Monday, July 23, 2012

There will never be a Batman

Jeffrey Weiss explains that evil is easy and stopping it is hard:
Here is one lesson from Friday's Colorado theater massacre: superheroes are fantasy but supervillains are not.

Less flippantly: we live in a era where it is infinitely easier to commit transcendent evil than to perform remarkable good. This is only the latest in a series of episodes that demonstrate the malign power unique to our times. The 9/11 attack. The Columbine killings. The Fort Hood shootings. Choose-the-bombing with the terrible details of blameless dead and wounded from too many cities anywhere in the world. ....

In the 2008 movie, Ledger's Joker offers a series of explanations about what turned him in[to] the clown-faced villain. With zero indication that any of them were true. But at one point he offers an irrational but logical motive that feels like it's real:

"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!" [emphasis added]

And here's another thing about chaos: in 2012, it's easy. Anybody who can get access to off-the-shelf modern tools of destruction and isn't too particular about who gets killed can engineer a comics-villain sized massacre any day of the week. ....

Far as I can tell, this is all stuff that anybody without a felony conviction could assemble in a busy afternoon. And takes no more skill to employ than a garden hose.

Doing good is a lot harder. It requires actual skill. Consequences matter. Seeds must be sown and carefully nurtured. Networks of technology and people need to be planned and pruned. And even with the best of intentions and planning, there are no guarantees.

Evil, on the other hand, can give absolute guarantees.

Giving a human the powers of a spider? Not happening. Gliding, bat-shaped capes that would allow someone to leap from a skyscraper to a safe landing? Physics says no. But bullets and explosives are a commonplace. ....

We are forced to live with the reality of joker upon joker upon joker. Why so serious? Because there's never going to be a Batman. .... [more]
Evil is real. Superheroes, in the world we live in, are not. But we can contend with evil.

RealClearReligion - A Day Without Superheroes