A few years ago, I made the inaccurate prediction that Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle, aka Catwoman, would be an allegorical representation of Sarah Palin. The idea made sense to me at the time. The Dark Knight‘s Batman is arguably a depiction of George W. Bush, Harvey Dent is a stand-in for all politicians, and I imagined that Catwoman would represent one of the most controversial and polarizing female political figures in recent years.
I was wrong. While you can make an argument that Batman is Bush, at least in The Dark Knight, any argument about Selina Kyle being Sarah Palin is a forced conclusion and complete stretch.
But I think there is a politician on the scene today whose role in the contemporary political scene could parallel the role that Selina Kyle plays in The Dark Knight Rises. That person is former CEO and presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.
You may find this helpful if you are anything like me, meaning you think that oftentimes the best way to understand something is to compare it to something else we already understand.
I’ve broken this down into a few key points on how Fiorina is the Selina Kyle (Catwoman) of The Dark Knight Rises.
She is the lone woman, but does not let it define her.
Both of them are women in fields of men, but they do not let that be the one reason you know who they are.
She can do things that the Dark Knight can’t.
To being with, the fact that she’s a woman is a strength, one that she does not exploit nor let others exploit. Same is true of Selina Kyle. Consider Fiorina’s statment: “If we want to win we have to throw every punch at Hillary Clinton.” Her differing approach from the other GOP candidates parallels Kyle’s differing approach to seeking justice from the approach taken by Batman. She can do what he (or they) can’t.
She’s an outsider, but that’s an advantage.
Selina Kyle comes from nothing. She can move in and out of a party and a crime scene with ease, unnoticed because no one knows her. Fiorina has that same gift, arriving upon this election with no history as an elected official. Of course, they both have aspects of their past that didn’t go as planned (unnamed crimes in the case of Kyle, a failed election in Fiorinia’s case) but they own their pasts and their lives and move forward without regret.
She warns of a storm coming.
This is something we see from Selina Kyle, early in The Dark Knight Rises. Interestingly, it’s an echo of something said by Batman in Batman Begins, but now Bruce Wayne is the one being warned. She promises change, but it’s change in a climate that already say change eight years earlier. Don’t forget that The Dark Knight and The Dark Knight Rises were set eight years apart, and that TDK ended with Batman (Bush?) being sent away, defeated, taking a new role as enemy.
She never apologizes.
When Bruce Wayne returns, Selina looks at him and says: “f you’re expecting an apology… ” He gives her an out with it wouldn’t suit you. Fiorina, likewise, does not apologize for what she says.
She resists being a “sidekick” while working with the hero.
I make a major assumption here, and it’s that Fiorinia will rise to prominence while not becoming a protagonist of the 2016 election. I assume that she will be relegated to a deuteragonist role, like Catwoman in The Dark Knight Rises, important but not the center of attention. But it’s a role where she won’t be left by the wayside. She will have her own battle, her own victories and stances and approaches that compliment those of her ally.
But how will it end?
Like a lot of Christopher Nolan films, the ending is still ambiguous. But unlike a lot of his movies, we’ll find out how it ends in due time. And whether this theory is correct, or if I’m reaching.
Either way, Donald Trump appears to have decided that’s he’s Batman. Or maybe he’s The Joker. But that’s a conversation for another blog post.