I wont have vigilantism in my town..
lol @ the nerve of this statement.
1. They're both vigilantes technically
2. Batman works with the police more than Superman
If Batman keeps Anti-JLA files does his protégé write Anti-Young Justice recipes in his cookbook?
Superman works with the SCU in Metropolis so that isn't exactly a valid statement. I don't know how much they each respectively work with the law but I think it would be fair to say it is comparable.
I would disagree. Batman collaborates with Jim Gordon as an individual on occassion, and generally takes things into his own hands overstepping any boundaries in his way. While Superman has often used intimidation tactics it has never been anything to the scale of what Batman has employed. While Superman is open with the public and generally acts as a benevolent force cooperating with the entirety of the police force, government, and SCU with the approval of nearly everyone, Batman operates in a much more secretive fashion and deals with one person. Just one. The rest of the force, government, and media doesn't necessarily agree with him.
I'm not justifying either individual as being any more right, just explaining why his statement makes sense within the context of their world. Also, consider the fact that in Metropolis (or anywhere else for that matter) Batman is more of a legend than anything else, whereas Superman is a more tangible entity, so they feel more comfortable with him.
Another point that viewers (and Superman) overlook/neglect is that many authority figures in Gotham City are corrupt. The problems include, but are not limited to : bribery ; evidence-tampering ; extortion ; mayors who make decisions based on the polls (not on the law or their consciences) ; and the "Holiday Inn" facilities known as Arkham Asylum and Stonegate Prison. That is, prisoners come and go according to personal taste (i.e. they escape) or they are released when the prison is full (e.g. Vincent Starkey, "A Bullet for Bullock").
In Gotham, known crimelords live in luxury (Roland Daggett, Rupert Thorne, the TNBA Penguin). Something awful happens in Gotham almost every night -- and in the Bat mythos, something awful happens to almost every good guy.
Superman's world is portrayed in a way to make us believe that the majority of Metropolis' authority figures are good guys, loyal and true. For the most part, it's a good city and its people live the good life. Most of the organized crime in that city can be traced to Lex Luthor -- and when trouble arises from a non-Luthor source, it's often an alien which cannot be stopped by any force other than Superman. This makes sense in a science-fiction series.
Batman isn't a science-fiction character. He can survive there (and a few of his Rogues' Gallery borrow from the sci-fi arena), but it's psychological drama he best portrays. Batman presents us with unspoken questions : What makes a man think that he can make a difference? Is there a "proper" way to do so? Is there a "proper" way to grieve? Who decides what is "normal"? How normal is a world where the poor have no hope? (For that matter, why do WE tolerate giving up on certain cities?) How does a city become so lawless that the police commissioner thinks working with an outlaw is the best of his options? Is it healthy to dedicate your life to a cause greater than yourself if you lose those qualities that make your own life worth living?
Superman has abilities he never chose and can't dispose of ; he's stuck with them. Therefore when he sees trouble he tries to stop it because his conscience won't let him turn away. Batman and his partner Jim Gordon lack these superhuman abilities, but they do what they do because their consciences won't let them walk away.
Batman works with Jim Gordon for the same reason Gordon works with Batman : because neither of them know enough trustworthy other people. Both of them work towards a city that doesn't need Batman. Simultaenously I think they realize that day won't come in their lifetime. And it doesn't.
When Superman rebukes Batman for vigilantism, Superman speaks politically correct words. However his attitude is shaped by his biology and his clean sunny city. Superman is Metropolis' mascot -- but Batman was actually created by Gotham City, by its corruption and cruelties. Superman can challenge Batman, compete with Batman, work beside Batman, even lock up Batman, but Superman will probably never really understand Batman.
This brings up the question of why characters define "vigilantism" differently depending upon whether or not they derive personal benefit from it. The example that has been gnawing at me for some time is the Batman Beyond episodes "Shriek" and "Babel."
In "Shriek" Bruce Wayne is minding his own business -- going to the office, walking down the street, visiting historic ruins -- when the title villain Shriek decides to murder him. The new Batman sees Shriek busily murdering Old Man Wayne and stops him. Now a fugitive from both Batman and the police, Shriek makes another attempt on Old Man Wayne through a nurse proxy. Batman traces Shriek to his new lair and a running firefight ensues. Batman disables Shriek to save his own life, but Shriek is injured. Specifically, Shriek is injured in a way that compromises his ability to perform his chosen work. (One would think that being sent to prison would be a sufficient impediment, but no matter.) He loses his hearing, but he refuses to inform on the loan shark (Derek Powers) who sent him to murder Wayne to pay off a financial debt.
One year later Shriek tells Commissioner Barbara Gordon that he wishes to murder Batman and believes he has this right. Barbara never challenges his logic. Neither does the city. Quoth the ungrateful construction worker and the zookeeper whose lives Batman just saved, "Batman got us into this mess and now he's got to get us out of it. Why should we all suffer for a private dispute? Shriek just wants a little justice."
Batman is abandoned and blamed (even by Barbara) solely because he is Batman. But is Batman the real problem here?
For the sake of argument, let us say that Shriek is busily murdering Old Man Wayne, when they are surprised by a policeman. Since it is the policeman's duty to stop a murder in progress, he challenges Shriek. Let us further posit that the policeman shoots Shriek and kills him. Did the policeman deprive Shriek of justice? Was he wrong to save Old Man Wayne, or to shoot to save his own life? In all likelihood Barbara would not have a problem with it.
Alternately, let us consider "Babel" as it would play if Shriek survived. If he demanded that Commish Barbara must hand over the policeman who shot him, so that Shriek could murder him, would Barbara surrender her man to Shriek? I do not think so.
Ah, but you say, the policeman was appointed by society to protect and to serve. He was authorized to do what he did. This is certainly true. The problem is that it doesn't absolve non-policemen from fighting crime to the best of their ability.
As Sir Thomas More observed during his show trial, English common law declares that "silence implies consent," especially during murder cases. "Silence" includes both an absence of words and an absence of deeds. If you don't help, the law regards you as an accomplice. The law expects good citizens to perform minimum interference to stop a bad deed in progress and/or an unfortunate circumstance. "Good Samaritan" laws also protect those who become involved more than the minimum required. They do cut off at a maximum interference (which means that your assistance compromises the rescuers' work).
For example, if you observe a murder in progress or a house on fire, minimal aid would be telephoning 911. If a man is run down in the street, Minimal aid expands to include describing the offending vehicle, taking photos of that vehicle if you have a camera, and blocking a lane of traffic with your own vehicle so that the poor fellow is not run over a second time.
The good Samaritan laws were passed because the definition of Maximum interference is more slippery than Minimal aid. Should you chase the hit-and-run driver? Probably not. Should you try to save victims from a house fire if you have no training? Maybe, maybe not. If you don't know what you're doing you might need rescuing yourself. Should you confront a murderer with physical force? Depends. Many people lack the physical training and strength to interfere, and the law doesn't hold it against them. But you can provoke the law into blaming you for not making Maximum interference if you demonstrate a bad attitude. For example, if you saw a house fire but didn't tie a rope to your car and the security grilles in the window (to open the window by pulling off the grille), the firemen would assume that this wouldn't have occurred to an amateur -- unless you admit you did think of it but didn't want to damage your vehicle. So no one in Gotham is compelled to physically stop Shriek, but they are compelled to summon someone who can. And the law is (or ought to be) compelled to defend the person who does the rescuing.
Let us then extrapolate further. Suppose that a bank clerk, a used-car salesman, or high school student Nelson Nash see Shriek busily murdering Old Man Wayne. If one of these saves Wayne's life (and had to hit Shriek with a brick to do it), would Shriek have any right to demand their lives? Would Barbara collect the good Samaritans and deliver them to him? What if a troop of Boy Scouts observe Shriek busily murdering Old Man Wayne? They cry "stop, evildoer!" and push him down a flight of stairs. Shriek is injured and loses his hearing. If Shriek reappears in the episode "Babel" demanding the Boy Scouts' lives, should the city surrender the boys to him?
Shriek bases his false claims of Innocence Wronged on the fact that he lost his hearing. We can treat industrial-related hearing loss even today. (It's auto-immune hearing losses we can't cure yet.) Well, Shriek used a hearing aid in subsequent appearances. It's a temporary fix (and anyway it might be physically painful or he would use it more often). However, the good Doctor Corso of episode "April Moon" makes prosthetic devices for disabled individuals. If he doesn't manufacture hearing implants, he surely knows another doctor who would. Obviously these devices are not free, but is that the only reason Shriek doesn't have one? He's too good to spend a few hours a day saying, "Would you like fries with that?" Seriously, if Shriek demanded the life of a policeman or a civilian Barbara liked, her logical response would be, "Well gee, mister, this IS an emergency. You might have to Get A Job!"
To listen to all the bellyaching going on in "Babel," the people of Gotham (and Barbara as well) speak as if Shriek should have been allowed to murder Old Man Wayne.
2nd EDIT :
The BTAS episode "Trial" raises another question about why characters define "vigilantism" differently depending upon whether they derive benefit from it.
In that episode, the sentencing judge states that D.A. Van Dorn wanted Poison Ivy to receive a sentence of life in prison. However, the judge states that "because your apprehension took place at the hands of the Batman and not a legally recognized body such as the police force, I have no choice but to return you to Arkham Asylum, where it is to be hoped you will complete your rehabilitation."
Note that the judge states he has no choice. Is that so? Batman has also apprehended The Penguin, Rupert Thorne and Bane, and none of them went to Arkham Asylum. It appears that a villain's fate is largely left to judicial discretion, in spite of judicial claims to the contrary. Going back to our Scouts -- busy little fellows, aren't they? -- if the Scouts saw Poison Ivy committing a major felony, ate a salad to lure her into chasing them, and led her straight to a police station where they knocked her down and sat on her ... would the judge let Ivy go? Or would he cover his tracks as he did in this episode? Would he sentence her, but only a little bitty bit?
No wonder Harvey Dent started screaming that judges can be bought in Gotham ("Two Face, part I"). Everyone assumed that just because he was going crazy at the time, he had no credibility about all the judges. No, he just got it wrong about his particular judge. But he wasn't wrong that SOME judges aren't doing their jobs.
In such a twisted reality, the term "vigilantism" just doesn't translate to Superman's black-and-white world.
Last edited by The Old Maid; 07-15-2003 at 02:23 PM.
They're both vigilantes, but image is everything.
Batman's dark and scary-looking. Of course people will mistrust him.
Superman wears bright colored tights and smiles all the time. People only start to doubt him when he's under mind control.
That, and Gotham's PD has probably been dealing with a higher crime rate longer than Metropolis has. With the exception of Commisoner Gordon, they might resent the fact that they need the help of a vigilante. Meanwhile, Metropolis' authorities are grateful for help with criminals they are not used to arresting.
"But what is the difference between literature and journalism? Journalism is unreadable and literature is not read. That is all." - Oscar Wilde
"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened." - Sir Winston Churchill
"Love truth, and pardon error." - Voltaire
I don't see Superman as a vigilante, at least not to the extent the Batman is...Superman's not as rough with the villains for one thing, and he's more willing to go along with the law than Batman is.
"We didn't find you son...you found us."
Wow, Old Maid, that was a heck of an essay...did you really write that just for this thread?
Damn, if I ever need a lawyer, I'm calling The Old Maid That was brilliant, abso-positively brilliant. Did I mention brilliant?
Er the topic? Well I think Batman is a bit more goal oriented than Supes. He has regular patrols, actively stakes out possible criminal activity, while Superman is more of a reactionary sort of hero, helping out with natural disasters and the occasional super-freak. The fact that Superman is not on a personal crusade to stop crime is probably the defining factor, in his own mind at least.
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarrely inexeplicable. There is another theory which states that this has already happened." >> Douglas Adams
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*standing ovation for Old Maid*
It's all about the frame, the context in which these definitions take place. And it's a fact that is very applicable to the real world since we all live in imposed or gradually built-up frames, whether or not we are aware of them. She's hit the nail on the head. OM, you restore my faith in people and the ability to think critically and analytically.
It's just an observation that's been eating at me for, oh, three years or so.
Superman isn't a conscious hypocrite -- he's a creature of a different reality -- but his brand of hypocrisy is unlike any other version that the animated Batman has encountered. Usually a satellite character or villain calls Batman the hypocrite as part of their hypocritical speeches. Examples :
1. Lock-Up (appeared in "Lock-Up") ;
2. Payback (appeared in "Payback") ;
3. Det. Harvey Bullock ("A Bullet for Bullock") ;
4. Andrea Beaumont/Phantasm (Mask of the Phantasm) ;
5. and Barbara's Batgirl (changed considerably from behavior in "Shadow of the Bat" to behavior in all other episodes).
Every one of these characters (and probably one or two more I'm forgetting) have told Batman to his face that "I do the same thing you do." In fact almost all of them used those exact words. They're wrong, of course. The problem is that each episode merely PROVED they were wrong without exploring WHY they were wrong, and why they failed to comprehend the nature of that wrong.
In that sense, Superman's brand of hypocrisy is almost refreshing. He's the only one who thinks that being like Batman is a horrific concept, and one he's anxious to distance from himself.
Probably the character who has given the most thought to Batman's morality is Nightwing. Unfortunately it only happened in the comics. In comic continuity Nightwing believed Batman's moral code was sound, but that he intended to live up to Batman's ideals more perfectly and fully than Batman himself had done or could do. Whereas in animated continuity too much was left out, making it look as though Nightwing left because there were too many big fish in a small pond. This makes Nightwing look vain and shallow, instead of a seeker.
While I too worry that the Batcave's getting overly crowded, as fans have phrased it, I'm cautiously optimistic that the upcoming film Mystery of the Batwoman might actually address the question of Batman's motives and ethics, and why wannabes never interpret those motives and ethics the same way as Batman did.
Last edited by The Old Maid; 07-16-2003 at 06:48 PM.