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Holding Out For A Hero?

Friday, Aug. 08, 2008 3:49 AM

I haven't read Marvel's X-Men since shortly after the Claremont/Byrne era, and was less than awed by 'X-Men: The Last Stand,' which seemed to be a horrible mish-mash of plot points out of the comics and little cohesion to tie it all together.

But as of issue #500, the X-Men have moved to the Bay Area, relocating from their Westchester digs to an old bunker in the Marin Headlands.

That's just cool.

Meanwhile, on the other end of the media spectrum ...

Usually, the flakes come out to lay claim to the idea behind the latest Speilberg or Lucas blockbuster. This time, however, it's a former Bush aide who says the plot and marketing ideas for 'Swing Vote' were stolen from him. (Said aide claims to have pitched the idea to actor Kelsey Grammer, who then handed it off to a producer, who then gave it to the screenwriters.)

One of the points of similarity, the lawsuit claims, is the idea of newscasters portraying themselves. Gosh, as if that's never been done before.

Even further afield is Andrew Klavan, writing in the Wall Street Journal and applying his media analysis savvy to 'Batman: The Dark Knight,' to come up with the amazing conclusion that the plot and main character of the blockbuster movie is a tribute to George W. Bush. (Never mind that Batman was created in 1939, well before W. was in diapers, or that Frank Miller's Dark Knight - which contributed strongly to the appearance of the recent films - was written in 1986 and lampooned Ronald Reagan.)

Klavan points out that the bat-emblem resembles a W. Batman uses surveillance to find terrorists. He goes outside the law to fight criminals, because sometimes, that's necessary.

But Klavan seems to have mistaken the outward appearance of the film for its content. He ignores that Batman has always been a vigilante in favor of suggesting that this is, in fact, exactly what we need.

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck went further, lauding Batman's capture of the mob's money man, Lau, as proof that rendition works. Except that what Batman did is extradition, to bring Lau into the jurisdiction of the police and the courts; rendition is the act of sending someone out of the country and placing them outside our laws (so we can have them tortured).

Kavan points to Batman's interrogation room beating of the Joker as somehow justifying our own new policy of 'enhanced interrogation.' Yet the Joker tells Batman after several punches, 'You have nothing to threaten me with.' To win, the Joker adds, Batman will have to break the one rule he holds - that he won't kill - because Batman, despite being a vigilante, nonetheless remands criminals to the police and the courts.

After the explosion that kills one character and disfigures another, we learn that the Joker planned on being caught. He didn't give us critical information about a ticking time bomb so much as take the opportunity to push Batman closer to the edge.

We'll back up a bit, because Batman isn't the only one applying torture to gain information. Harvey Dent threatens one of the Joker's men with a loser's version of Russian Roulette - a fifty-fifty shot at five-in-six. Batman shows up to stop him, saying, "... you're the one legitimate ray of hope this city has. If anyone saw this, everything would be undone." Dent's convictions would be overturned or brought into question, his achievements discounted by his choice of methods.

The Batman describes his surveillance net as beautiful, but Lucius Fox immediately counters that it is also unethical and immoral. Despite both men coming to agreement that this is necessary to find the Joker, Klavan again misses the point - Batman places the ultimate control of the device in Fox's hands, even anticipating that Fox will destroy the net once the task is complete. Furthermore, the net only locates the Joker; it does not safeguard the passengers of either ferry, nor does it protect the GCPD from making a potentially fatal assumption.

So why does Kavan imagine such nonsense as this? Perhaps, because Bush and his ilk are still looking to be heroes, to claim a legacy - and all their plans have gone tits up, so they are left to clutch at Batman's cape.

Ben Stein, who has gone from being an actor to a shill for Creationist drivel, has weighed in on the Paris Hilton for President 'commercial.'

It's a plot by Obama, Stein claims. Besides, Paris Hilton isn't particularly good looking or intelligent (compared to his towering intellect, no doubt). And she's a slut and a porn star (he knows, because he saw the film).

On the other hand, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) thinks we should be debating Paris Hilton's proposed energy plan.

Keep it up, boys. Debating the merits of Paris Hilton or an energy plan proposed in a political ad parody ain't exactly making the GOP look good.

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