Wall Street Rises
by E. Michael Jones
As some indication of the intellectual bankruptcy of what passes for conservative commentary these days, Rush Limbaugh accused Dark Knight Rises director Christopher Nolan of turning the third and final installment of his Batman trilogy into a covert attack on Republican Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney by naming the film’s villain “Bane.”1 Limbaugh claims that Bane the Villain will remind moviegoers that Romney once worked for Bain Capital; these same mindless zombies will then go to the polls in November and re-elect Obama for a second term. Quod Erat Demonstratum, as we used to say in sophomore geometry class.
If Limbaugh had dialed down his ingestion of Oxycontin a bit before heading off to the mulitplex, he might have noticed something fairly obvious. Bane is the leader of the Occupy Wall Street revolutionaries in the film. Bane is also the leader of the group which shot up the New York stock exchange and took a bunch of yuppies wearing suspenders off on a mad motorcycle chase before they bounced down the highway. Nolan’s film, in other words, says the exact opposite of what Rush Limbaugh claims.
Not to be outdone by Rush Limbaugh, director Christopher Nolan made even more preposterous statements in his interview with Brian Hiatt in Rolling Stone, when he denied that his film was “intended to convey an anti-Occupy Wall Street message” and went on to insist “that none of his Batman films are intended to be political.”2 Then as if to insure us that he hadn’t lapsed into a drug-induced psychosis similar to the one Rush Limbaugh exhibited during his foray into film reviewing, Nolan continued by stating unequivocally: “If you’re saying, ‘Have you made a film that’s supposed to be criticizing the Occupy Wall Street movement?’ – well, obviously, that’s not true.”3
Dumbfounded by Nolan’s effrontery (or mendacity), interviewer Brian Hiatt stammered, “But the movie certainly suggests that there’s a great danger of populist movements being pushed too far.” To which Nolan responds with even more audacity: “If the populist movement is manipulated by somebody who is evil, that surely is a criticism of the evil person. You could also say the conditions the evil person is exploiting are problematic and should be addressed.” Well, yes, you could, but then you would be describing another movie and not Dark Knight Rises, which gives no indication that there is any legitimacy whatsoever to the grievances of the Occupy Wall Street movement.
If there is anything more obvious than Dark Knight Rises’ political bias, it is its unmistakable attack on the Occupy Wall Street movement. The fact that the film favors neither candidate in the upcoming elections is totally irrelevant, primarily because when it comes to any issue of significance there is no difference between the candidates. In completing the Batman trilogy Nolan has revealed his true political (or, better, economic) colors as a propagandist who goes out of his way to demonize anyone who has any objections to the current political regime. In Dark Knight Rises, Nolan portrays the hapless Occupy Wall Street crowd as mindless terrorist zombies who need to be destroyed by a combination of the military industrial complex, represented by the billionaire Bruce Wayne and Wayne Enterprises and all of his deadly gadgets, and the inept but nonetheless brutal New York City police department.
Nolan’s film is nothing if not an overly long, heavy-handed, brutalist defense of the entire cultural Gestalt of Capitalism, including sports. (To show the depths of Bane’s depravity, Nolan portrays him disrupting a football game, although to his credit only after the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Not even Bane is evil enough to interrupt the national anthem.) In creating Dark Knight Rises, Nolan has given us the quintessential apocalyptic Superhero disaster film. Dark Knight Rises must be a defense of Capitalism because from his point of view Capitalism is the quintessence of America. If Batman wants to defend America, he has to come to the defense of Capitalism because Capitalism embodies the essence of what we are as a people. Nolan’s homage to the American Military Industrial Complex and Wall Street banksters makes Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph of the Will look introspective and nuanced by comparison. In fact, Dark Knight Rises is so over the top in its defense of Capitalism and all its wretched excess that it makes Glenn Beck look like Noam Chomsky by comparison. Beck, you may recall, claimed that “Zuccotti Park smells now like an open sewer with people urinating and defecating in public. . . . Let’s just be honest,” he continued, “They’re animals.”4
Not to be outdone by the Glenn Becks and the Bill O’Reillys at Fox News, the New York Post claimed that the “the Occupy Wall Street protests have devolved into a shameless display of moral depravity – with shocking (or perhaps not) interviews of protesters claiming to be getting high every day and having sex ‘in a tarp’ and out in plain view.” As if that weren’t bad enough, “creepy thugs have infiltrated the crowd of protesters camped out in Zuccotti Park for Occupy Wall Street.” The Post’sintrepid reporter then discovered “a drug addled fugitive,” who was “wanted for burglary,” and “said some of his hard-partying pals clued him in that the protest was a good place to be fed, get wasted and crash.”
The sex charges were as spurious as the drug charges. If anything, the sexual revolutionaries felt that Occupy Wall Street had betrayed the sacred cause of sodomy and was a “co-optation” because if refused to toe the party line on sexual issues. One of those sexual revolutionaries found OWS “overwhelmingly troubling” because “this movement” showed no interest in “radical feminism/womanism.” “Where,” this indignant feminist wondered, “was Occupy Wall Street even last week when SlutWalk NYC has been in the works for months?”
Dark Knight Rises is the big-screen version of Glenn Beck and The New York Post. Unlike Glenn Beck, who, to his credit, never claimed that the Occupy Wall Street protesters were terrorists, Nolan equips Bane and his vaguely Russia vaguely Asiatic band of thugs with AK-47s and then has them shoot up the New York Stock Exchange in a fantasy that is so over the top it would make Bill O’Reilly blush. Nolan then has Bane incite the 99 percent to rebel against the 1 percent. The Occupy Wall Street mob then rushes up to the upper East Side and evicts the yuppie bankers, suspenders and all, from their posh apartments, throwing their expensive furnishings onto the street and drinking their chablis in what comes across as an unintentionally funny parody of Doctor Zhivago. Bane then liberates all of the prisoners unjustly put in jail by Harvey Dent in a scene that is reminiscent of the storming of the Bastille. The liberated criminals then put the rich on trial and condemn them to death either directly or by “exile” which means walking out onto the frozen East River until they fall through the ice. According to Nolan, this is what we all would have faced if the government had entertained any of the demands of the OWS protesters or if the police had not brutally shut down their protest. No, I am not kidding. No, I am not exaggerating. This is how Nolan’s overheated imagination portrays the hapless, debt-burdened, unemployed graduate students who made up the overwhelming bulk of the Occupy Wall Street crowd, as I saw them with my own eyes in October 2011.
I say this not just because I was there; I say this because a random Google image search of the protest revealed photo after photo of young protesters holding up signs complaining about how much student loan debt they were burdened with and how impossible it was to find a job after completing the education that put them into debt. The Google search only confirmed what I had seen with my own eyes. If there were one theme that ran throughout the entire protest it was, as one protester claimed on his own homemade sign, that “student debt is slavery.”
Instead of listening to what his young man had to say, the establishment media pulled out all of the stops in demonizing an entire generation with a legitimate grievance. Glenn Beck talked a lot about drugs and sex, but he never got around to mentioning all the signs complaining about debt. These signs were made by young people who had been lied to. The protesters made the mistake of believing what they were told; they had never heard of the word usury; they did not know, as Heinrich Pesch could have told them, that Capitalism is state-sponsored usury, and now they were being treated like criminals because they woke up one morning and realized that they had been tricked into unrepayable debt under the pretext of getting an education.
Now Christopher Nolan, one of their favorite directors, has turned on them as well. If Dark Knight Rises proves anything, it shows that what we call Hollywood and the news media are in fact one large propaganda ministry whose main job is to justify the privileges of the few by demonizing anyone who raises any objection to the system which is exploiting him. Paul Craig Roberts had something similar to say about the political process, describing it as a system which spends enormous amounts of time, energy, and money to convince the “working poor” that “standing up for America means standing up for bankster bailouts and the military/security complex’s multi-trillion dollar wars.”5
For those who are unfamiliar with Batman’s biography, Bruce Wayne is a representative of “the military/security complex” which has given us the “multi-trillion dollar wars” in the Middle East which have bankrupted this country. Because the country is bankrupt it cannot allow students to default on their loans. Hence, the mendacity about what Occupy Wall Street was really about. Hence, the brutality of the crackdown. Hence, Nolan’s movie, which disguises the fact, as Roberts puts it, that:
The US is ruled by a private oligarchy. The government is merely their front. The country’s resources are diverted to the pockets of Wall Street, the military/security complex, and to the service of greater Israel.6
Roberts here hints at another common denominator which Batman, Hollywood, and Wall Street share. Batman is Jewish. Fortunately, this claim is even easier to substantiate than the claim that Occupy Wall Street was about student debt. We know that Batman is Jewish because he is a Superhero.7 The Superhero is a Jewish fantasy that came into being during the 1930s, when young assimilationist-minded Jews like Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster (creators of Superman in 1938) and Bob Kane (a.k.a. Robert Kahn) and Bill Finger (creators of Batman one year later) were troubled by the cognitive dissonance created by living in a wealthy country where everyone but a small wealthy minority were getting poorer by the day. Superheroes were created by American Jews who were equally troubled by the fact that virtually every Jew of their acquaintance had an explanation of America’s economic crisis — namely, Marxism — which put them beyond the pale of assimilation.8 Unlike his Marxist Jewish peers, Superman is an assimilationist Jew:
Superman’s Moses-like origin and his Midwestern WASP-ish (White Anglo-Saxon Protestant) persona are widely regarded as a symbol of Jewish assimilation. Children of immigrant Jews, Siegel and Shuster were not unlike many in their generation in their desire to fit in to the general goyim population. The creation of Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent was a manifestation of the desire by Siegel and Shuster to “pass” in mainstream population and also to assert control in a world that had often left them feeling powerless, such as when Siegel’s father was murdered.9
According to Blair Kramer:
Superman shared some characteristic traits with a majority of American Jews in the 1940s. Like them, he had arrived in America from a foreign world. His entire family—in fact his entire race—had been wiped out in a holocaust-like disaster on his home planet, Krypton. Like German Jewish parents who sent their children on the kindertransports, or the baby Moses set adrift in the bull rushes, Superman’s parents launched him to Earth in hopes that he would survive. And while the mild-mannered Clark Kent held a white collar job as a reporter by day, the “real” man behind Kent’s meek exterior was a virile, indestructible crusader for justice. This fantasy must have resonated among American Jews, who felt powerless to help their brethren in the death camps of Europe. Superman obeys the Talmudic injunction to do good for its own sake and heal the world where he can. Siegel and Shuster had created a mythic character who reflected their own Jewish values.10
According to Rabbi Simcha Weinstein and British novelist Harold Jacobson Superman’s ability to fly derives from his Kryptonian name, “Kal-El” because the suffix “el,” meaning “(of) God” is also found in the names of angels (e.g. Gabriel, Michael, Raphael, Ariel), who are flying humanoid agents of good with superhuman powers.11 Superman put those powers to use for the first time during a time of economic crisis when unrepayable debt paralyzed the economy and led to a period deflation of the sort the Fed is now attempting to stave off by “quantitative easing.” According to Superman’s Wikipedia entry, “An influence on early Superman stories is the context of the Great Depression.”12 In 1938, when the Great Depression was heading toward the sequel to the Great War, Siegel and Shuster went to work for Harry Donenfeld and Jack Liebowitz at D. C. Comics in New York, who acted as midwives to Superman bringing out the first issue of Action Comics in June, 1938. The same publishers brought Batman into existence one year later. Writing in Ha’aretz, Rabbi Michael Knopf claimed that Batman is the most Jewish superhero:13
For the late comic-book artist Will Eisner, the Jewish people, faced with the rise of fascism, “needed a hero who could protect us against an almost invincible force.” Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster’s Superman in 1938 was only the first and — like Bob Kane’s Batman in 1939, Jack Kirby’s Captain America in 1940 and many more that followed — he was created by sons of Jewish immigrants living in New York.14
Like Superman, Batman was a Jewish child of the Depression:
Circa 1933, at the height of the Great Depression, a young Milton Finger changed his name to Bill Finger, as Milton, he felt, sounded too Jewish at a time when American Jews had a difficult time finding jobs. Though Finger’s parents urged him to be a doctor, he resisted; Finger wanted to become an artist and a writer instead. Finger held several jobs he didn’t like, until he met Bob Kane at a party and they began collaborating on comic book projects. Around the same time, Bob Kane was looking for a superhero concept to rival the hit comic Superman. Kane approached Finger for help after creating a rough sketch for a character he named “The Bat-man.” Hardly enthralled, Finger redesigned the look and feel of The Bat-man’s costume, and created his mask and cape. Finger also decided that rather than create an alien-born superhero like Superman, Batman would be human, vulnerable and subject to hard knocks. Kane created the name; Finger developed the concept. A deal was negotiated between Vin Sullivan, an editor at the company that would become DC Comics, and Kane to run Bat-man. While Finger was not included in the negotiations, Kane still asked him to write it. Finger then created, according to Nobleman, “a hero who looked like a villain, a vigilante who was also a detective.”15
The conclusion that superheroes were Jewish became inescapable when the Museum of Jewish Art and History in Paris put on an exhibition from October 17, 2007 to January 27, 2008 entitled “From Superman to the Rabbi’s Cat,” which explored “the impact of the Jewish experience on the evolution of the comic strip and graphic novel.”16
By now it should be obvious that the Jewish superhero is also the Antichrist. The Jews rejected Christ because he was not a powerful military leader who would restore the Kingdom by military might as David had done. The Jewish Messiah is, in other words, Superman, which is to say a caricature of the real Messiah that they rejected. The superhero is the Jewish Messiah who brings about tikkun olam, the healing of the world, at a time of economic crisis, but in a non-communist way that did not jeopardize his standing as a good American. In his review of the Paris exhibition of “From Superman to the Rabbi’s Cat,” Jerry Iverson brings out the complexity of the Superhero’s assimilationist Jewish but non-Marxist identity:
Even as Robert Kahn had become Bob Kane and Jacob Kurtzberg worked as Jack Kirby, their superheroes reflected some of the identity they were masking, evoking Jewish concepts such as tikkun olam (repairing the world through social action) and legends such as the Golem of Prague, the medieval superhero of Jewish folklore who was conjured from clay by a rabbi to defend his community when it was under threat.17
For a brief period, the Superhero became overtly Jewish, as when Batwoman became a Jewish lesbian in 1986.18 But Nolan’s Dark Knight Rises is a throwback to the original era of the Superhero, the 1930s. Now as then the same America which prides itself on being the world’s most prosperous nation is suffering through an economic crisis that had been brought on, not by foreign terrorists who “hate us because of our freedoms,” but by the internal contradictions of Capitalism itself. Then as now, Batman allows us to avoid the real issue by creating a Jewish fantasy that 1) assures us that those in charge know what they are doing and have our best interests in mind, and 2) saves us from the embarrassment of being called Communists or sex and drug crazed protesters for disagreeing with the regime. Faced with a crisis of this magnitude, someone at the propaganda ministry had to step up to the plate and defend the system that is impoverishing us. Someone had to motivate the goyim to support the system of Jewish usury which has enslaved them.
ODIOUS TO AMERICANS
Christopher Nolan has answered that call with Dark Knight Rises. He knows that now, as during the 1930s, is no time to be an overtly Jewish hero, as Portnoy was in the ‘60s and Woody Allen was in the ‘70s. Contemporary Neoconservatism and its Jewish economic twin Libertarianism are now every bit as odious to the Americans who know what is going on as communism was in the 1930s. The reasons are obvious enough. At a time when Jewish economic geniuses like Alan Greenspan, Larry Summers, and Robert Rubin, the architects of the repeal of the Glass-Steagal Act, have ruined the economy by turning the stock exchange into one big casino for the super-rich, and at a time when Neoconservative Jewish geniuses like Kristol pere et fils, Paul Wolfowitz, and Richard Perle have led us into disastrous multi-trillion dollar wars in the Middle East resulting in unrepayable debt, the Jewish superhero is better off reverting to his WASP cover identity as Bruce Wayne, the billionaire weapons manufacturing philanthropist, and riding out the storm. Let Batman and the cops beat up Bane and Occupy Wall Street crowd as Lloyd Blankfein and Jamie Dimon look down approvingly from the boardrooms of Goldman Sachs and J.P. Morgan Chase. That’s the intention behind Dark Knight Rises, but as we all know only God can insure a perfect fit between what we want and what we get. In producing a propaganda flick like Dark Knight Rises, Christopher Nolan has done us all a favor by spilling the beans and letting us know who Batman is really working for.
E. Michael Jones is the editor of Culture Wars.
This article was published in the October 2012 issue of Culture Wars.
Jews claiming that Superheroes are Jewish include: David Hajdu, author of The
Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America,
Arie Kaplan, author of From
Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, Danny Fingeroth, author of Disguised
as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero, and
Simcha Weinstein, author of Up,
Up and Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book
Wars • 206 Marquette Avenue • South Bend, IN
46617 • Tel: (574) 289-9786 • Fax: (574) 289-1461
7. Jews claiming that Superheroes are Jewish include: David Hajdu, author of The Ten-Cent Plague: The Great Comic-Book Scare and How it Changed America, Arie Kaplan, author of From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books, Danny Fingeroth, author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero, and Simcha Weinstein, author of Up, Up and Oy Vey!: How Jewish History, Culture, and Values Shaped the Comic Book Superhero.
Wars • 206 Marquette Avenue • South Bend, IN
46617 • Tel: (574) 289-9786 • Fax: (574) 289-1461