Is Batman crazy?

Discussion in 'Science Fiction & Fantasy' started by xortex, Apr 3, 2013.

  1. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    A paranoid delusional schizophrenic? He was an eye witness to his parents murder. Why didn't he try to charge Jack the Joker with their murder in court first. Did he just assume Gotham was corrupt already. He basically created the Joker by forcing him to defend himself of Batman's revenge wreaking havok on Gothem in the process. He lived in a cave, was definately eccentric or accentric, antisocial and had mental problems and issues, which justified or not were handled wrongly. He lived in a cave and dressed like a bat.
     
  2. Silvercrest

    Silvercrest Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Do you specifically mean Burton's Batman? Half your statements only apply to that movie.
     
  3. Asbo Zaprudder

    Asbo Zaprudder Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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  4. Mysterion

    Mysterion Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Oh, no doubt. An army of psrinks could get their children through college and med school on Bruce Wayne's problems alone.
     
  5. Mark_Nguyen

    Mark_Nguyen Commodore Commodore

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    And a whole other army on Batman's various enemies..

    Mark
     
  6. Samurai8472

    Samurai8472 Vice Admiral Admiral

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  7. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    dude, this is so weird, I've been considering doing a thread on this. My point of view is yes, he is.

    From an objective standpoint, his "mission" is crazy. Obsessively devote yourself to a one-man war on crime to the exclusion of your own happiness and normal life. Not to mention, dressing up as a bat and being a vigilante is a pretty stupid way to fight crime. Why doesn't he run for office or use his financial resources to combat the social causes of crime? His method is the most inefficient way of doing it, and then to add to that, he refuses to kill, which means that he willingly lets mass murderers like the Joker get more chances to kill, in contrast to his stated mission of making sure others won't have to go through what Bruce did as a kid.


    I agree with the Joker in "Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker" -Batman's still a little kid crying for his mom and dad. He never moved on and got over their deaths. He let their deaths DEFINE his entire life, how is that not crazy?
     
  8. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And he tries to achieve this by asking small boys to hang around on roof-tops wearing hotpants?*





    * Yes I know they aren't actually hotpants.
     
  9. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    "Crazy" is not a valid diagnostic term, just a petty insult. "Insane" is a term that has a legal definition but not a clinical one. Is Bruce Wayne legally insane? Absolutely not. He is aware of the nature and quality of his actions; he knows that he is fighting criminals in Gotham City instead of, say, battling Nazis in WWII or fighting demons in Hell. He is aware that his actions are extralegal, as evidenced by the steps he employs to conceal his identity. He does not suffer from diminished mental capacity; he has a brilliant analytical mind and a degree of perceptiveness that exceeds most people's, enabling him to be a master detective. He would thus certainly be able to understand the proceedings in a court of law and participate meaningfully with his defense.

    Now, approaching it clinically, is Bruce Wayne psychotic? Absolutely not. He does not hallucinate or suffer from paranoid delusions; the enemies he fights are real, and he knows who and where he is. He does not suffer catatonia, excess or purposeless motor behavior, extreme mental preoccupation, or dissociation; on the contrary, he retains solid control of himself both mentally and physically beyond what most individuals are capable of. Were he psychotic, he would be unable to function as a crimefighter or maintain a successful secret identity.

    It could perhaps be validly said that Bruce Wayne has a personality disorder -- perhaps something in the narcissism spectrum, an exaggerated sense of his own importance and the belief that he must personally defeat crime rather than trusting in the system. But I doubt narcissism would work, because it's characterized by a lack of empathy for others, and Bruce's whole life is about empathy for the victims of crime. It might be more accurate to say that he has an emotional disorder, inability to let go of the grief of his parents' death and move on with his life; but he has parlayed this disorder into something that's actually very constructive. Plenty of people can manage their personality disorders and direct them in a functional way, and only the most petty and mean-spirited of people would call that "crazy."

    People often say that dressing up in a cape and tights is a sign of psychological dysfunction, but while that might be true in our world, it doesn't work as an argument applied to Batman. After all, he lives in a world where lots of people wear capes, tights, and other flamboyant costumes as part of a crimefighting career. It's a normative practice in his reality, and it's no more crazy for a crimefighter in the DC Universe to wear an animal-themed costume and mask than it is for a crimefighter in our universe to carry a metal badge around.
     
  10. JoeZhang

    JoeZhang Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually in some versions he does - when they did the Bruce Wayne: Murderer storyline, they did a rather odd story in a single issue which isn't even part of the cross-over which explains why he owns the gun that is used to commit the murder because a giant Batman told him to. So right upto the revamp, the last version of Batman did - on page - suffer from hallucinations.

    Moreover, in the most recent version he broke a young girl's noise simply because she was following him around and refused to summon a doctor to help someone who had acid splashed in their face because "it is a family matter" - signs of a dangerously unbalanced individual with warped judgement.
     
  11. Enterprise is Great

    Enterprise is Great Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    It depends on the writer. Some write him as if he's "crazy" and other write him as if he's not.
     
  12. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Key words, "in some versions." But some versions make less sense than others. It's frankly ludicrous to claim that someone who's clinically delusional could be a functional crimefighter at all, let alone the World's Greatest Detective. Knowing what's real and what isn't is pretty much essential to being a detective. So anyone who writes Batman as insane is not thinking it through.


    Sounds more like badly out-of-character writing to me. Even so, what you're describing there is a personality disorder or just general jerkiness, not insanity by any clinical or legal definition.

    The problem is, too many Batman writers are trying to do The Dark Knight Returns, but TDKR was never intended to be a typical portrayal of Batman; it was meant to be an extreme alternate future, and in some ways a deconstruction and dark reflection of the lighter version of the character and his world that had prevailed in comics to that point. So some writers just make Batman gratuitously dark and harsh and brutal because they think it's cool. But that just doesn't fit a character who's voluntarily given up the cushy, comfortable life he could easily have because he's passionately devoted to making sure other people don't have to lose loved ones to crime the way he did. He's not about the kind of gratuitous brutality or cruelty you describe. He's about fighting those things, about stopping the kind of people who would cause unnecessary pain to the innocent. So I'd say the warped judgment there is the writer's.
     
  13. Agent Richard07

    Agent Richard07 Admiral Admiral

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    I'd say that with the modern darker versions of the character, he's sensitive, antisocial and suffers from emotional trauma, all of which he acts on. He does have a sharp mind, but a lot of people with issues have sharp minds. Some of the worst people I've met are pretty sharp and have a calm rational demeanor.
     
  14. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Like George Bush? But the Joker was obviously psychotic, deranged, demented and delusional, and functioned quite fine as a criminal, so what's the difference? He's not glorified? Are people starting to identify with bad guys like Bond being a government assassin anti-hero who is smooth and charming and gets all the girls and the fancy cars. Heck, JJ's Kirk got his own Starship pimped out. Vin Diesal's Riddick and XXX were also basically crimals and killers yet we love them. Why?

    Bush's goal was to destroy evil. How is that not insane/ Dr. Severin was declared insane by Spock and the list goes on and on as to what defines insanity and why we love it in this time of guns and violence. What's insane to me is building a gun in the first place. Why doesn't the US crack down on whoever builds guns and/or brings them (smuggles) them here just like drugs. The police in Britain don't have guns and I don't think the Enterprise should have either, personal phasers or a ship's weapon's system and no need for Reed, who liked to blow things up. Aggressive thoughts invite aggression especially with species like the Vulcans out there or what could be much worse, telepathically speaking. How would you like to live in an axis of evil country where you eat a bowl of lentils a day compared to the unbelievable excesses of money and corruption and garbage of the USA?
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2013
  15. Servo

    Servo Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    :wtf:

    Umm... he was a criminal. A psychotic criminal. All the traits you mentioned are pretty much essential for the Joker's particular brand of criminality, hence he's able to function as a deranged criminal, because he's deranged. If Batman had all those issues, he would not be able to function as a crimefighter on pretty much any level. There's the difference.
     
  16. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    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.
     
  17. JD

    JD Admiral Admiral

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    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.
     
  18. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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

    http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2011/01/18/supervillains-and-the-insanity-defense/

    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.
     
  19. Kaijima

    Kaijima Captain Captain

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    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.
     
  20. Mr. Adventure

    Mr. Adventure Admiral Admiral

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    I think the technical term for his condition is "batty" or maybe "batshit crazy".