by Dr. E.M. Jones, Press TV
As some indication of the intellectual bankruptcy of what passes for conservative commentary these days, Rush Limbaugh accused Dark Knight Rises’ director Christopher Nolan of turning the third and final installment of his Batman trilogy into a covert attack on Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney by naming the film’s villain “Bane.”
Limbaugh claims that Bane the Villain will remind moviegoers that Romney once worked for Bain Capital; these same mindless zombies will then go to the polls in November and re-elect Obama for a second term. Quod Erat Demonstratum, as we used to say in sophomore geometry class.
If Limbaugh had dialed down his ingestion of Oxycontin a bit before heading off to the multiplex, he might have noticed something fairly obvious. Bane is the leader of the Occupy Wall Street revolutionaries in the film. Bane is also the leader of the group which shot up the New York stock exchange and took a bunch of yuppies wearing suspenders off on a mad motorcycle chase before they bounced down the highway. Nolan’s film, in other words, says the exact opposite of what Rush Limbaugh claims.
Not to be outdone by Limbaugh, director Christopher Nolan made even more preposterous statements in his interview with Brian Hiatt in Rolling Stone, when he denied that his film was “intended to convey an anti-Occupy Wall Street message” and went on to insist “that none of his Batman films are intended to be political.” Then as if to insure us that he hadn’t lapsed into a drug-induced psychosis similar to the one Rush Limbaugh exhibited during his foray into film reviewing, Nolan continued by stating unequivocally: “If you’re saying, ‘Have you made a film that’s supposed to be criticizing the Occupy Wall Street movement?’ – well, obviously, that’s not true.”
Dumbfounded by Nolan’s effrontery (or mendacity), interviewer Brian Hiatt, stammered, “But the movie certainly suggests that there’s a great danger of populist movements being pushed too far.” To which Nolan responds with even more audacity: “If the populist movement is manipulated by somebody who is evil that surely is a criticism of the evil person. You could also say the conditions the evil person is exploiting are problematic and should be addressed.” Well, yes, you could, but then you would be describing another movie and not Dark Knight Rises, which gives no indication that there is any legitimacy whatsoever to the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
If there is anything more obvious than Dark Knight Rises’ political bias, it is its unmistakable attack on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The fact that the film favors neither candidate in the upcoming elections is totally irrelevant, primarily because when it comes to any issue of significance there is no difference between the candidates. In completing the Batman trilogy, Nolan has revealed his true political (or, better, economic) colors as a propagandist who goes out of his way to demonize anyone who has any objections to the current political regime.
In Dark Knight Rises, Nolan portrays the hapless Occupy Wall Street crowd as mindless terrorist zombies who need to be destroyed by a combination of the military industrial complex, represented by the billionaire Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises and all of his deadly gadgets, and the inept but nonetheless brutal New York City police department.
Nolan’s film is nothing if not an overly long, heavy-handed, brutalist defense of the entire cultural Gestalt of Capitalism, including sports (To show the depth of Bane’s depravity, Nolan portrays him disrupting a football game, although to his credit only after the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Not even Bane is evil enough to interrupt the national anthem).
In creating Dark Knight Rises, Nolan has given us the quintessential apocalyptic Superhero disaster film. Dark Knight Rises must be a defense of Capitalism because from his point of view Capitalism is the quintessence of America. If Batman wants to defend America, he has to come to the defense of Capitalism because Capitalism embodies the essence of what we are as a people.
Nolan’s homage to the American Military Industrial Complex and Wall Street banksters makes Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will look introspective and nuanced by comparison. In fact, Dark Knight Rising is so over the top in its defense of Capitalism and all its wretched excess that it makes Glenn Beck look like Noam Chomsky by comparison. Beck, you may recall, claimed that “Zuccotti Park smells now like an open sewer with people urinating and defecating in public. . . Let’s just be honest,” he continued, “They’re animals.”
Not to be outdone by the Glenn Becks and the Bill O’Reillys at Fox News, the New York Post claimed that the “the Occupy Wall Street protests have devolved into a shameless display of moral depravity – with shocking (or perhaps not) interviews of protesters claiming to be getting high every day and having sex ‘in a tarp’ and out in plain view.” As if that weren’t bad enough, “creepy thugs have infiltrated the crowd of protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park for Occupy Wall Street.” The Post’s intrepid reporter then discovered “a drug addled fugitive,” who was “wanted for burglary,” and “said some of his hard-partying pals clued him in that the protest was a good place to be fed, get wasted and crash.”
The sex charges were as spurious as the drug charges. If anything, the sexual revolutionaries felt that Occupy Wall Street that had betrayed the sacred cause of sodomy was a “co-optation” because if refused to toe the party line on sexual issues. One of those sexual revolutionaries found OWS “overwhelmingly troubling” because “this movement” showed no interest in “radical feminism/womanism.” “Where,” this indignant feminist wondered, “was Occupy Wall Street even last week when SlutWalk NYC has been in the works for months?”
Dark Knight Rises is the big-screen version of Glenn Beck and The New York Post. Unlike Glenn Beck, who, to his credit, never claimed that the Occupy Wall Street protesters were terrorists, Nolan equips Bane and his vaguely Russian Asiatic band of thugs with AK-47s and then has them shoot up the New York Stock Exchange in a fantasy that is so over the top it would make Bill O’Reilly blush. Nolan then has Bane incite the 99 percent to rebel against the 1 percent. The Occupy Wall Street mob then rushes up to the upper East Side and evicts the yuppie bankers, suspenders and all, from their posh apartments, throwing their expensive furnishings onto the street and drinking their chablis in what comes across as an unintentionally funny parody of Doctor Zhivago.
Bane then liberates all of the prisoners unjustly put in jail by Harvey Dent in a scene that is reminiscent of the storming of the Bastille. The liberated criminals then put the rich on trial and condemn them to death either directly or by “exile” which means walking out onto the frozen East River until they fall through the ice. According to Nolan, this is what we all would have faced if the government had entertained any of the demands of the OWS protesters or if the police had not brutally shut down their protest. No, I am not kidding. No, I am not exaggerating. This is how Nolan’s overheated imagination portrays the hapless, debt-burdened, unemployed graduate students who made up the overwhelming bulk of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, as I saw them with my own eyes in October 2011.
I say this not just because I was there; I say this because a random Google image search of the protest revealed photo after photo of young protesters holding up signs complaining about how much student loan debt they were burdened with and how impossible it was to find a job after completing the education that put them into debt. The Google search only confirmed what I had seen with my own eyes. If there were one theme than ran throughout the entire protest it was, as one protester claimed on his own home-made sign, that “student debt is slavery.”
Instead of listening to what his young man had to say, the establishment media pulled out all of the stops in demonizing an entire generation with a legitimate grievance. Glenn Beck talked a lot about drugs and sex, but he never got around to mentioning all the signs complaining about debt. These signs were made by young people who had been lied to. The protesters made the mistake of believing what they were told; they had never heard of the word usury; they did not know, as Heinrich Pesch could have told them, that Capitalism is state-sponsored usury, and now they were being treated like criminals because they woke up one morning and realized that they had been tricked into unrepayable debt under the pretext of getting an education.
Now Christopher Nolan, one of their favorite directors, has turned on them as well. If Dark Knight Rises proves anything, it shows that what we call Hollywood and the news media are in fact: one large propaganda ministry whose main job is to justify the privileges of the few by demonizing anyone who raises an objection to the system which is exploiting him. Paul Craig Roberts had something similar to say about the political process, describing it as a system which spends enormous amounts of time, energy, and money to convince the “working poor” that “standing up for America means standing up for bankster bailouts and the military/security complex’s multi-trillion dollar wars.”
For those who are unfamiliar with Batman’s biography, Bruce Wayne is a representative of “the military/security complex” which has given us the “multi-trillion dollar wars” in the Middle East which have bankrupted this country. Because the country is bankrupt it cannot allow students to default on their loans. Hence, the mendacity about what Occupy Wall Street was really about. Hence, the brutality of the crackdown.
Hence, Nolan’s movie, which disguises the fact, as Roberts puts it, that “The US is ruled by a private oligarchy. The government is merely their front. The country’s resources are diverted to the pockets of Wall Street, the military/security complex, and to the service of greater Israel.”
Filed under: Boycott Batman