The Dark Knight Rises

I was not that big of a fan of The Dark Knight. It was a little too dark for me. I thought the story was really well done and I liked the first two hours, but the last hour with the introduction of Two-Face didn’t work for me. And in the beginning of The Dark Knight Rises, the continuation of the Harvey Dent story still didn’t work.

It’s a pretty cool poster

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I Love My Government

The America I know…in the four hours that I listened to the Republican National Convention, I heard this phrase at least five times an hour. I have hated this two America storyline whether it is from Democrats or Republicans. We are only two or three or four Americas because they put us into such camps. And I hate it.

The America I know is what I see when I ride the train. People helping people they don’t know get to where they want to go.

The America I know is what I see everyday at work. People coming together for a common good.

The America I know is what my family shows me. That no matter who I am or what I do, I have a group of people who will support and love me.

The America I know wants everyone to succeed. They will buy a CD that their uncles produce; a dessert at a farmer’s market to try something new. They will give money to charity and friends in need.

Every four minutes, the RNC is playing the tape of President Obama saying the famous line that you didn’t build your business alone as if this is some sort of attack of business people. Why is collaboration bad? Whether you get help from the government, a friend, or your family, it is help. If you child gets health care paid for by the state, you need their help and you get it. If you are getting rid of an old chair and your nephew takes it, he is helping you out. If a friend needs a loan, you provide it. That is America. We work together for a better tomorrow.

We look back at the Greatest Generation where basically everyone worked for the government. As a soldier, as a factory worker, or jut providing whatever aluminum necessary, Americans came together. There were opponents as there always were, but does anyone talk of them as true heroes?

I love this country. I love my community. I love my friends. I love my family. And I love my government. We live in the greatest country in the world with a government like no other. Whether you agree with the Democrats or the Republicans, our system is fantastic. We provide the elderly with a retirement that isn’t utter poverty. We have a military that does a lot of good across the world. We have bureaucrats who keep our food from poisoning us and who work hard to ensure that everyday all of the things we take for granted happen.

So many of us depend on the government and it is a shame that we ignore that. Here are just a few examples:
Teachers – are your kids going to school? Are you glad you don’t have to teach them yourself or find a tutor?
Police, fire, EMTs – yes, it is annoying to pull over when they speed by, but they keep us safe. Then service us in an emergency. If you ever need them, you don’t want to have to wait.
Doctors and nurses – there are lots of public hospitals. And if not, they get a lot of their resources from Medicare and Medicaid. If they were fully paid, think of all the people who would want to be doctors and nurses.
Businesses – my company sells the IRS tax research materials. It is a bit deal. I have friends who work for companies that have defense contracts. If that money disappears, those jobs disappear. And that’s the private sector. To assume the private sector doesn’t rely on the public sector is silly. They get tax breaks. TIF deals. Roads to their companies. Lights and power.

The main reason I cannot vote Republican is because they hate government. Yet, they want to control it. There is so much power that they hate but want to control. It is upsetting. Just once, I would love to hear a Republican talk about the good that government can do.

It isn’t a black and white issue: private versus public. Private companies and private charities do so much good. They create jobs and help lots of individuals. But so does the government. It doesn’t have to be an either/or dilemma.

Together, things can change and get better. Apart, it will descend into chaos. We are close to the precipice.

Out of Darkness Comes Light

I haven’t been able to write for a while. Not because I didn’t have anything to say, because if you know me, then you know that I always have something to say. However, I could not put what I wanted to say into words on paper.

I woke up very early (approximately 3 am) a few Fridays ago and couldn’t fall back asleep. I grabbed my iPad and saw that there was a shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado during a viewing of The Dark Knight Rises. My heart sank. And I didn’t know what to think.

I understand how violence is a part of superheroics. Many villains in lots of comic books that I have bought have shot up a building. This seemed exactly like an event from such a scene – except real people were brutally murdered, not 2-dimensional images drawn with pencils, accentuated with ink, and digitally colored. These were the events where Batman swoops in and saves as many people as he can before capturing the villain. But there was no Batman. My heart sank as I believed that the stories that I love will be dragged through the mud as a rationale and that this person would use a medium I enjoy as justification for a horrible action.

I imagined a group of people, much like myself, who wanted to experience a movie that they had been looking forward to with an audience of like-minded individuals. It makes a movie-going experience even more powerful. But that was destroyed by someone who wasn’t in a rightful mind. And in the end, a character that I have read about and followed for years was being destroyed by the antics of a horrible person. In the end, people who enjoyed Batman, like I do, were murdered for their love of cinema and wanting to be part of a unique movie experience.

I had been looking forward to the movie for weeks. I had read some spoilers that made me want to see it more. Some of my favorite storyline threads and characters were being introduced. Anne Hathaway seemed like the perfect Catwoman, as I like the character — witty, sexy, smart, and an anti-hero. I was looking forward to seeing the movie on Saturday and budgeted movie money for it. But now I didn’t know what to do.

The day got worse, when in the middle of the day, the news said that the murderer called himself the Joker. A few months back, I wrote a blog where I said that I would look into the mirror and see the Joker looking back at me. I compared myself to the same villain. And my heart sank again. I am not saying that we have similar mindsets, but all of these mass-murderers get into my head because they are generally described the same way — loners, depressed, lost. And I have felt that way many times. But there is something that I know is a huge difference — I have never left sight on how powerful life is.

I believe that the only way that an individual can kill anything is to figure out a way to dehumanize it. It is hard to kill an animal, in my opinion, if you see it as a member of a family or give it a name. But if you see it as an animal, it gets easier. I think that this is how people are able to kill. If you decide a group of people are not really people or an individual is not human, it gets easier. I don’t understand how one can get to that belief because each day, I wake up, I feel so lucky to be here and with the people I care about.

But I was depressed the entire day. I could not imagine why someone would take such actions in such a location. Innocent people trying to enjoy a movie lost that innocence. It isn’t fair. It isn’t just. And it is not what superhero movies tell.

Superheroes bring out joy. It is a simple black and white world where there are good guys and there are bad guys. They have very descriptive names that will tell you which side they are on. And their worlds can be dark. Their worlds can be scary. But in the end, there is light. So, that Saturday, I needed light. I didn’t see The Dark Knight Rises. He took that movie away from me that weekend. But I wanted to see a movie. I went with John to see Moonrise Kingdom, the new Wes Anderson movie. I needed light. And it helped.

The responses that erupted within the comic book community was reassuring. There are so many great people out there and it is sad when a movie is tarred by the actions of one individual. We must remember those who innocently lost their lives for the love of a movie, but we must also remember why they went in the first place. There is such wonder and amazement in these characters and in the movies. Very few things would bring people out of their homes at midnight, dressed in costumes, enjoying something with friends and family.

I think I had to write this before I could move onto anything else even though it has been a while. I have seen The Dark Knight Rises since and will discuss the film in the next entry. I enjoyed it, but it was very hard for me to watch without separately the events in Colorado. But the ending was exactly what I needed. It brought light.