Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Holy Mackerel, Batman!!

One of my favorite movie memories. Hanging on a rope ladder from the Batcopter, Batman is dragging on his leg a shark that has jumped out of the water to attack him. It is in that original Batman movie, the one before Batman became serious and dark, when Robin actually says "Holy Mackerel" and saves Batman by handing him the Bat Shark Repellent he carries down the rope on his utility belt.

Later this classic dialog:

BATMAN: Hmmm, pretty fishy what happened to me.
GORDON: You mean where there's a fish, there could be... a Penguin.
ROBIN: But wait! It happened at sea. See? "C" for Catwoman!
BATMAN: Yet an exploding shark was pulling my leg!
GORDON: The Joker!
O'HARA: It all adds up to a sinister riddle. Riddle-er! Riddler?

Those were the days for screen writers; plenty of time to get the laundry done now. :)

Years later around 2001 or so, this classic email picture showed up in every one's email box as if it were, Holy Mackerel, real...

It was forwarded unquestioningly by millions, surely. It was everywhere.  And here is where I have questions about the ability of us all to understand reality enough to make viable choices in a society based on democracy. Sure, I can watch some reality shows and ask myself "People believe this?" But the real question should be "When we watch or read the news, do we the understand the subtleties?"  I know I spent most of my life learning these things myself. And I still surprise myself on what an idiot I can be.

Basically I'm worried about the giant corporations with money to spend on the brightest minds. This power is used to influence government and the power of bribing officials directly with money has been elevated to the level of freedom of the speech. They have "direct democracy," influencing specific laws that affect their companies. Lobbyists can make sure the companies have daily influence. I have a vote every few years or so and vote for a representative, never directly on a single issue or law. Our minds, voting every so often, against those bright folks who spend their whole day thinking and researching what will increase their company's profits, voting every legislative day.

So, has our representative democracy jumped the shark? :)  Or was that a theme for a Sex in the City episode?  I can't remember.