Poster for "The Dark Knight Rises"
German-born filmmaker, Leni Riefenstahl (1902-2003) insisted to her dying breath that her 1936 masterwork of visual bravura, "Olympia," documenting the 1936 Summer Olympics, held in Berlin, Germany, and funded and promoted by Adolf Hitler and the Nazi state, was not a political film nor was intended as propaganda for the Third Reich ... as writer/director Christopher Nolan is claiming his "The Dark Knight Rises" is not a political movie.
Yet, for some reason, the villains of the movie just happen to resemble the febrile stuff of right-wing delusion regarding Occupy Wall Street activists, and the beleaguered victims of the movie's vengeance-seeking, blood-drunk rabble's reign of mindless terror happen to resemble the denizens of the One Percent.
But we are told to relax ... ruminate on a jumbo bucket of popcorn and suck down the high-fructose soda of our choice " We should allow our limbic system to ascend to the throne room of consciousness ... to simply let the spectacle pull us along, as in a trip through a high-tech funhouse.
Historically, a component of fascism has been the visceral appeal of mass spectacle -- the drowning of the burdens of Industrial Age selfhood into an intoxicating immersion in the anonymity of the mob.
Another aspect is the promotion of shadow projection, i.e., the attempt to lessen inner conflict and shame involving dark-tinged, hidden emotions and yearnings by projecting those traits on outside groups, e.g., the political use of racism to displace class-based resentment; the caricatures created to demonize the enemy, appropriated by governments and promulgated in popular culture to mobilize support for war.
In "The Dark Knight Rises," Nolan (perhaps unconsciously ... he doesn't seem all that bright and self-aware) deploys the psychological trope of shadow projection by portraying members of an Occupy Wall Street-type popular insurgency as boilerplate, comic book villains who rise from the city's underbelly, compelled by murderous grievances, to inflict a reign of chaos, reminiscent of Terror-gripped, late 18th Century/ early 19th Century France, on the city's economic elite.
What is the writer/director getting at here? Whether Nolan is aware of it or not, he has made a fascist epic.
Batman, from its inception was always a hyper-authoritarian myth. Comic Books, at their inception and rise during the Great Depression of the 1930s, reflected a middle/upper class unease regarding those popular heroes of the disaffected laboring class such as Pretty Boy Floyd and John Dillinger. Woody Guthrie's take on song writing is germane to the subject of movies as well. Woody averred: All songs are political.
Hollywood movies are suffused with capitalist false consciousness? And how could they not be? The "successful" members of the entertainment "business" have done quite well by the system, thus have been bestowed with all the privileges of the One Percent.
Moreover, certain self-appointed arbiters of good taste and social propriety have posited the canard that the recent madman-inflicted, firearm-wrought tragedy at an Aurora, Colorado, cinema exhibiting Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises" should not be politicized. Nonsense.
The assertion, in itself, is political, for it is a (tacit) admonition to refrain from challenging the status quo -- and the status quo of U.S. gun culture comes down to this: blood-drenched shooting spree followed by blood-drenched shooting spree.
Withal, the Second Amendment is not the word of God writ large across the eternal heavens. It is an archaic notion of a past, rural/agrarian era, and crafted by an assembly of land-holding, powdered wig-clad aristocrats.
Does the uncertainty of these times and the fading of cherished concepts evoke feelings of unease within you? Then how about trying this? Quit stroking your guns and hyperventilating over the depleted embers of dying delusion: Get over the hagiography of this sham democratic republic, and begin to re-imagine and remake the world anew.
Regarding all the bombast and braggadocio of rightist Second Amendment true believers, who claim that guns are the last, best hope to stand against government tyranny: Where were these sentinels of freedom when the operatives and enforcers of the U.S. national security/police state brought its brutality down on peaceful Occupy Wall Street dissidents?