Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)


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Irwin originated the philosophy and popular culture genre of books with Seinfeld and Philosophy in Grand Eagle Retail is the ideal place for all your shopping needs! With fast shipping, low prices, friendly service and over 1,, in stock items - you're bound to find what you want, at a price you'll love! Please view eBay estimated delivery times at the top of the listing. We are unable to deliver faster than stated. NOTE: We are unable to offer combined shipping for multiple items purchased.

This is because our items are shipped from different locations. In fact, some would tell you that the band worship Satan, their songs promote violence and even try to convince teenagers to commit suicide. But is that really true, or could it be that those who find tuning into the masters of heavy metal rewarding and intoxicating know something about themselves and life that those of us who find it a terrifying experience are missing out on? In his new book, William Irwin die-hard SABBATH fan and philosopher , and his team of fellow contributors travel deep into the heart of the band's music and lyrics to reveal that there's plenty more to the dark masters of reality than a whole lot of noise Drawing on the works of philosophers including Plato , Aristotle who, in Chapter 7, joins the band!

Whether it's an analysis of war, pollution, poverty, drug abuse or dealing with the problems of modernity, what emerges is that each song, like philosophy itself, is a quest to discover truth and a means of facing up to reality. So, not so sinister after all For example, in Batman: Year One, a pimp manhandles a young prostitute in response to her poor judgment in soliciting tricks. Of course, Batman disguised as a veteran cruising the red-light district responds by provoking the pimp and then smashing him with an elbow and a devastating kick to the head.

The provocation suggests that Batman is looking for an excuse to injure the pimp, rather than merely trying to protect the young girl. His violence results from his hatred of evil. The Virtuous-Thoughts-and-Actions Theory, unlike the Virtuous-Persons Theory, explains that virtuous people tend to think and act in certain ways because they love good things and hate bad things. According to this theory, persons are virtuous depending on the number of virtuous thoughts they have, or perhaps their ratio of virtuous to vicious thoughts.

We often think that whether someone is virtuous or not depends on what goes on in his head-in particular, it depends on whether he loves good things and hates evil ones, Batman's Hatred Is Virtuous Batman hates criminals and loves to see them suffer, and this might suggest that he's vicious. But is Batman in fact vicious? Or might this hatred actually be virtuous?

The issue of whether Batman is virtuous is a tricky one, because not all persons are good and not all pain is bad. For instance, we often think that it's good that evildoers suffer. We think that it's good that people get what they deserve, and vicious people deserve pain or suffering.

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Black Sabbath and Philosophy

And if wanting someone to suffer or being pleased that someone is suffering is the same thing as hating him, virtuous people can hate. Batman is just such a case. Detective Flass in Batman: Year One is a fonner Green Beret who uses his training and size to brutalize men who are doing nothing more than hanging out on a street comer. Flass and fellow officers actually beat James Gordon for not taking bribes or tolerating a dirty police force. Gordon later gives Flass a bat to make the fight more even and severely beats him, stopping just short of sending him to the hospital.

He then leaves Flass bound and naked, which sends Flass and the other dirty cops a clear message. We imagine that Batman would probably enjoy beating and humiliating Flass. Responding critically, you might claim that a truly virtuous person doesn't hate other human beings. Rather, hatred is a bad thing, an inherently negative attitude, and therefore best avoided. If this is true, then two conclusions might be drawn. It might be thought that because he hates some people, Batman isn't virtuous, or at least he is less virtuous than he could be.

Alternatively, we might conclude that Batman, being virtuous, doesn't really hate people. I would argue, however, that such criticism is mistaken though I don't hate my critics for proposing it! Other points of view, which may be either positive or indifferent, are not appropriate: good persons should not feel benevolent toward evildoers who intentionally hit, poison, or kill others.

Nor should a person merely indicate through indifference toward evildoers that she does not care if they act in such ways. Negative attitudes and emotions such as hatred, disgust, or contempt are the morally correct ways to respond to wrongdoing, and therefore they are virtuous. The analogy to soldiers is also mistaken in that it doesn't capture Batman's actual attitudes toward evildoers. He shows little appreciation for criminals and never expresses regret or remorse when foiling their plans, even when doing so involves serious violence.

So, I would argue that Batman does indeed hate criminals. And since this is the only appropriate attitude to have toward such people, he is virtuous because of, not despite, his hatred. Batman's Hatred Is Not in His Self-Interest Even if we accept that Batman's hatred of evildoers is virtuous, it still might not be in his self-interest.

Batman's hatred has led him to be so focused on crime fighting that he can't indulge in other things that make a person's life worthwhile, such as family, friends, and hobbies. For example, the fact that Batman has so many ruthless enemies makes it unwise for him to get involved with a woman. Consider what happened to Jim Gordon in Year One: Flass and his buddies severely beat him with baseball bats, kidnapped his wife, dropped his baby off a bridge, and exposed his affair-and this is nothing compared to what Bruce Wayne could expect for his friends and family if his identity became known to the Joker, Two-Face, and the rest.

Even though it's in the interests of Gotham's citizens for Batman to be consumed with hatred and crime fighting, it's not good for his mental and emotional well-being.

There is something unseemly about having a life revolving around hatred and violence, even if it's directed at persons who deserve it. Perhaps this is best explained by the notion that a virtuous life need not go well. Batman is certainly an example of this. Luckily, Batman stops him. Batman doesn't stop the Joker every time, but when he does, he saves many lives, and on the balance definitely makes the world a better place, regardless of the effect on his own well-being.

Could Batman choose not to hate? It's not obvious that he could: watching his parents being murdered greatly influenced his attitude toward crime and criminals. In The Dark Knight Returns, we see that as a boy, Bruce insisted that any criminals in his bedtime reading were caught and punished.

In another episode in that story, which may be merely a dream, young Bruce fell down into a hole where he was claimed by a giant bat that instilled hatred and ferocity in him. Lacking Balance One issue we have not considered is whether a successful life requires a balance between love of the good and hatred of the bad.

It might be that a person's life is happier ifhe has a proper balance between love and hate. Similarly, a person who spends too much time hating evil seems insensitive to the many good and beautiful things in life. Given Batman's laserlike focus on fighting crime, he might fit into the latter category. Thus, aside from his isolation and tortured dreams, Batman's life might also be limited by the prevalence of hate in his life.

But without his hate, Gould the Batman exist? Would he be the same Dark Knight? I think not. NOTES 1. For a simple introduction to virtue ethics, deontology, utilitarianism, and other erhical Very Short Introduaion Oxford: Oxford Univ. See the intenriew with Bat-Tzu in chapter 20 of this book for more on the importance of balance in one's life. We wake up each day assuming that our institutions--educational, medical, political, and so on-will run smoothly, even if not always in our interests.

Terrorism has fostered some doubt, but on the whole, most Americans still assume and enjoy a relatively peaceful existence. Hurricane Katrina made this point painfully clear. Do human beings resort to a more primal, violent nature in our struggle to survive? Land, which traces the disintegration of social order in an earthquake-ravaged Gotham City. No Man s Land presents a wide array of responses to the loss of social order and reminds us that despite the colorful rogues' gallery, Batman's true enemy, and perhaps ours as well, is anarchy.

The storyline also calls to mind the political philosophy of Thomas Hobbes 1 5 , who argued that human beings in their natural state are inclined to war and distrust. The only buildings left standing in Gotham after the quake were the ones reinforced by Wayne Enterprises. In Aftershock and Road to No Man! Land, Gotham's elite abandon the city since the infrastructure that supported their industries and businesses has been destroyed.

Though Police Commissioner Jim Gordon tries to keep the peace, he also, in what he perceives later as a moment of weakness, seeks in vain to find a job in another city. At this point, Gotham officially becomes a "no man's land. Around 80 percent of the city flooded water primarily from Lake Pontchartrain after the levee system failed. Much of this occurred late at night, surprising those resting in their homes, thinking that the levees had protected them from the worst of Katrina.

Although the federal government did not go as far as the one portrayed in the comics, there was a delay of a couple of days before a full-scale rescue effort was put into place, and there were a few politicians who voiced a desire to abandon the city to the swamps surrounding it.

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The breakdown of social order was not as severe as in the fictional Gotham, but much chaos did ensue. They found themselves in an environment without technology-no electricity, no heating or air conditioning, no gasoline, no transportation, and no grocery or retail stores. Gotham City resorted to a primitive state, people scavenging off the remains of what Gotham once was.

Within a few pages Scarface has shot a young boy over a package of cookies. We soon learn that an elaborate system of barter has developed, as people trade things that are no longer of value fancy electronics for basic necessities flashlights with batteries, fresh produce. Tagging-spray painting a symbol of your gang in a highly visible place-becomes essential for identifying whether you are in a relatively friendly or an overly hostile part of the city.

During this period, Batman, going through his own crisis as Bruce Wayne, is absent from the city, adding to the general despair among the populace. The situation resembles the "state of nature" that Thomas Hobbes described in his political philosophy.

The Devil's Interval, is evil in the ear of the beholder?

In Leviathan 1 , Hobbes painted a rather dark portrait of the natural state of humanity, claiming that outside society we became brutes at war with one another. Hobbes argued for the value of a centralized authority that would galvanize the rest of the populace. In his opinion, hwnan life is a competition to obtain power; life is a struggle over a limited number of material goods. Fear motivates us to seek peace; we agree to a social contract out of a desire to preserve our own lives in a social order; we agree to a system of justice to preserve that order.

Fear of falling back into the "state of nature" keeps subjects in line. Though some philosophers have challenged whether such a "state of nature" ever existed, Hobbes would counter that whenever a country plunges into civil war, it falls back to this condition. Tensions in the city over racism, poverty, and drugs broke out as the populace was in a state of panic, with corpses lying in the city streets. When National Guard troops started evacuating people and restoring order, they discovered that a number of the rumors were unfounded; the media had sensationalized and exaggerated the extent of the criminal activity, particularly at the refuge centers.

Some police officers actually abandoned the city and were later disciplined. Twenty-five thousand people waited over five days to be rescued from the Superdome; National Guard troops turned people away from refuges in those later days; hotels turned people out onto the streets; and the sheriff of Jefferson Parish closed the greater New Orleans Bridge to refugees, emphasizing that the suburbs would not fall into the chaos.

Many have argued that latent racism affected the handling of the thousands who could not or did not leave the city. Hobbes's "state of nature" seemed to be alive and well. William Petit versus Jim Gordon: Violence in the Quest for Justice One of the more thought-provoking threads in the No Man 's Land storyline is the conflict between Jim Gordon and fellow police officer William Petit, revealing two distinct perspectives on how to oppose the reigning anarchy.

Gordon and Petit start out on the same side; they are both seeking to reclaim Gotham and rebuild social trust in the police force. But as the plot progresses, we are gradually shown the radical difference between Petit and Gordon. We come to see that they represent different tactics in reestablishing a sovereign power over the chaos. In Leviathan Thomas Hobbes described two different ways that sovereignty can come to power-the people can agree to the rule a "paternal" power or the ruler can seize power a "despotical" power.

Another significant conflict arises within the week: when Gordon's plan works and the GCPD claims the gangs' territories, the police wonder where they are going to put the prisoners. Gordon decides to release them, but Petit demands that they need to be intimidated so that they will not return later in greater numbers. So he executes a gang member before Gordon can stop him. Gordon immediately seeks to discipline Petit, but in feeling that he too has compromised, he offers no answer to Petit's verbal challenge: "Tell me I'm wrong.

Gordon's main goal, along with keeping his family safe, is to reestablish social law over the city. In "Bread and Circuses" in NML 2 , Gordon expresses the Machiavellian lesson that he must be seen enforcing the law to create social trust again. Gordon and Petit stay together through this, but in "Fruit of the Earth" in NML 3 , the conflict reaches a turning point. While facing a hostage scenario in which a gang threatens an officer, Gordon tries to negotiate, but Petit simply shoots the offender.

In "Jurisprudence" NML 4 , Gordon literally faces his own trial when Two-Face former district attorney Harvey Dent kidnaps him and "prosecutes" him for violating the laws he was sworn to protect. Gordon does not kill Joker, but he does shoot him in the knee before Joker is taken into custody-showing that the residual impact of No Man's Land is still in play.

In the days that follow, mourning the loss of his wife, Jim Gordon wonders if their efforts and triumphs were worth the sacrifices. Two prominent examples are Father Christian, a Catholic priest in charge of a mission, and Dr. Leslie Thompkins, a medical doctor trying to hold together a makeshift hospital for the scores of wounded in the city and one of Bruce Wayne's oldest friends and confidantes. In the first of these stories, Father Christian has turned the remains of his church into a refugee center, seeking to provide food, water, shelter, and some degree of safety to those staying there.

He has refused to ally himself with anyone else, including the GCPD, which is using force in its efforts to reclaim the city. Penguin gives Christian the supplies he needs in exchange for allowing him to store guns in the basement of the mission. At the end of the struggle, Father Christian and company dump the guns into Gotham Harbor, srubbornly refusing to let anyone get their hands on the weapons. In the second story, Dr. Leslie Thompkins sees her clinic as a place of refuge, even for a notorious killer, the gang lord Mr. Huntress, Petit, and Batman all challenge Dr. Thompkins's decision, but she argues that her commitments are to healing and to pacifism.

Huntress tells her that it's easy to make such a stand as long as Batman is protecting her, and in fact, later in the story, Zsasz awakens and Batman is not there. Thompkins faces the possibility of her death as she tries to appeal to some compassion in him and announces that she will not resist with violence. Killer Croc, who is seeking Zsasz for killing a friend, grabs Zsasz before he can hurt the doctor, and then Batman finally arrives to scare Croc away and take Zsasz to Blackgate Prison. Since she had earlier reprimanded him for his tactics, Batman now apologizes to her for the violence that he uses.

Thompkins makes an agreement with him that if he will work for peace in the city, she will help him work for peace in his heart. Both of these stories contrast greatly with the excessive violence, competition, and hatred expressed in the activity of the gangs and the power maneuvers of various Arkham escapees. In Leviathan Book 3 , Thomas Hobbes argues that religious organizations should be subservient to the sovereign power to prevent divided loyalties, thus preserving peace. Christian theologians today, following H.

These theologians have argued for the distinctive social character of the Church; the beliefs and practices of the Christian community set it apart from other communities. Commitment to God should be the centering activity that orients the value of all other aspects of one's life. Christians can serve an earthly sovereign, but their primary loyalty is to God through church communities.

Many of the relief workers were themselves trapped in the city. I I Numerous humanitarian organizations made their way into New Orleans following the devastation.


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Though they worked respectfully with the civil authorities, many of the relief organizations mobilized on their own. New Orleans needed their distinct contributions. UThis Is My Town": Batman and the Restoration of Order Finally, in "Shellgame" NML 5 , we witness the events that lead to the end of No Man's Land, when Lex Luthor enters the city in a shrewd political move, attempting to claim the land of many who died during the earthquake and of those who lack the resources to challenge his claim.

To the public, he simply seems to bring the money and national attention needed to pull Gotham out of its decay. Batman faces Luthor twice-once not long after he arrives and again after foiling Luthor's fraud-both times emphasizing that Gotham is his town, not Luthor's. At the start of No Man 's Land, many characters questioned this assertion because, mysteriously, Batman was nowhere to be found. When Batman finally appears, over three months into the city's isolation, he finds that he must rebuild the mythology that he uses to intimidate criminals and that he must adjust his tactics to the new environment.

He also permits various Arkham residents, like Penguin and Poison Ivy, to maintain roles in the new order similar to the roles they chose for themselves upon their escape from Arkham , as long as they conttibute to the greater good of the city. It is a long road to the city's healing, to a restoration of the law and order that existed before the earthquake. Batman's ultimate goal is this reestablishment of order; thus, it is extremely important that he reconcile with Jim Gordon, who previously distanced himself from Batman, feeling betrayed by the Batman's absence those first months.

Batman's ongoing relationship with Jim Gordon emphasizes that he is not an isolated vigilante, a law unto himself. He seeks to uphold social justice, and to that end he works closely with Jim Gordon and is also more in tune with the GCPD than at odds with it. As a detective, Batman uncovers crimes that run counter to social order; and as a gang lord, he walks the streets during the day and demands tribute to provide rules and structure to those citizens lost in this hostile environment.

Batman helps people pull together to share resources in a more just way, as opposed to the exploitative ways of Penguin, Mr. The rebuilding of Gotham is a long, tortuous road, with many sacrifices along the way. Each anniversary brings national attention back to the devastation, but then the story fades away in the midst of other news. The people of New Orleans know that the process of rebuilding continues; there is much still left to do. A hot debate continues as to whether there has been enough follow-up; the devastation was great, and many still suffer.

We wonder how close we, in our different communities, might be to anarchy-what would it take to rip that thin veil of order? But on the other hand, we see stories of heroism as people pull together in the face of extreme challenges. Batman's ultimate enemy is chaos: Arkham's criminally insane celebrated in crippled Gotham, a city ruled by anarchy.

Batman's crusade is not only against them, but, more important, against what they represent. Though we often take social order for granted, we may also have a deep-seated fear about whether we could survive if that order were ever to crumble. Batman rises as a defender of social order, even as he operates in a questionable world of vigilantism. Most of this storyline was collected in five trade paperbacks, No Man'r Land, Voir. These storylines encompass a number of issues from and Road to No Man 'r Land includes Bat7nlln ! Bat7nlln ! Thomas Hobbes, l. Norton, , Book I, chapters I!

Hobbes, Leviathan, Book 2, chapter Niccolo Machiavelli,. Press, [ 1 One of the main argumenG of this work is that a ruler must be aware of his social reputation. It is not enough to be virtuous; your subjects must also see you being virruous. Eerdmans, []. Hobbes's political philosophy so removes '. See "Visitor. But what is most compelling about the Batman is how and why he took up tights and evening prowls in the first place.

The story of Batman's origin has been retold many times and many ways, but it always focuses on the child who wiOlesses the murder of his p,lrents and grows up to become a crime-fighting bat. In this chapter. Thomas and Martha Wayne were murdered because the state was incapable of maintaining law and order, and Bruce Wayne's response was to become the crime-fighting Batman, trying to correct the lack of order in his city. Though extreme, this reaction is not unique. Batman and Jim Gordon have a more nuanced vision of public safety in that they support the state but reject its exclusive authority in the area of security.

He is an orphan from another planet, whose loyalty to the country in which he was raised is unquestioning. Because of his love for his adopted country, Superman recognizes the authority of the state, and it, in turn, authorizes him to act on its behalf. When Superman saves Gotham City from a nuclear warhead in The Dark Knight Returns ; henceforth DKR , his use of force is licensed and therefore "legitimate" because he is an agent of the state.

Miller's Superman is a golden boy who has decided to play nice with humans and their government. We've always been criminals. Despite their friendship, Superman has no misgivings about who to suppon when the confrontation between the state and the Batman is made clear. He first warns Bruce candidly, saying, "It's like this, Bruce-sooner or later, somebody's going to order me to bring you in. Somebody with authority. Through the police and military, the state-and only the state-may enforce authority. The use of violence by nonstate actors terrorists, revolutionaries, criminals, vigilantes occurs, and may even be understandable on occasion, but it can never be legitimate.

Most superheroes, even unintentionally, play a subversive role because very few are officially licensed or commissioned by the state to use coercion to guard public order except during World War II and the Cold War, when heroes such as Captain America and the Justice Society of America worked with the U.

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The challenge to the state's monopoly on the legitimate use of violence is seen most clearly in Miller's depiction of Batman in contrast with Superman and Commissioner Yindel. The mayor is depicted as a poll-watching, weak politician who has no position on Batman's activities until one is imposed on him by an aide. When the time comes to choose a successor for the retiring Commissioner Gordon, the mayor selects Ellen Yindel. Yindel had a brilliantly successful career fighting crime in Chicago, but Chicago is not Gotham.

She correctly realizes that she is inheriting a situation where there is virtual anarchy. But her effort to impose order depends on a "black and white" interpretation of the law that sees the Batman as a vigilante and, by definition, a criminal. Therefore, as your police commissioner I issue the arrest order for the Batman on charges of breaking and entering, assault and battery, creating a public menace. Sometimes there is so little order that the law does not work well, and that is precisely why we need the Batman in the first place.

If only the state can legitimately enforce the law, and use violence in the process, logically any other violence is illegitimate and criminal, regardless of whether it produces good results. Like the rest of us, he had assumed that the state would keep order, that it would prevent criminal elements from individual and lawless pursuit of their own interests. Life in Gotham is scary, tenuous, and cheap; danger lurks everywhere. Of course, no government can prevent all crime, but Bruce knows the government cannot, on its own, ensure order.

Both know they are entering a fallen city, where government has lost control over crime, and it becomes their personal challenge to solve that. Over the course of Year One each will learn how his personal efforts require cooperation with the other, sometimes ignoring, or even challenging, the state. Without a state to enforce order, life is "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short": that's what Thomas Hobbes 1 argued in Leviathan, published shortly after nearly a decade of civil war in Britain. In it, humans have unlimited liberty, but they are guided by passions, and liberty soon becomes license, and the state of nature becomes a war of all against all.

Then there is neither order nor the possibility of justice. It is so oppressive that man will cede virtually all of his liberties to a sovereign so that order can be established. That, according to Hobbes, is the origin of government. Various characters in the Batman series give us insight into how the fall of the state allows disorder and how they individually seek to overcome or exploit this.

When Gordon refuses to take a bribe from a priest, Flass and a few other officers, in disguise, jump and beat Gordon.

Series: Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series

Later, Gordon returns the favor to Flass and is grateful to Flass for teaching him what it means to be a cop in Gotham City. When Batman first appears, Gordon sets traps to try to catch him, but the commissioner tells him that there is no need to be concerned with Batman: after all, he is reducing street crime, which does not disturb Loeb's racket. Only after Batman raids a private dinner of Gotham's elites including Loeb and threatens them does Loeb make catching Batman his number-one priority.

Rather than establishing order, Loeb's state perverts it. The impact is so extensive that even Gordon is affected. Personally, he cheats on his very pregnant wife Barbara with a fellow officer, Sergeant Sarah Essen. He lies in bed, hunched over, stares at the gun in his hand while Barbara sleeps, and thinks: I shouldn't be thinking not about Batman.

He's a criminal.

POP CULTURE: Pop and Philosophy

I'm a cop. It's that simple. But-but I'm a cop in a city where the mayor and the commissioner of police use cops as hired killers. He saved that cat. He even paid for that suit. The hunk of metal in my hands is heavier than ever. More important, though they have the ability to enforce law, establish order, and protect citizen life, they allow a state of license to prevail in Gotham because it allows cover for their activities.

Rather than the state ending the chaos of the state of nature, as Hobbes hoped, the state itself is a participant in the war of all against all. His beginnings very obviously mirror Batman's: Judson Caspian and his wife and daughter were assaulted years ago on their way back from the opera, and his wife was killed. The failure of the state to provide order leads Caspian to become the Reaper and his daughter, Rachel, to eventually enter a convent. We will focus on the Reaper here, but it is interesting that both he and his daughter seek to bring order to a world of sin and license, and both do so outside of the government.

Tell the world that the Reaper has returned and will save this city-with its consent, or without. The similarities and differences between the Reaper and Batman are made explicit when the Batman appears as the Reaper goes after a prostitute: "The Batman, eh? They say you continue the fight I began.

The Reaper then targets Big Willie Golonka, a mobster in protective security, whom he kills along with his security detail. The state that failed to protect his wife is now protecting a mobster. The police, as agents of the state, "must learn-those who knowingly protect evil. His "job" is to reestablish order in a Hobbesian world, but he does so as a self-appointed Leviathan. Hobbes's Leviathan, on the other hand, solves the problems of the state of nature through a collective social contract, not brute individual force.

It's not just that half his face is now distorted, but also who he is has changed. This is not simply a case of Dr. Jekyll trying to suppress the id and creating the conditions for its irrepressible emergence as Hyde. Harvey Dent cannot bring the world to order through the law. Being a public prosecutor has, in fact, made him a target and turned him physically into the half-monster he is. Two-Face is yet another Batman character who responds to the failed state's degeneration into a Hobbesian state of war of all against all. In each case, the Hobbesian Gotham is not met by effective state authority.

In Loeb, the state consciously chooses predatory action, ushering in a state of war. And Harvey Dent was a faithful but ultimately ineffective agent of the state. It is the state's incapacity to act, perceived from within, that turns him into someone who tries to bring order through criminality. The Anti-Batman: Nietzschean Rebellions Weber's and Hobbes's understandings of the state assume that it is a legitimate institution that brings security, that it is "good. The state obsessively tries to change its citizens in its own image.

No Batman villain sees this as clearly as Anarky, a teenager seduced by anarchist thought in 1 's Batman: Anarky. Anarky aims to bring "freedom" to the people who are enslaved by an order perverted by politics, religion, and capitalism. Like the Reaper, Anarky emerges by combating unpopular figures-a drug dealer, a polluting corporate type, and a big bank that has demolished and cleared an area once inhabited by the homeless. Alfred points out the similarities between Anarky and Batman to Bruce Wayne, who responds quickly, "I know, I know-my own methods aren't always legal, either.

But there is a difference, Alfred. While decent folk are afraid to walk the streets their taxes pay for. All human life is there-from the best to the worst, the kings in their fortresses to the scum in their sties. And all of them believe that it has to be that way. I'm going to show them that it doesn't.

The moral of the tale is that the anarchic order that Anarky tries to impose is worse than the one he tries to replace. His search for an organizing principle that is less repressive than the state fails. In contrast, the Joker's goals are not nearly as political, but they are nonetheless linked to order. The ultimate Batman enemy is conceived in DKR as being a playful harlequin whose vicious acts of crime belie his motivation for lawbreaking: the need to disrupt a boring and restrictive order.

The state imposes this order not so much politically as socially, and the Joker responds by trying to undennine any order. The return of the Batman necessitates the Joker's return. Batman is too boring, brings about too much order. The Joker has to go back into Gotham to temper the Batman's effect.

The duality of the Batman-who is obsessed with order-and the Joker-who needs to challenge order-is best seen when the Joker, speaking of his victims, tells the Batman, "I never kept count, but you ,, did, and I love you for it. Gordon: My deparonent's relationship with the Bannan is strictlyInterviewer: Many feel that the Bannan is no better than the costumed lawbreaker who stalked Gotham's streets twenty years ago, calling himself the Reaper.

Gordon: That comparison has been made, yes, but unfairly. Interviewer: Some say it was the Reaper's abrupt departure from Gotham that plunged our city into the maelstrom of crime and police corruption from which it's only just emerged. Gordon: If I can finish: I can't speak for the deparonent of twenty years ago, but the Bannan works with the police force, not against us.

Gordon: No, he operates snictly on his own. But he's offered me his services. This dialogue is a microcosm for the Bannan-Gordon understanding of an order that goes beyond the state. The state is not the only agent that can legitimately use violence as Weber held , and it does play a constructive role in providing order against Nietzsche. But society also has a role to play in providing security: Bannan symbolizes and inspires that, and Gordon knows it. He regularly surrendered the Penguin, Poison Ivy, the Joker, and so many others to Arkham Asylum, knowing that they would soon walk right out that revolving door.

Batman has the ability to pronounce justice and to punish, but he refuses to do either. This speaks volumes about the place of the state and society in establishing order and justice. In DKR, the state is weak, infiltrated by touchy-feely organizations and specialists who claim to speak for society but who are entirely alienated from what most people think.

The Council of Mothers asks the mayor to arrest Batman as a "harmful influence on the children of Gotham," and the Victims' Rights Task Force demands protection for the victims of the Batman's violence. A psychologist even calls Batman a "social fascist" because of his effort to reorder society in his own image. I wish to sit down with the mutant leader to negotiate a settlement. He dies because he does not understand the reality of Gotham.

Referring to a criminal that Batman roughed up, she tells Gordon, "Batman did quite a number on him. In what way weren't his civil rights violated? And from what I understand, you were not only there at the time of his arrest-you stood by and allowed this to happen. A man has risen to show us that the power is, and always has been in our hands. We are under siege-He's showing us that we can resist. This disturbs a fundamental aspect of the Batman mythos, which requires this linkage between the just man inside the legal system and the just one outside of it. The personal, informal relationship between Gordon and the Batman is essential.

Batman will not mete out punishment, and Gordon cannot rely on his police to maintain order and to rein in supervillains. In the process, they install and maintain a precarious order that the reader believes is legitimate. We know that only Batman can handle men in tights with riddles that only a thirteen-year-old former Communist chess master can solve.

At the same time, we know Batman ultimately cannot enforce justice, even onJoe Chill, the murderer of his parents. The state believes it must monopolize the legitimate use of violence. And more than the villains he fights, it is Batman, and to a lesser extent Gordon, who is a threat to the state, for it is Batman who challenges the state's monopoly over the legitimate use of violence. The irony of the Batman's relationship with the state is that the more he reduces crime and contributes to public order, the more he challenges the state, as it becomes obvious that the state's use of violence is ineffective.

That makes Gordon necessary to prevent the Batman from being a complete threat. Batman trusts Gordon and will tum over criminals to him, and in return Gordon recognizes him as the exception to the state's monopoly. Theorizing Government We may wonder to what extent we, as fans, are capable of imagining a gap between order and law.

No state can claim that it can guarantee both flawlessly all of the time. Batman and Gordon hold together a world that eludes our sense of logic and justice, and although all characters attempt to impose some son of order on Gotham, it is the tandem team of Batman and Gordon who do it most legitimately.

Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)
Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series) Black Sabbath and Philosophy: Mastering Reality (The Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture Series)

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