Looking Backwards The Sequel: Backwardser


Jaybird is Birdmojo on Xbox Live and Jaybirdmojo on Playstation's network. He's been playing consoles since the Atari 2600 and it was Zork that taught him how to touch-type. If you've got a song for Wednesday, a commercial for Saturday, a recommendation for Tuesday, an essay for Monday, or, heck, just a handful a questions, fire off an email to AskJaybird-at-gmail.com

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21 Responses

  1. Kazzy says:

    The thing is… as ubiquitous as Batman is at pop culture, especially at this point in time, his influence and following still pales in comparison to most major religions. Sure, many of have seen the movie. But how many of us have a Batman comic book in our homes? Certainly fewer than have a Bible and maybe even fewer than those who have a Koran or Torah. The movies have made millions, maybe even billions, but was is the combined value of the various religious temples we’ve erected and the lands they sit on? And while a few folks might be obsessive to the point that they truly worship Batman or Superman or whatever other super hero suits them, the number of folks who take to their knee and pray to God or Allah or YHWH every night dwarfs that several times over. If anything, the future us will view the ancient us’s Batman as a cult that never got out of the cave. Or basement.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

      Compare to Hercules. Or Mithras.Report

      • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

        I don’t know the story of Mithras and MAY be confusing Hercules with others but…
        Weren’t there temples, monuments, and/or statues built to Hercules?
        Weren’t there some folks (and not just young children) who believed Hercules was real?
        Don’t we tend to view Hercules more as literature than religion?

        If I’m right there, that seems to change the comparison a bit. If I’m wrong, well, I’ve been wrong before… 🙂Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

          When it comes to Hercules being real, I’m pretty sure that King Arthur was real… but that doesn’t mean that Sir Gawain cut off the Green Knight’s head (which then bounced around for a while before giving a monologue).

          When it comes to literature/religion, Hercules was the son of Zeus and the grandson of Pericles (also the son of Zeus). I think that there’s enough bleed-in that we can shrug it off as “culture-in-general”.Report

  2. Kazzy says:

    Also, seriously, what the F was up with the fairy tale ending? I almost vomited.Report

  3. Burt Likko says:

    I wonder what cops would think about Batman. Would they see him as one of the good guys who helps prevent crime, giftwraps criminals, and makes their (really tough) job a little bit easier?

    The Batman is an extremely odd vigilante and one who is more effective than real life vigilantes. But he is still a vigilante and cops are usually pretty touchy about vigilantes. Aside from the violation of the police’s monopoly on the use of force, it could be really tough to actually put the bad guys away after the Batman’s become involved.

    I can put myself in the shoes of a prosecutor who gets a “Batman” file. The perp is still alive (Batman doesn’t kill his enemies) and has been, say, found by the cops tied up to a street light near the scene of his crime with a bat logo shaped bruise on his cheek. Hmm, I wonder how that got there. Well, one thing I don’t have to worry about is the civil rights violations inherent in the surely-brutal apprehension and restraint of the perp — the Batman is not a police actor and from a legal point of view, he is both an informant (which we like) and a vigilante (which we don’t like).

    But how will I gather admissible evidence that he’s actually committed a crime? I can’t subpoena the Batman as a witness, and even if I could, he won’t show up in court. So pretty much anything he told Captain Gordon or the street cops is hearsay. It might get me by a probable cause motion because the Batman is an informant as well as a vigilante.

    What I have to hope is that the Batman is known to the public to be an unerring detector of criminal activity, so the jury trusts that the Batamn wouldn’t beat up, and tie up, some random guy by mistake and thinks, despite what will surely be the judge’s instruction to the contrary, that the fact that the Batman apprehended a guy is, itself, evidence of guilt. That wouldn’t work if it were a cop making the arrest. And I’m still going to need corroborating evidence to support an appeal, because even if the jury really convicts based on the Batman’s involvement, on appeal I need to point to other evidence that could have reasonably supported the conviction.

    The Batman can get the bad guys and serve them up to the cops. But he can’t make the convictions stick because he’s operating outside the system. So as a G.C.D.A., I’m not looking forward to my next Bat-file.Report

    • kenB in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Illustrated version of your point (grabbed the reference from a commenter in that Holbo thread).Report

    • Fnord in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I suppose having a rogues gallery locked in a cardboard prison helps with that. You only have to prove guilt once, not each time Batman catches them after their many escapes.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Burt Likko says:

      While getting stuff ready for the vet coming over tomorrow, I thought about this.

      “Okay. We found you in an alley with the sign ‘midtown serial rapist’ hanging around your neck. We have reason to believe that you are, in fact, the Midtown Predator the papers have been talking about. Sign here and here and we can plea you down to 18 years in Blackgate.”

      “You ain’t got nothin’ on me! You got a note from the Batman and that’s it!”

      “Perhaps you’re right. Officer O’Malley, please take our customer here down to the holding cells and finish up his paperwork and then let him go. We can’t hold him past 11:59 PM, according to the State Supreme Court so we should probably let him go a little bit before then.”

      “Let me go?”

      “Yep, through the front door.”

      “Let me see that pen.”Report

    • North in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Well yes, Batmans magical power is that he’s never wrong about identifying criminals. Then again Gothams magical power is that the crime is so bad that the criminals pretty much are unmistakably criminaling everywhere.

      Ever played City of Heroes? I watched over the husbands shoulder. His newly minted hero steps into the streets of some city or another, thens left and I get a panoramic view of a street stretching off with a thousand little grannies franticly trying to hang onto their purses as a thousand two bit hoods tug-tugged them away.Report

    • Jason M. in reply to Burt Likko says:

      You could call this the “Batman effect”, which would run counter to the “CSI effect”, where jurors with unrealistic expectations about the forensics capabilities of law enforcement are dissapointed with the real life evidence, conclude the prosecution “doesn’t have the goods”, and acquit based on (in their minds) reasonable doubt.Report

    • A Teacher in reply to Burt Likko says:

      You know….

      It’d be fun to set up you and Sarah over at the “Rants of a Public Defender” to do a mock trial of someone brought in by the Batman. Think she’d be game to play?Report

  4. Murali says:

    The Hindu Gods are in many ways like superheroes. Some Asura somewhere or another is terrorising the people. In comes Krishna or Someone else to kick demon butt and save the day. And They have even made into comic books. My childhood comic book diet was more Amar Chitra Katha and less DC or Marvel. The only thing I am wondering is why someone hasn’t made the stories ino a shounen anime. The stories are very amenable to standard shounen tropes and techniques

    But more importantly, in many ways Thomas Carlyle’s thesis that the Gods of all cultures have always been a kind of hero to us rings true.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Murali says:

      That’s awesome… but are they writing new stories? Are all of the Amar Chitra Katha stories hundreds (thousands) of years old or is there a team of Brahmin in a darkened room somewhere devoted to coming up with new legends?Report

    • Mike Schilling in reply to Murali says:

      The analogy I was going to make is the Greek myths. When Sophocles needed to bang out a new play, he didn’t invent new characters, he re-imagined the story of Oedipus or Hercules or the Trojan War.

      Murali, have you ever read Roger Zelazny’s Lord of Light? It’s a science fiction take on the Hindu gods, and probably the best thing a very fine author ever wrote.Report

  5. Mike Schilling says:

    Somewhat off topic, did anyone see the Watchmen film? Unsympathetic as I am to superhero stories and “graphic novels”, I have to admit the book knocked my socks off.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      The Watchmen film is, uncharitably, a hot mess. Charitably, it’s a noble failure.

      It’s a Zack Snyder film… which tells you that there’s a lot of really, really awesome 1-2 second sections of the film. Sadly, those 1-2 second sections don’t really have a whole lot to do with each other.

      Terry Gilliam was asked to direct it at one point and he said something to the effect of “I couldn’t possibly do this in fewer than five hours” and suggested a miniseries.

      That’s the version I watch in my head.Report

      • A Teacher in reply to Jaybird says:

        I did not read the graphic novel, so for me the movie was a spot on dark side of being a super hero, without getting a lot into the HOW they became super heroes. They had powers, sure, but they weren’t over the top powers and you didn’t get lengthy backstories and the like.Report

        • Mike Schilling in reply to A Teacher says:

          Unless there were significant changes from the book, the only one with true super powers was Doctor Manhattan, who had pretty much every power you can imagine; the rest had varying levels of gadgets, smarts, training, and willReport

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Jaybird says:

        It’s a Zack Snyder film… which tells you that there’s a lot of really, really awesome 1-2 second sections of the film.

        That must be why I thought The 300 was complete crap — I blinked at the wrong times.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          Watch the trailer again. It’s an *AWESOME* trailer.

          It cheated, though… the best lines are lines lifted directly from the original (“then we will fight in the shade” “come and take them”) and the best 1-2 second scenes are lifted straight from the comic book (the scene where we see Spartans driving the invaders off of the cliff, the masks, the messenger on the horse rearing while holding the skulls of defeated kings…).

          And, of course, THIS IS SPARTA!!!!

          The trailer promised a much better movie than it delivered. Snyder does that a lot, though.Report