Sunday, July 27, 2008

Dark Knight Indeed.

Putting aside "The Dark Knight's" bleak subject matter, subject matter of which I do not have first hand experience, one can hardly imagine a movie title more eerily appropriate to our nation's current condition. Merely employing just one of "The Dark Knight's" double meanings puts one in mind of such national catastrophes as the collapsed housing market, insolvent banking system, inept and grotesquely corrupt political class, seemingly indefinite military engagements, and last but not least, and by no means particular to the U.S., climate change. In the main, the aforesaid horrid phenomena might be said to seal the deal on the idea that the present period in our nation's history does indeed amount to a very dark night.

Employing the other referent in the title's double entendre, one can't help but associate it with Democratic nominee for President, Barack Obama, a figurative and literal dark knight if ever there was one. Obviously the filmmakers could not have had all of these connections in mind when they made the movie, but that is beside the point, the point being that by hook or by crook, "The Dark Knight" is a very powerful and important cultural signifier, relevant in myriad ways and on several levels. I imagine, at least in part, this is what accounts for its seemingly stunning popularity at the box office where it is resonating with viewers, many of whom are committing to multiple viewings, to a degree that puts the movie on a pace to break all sorts of revenue records. In a nation where literally breaking the bank has become an everyday concern, that seems only fitting.

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