Batman & The Immutable You

A lot of this blog is dedicated to the mutable self - even the name bears testament to the fact that the trappings we wear shape our identities. And this post is about that kind of thing, too.

But let's talk about Batman for a moment.

Over the years, Batman has had many artists and writers. And each of those writers tells Batman a little differently; they can't help it. The movie The Dark Knight is not the same as the graphic novel The Dark Knight Returns. Tim Burton's Batman is just as different from either. Wildly different artists, media, and outlooks were brought to bear in these things.

Each artist tells Batman differently, because each artist is different. Batman is like this blog's eponymous pair of khakis; if you're writing a Batman story, that's part of who you are, you Batman-story-teller, you. But there is some thing that will come through as different.

Joe can be a Star Trek convention geek and a pick-up basketball player. And when Joe picks up those identities, they do change how he acts and is. But he changes those things, too. Joe, Star Trek convention geek, isn't the same as Mark, Star Trek convention geek, if you're in any position to pass anything beyond cursory judgement.

I have been Levi, hard-smoking, rum-swilling drunk, grinning at the screen like a fiend while twanging rock music poured over me. Today, I'm Levi, smoke-free and health-drink-crazed, staring at the screen while under the influence of hard exercise and Dido. And these things change me and change the actions I intend to take in future in fairly notable ways. I am another me, but I'm still me.

Alternate universe Spock... is still Leonard Nimoy.

We can be a thousand different people, and still be ourselves; our closest friends will always know us - and they'll still be our friends. Because what we, as people, learn to value about each other as we move from being acquaintances into being close friends is not the parts of a person created by their trappings, but the parts of a person that shape those trappings into being them again and again, whoever else they may also be today.

Television and movies often fail in that they can't represent this basic thing; in media, all changes to a person go all the way through, because all media character are ultimately pretty shallow entities. We're more solid than that. And that's awesome, too.

Whoever you are tomorrow, I'll meet you there.