Everybody’s excited about the final chapter in Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, and Rush Limbaugh sees a liberal Hollywood/Democratic Party conspiracy:
Speaking on his syndicated radio show on Tuesday, the right-wing host brought up the upcoming Batman film The Dark Knight Rises (or as he called it, The Dark Knight Lights Up), in particular focusing on its main villain, the Tom Hardy-portrayed hulking madman Bane. With Mitt Romney’s time at the investment fund (and the questionable time at which he retired from it) filling non-entertainment news headlines, Limbaugh tied the two together, casting some tough accusations at director Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros.
“Do you think it is accidental that the name of the really vicious firebreathing, four-eyed whatever-it-is villain in this movie is named Bane?” Limbaugh asked his listeners.
Limbaugh did note that the film, the sequel to the 2008 hit The Dark Knight, has been in the works for a long time, with a summer 2012 release date long part of the plan.
“So this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there’s discussion out there as to whether or not this was purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters. It’s going to have a lot of people,” he continued. “The audience is going to be huge. A lot of people are going to see the movie. And it’s a lot of braindead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd, and they’re going to hear Bane in the movie and they’re going to associate Bain.
“And the thought is that when they’re going to start paying attention to the campaign later in the year,” Limbaugh asserted, “and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, not Bain Capitol but Romney and Bain, that these people will start thinking back to the Batman movies – ‘Oh yeah, I know who that is!’”
Four years ago, conservatives were singing a very different tune about The Dark Knight:
There seems to me no question that the Batman film “The Dark Knight,” currently breaking every box office record in history, is at some level a paean of praise to the fortitude and moral courage that has been shown by George W. Bush in this time of terror and war. Like W, Batman is vilified and despised for confronting terrorists in the only terms they understand. Like W, Batman sometimes has to push the boundaries of civil rights to deal with an emergency, certain that he will re-establish those boundaries when the emergency is past.
And like W, Batman understands that there is no moral equivalence between a free society — in which people sometimes make the wrong choices — and a criminal sect bent on destruction. The former must be cherished even in its moments of folly; the latter must be hounded to the gates of Hell.
“The Dark Knight,” then, is a conservative movie about the war on terror. And like another such film, last year’s “300,” “The Dark Knight” is making a fortune depicting the values and necessities that the Bush administration cannot seem to articulate for beans.
- Andrew Klavan, The Wall Street Journal, July 25, 2008.
But Batman goes into another country and with a C-130 snatches a guy out, and then throws him back here into Gotham. So there’s rendition. At one point the Morgan Freeman character says to Batman, wait a minute, hang on, you’re eavesdropping on everyone in Gotham? And Batman says, yes, to stop this terrorist. Morgan Freeman says, I can’t be a part of it. And yet Morgan Freeman does become a part of it, and they find the Joker. One of the ways they find the Joker is through eavesdropping. I mean the parallels here of what’s going on is to me stunning.
- Glenn Beck, CNN, August 6, 2008
Hey, guys… ever stop to consider that maybe the Batman movies are just meant to be entertainment? Or that maybe voters – right and left – are intelligent enough to make their own decisions at the polls and not base them on the name of the villain in a superhero movie?
Update: Politicizing Batman isn’t limited to Republicans. Check out this quote from a Democratic operative (h/t Andrew Sullivan):
“It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood. Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society.”
- Chris Lehane, Washington Examiner, July 16, 2012
Update II: This was bound to happen inevitably… Somebody photoshopped Mitt Romney’s face on Bane’s body.