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Old April 3 2013, 09:19 PM   #16
xortex
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

So I guess then that he wasn't delusional, but thank you anyway.

So what's to say that Batman wasn't psychotic either? a highly functional and intelligant one not unlike the joker but his opposite, his nemesis.
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Old April 3 2013, 09:26 PM   #17
JD
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

While Batman might not stable person, and he could probably use a couple good sessions with a shrink, I don't think I'd go so far as to call him crazy. I think it's pretty clear that most versions of the character are perfectly rational, he obviously knows the difference between right & wrong, and as a general rule he does do the right thing.
EDIT:Sure, he might not be the nicest guy you'll ever meet, but being an asshole does not make you crazy.
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Old April 3 2013, 09:43 PM   #18
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Actually it's questionable whether the Joker qualifies as criminally insane. The Law and the Multiverse blog addresses the issue here:

http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2011/...anity-defense/
Take the Joker for example in addition to denying that he is crazy, the Joker does not actually display any likelihood, in most continuities anyway, of being eligible for an insanity defense. He always knows exactly what he is doing, and always knows that what he is doing is illegal. That, right there, means that he cannot successfully assert an insanity defense.

The same can likely be said of almost all the characters in Arkham Asylum. Very few if any of them are under the illusion that blowing up buildings is anything other than blowing up buildings. The Riddler commits crimes, knowing they are crimes, as a demonstration of his alleged intellectual superiority. Black Mask is motivated by revenge. So, arguably, is Poison Ivy (at least in certain continuities). All of them know exactly what they’re doing, and most of them display extraordinary planning and strategic capabilities. They certainly are capable of forming the requisite mental state to be guilty of a crime.
...
Of course, many supervillains do suffer from mental illnesses of some sort, even if they aren’t sufficient to make out a defense of insanity, so housing them in Arkham isn’t necessarily inaccurate or inappropriate, but neither is it evidence that the inmates there were found not guilty by reason of insanity. Many jurisdictions recognize a verdict of “guilty but mentally ill,” and this may explain why so many apparently legally sane supervillains end up in Arkham.

Let's look at the specific adjectives xortex used. "Psychotic" is a very broad term encompassing a wide range of behaviors, but generally means being out of touch with reality, having delusions or hallucinations or impaired insight. It can also apply to bipolar disorder, i.e. manic-depressiveness. "Deranged" is simply a vernacular term for "disturbed" or "insane," with no clinical meaning. "Demented" means suffering from dementia, i.e. severely impaired cognitive ability such as the loss of memory, linguistic skills, attention and focus, or problem-solving capability, as seen in patients such as Alzheimer's sufferers. "Delusional" means holding a fixed counterfactual belief despite all reason and evidence.

So let's see. The Joker is a criminal mastermind whose intellect rivals Batman's. He's able to formulate and execute extremely elaborate master plans. So he's certainly not lacking in cognitive ability, focus, or problem-solving skills. And his linguistic skills are superb; one can't engage in effective banter and wordplay with impaired language ability. As for his memory, he seems entirely capable of remembering things that matter to him, being able to hold grudges for years or orchestrate long-term master plans. So I think it's completely wrong to say he's demented.

I'm not sure if the Joker has ever been unambiguously shown to suffer hallucinations. He seems to have a pretty good grasp of reality in most respects. But I'd definitely say he's bipolar, prone to extreme mania and shifting moods. And you could perhaps say he's delusional, in that he believes his acts of cruelty, anarchy, and homicide are a comedic performance, and in that (per some versions) he sees Batman as more a partner of sorts than an enemy, or at least as his primary audience. (The recent "Death of the Family" storyline had the Joker trying to kill off Batman's partners and sidekicks so that they wouldn't weigh him down anymore and he and Joker could get back to the purity of their early confrontations. B:TAS's "The Man Who Killed Batman" had the Joker mourning Batman's apparent death because "Without Batman, crime has no punchline." The Dark Knight Returns had the Joker retreat into catatonia until Batman came out of retirement.)

But essentially, the modern Joker is portrayed as a serial killer, and that makes him a psychopath rather than a psychotic. Technically the diagnostic term would be antisocial personality disorder -- a pattern of "disregard and violation of the rights of others" characterized by factors such as "failure to conform to social norms," "irritability and aggressiveness," and "lack of remorse." (I'd also throw in clinical narcissism as part of the diagnosis, particularly in Paul Dini's version.) But this is not a disorder that meets the legal definition of insanity. As discussed in the law blog linked above, that requires being unaware of the nature of right and wrong at the time of the commission of the crime. And that's not right and wrong in the moral sense, but in the legal sense -- a crucial distinction. The Joker may sincerely believe that he's doing the right thing by inflicting chaos and suffering on the world and teaching them what a hollow joke reality is... but at the same time, he's entirely aware that what he's doing is a violation of the law. He rejects the law as a delusion in itself, as a foolish belief that order and justice exist when actually (in his view) they don't; but he does know that he is violating the law of the land when he kills people or blows up buildings or breaks out of Arkham. He just doesn't accept that he's bound by that law. So he probably doesn't qualify as legally insane.
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Old April 3 2013, 10:27 PM   #19
Kaijima
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Besides the clinical analysis already posted, one aspect always bugged me about accusing Bruce Wayne/Batman of not doing something "more productive" than dressing up in a costume:

He is doing something besides being Batman.

In most continuities Wayne Corp and the Wayne Foundation are portrayed as massive philanthropic enterprises. It seems reasonable to assume that as Bruce Wayne, Batman is funding plenty of good works for society with his fortune. At various times the foundation has funded social work, infrastructure, civilian charities, and the actual police and government in Gotham City. Of course, it could be argued that the effectiveness of this is downplayed in order that Gotham remain crime ridden and dark, so that Batman has an appropriate environment to prowl around in.

And that's a fair claim. But it doesn't change the fact that Batman doesn't just run around in costume. It could be logically inferred that he already does everything a "normal" person with a lot of wealth could do in order to encourage a better society. This seems to back up the idea that Batman's problem isn't that he's insane, irresponsible, or doing the wrong thing to help society. His emotional attachment to his life experiences drives him to do something yet further beyond what he can do as a (wealthy) private citizen.
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Old April 4 2013, 12:56 AM   #20
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

I think the technical term for his condition is "batty" or maybe "batshit crazy".
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Old April 4 2013, 01:42 AM   #21
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Batman is the sanest man on the planet.
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Old April 4 2013, 01:52 AM   #22
Admiral Buzzkill
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Yes. Batman is fucking nuts.
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Old April 4 2013, 02:01 AM   #23
Gov Karnstein
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Fledermausman... He is a nutter. In real life he won't last very long, even if he might make the occasional amusing story. http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsround/21660671
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Old April 4 2013, 02:03 AM   #24
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Frank Miller's All Star Batman? Yes.

Classic, DC, Batman? No. We see Batman, as Bruce Wayne, more or less run a perfectly normal life with reasonably normal relationships with those closest to him (Alfred and whoever is Robin this year) while operating as the head of, in some capacity, a major international corporation. Even as Batman we see him have some level of a normal relationship with other members of the Justice League (most notably Superman.)

He's just able to put on a good show of being crazy to put terror into the hearts and minds of Gotham's criminals. Batman isn't strictly "crazy" but he's able to put on a good enough show of it to make criminals second guess themselves a little bit.
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Old April 4 2013, 02:16 AM   #25
Mr. Adventure
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Trekker4747 wrote: View Post
Frank Miller's All Star Batman? Yes.
No, he's just godda.... I'm not going to go there....
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Old April 4 2013, 02:23 AM   #26
xortex
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Out of touch with reality, since the Joker thinks he is unreal, qualifies Batman as psychotic obsessed with revenge. It's the Joker that's simply evil mainly because he's continually pursued and aggrivated by Batman to avenge his parent's deaths which as I say might have been handled normally through the proper channels in the courts. Instead he goes on a vigilante avenger type manhunt that makes and forces the Joker to possibly be worse than he would have ever been otherwise - a super villian evil nemesis in response all for the sake of Batman's insatiable personal revenge.
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Old April 4 2013, 02:40 AM   #27
Christopher
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

Gov Kodos wrote: View Post
Fledermausman... He is a nutter. In real life he won't last very long, even if he might make the occasional amusing story.
But that's just it -- he doesn't exist in real life. He exists in a universe where gorillas can talk, dwarf-matter costumes can shrink people to microscopic size, emotions are color-coded as cosmic forces that can be harnessed as energy sources by space cops, gangs are bankrolled by evil gods from a planet called Apokolips, and both crimefighters and criminals all over the world have been donning colorful costumes and themed gadgets for generations. It isn't Batman that's crazy; it's his world that's crazy. Within the context of the world he inhabits, his behavior is perfectly normative and adaptive.

Indeed, turn it around. Take the most Bruce Wayne-like person in our world, a billionaire philanthropist who supports law enforcement and social reform without personally becoming a master martial artist and animal-themed ninja, and put him in the DC Universe. He wouldn't last very long there -- he'd probably be robbed blind by Catwoman or the Penguin or driven out of business by Lex Luthor or gunned down by Intergang within months. And people there might think he was crazy to think he could successfully fight crime without having a secret identity, fighting skills, or some kind of superpowers to protect him against the inevitable retaliation. By their standards, Batman's methods are the saner way to go.

I guess the problem is that most people are more familiar with screen versions of Batman and other superheroes than the comics version, and in most screen versions, the featured superhero is the only one around. Given that, it would seem more eccentric and bizarre. But even so, a lot of those versions of Batman occupy worlds that are crazier than ours -- particularly the Batman of the '66 sitcom and the Batman of the Burton and Schumacher movies. Those were two (three?) very stylized, exaggerated, campy alternative realities full of extreme, flamboyant criminals, so a flamboyant and eccentric approach to fighting crime wasn't such a bad fit. And when Nolan gave us a nominally more naturalistic world (though still one where the physical laws that govern microwaves, nuclear fusion, spinal injury recovery, and the like are quite fanciful), he went to great lengths to explain why adopting the Batman persona was not a delusional act, but a consciously created performance enacted by a rational man in order to achieve a specific purpose.
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Old April 4 2013, 02:42 AM   #28
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

xortex wrote: View Post
Out of touch with reality, since the Joker thinks he is unreal, qualifies Batman as psychotic obsessed with revenge. It's the Joker that's simply evil mainly because he's continually pursued and aggrivated by Batman to avenge his parent's deaths which as I say might have been handled normally through the proper channels in the courts. Instead he goes on a vigilante avenger type manhunt that makes and forces the Joker to possibly be worse than he would have ever been otherwise - a super villian evil nemesis in response all for the sake of Batman's insatiable personal revenge.

I wouldn't say Batman is out for revenge - he's out to stop the suffering of others at the hands of criminal.
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Old April 4 2013, 02:54 AM   #29
xortex
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

What inevitable retalliation? You're assuming his world is corrupt?
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Old April 4 2013, 03:10 AM   #30
Geoff Peterson
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Re: Is Batman crazy?

xortex wrote: View Post
Out of touch with reality, since the Joker thinks he is unreal, qualifies Batman as psychotic obsessed with revenge. It's the Joker that's simply evil mainly because he's continually pursued and aggrivated by Batman to avenge his parent's deaths which as I say might have been handled normally through the proper channels in the courts. Instead he goes on a vigilante avenger type manhunt that makes and forces the Joker to possibly be worse than he would have ever been otherwise - a super villian evil nemesis in response all for the sake of Batman's insatiable personal revenge.
That assumes the Joker is a reaction to Batman or that the Joker killed the Waynes. The latter is only true in Burton's film. In most other versions the Waynes are killed by a two bit nobody armed robber named Joe Chill.
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