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Wed Apr 11, 2018, 07:45 PM

The Gathering Storm

“There's a storm coming.”
Anne Hathaway (Cat Woman); The Dark Knight Rises; 2012


Last week, there was a strong wind “storm” here in the northeast. It caused a fair amount of problems in many areas. I had two very large trees at the edge of my lawn blown over. Our neighborhood – if anything this rural can be rightly called a neighborhood – lost electric, phones, and the internet.

The phone and electric were fixed by the end of the second day. That was nice, as it allows for heat and running water in the house. I could access clean water outside, and have fireplaces to stay warm, but not the internet (which was off for six days.) I'm used to such indoor comforts. I never fail to notice when I don't have such things. And I realize that many, many people here on earth live, or have lived, a less-comfortable existence.

I watched a DVD last night. It was “The Dark Knight Rises.” I've seen it before, but had preferred “The Dark Knight.” It was a commentary on modern society, and the dangers posed by an Usama bin Ladin-like figure. Someone who couldn't be bribed, because he took too much delight in burning the jungle down to ever stop. Ultimately, it showed what happens to the “Good Guys” when they pursue such a “Bad Guy.” It was a timely look at our recent history.

But last night, I realized that “The Dark Knight Rises” is equally valuable – if not more so. Because it predicted what would be happening in the world, including here in the relative comfort of the United States. And it is done in a fashion that Joseph Campbell, Erich Fromm, and Carl Jung would appreciate.

Early in the movie, we learn that a reclusive Bruce Wayne has found that his associate, representing the military complex, is attempting to gather the newest technology into a safe place, to prevent the wrong type of people from gaining access to it. Wayne has become a hermit, no longer serving his community as Bat Man, over the years since the long-time hero had his reputation wrongly destroyed in a criminal-political scandal.

All appears well in the city, at least upon the surface, so long as the public believes in the myth that made the hero a violent criminal, and a violent criminal a hero. But then, at a social gathering of all the beautiful people, an attractive thief informs Bruce Wayne that a storm is coming, that will change the social order into disorder. More, we see some respected financial operators who, in search of even larger profits are willing to break the law. Indeed, they are eager to deal with the dark side of human nature for ultimate power.

The lower levels of human potential is represented by a prison in the form of a deep pit, created by the squirearchy's prince of darkness, far from Bruce Wayne's city. No one there, to paraphrase Jim Morrison, gets out alive. In the pit of hardened criminals are four figures of particular interest; two are older wise men, such as can be found in every American penal institution, the type of men who could have made valuable contributions to a healthy society had circumstances been different. The third was a child born in the pit, representing those children shackled by the negative forces of poverty and violence. Finally, there is the anti-hero, a man so bad that he could scare Sonny Liston's dad, and make young Mike Tyson appear civilized.

The anti-hero becomes the child's protector, as so often happens in our own culture, when “proper” society turns a blind eye to innocent children attempting to survive in the inhumane circumstances that are created to mirror the opulent wealth and life-style of the 1%. Thus, the innocent child grows to view the violent anti-hero as a courageous hero.

Fast forward, and the anti-hero, like the child before him, has escaped the pit of doom. He has now acquired, through violent force aimed at a scientist, the awesome power of a nuclear weapon. He and his organized crime associates bring this weapon of mass destruction – the very type that Dick Cheney and Condi Rice once warned us could become a mushroom cloud! – to Bruce Wayne's city. This sets the scene for the anti-hero's power grab.

The anti-hero makes public his intentions on any given Sunday, at a football game. Thousands of residents, under the narcotic-like effect of being paying spectators at the large event, express their patriotism after hearing a young boy sing the national anthem. And then the kick-off, followed by the very ground collapsing under the feet of both teams, leaving but a lone black athlete alive.

The anti-hero then takes to the edge of the collapsed field, and publicly executes the scientist who provided him with that ultimate knowledge that makes the unthinkable possible. All that is required is for the anti-hero to convince the masses that they can “take back the city, which is rightfully theirs'.” Guns are distributed. The result was certain: the city enters its Killing Field Days.

The city's police force is unable to control the outbreak of violence. The nation's military is impotent so far as a counter-strike goes. Instead, the nation seals off the city, even threatening to open fire on a bus-load of children, should they seek to escape from the city's limits.

It rapidly becomes a dangerous time for the beautiful people who had previously been convinced that their wealth served as a wall to protect the comfort and pleasures of their life-styles. Heck, even the organized crime-businessmen who believed that they could control the storm found themselves victims of the anti-hero and the street justice of the people's courts.

Of course, only Bruce Wayne's inner Bat Man can save the city. But he no longer believes in himself, until he meets a young detective who reminds him that years ago, in an orphanage, visitor Bruce Wayne inspired him to lead a positive, productive life. This, of course, reminds Wayne of his similar experience, when after his parents were murdered, the police commissioner was kind to him. The branch does grow in the direction the twig is bent, regardless of if the hand that guides it is on a proper role model, or an anti-hero in a pit.

Bruce Wayne is inspired to return in the role of Bat Man, and after a long and difficult struggle, saves the day. With the assistance of the young detective, and of Cat Woman – who has become a responsible citizen, rather than a thief – justice prevails. The hero's journey is complete …..at least until the next movie.

It would be wonderful, kind of, if there was a Bat Man who could rescue our nation – that city on the hill – from Trump and his band of misfits. But there's not. The closest thing we appear to have is Mr. Mueller and his team. And at this time, when he seems to be closing in on Trump et al, the unhinged anti-hero Trump seems more than willing to light any fuse that may result in an explosion that protects him, if only for a moment.

The elected representatives in Washington, along with the non-elected bureaucrats in various agencies, seem incapable of mounting a proper challenge to the mad president. To a very large extent, this is because the system, like that of the city in the movie, has become corrupt. The combination of comfortable careers and profit motives has eroded the ability of the minority of sincere government officials to harness the strength to institute meaningful change.

The most hopeful sign at this time seems to be coming to the surface today would be the young people who are demanding meaningful gun laws, to reduce and eventually eliminate, the terrible violence being inflicted upon their classmates in school. Surely, there is no more intense sign that our culture is sick, than the deadly outbursts at schools across the country. And that horrible violence is being unleashed in many other public places. It is an outgrowth of the violence that has simmered in the pits of violent homes for too long, and is finally boiling over.

By no surprise, these young people are being attacked by the slime from the bowels of the alt-right, rabid republicans. This includes elected republicans in DC and state office, the swine of the NRA, the fake news such as Fox, and the unclean hordes inhabiting the muck and mire of the nation's ethical decay. This for exercising their constitutional rights.

Yet those young people have become a powerful force, working in the same direction that many of us grass roots members of the Democratic Party have for many decades. But it will take a certain type of candidate, in local, state, and national elections, to insure that they will be inspired to vote for our party. They know that things cannot change by doing the same things, over and over. Indeed, just as individuals cannot create change by staying the same, so it goes for our party.

Finally, if you are not prone to watching Bat Man movies, you can instead study the fall of the Weimar Republic. Or get ahold of Madeleine Albright's new book, “Fascism: A Warning.” Then, as she stated on this morning's news, “If you see something, say something. Then do something.”

Peace,
H2O Man

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 07:54 PM

1. "..he could scare Sonny Liston's dad.."

Now, that is scary.

These are scary times. These young people do give us hope.

Someday, we will look back and ask how did we survive those times? I hope.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 08:37 PM

2. The Dark Knight Rises is a paroba of how ills that are allowed to fester in a society

can destroy that society.

Bane is both a villain and a creation of the society that he set out to destroy. The young woman that he protected a symbol of how hate long held turns a person into an unfeeling evil ogre. The Dark Knight is a symbol of how good people can lose hope and get sidetracked.

There were lots of subplots, the consuming, unfeeling wealthy having everything taken from them that they had worked so hard to accumulate and shield from the rest of society. The greedy rich man who wanted power and more wealth so badly that he made league with a monster, Bane, a standin for Satan. The wise men in the pit who had seen failure so much that they expected Bruce Wayne to fail in his attempt to escape, but could sense that Bruce Wayne was different and special. Bruce Wayne throwing down ropes to give the men in the pit the means of escape because he saw injustice in their captivity. The beautiful thief, who was in only for herself and her girlfriend but saw nobelness in a man who simply fought evil for no reason but to fight evil. The brave police chief who rose from a chronic sickbed to lead a fight his successor was initially to craven, then too fearful to lead. The people's courts that were anything but. The Wayne associate that tried to keep enormously dangerous weapons from the wrong hands, failed, but kept the most important thing secret, the secret chamber that held the armor and the weapons of the Dark Knight. Finally, a struggle between good and evil that looked uncertain at first, but in the end ended like all such struggles should end, with good prevailing.

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #2)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 08:41 PM

3. That reminded me of this quote:

Tom Paine December 23, 1776

THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands by it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.

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Response to kentuck (Reply #3)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 08:57 PM

4. Except on slavery and women's rights, the Founders were pretty wise.

I wonder what they would think if they could come back as a group and watch today's shitshow?

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Response to Blue_true (Reply #4)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 10:06 PM

6. I think they would be optimistic...

...after they saw the progress, however slow, that we had made from their time.

There is an old quote about the wheels of justice "turn slowly but grind exceedingly fine".

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Wed Apr 11, 2018, 09:58 PM

5. "Staying the same" won't cut it, nor will doing nothing when you see something.

Thank you to the young people who have truly shown the way. How uplifting that they see change as an opportunity not a threat.

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Response to H2O Man (Original post)

Thu Apr 12, 2018, 02:47 AM

7. I wish there was something more to say.

I'm thankful fogr you, H2Oman.

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