Friday, November 21, 2008

The End of Time, the Curse of Batman, the Legend of Bionicles


Is it just me, or does the question asked by this trailer for Roland Emmerich’s upcoming doomsday movie, 2012, kind of make you think of the financial crisis?

Emmerich is responsible for such dopey films as the American Godzilla, The Day After Tomorrow, and 10,000 BC — but he’s got a brilliant viral marketing idea in that trailer in asking people to Google search “2012.”  He’s basically just using all the already-existing mystical conspiracy theories about that year being the end of the world as his marketing campaign.  Ingenious.  It’s like doing a movie about Napoleon and asking people to Google “Napoleon” — but better because if they Google “2012,” they’ll find all sorts of crazy nonsense that will make them think they have to see the film to survive the Apocalypse.  My friends in advertising should take note.

I’m not the only one who’s thinking about the financial crisis — and the bailout itself, which is like a gigantic hole torn in the ship of state, eliminating the barrier between the public and private sectors — as if it all portends the end of the world as we know it.  I see the president of the Cato Institute, Ed Crane, is giving a luncheon talk in NYC today cheerily entitled “It’s Always Darkest Before the End of Time.”  I love that.  He may give fellow speaker Tucker Carlson a run for his money, humorwise.

And still, I was one of the recipients of an e-mail from a guy who says he’d never pay to hear Cato speeches because Cato is a “fifth columnist” organization doing more harm than good to the movement.  Jeez.  You excommunicate Cato and what’s left of the libertarian movement?  I will try not to sound like that, over the next month or so, as I explain in more detail my reasons for tying the ideas of liberty and property together more tightly than some of my compatriots do.  I really am a big-tent sort of guy at heart who fears that others will be more exclusionary than they intend (you don’t want to tell a world already skeptical of adopting your view of property rights that to do so they must also adopt your attitude toward gender relations, for example, but more on that later).


In more trivial political news, both Jacob Levy and ACSH co-worker Jeff Stier pointed out to me that the city of Batman, Turkey is suing the makers of the Batman movies (now that they’re filthy rich) for using their city’s name without permission (you know, Gotham, as NYC is sometimes called, could use a boost to its finances, too…).  I am reminded of the only slightly less absurd case of Maori tribes suing the Lego toys called Bionicles because the story of the Bionicles warriors was drawn from Maori legends.  I know there are plenty of examples of indigenous people being granted special legal privileges to compensate for past exploitation — and I’m a traditionalist in some ways — but imagine the ludicrous and wide-ranging legal ramifications if no traditions could be used without paying royalties.  The Turks and the Maori are both wrong.

And there may be an opportunity for feminists to be wrong here, too, since part of the city of Batman’s argument, according to the Wikipedia entry about the place, is that the Batman movies are oppressing women:

On November 7th, 2008, Batman Mayor Huseyin Kalkan began looking into legal possibilities toward suing Christopher Nolan, director of Batman Begins and The Dark Knight for naming infringement and “placing the blame for a number of unsolved murders and a high female suicide rate on the psychological impact that the film’s success has had on the city’s inhabitants.”

Murder?  Suicides?  I’m reminded of my favorite-ever New York Post front-page headline (which is saying a lot), after cops boycotted a Batman movie to punish Time-Warner for distributing the song “Cop Killer.”  The headline was “Cops Pin Rap on Batman.”

We’ll hunt him, because he can take it.  Because he’s not a hero.  He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector.  A dark knight…


Mark said...

I’m a big fan of the Cato Institute. I can remember attending a book launch they had for P.J. O’Rourke – the food was amazing. If they get excommunicated, then I’ll happily consider myself a heretic.

Gerard said...

Were those ‘honor’ suicides?

If so, I tend to doubt they were motivated by watching a film directed by Christopher Nolan.