The University of Alberta online rag has decided that the iconic figure of Batman now represents fascism in the modern age. Is it because he demands that everyone follows one particular party line? Is it because he wants to stop crime? Or is it because he works to keep the citizens of his city safe?
Apparently, it’s because the Frank Miller version of the comic:
- Establish that the governing forces are inept when it comes to dealing with criminals. (which of course they are)
- Represent the average person as dangerous or weak and thus dependent on absolute governance. (No, it represents the authorities as weak and dangerous, and the average citizen as being a victim of this).
- Create villains whose actions have no motive beyond the desire to sow evil. (But isn’t most crime described as senseless? Don’t we, in fact, actually have gangs of youths who shoot at each other and innocents for no other reason than their petty turf wars?)
“The problem with an enduring Batman from the ’80s is that he’s from the ’80s. He brings with him outdated politics, outdated ideals of gender and concepts of sexuality that are baffling in modern reflection. Even Miller’s graphic novel must strain the plot to fit the machismo and violence afforded to Batman. Most striking is the power dynamics associated with Batman. Adam West’s campy Batman of the 1960s worked in conjunction with the police — as a deputy of all things — so Frank Miller goes hard in the opposite direction. His Batman isn’t just a vigilante going against the rules of the law, he is the law: an opposing force of governance, establishing his own order and enforcing strict obedience. In other words, a fascist.”
So according to the article, it is in part because Batman identifies as a man (what a fascist! although the clue is in the name). And partly because he is an opposing force of governance…Which is exactly why the Constitution set out provisions for the common man (and woman, and bat people) to set themselves against a government that engages in tyranny.
No. Batman is not fascist. Batman is an expression of that very American concept: Freedom and Liberty.