Normally, I don’t talk politics on this blog. I do my best to keep my political views separate from my professional writing because I’m just a pulp fiction writer. I’m not trying to push my political views through my writing or to make any statements in my work about politics (if any such statements are made, it’s 100% unintentional). I just write action stories, period. And I avoid political statements because they really don’t need to be made, and I have no interest in alienating potential readers who might be interested in my stories but are turned off by my personal politics.
But sometimes, something comes along in the world of politics that’s just so ridiculous, it deserves to be commented on. So first, full disclosure: I’m Perry, I’m a liberal. And now, I’ll ask you a simple question:
In case you’ve been living under a rock lately, the guy on the left is Bane, the villain from The Dark Knight Rises (played by actor Tom Hardy). The guy on the right is Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee for President. And the question, as you can see in the caption, is a simple one: what do these two men have in common?
If your answer was “absolutely nothing,” then you’d be correct. Congratulations on being a sane individual. But if you’re professional blowhard and successful human/swine hybrid Rush Limbaugh, you believe that The Dark Knight Rises is propaganda against Romney:
Do you know the name of the villain in this movie? Bane. The villain in the Dark Knight Rises is named Bane. B-A-N-E. What is the name of the venture capital firm that Romney ran, and around which there’s now this make-believe controversy? Bain…The movie has been in the works for a a long time, the release date’s been known, summer 2012 for a long time. Do you think that it is accidental, that the name of the really vicious, fire-breathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bain…This evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there’s now discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful, and whether or not it will influence voters…It’s going to have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is going to be huge, lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop-culture crowd. And they’re going to hear Bane in the movie, and they are going to associate Bain, and the thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama, the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capital, but Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie — “Oh yeah, I know who that is” That’s — there are some people who think it will work.
So, to be clear, Limbaugh’s thesis is that The Dark Knight Rises uses a villain called Bane in order to create propaganda against Romney because of the ongoing story regarding his ties to his former company, Bain Capital (if you don’t know what the situation is with Bain Capital, feel free to research it yourself, I really have no desire to comment on it). This movie has, as Limbaugh himself admits, been in the works for a while. And it overlooks a number of crucial facts:
- The term “bane” is defined as “a cause of great stress or annoyance” and an archaic meaning is “a thing that causes death.” That’s what the character was named after.
- Bane was created by Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan, and Dough Moench in 1993 for DC Comics’ “Knightfall” story running through the Batman books. Since then, he’s appeared in other media as well, including Batman: The Animated Series, Batman: Arkham Asylum and Batman: Arkham City video games, and, I’m sorry to remind you all, Batman & Robin, the film which almost killed the Batman franchise.
- I can only theorize, but there seems to be a lot of social unrest and upheaval caused by Bane in Gotham, with his partner(?) Selina Kyle (Catwoman) telling Bruce Wayne that he and his kind have been lording over the masses for far too long. If you want to draw a political message, it seems more like Bruce/Batman represents the 1% and Bane represents the 99%. You’d think that’d be reason for conservatives to start claiming The Dark Knight Rises as a pro-conservative movie. After all…
- In 2008, conservative commentators were hailing the previous film in this series, The Dark Knight, as justification of George W. Bush’s policies and tactics during the War on Terror. Both The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were directed by Christopher Nolan.
- Both Chuck Dixon and Graham Nolan are lifelong conservatives. As Dixon said, “[Bane]’s far more akin to an Occupy Wall Street type if you’re looking to cast him politically. And if there ever was a Bruce Wayne running for the White House it would have to be Romney.”
In order for Limbaugh’s theory to make any sense, we have to assume that Barack Obama, Christopher Nolan, Chuck Dixon, Graham Nolan (zoinks, same last name, must be a connection!), and Doug Moench all conspired in 1993 to create a Batman villain named after Romney’s company in preparation to eventually make a movie that would smear Romney and prevent him from defeating Barack Obama in a second-term election (and both Dixon and G. Nolan would had to have betrayed their own political beliefs).
Or what’s more likely is that it’s simply coincidental and people should stop looking for political statements in a freaking Batman movie and just sit back and enjoy it.
These are the kinds of conspiracy theories that make other conspiracy theorists shake their head in embarrassment.