Batman as a character, and to Batman’s ability to transcend the pages of a comic book.”

If I am going to criticize people for being every stereotype I see in them, I have to step back and acknowledge when a guy is being completely open-minded. I offered my rebuttal.

“Wheeties…I think you just started a dialogue that could benefit many people. I respect virtually everything you said, and applaud your approach.

The reason why I start by labeling somebody a liberal is because I want liberals to fight to take the word back. I am a proud conservative. Liberals call themselves progressives, and claim that conservatives turned liberal into a dirty word. Until liberals fight to take the word back, they deserve scorn for being gutless.

I respect people who say ‘I am a liberal because…a…b…c…d…’

Therefore, don’t see me calling you that as an attack. That only strengthens my using it. Take it away from me by saying, ‘Yeah, and?’

Anyway, regarding the head exploding comment, there are some people who are so locked into a viewpoint that anything that alters their world view would shatter them emotionally. Puppies and kittens die, blame Dubya. He was illegally elected, so everything he ever does in life is tainted. That view is nuts, because most people are not pure good or evil.

Nevertheless, I have never met you personally, so let me take some steps back. I shall replace my sword with a hearty handshake.

Now onto Batman.

Your analysis is partially correct. While Batman does not kill the Joker, he could let him die in some circumstances. In the previous movie, aboard the train, Batman even says to the villain, “I won’t kill you, but I don’t have to save your life either.”

Batman let’s the bad guy die.

Batman is willing to end life. He just will not murder.

Your assertions about President Bush are simply wrong, particularly this sentence:

‘But Bush is looking for the quickest solution that will make a few people that he cares about feel safe.’

This is wrong on so many levels.

1) The quickest solution would be to turn Iran and Syria into 50,000 hole golf courses. I support this solution personally. That may make me a bad person, but I know who I am. President Bush has not advocating incinerating these excuses for nations.

The man is treated as a dunderhead, but he is quite deliberative. He did not attack Afghanistan the next day after 9/11. We waited a month until a coherent plan was set up.

2) The idea that he only protects those he cares about is unfair. It pits people against each other. When Kanye West announces that Bush does not care about black people, and uses Katrina as evidence, that hurts all of society.

It is wrong to question what is in his heart. Disagree with his policies, but to say he only cares about a select few, as many on the left do, is wrong, unfair, and corrosive to society.

‘But look at where relativism has gotten us. Soaring oil and food prices. Falling currency value. Failing housing and job markets. And the lowest approval ratings for Congress and the President ever and in decades, respectively. Clearly, this way is not working so well, either.’

Soaring oil and food prices are not the fault of America. China and India are demanding more. As for the falling housing market, all speculative bubbles burst. Nobody complains when internet stocks or housing prices are rising, but when they fall it is bad. Conversely, when commodity prices were dead in the 80s and 90s people were happy, but heaven forbid they rise. Markets work both ways, and we cannot condemn them for going against our wishes.

I work in the commodity brokerage industry, and I can tell you that this obsession with turning ethanol into fuel is what hurt us most. Commodities are ‘stuff.’ Stuff is finite. We cannot use it for fuel and food.

I completely agree with you that the movie is powerful, and the debate we are having is important.

However, if you thoroughly vette my blog, you will not see cheap shots. I make fun of liberals, but I will never question their patriotism.

I began blogging to end what I call ‘Ideological Bigotry.’ It is just as painful as racial or ethnic bigotry.

Nobody should be hated merely for existing, whether it be Israel, President Bush, or a black man in the 1960s trying to sit in the front of the bus.

I am going to make this conversation my blog column either tomorrow or the day after. Your comments will be unedited, and completely in context.

That is how much I value what you had to say.

Drop by the Tygrrrr Express any time. Liberals show up and disagree with me every day. Their comments are there for all to see.

I deeply respect your response.

eric aka the Tygrrrr Express”

I would like to thank Wheeties for a spirited debate. He and I disagree, but if more liberals and conservatives had discussions like he and I did, the world would be a better place.

Again, I give him the credit for the tone.

He and I agree on one major thrust. The new Batman movie is more than just entertainment. It is culturally significant. It is important.


6 Responses to “Batman, George W. Bush, and a blogger debate”

  1. Okay, that’s enough. Batman, my friends, is an imaginary comic book hero. We do all know this, right? He is not an allegory for much of anything in real life. Herman Melville wrote great allegory. Bill Finger wrote comics – and screenplays for such classics as The Green Slime and Track of the Moon Beast. In the Batman universe there are good guys and bad guys and no gray area in between. In the real world gray is the color composition of most things. There are only very rarely perfect heros and anti-perfect villians. And things in the real world happen for a reason. In the comic book universe, the only reason is the movement of action to forward the plots – and to keep children on the edge of their seats.

    Now, don’t get me wrong. I love a good fantasy flick, but to read as much into this as you guys have here is lunacy.

    I’ve always said that conservatives live in a comic book universe and am rather saddened to see a fellow liberal engaged in this inanity.

    Here we see conservative comic-book epistemology in action…

    “The quickest solution would be to turn Iran and Syria into 50,000 hole golf courses.”

    Yes, folks, murdering millions of innocent people is a great “solution.” Sound familiar?

    “Soaring oil and food prices are not the fault of America. China and India are demanding more.”

    Yes folks, China and India have increased world demand for oil by 400% in the past seven years. Amazing, huh?

    “As for the falling housing market, all speculative bubbles burst.”

    Yes, except that people LIVE in houses, not abodes composed of stock shares taped together. Take the “speculation” out, and no bubble. And when one house forcloses, that’s less property taxes for the schools and cops and firemen, that’s falling values for all the neighbors houses, and all the less property taxes, that’s an invitation to crime and decay, and on and on. When the real estate market crashes it effects a heck of a lot more than just bad lenders and dumb buyers. But in the comic book universe, where all things are simple and childlike, only the bad guys suffer. Right?

    This is what a comic-book view of the universe gets you – easy answers to complicated problems. The problem is, outside of basic arithmetic, most easy answers are wrong.

    Holy adolescent worldview, Batman!


  2. parrothead says:

    “The quickest solution would be to turn Iran and Syria into 50,000 hole golf courses.”

    Yes, folks, murdering millions of innocent people is a great “solution.” Sound familiar?

    So did you deliberately miss Eric’s point or accidentally? he was responding to the following
    ‘But Bush is looking for the quickest solution that will make a few people that he cares about feel safe.’

    He was making the point that Bush DID not take the quickest solution. As we have in all wars in recent years he took great pains to minimize the amount of collateral damage. That in my belief is a major part of why they had the small residual force and the ridiculous rules of engagement prior to the surge. Had we treated this war the way we handled WWII and all other wars prior to Korea the problems after defeating Saddam would not have occurred and His approval ratings would not be in the toilet. Unfortunately we now have a society that believes you can fight a war with no casualties and not collateral damage so anythign other than that is seen as a disaster.

  3. […] (this time, post’s title). However, if you missed our debate, it happened here and got a shoutout on another blog, the Tygrrr Express. Overall, the debate received mixed […]

  4. Parrot, Eric has made that same comment on prior occasions. You do read this blog, right?

    And you’re right – Bush went in on the cheap, but not to avoid “collateral damage” (there would have been less had we gone all-out), but to avoid the expenditure of political capital required to go all-out. Going all-out would have required a draft and massive up-front expenditures. Bush sold the war as cheap and easy, and sure enough it was neither. It’s a nice cop-out for Bush supporters to assume that Bush was assuaging our humanity – our better, more liberal, angels – but you’d have to be a fool to really believe that. It was just more typical conservative comic book universe nonsense that a war of such magnitude could be cheap and easy.


  5. parrothead says:

    Jersey you need to go reread the speeches George Bush made regarding the GWOT and the war in Iraq. He NEVER said it would be cheap and easy. In fact what he said was it would be very difficult, and we needed to have the fortitude to follow through. Some surrogates were quoted as saying things that sounded like it would be easy, and I am not convinced those quotes were in context, but the President never said that. It is one of the many lies told by the left in rewriting history about the war in Iraq. (Right up there with the only reason we went in was WMD). I will agree that he went in the way he did to avoid the expenditure of political capital, but that is the reason Bill Clinton never did more than lob a few tomahawks and conducted the Kosovo war the way he did. He was afraid the citizens would not support a war with any casualties. It also why the press and the left over emphasized the death count in Iraq, which has been unbelievably small in historical context. We lost more warfighters during the “peaceful” Clinton administration.

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