Monday, July 21, 2008

Movie: The Dark Knight

The Dark Knight. Go see it. Great movie, an accomplishment. I cried over the story of heroic sacrifice. Director Christopher Nolan, though his Batman history deviates from Frank Miller's Batman history, succeeds in nailing down Frank Miller's nuanced "dark knight". The movie serves as an effective metaphor for the War on Terror. More, it agrees with my worldview that morality is not absolute nor given, but won and enforced through struggle, beginning with the choice of the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Like Frank Miller's stories, the movie resonates with my ideas of the nature of humanity, duty, sacrifice, and the price of heroism and the greater good.

These quotes, two of my favorites, will help you understand the moral perspective of The Dark Knight:

"... war is undertaken at the risk of the national soul. The moral certainty that makes war possible is certain only to unleash moral havoc, and moral havoc becomes something the nation has to rise above. We can neither win a war nor save the national soul if all we seek is to remain unsullied—pristine. Anyway, we are well beyond that now. The question is not, and has never been, whether we can fight a war without perpetrating outrages of our own. The question is whether the rightness of the American cause is sufficient not only to justify war but to withstand war's inevitable outrages. The question is whether—if the cause is right—we are strong enough to make it remain right in the foggy moral battleground of war."
- Tom Junod

"Let me give you a word of the philosophy of reform. The whole history of the progress of human liberty shows that all concessions yet made to her august claims, have been born of earnest struggle. The conflict has been exciting, agitating, all-absorbing, and for the time being, putting all other tumults to silence. It must do this or it does nothing. If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightening. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters."

"This struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, and it may be both moral and physical, but it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue till they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress. In the light of these ideas, Negroes will be hunted at the North, and held and flogged at the South so long as they submit to those devilish outrages, and make no resistance, either moral or physical. Men may not get all they pay for in this world; but they must certainly pay for all they get. If we ever get free from the oppressions and wrongs heaped upon us, we must pay for their removal. We must do this by labor, by suffering, by sacrifice, and if needs be, by our lives and the lives of others."

- Frederick Douglass

Update: Read Bruce Chang's review of The Dark Knight.

Add: Youtube link to the movie ending.

30AUG12 Add: Josh Xiong's archived reactions that praise TDK through a neocon prism. (Click on 'Impatient?')

Eric (. . . fyi, this is my 300th post!)


Anonymous John said...

Congratulations, and keep up the good work!

7/30/2008 2:23 AM  

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