Wednesday, June 18, 2008
may know how (not) to speak of
but he does not know how to speak of
I know he is soooo much smarter than me (and probably you), but the Irish theologian Peter Rollins is no expert on crime fighting American superheroes. In an attempt to critique American Capitalism and our fascination with heroes, he stretches an analogy past the breaking point. There are some truisms in his essay, but he overstates his case in many ways.
On its exterior his essay seems correct. However, Rollins does not understand that Bruce Wayne and his industrialism are a facade. They are not real. Sure, he must operate in such a manner to keep funding his crime fighting ways and their are conseguences. But, they matter not to him. Batman is real, while Bruce Wayne is a cover. This psychlogical reality changes everything. I think his essay would work better with Tony Clark/ Iron Man as the central figure.
Rollins missteps may because he is Irish and Batman is quintessentially American (hey, I don't really get James Joyce). It may because he is too smart for pop culture. It may be because he did not grow up reading Batman and is really critiquing a film adaptation (which is fine, but shallow- you must look at the entire mythology and many important pieces of the canon to make such broad assumptions) and it could even be that he feels a need to evaluate everything according to his worldview and makes some assumptions on the worldviews of others. This can be dangerous (but is not here).
This reminds me of my least favorite thing about my blog and the blogosphere in general. We think we know more than we know! I know politics. I know music. I know movies. I even know comic books, history, social justice and church life (pretty well). I know a bit about sports and art. I like books. I like theology. I like economics. I even like gardening, cooking, architecture and city planning (but know very little). I know little to nothing about Lost, technology, reality television, science, women, flora and fauna, business, real estate or money management (besides my adage- don't spend any). Remember that if I comment on those things.
So, when commenting on film, music or politics, I may actually have something compelling to say. When talking about sports, it is somewhere in the middle. When talking about theology, it may be insightful... but may not be. When speaking on books, I can tell you what I like. But, don't listen to me if I try to assess the subtleties of Vonnegut's prose or Volf's views of the Trinity. I may be able to tell you it is "real good." You can trust that. But, not much else. So, don't listen to Rollins on Batman.*
* I could tell you who to listen to about sports, books, film, musics, etc. But I wouldn't I don't want to hurt any feelings. I may also blog about this phenomena at a later time. It has become an obsession of mine.
read how he misses the point here.