question of the day: Would it be a good idea for Christian Bale to visit young Aurora shooting victims dressed as Batman?
The social media sites have been busy this weekend. An Emily Sanchez posted this on Facebook (via @KDVR):
Hey facebook, I had an idea…..All those kids in the hospital recovering from gunshot wounds at the Batman massacre could use a visit from their hero. I propose that we (as in all of facebook) should make enough noise asking Christian Bale to visit these kids in the hospital dressed in the real Batman outfit. They need to know Heroes can be real too, not just the bad guys. Not asking anything fancy from you, if you read this, share it on your wall. If you wanna go the extra mile, post it in other sites as well. Show the kids there really are heroes, Dear Christian Bale, Please visit the injured children from the movie massacre as Batman, you have the power to be a Hero right now, not a movie Hero, a real life flesh and blood one. Thank you, Everyone.
Her suggestion has been shared and echoed all over the Web, such as with the Twitter campaign around the hashtag #BaleOutAurora that is in progress.
Would it be a good idea for Christian Bale to visit young Aurora shooting victims dressed as Batman?
I’m not sure I can think of a worse idea than this. Whatever Batman may have been in depictions in the past, the Dark Knight as presented to us by Christopher Nolan and portrayed by Christian Bale is at best a problematic protagonist, one that it would be hard to call heroic. At worst, he’s a vigilante who could have inspired shooter James Holmes as easily as this Batman’s adversaries could have. (One report last night revealed that Holmes had a Batman mask in his apartment.) What’s more, while we don’t yet know — and we may never fully understand — Holmes’ motives, what he did is surely at least partly fueled by a collapse of an understanding of the difference between reality and fantasy. It’s one thing for an actor to pretend to be a character onscreen — it’s quite another for that same actor to pretend to be that character in real life… and it’s potentially even worse in this situation. Johnny Depp has twice visited a London children’s hospital in his Jack Sparrow costume, as a thank-you for that facility’s life-saving care of his own daughter… but Jack Sparrow is a comical character, and the kids Depp was visiting weren’t put in the hospital in any way connected to Jack Sparrow’s onscreen stories. (If any of them had survived a pirate attack, such a visit might not have been conducive to a quick recovery.) I don’t know how young some of the Aurora victims are, but it’s easy to see that some of them — even some adults — might well be traumatized to see a big guy in black body armor and a mask coming at them, no matter who was wearing it.
Maybe, possibly, an argument could be made for Christian Bale visiting Colorado hospitals as himself, as an actor and not as a character he has played. But Batman? I can’t see how that’s a good idea. At all.
What do you think?
UPDATE Jul 25 2012: As a few readers have noted in comments, and others have notified me via Twitter and Facebook, Bale did visit one Aurora hospital yesterday, with no media presence (at his own request). I’m glad to see that not only did he not dress as Batman, he didn’t even dress as Bruce Wayne:
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