The Batpole: Is That Like a Metaphor or What?

on July 16, 2008 by Steve Simels

Okay, I'm as excited as the next guy about Friday's premiere of the new Heath Ledger movie, but this is getting ridiculous.

Tonight, on the History Channel (9 pm EST):

Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight

Delve into the world of Batman and the vigilante justice that he brought to the city of Gotham. Batman is a man who, after experiencing great tragedy, devotes his life to an ideal--but what happens when one man takes on the evil underworld alone? Examine why Batman is who he is--and explore how a boy scarred by tragedy becomes a symbol of hope to everyone else.

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Holy latency period, Batman!

Actually, this isn't quite as silly as it sounds; the whole Batman on the couch thing has been a pop culture staple since crackpot jackass respected psychologist Fredric Wertham's best-selling 1954 Seduction of the Innocent, a cautionary treatise that posited, among other head-scratchers, the idea that the Batman/Robin relationship was "like a wish-dream of homosexuals living together." (Let's not even get into what Fred thought about Wonder Woman.) And in the otherwise execrable 1995 Batman Forever, Val Kilmer's Caped Crusader did have to deal with a shrink (Nicole Kidman) who thought he was, pardon the expression, batty.

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Of course, given the tabloidy cast of a lot of the documentaries on the History Channel of late, I'm not expecting a lot of depth or insight in tonight's special, although I admit I plan to take a look anyway, shameless sucker Batman fan that I am. Still -- wouldn't it be great if somebody like Nicholas Meyer -- author of The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, in which Sherlock Holmes has his head shrunk by no less than Sigmund Freud himself -- was signed to write the sequel to The Dark Knight? And Batman had to deal with all sorts of inner demons that made The Joker and the rest of that crew look like...well, cartoons?

Dark Knight of the Soul, anyone?

Tags: Heath Ledger, Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark, Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent Knight, Batman Forever, Val Kilmer, Nicholas Meyer, The Seven-Per-Cent Solution

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