Which Batman Character Does Trump Resemble Most? Part 6: The Conclusion

For the past several weeks, this blog has investigated which Batman character has the most in common with presidential candidate Donald Trump. We have considered five Batman villains thus far: Oswald “the Penguin” Cobblepot, Dr. Jonathan “the Scarecrow” Crane, Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, legendary villain the Joker, and the most recent of prominent Batman villains, Bane.

At this point, it is worth asking an important question: what should we do with this information? Why does it matter which character from Batman has the most in common with Trump?

But first: are there important Batman characters left to consider?

batman-villains
From “Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader” by Neil Gaiman and Andy Kubert

How much does Donald Trump resemble Lex Luthor?

Lex Luthor, while predominantly a Superman character rather than one of Batman’s friends or foes, resembles Trump in two significant ways: a) he’s a billionaire who b) runs for president (and, frighteningly, is elected) in the DC universe.

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From Superman: Lex 2000

The two do share one other key characteristic: a hunger for power. However, Luthor is known for being two-faced, passing himself off as a thoughtful philanthropist (while secretly plotting and inventing.) As previously discussed in the Harvey Dent article, one of Trump’s traits, and potentially his only virtue, is that he is not duplicitous: he has repeatedly revealed his ugliness on the world stage. Continue reading “Which Batman Character Does Trump Resemble Most? Part 6: The Conclusion”

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Is Bane the Batman Character Who Trump Resembles Most?

“Do you feel in charge?”

It is with these words that the power shifts from one man to another in the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises, as the terrorist and demagogue Bane rests a hand on the shoulder of corrupt, scheming businessman John Daggett. This is Daggett’s last moment alive, realizing that he staked everything on empowering a brutal man he never controlled. It’s a relevant moment, echoed in the recent power struggle happening within the Republican party.

do-you-feel-in-charge
“Do you feel in charge?”

“Tomorrow you claim what is rightfully yours.” – Bane, to the people of Gotham in The Dark Knight Rises

The majority of Batman characters were created in either 1939 or the 1940s, heroes and villains alike. We have compared Donald Trump to four Batman villains so far, each of which first appeared in the early ’40.s Bane is unlike the rest of these, making his first appearance in 1993.

Bane has two pinnacle stories: the 2012 film The Dark Knight Rises and the comic book storyline Knightfall, both of which feature a Gotham plunged into chaos and a broken Batman.

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Bane, facing off against Batman.

It is these two stories which will serve as the majority of our comparison between the candidate Donald Trump and the character Bane.

Trump and Bane are both demagogues who inspire a hateful hope in their followers.

Charlie Jane Anders, writing for io9, described Bane as “the one thing that’s worse than the second film’s raving anarchist: a demagogue.” Continue reading “Is Bane the Batman Character Who Trump Resembles Most?”

Is the Joker the Batman Character Who Trump Resembles Most?

This is the fourth installment of an ongoing investigation into which Batman character Donald Trump resembles most. You can read the beginning here

The similarities between Trump and the Joker have been discussed here before, in response to an editorial by The Economist. But that was before the current series of “Which Batman Character Does Trump Resemble Most,” and was limited to the Joker as depicted by Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight.

Let’s take a step further and evaluate how much the Donald and the Joker (in all his various depictions) really resemble one another.

To begin with, both men have remarkably poor taste.

In what they say, in what they wear, in how they look and present themselves: these are crude, tasteless men.

joker-car
From Batman #321, “Dreadful Birthday, Dear Joker!”

The Joker drives a car with his own face on it, while Trump will brand anything with his own name. Both prove that taste does not accompany wealth.

He uses chaos and anarchy as a weapon, manipulating the weak and confused.

Shouting, punching, screaming, hysteria, name-calling: these are regular trappings at any assembly of Trump fans. Above this chaos stands Trump, fanning the flames and upping the ante.

It is a key element of Trump’s campaign and rhetoric. He brands himself as “anti-establishment.” Consider what the Joker says about establishment and order in The Dark Knight:

Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I’m an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It’s fair!

Like the criminals in The Dark Knight who turn to the Joker to save them, Trump’s voters are at “the point of desperation.” They are the unemployed, the angry, the tired and the scared. As Alfred Pennyworth says, “in their desperation, they turned to a man they didn’t fully understand.” Continue reading “Is the Joker the Batman Character Who Trump Resembles Most?”

How the Republicans Have Become the Political Equivalent of Batman’s Villains

“This has never been about who the nominee is,” Paul Ryan said yesterday, explaining why his party will fight any Supreme Court justice nomination made by Barack Obama in 2016, and why they are specifically going to fight the nomination of Merrick Garland.

This, from a party ostensibly dedicated to the Constitution. This response to the President’s nomination has proved something: the Republicans have lost all sense of identity, becoming the contemporary political equivalent to the villains that Batman fights daily in the fictional Gotham City.

whatever-happened
From Whatever Happened to the Caped Crusader by Neil Gaiman and and Andy Kubert.

How so? In Batman media – whether comic books, films, or television – there is a running theme that the Batman’s “rogues gallery” is defined only by being the yin to Batman’s yang.

Their ideals, their missions, their goals and visions are all ethereal, shifting, defined not by what they are but by what Batman is not: Continue reading “How the Republicans Have Become the Political Equivalent of Batman’s Villains”

How to Finally Become a David Bowie Fan

It’s a strange thing when a celebrity dies. Some people mourn for days or weeks or months. Others feel ostracized when it’s someone whose work they didn’t know, outside the world of grief. I recall the deaths of Kurt Cobain (I was 8) and Princess Diana (I was 11) with confusion, a sense of not knowing who exactly had died and why it mattered.

With David Bowie’s recent death—the first widely-mourned death of 2016—many of us are feeling sad and disappointed. Others are feeling left out or confused or excluded.

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“Who is David Bowie?” some people ask. “Why didn’t I ever listen to his music? Why is it such a big deal that he died? Which songs did he sing?”

I’ve talked to a few people in this boat. This is one of the places where I feel somewhere in the middle. I would never claim to be a David Bowie expert, but I’m not annoyed by the mass of grief. The public mourning, the internet sadness, the elegies on Twitter and eulogies on Facebook. It seems justified, in his case. His death surprised us. It didn’t seem like his career—no, his life—should be over. Continue reading “How to Finally Become a David Bowie Fan”

Why Tim Burton’s Batman is the Worst Batman Movie Ever

People are still complaining about the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman. But, based on the trailers alone, and a few released still images, it’s already obvious that, even at its worst, the new Batman and Superman movie can’t be worse than what has come before it. Batman has bottomed out plenty of times before, but nothing is worse than the 1989 feature film adaptation, directed by Tim Burton and starring Michael Keaton. It does not matter what Ben Affleck does or does not do. Nothing is worse than what has already happened.

Infinite hope.
Infinite hope.

Let’s look at why. Continue reading “Why Tim Burton’s Batman is the Worst Batman Movie Ever”

Reserving Judgments is a Matter of Infinite Hope: Regarding Batman, The Joker, and Their Fans

On the first page of The Great Gatsby, narrator Nick Carraway tells us about a piece of advice his father gave him: “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one, just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.”  Carraway goes on to tell us that he attempts to reserve all judgments but that, unfortunately, “reserving judgments is a matter of infinite hope.”

It seems that infinite hope is what the world needs now, at least the world of fans who worry about their sacred heroes.  In a previous post, I complained about the legions of fans who cry out in either joy or dismay every time they hear a piece of news about a favorite franchise.  These days, much of the focus in on two upcoming projects: Suicide Squad and Batman vs Superman, both films that take place in the new DC Cinematic Universe.  Suicide Squad features Jared Leto as the Joker, while BVS has Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne, who, as we all know, is Batman (and is now known as Batfleck).

Naturally, some people are very excited about these things, and others are upset.  You can see the reddit comments in the /r/batman subreddit, where apparently people can’t handle the idea of The Joker having tattoos.

This is the photo that got everyone all worked up.
This is the photo that got everyone all worked up.

Now, I’ll be honest: I don’t really think The Joker looks super cool.  Definitely not the way I would choose to portray him.  But you know what?  Every time I think that’s not what I would do, I remember that a) I thought Heath Ledger was a bad choice for The Joker, and b) when I saw the first teaser trailer for The Dark Knight, I thought it looked cheesy and that Ledger’s disembodied voice laughing didn’t really work. Continue reading “Reserving Judgments is a Matter of Infinite Hope: Regarding Batman, The Joker, and Their Fans”

Why All the Bad News About True Detective is Actually Good News

Like all television shows that appeal to the intellectual and the obsessive, True Detective has gathered itself a menagerie of obsessive fans, the sort that remind you that fan is derived from the word fanatic.  I’m not referring to the people who are excited for another season, or the ones who have watched the first season and liked it a lot, or even the ones who watched the first season two or three times already.  I’m referring to the wild ones, the ones who argue in internet forums, who watch for any hints at what the next season will be of their favorite thing, and then proceed to panic and criticize every piece of news they get.

These kinds of fans aren’t unique to True Detective.  They’re the same kinds of fans who lose their minds every time Game of Thrones deviates from its source material.  They’re the ones who are going crazy over Jared Leto’s Joker (based on one photograph), who went crazy over Heath Ledger’s Joker (before they had seen or heard anything), and who are still upset over the idea of Ben Affleck as Batman.

But, yes, the upcoming season of True Detective is at the receiving end of endless angst, concern, and advanced criticism from the same people who loved the first season.  And those obsessive fans are quite likely wrong about everything.   Continue reading “Why All the Bad News About True Detective is Actually Good News”

Why Madonna is The Joker

If there is one thing the internet agrees on regarding Super Bowl XLVI, it’s that Clint Eastwood sounded like Bale does when Bruce Wayne is being Batman.  That’s about it.

But to me, the strongest Batman connection throughout the entire Super Bowl was not Eastwood.  It was the Madonna Spectacle and the ways in which she resembles The Joker.  Do you not agree?  Allow me to explain.

1. They have both been around forever.

The Joker debuted in 1940 in “Batman #1,” while Madonna was born in 1958.  Perhaps this does not qualify as “forever” in everyone’s opinion… but 72 years is a long time for a fictional villain to have new stories told about him on a monthly basis,  just as 53 is a funny age to be dancing around in a cheerleader outfit at a football game.  Even weirder when you consider that she is not employed as a cheerleader.

The first appearance of The Joker.

Madonna has been “active” since 1979.  She has released twelve albums, made a bunch of movies, and married both Sean Penn and Guy Ritchie.  This means that, with roughly 23% of Super Bowl viewers being under 35, almost a fourth of the viewers of the Super Bowl cannot remember a world without Madonna.  With two blockbuster films of the last several decades featuring The Joker as a main villain, accompanied by a constant barrage of comic books and animated television shows, The Joker is in a similar boat.

But it’s not just their ability to keep existing that makes Madonna and The Joker so alike.  There are much deeper, more sinister similarities between these two…

Continue reading “Why Madonna is The Joker”