Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Batman Begins

It was not until late in the morning that I was ready to go into a sunlight so intense that it was impossible to read the dashboard monitors and check my speed although I was wearing my prescription sun glasses. The crystal light continued out to sea for some distance before hitting onto a bank of cloud which appeared to be laying on the surface of the water. It was first genuine reminder of summer for several weeks. I longed to feel the warmth of the sun and though my spirits were raised it did not immediately lift the feeling of sadness which had gripped me earlier. I became unhappy with me not the world.

The first destination of the outing was Sunderland Football club for a ticket for Boxing Day. The match marked the first return of Sam Alladyce who had made public his interest in the Sunderland Manager’s job before accepting Blackburn. I got a ticket behind the goal but close to the away supporters and just below the main concourse. It is several decades since taking a seat behind the goal mouth so it will feel a new experience.

Foolishly, especially because of what then happened, I made my way from the car park around the one way system towards Wearmouth Bridge, but it quickly became evident that everyone was heading for the town centre and last minute Christmas shopping. I ought to have anticipated this. I had driven around the corner into the Wearmouth Bridge Road on the inside lane so I continued around to the Sunderland Newcastle Road, ignoring to the two lanes of stationery traffic for the Bridge, and then crossed over to the far side lane and found myself passing where I had started but not more than five minutes earlier. The printer cartridge replacement shop on the corner was shuttered. Perhaps they had closed early for the Christmas. A new computer store has opened where I bought my wood framed double bed some six, seven or either years ago. There was further traffic build up approaching the only other bridge crossing of the wear for vehicles and pedestrians. Too lazy to get the map from the car and not remembering the name of the Bridge I attempted to find the information but instead discovered a new £100 million road bridge crossing between here and the A19. Once over the present Bridge the traffic appeared to be going to the shopping centre to the west or to the southern residential areas avoiding the city centre. I was heading for P C World next to the large B and Q centre for a new USB memory card reader as the one recently acquired ceased to function from overheating.
The new unit appears more sturdy yet cost £5 less. I will take greater care, or at least try to do so.

I did not linger but on making my way homeward, again deciding to take the coast road I stopped in Fullwell for the post office and two books of first class stamps and then at a convenience store for vinegar and some ordinary mince pies, forgotten on my visit to the supermarket the previous day.

The sun had disappeared and on reaching the sea front at Shields it was evident there had been a brief but heavy shower. The work on the South Bent Parks remains to be completed although appears nearly done. It should have been ready for August. A giant bushy Christmas Tree has appeared on the banking above the new bandstand but is undercoated. There are also small Christmas trees added to the shrubbery which surrounds two sides of the park. It was after 2pm when I returned and enjoyed a ham salad followed by ice cream.

I thought I had closed the freezer door properly. I had not and this was not discovered until going to bed. I will be eating very well tomorrow with cold meats for Christmas day meals and Boxing Day. Fortunately it was only food at the front which had commenced to defrost sufficiently to make refreezing unwise and this was moved to the refrigerator to complete the process. It is going to be a morning cook.

I was not in the mood for serious work so decided to watch Batman Begins the 2005 summer blockbuster which critics for once agreed was the best film of those brought to the large screen. I agreed with their reaction nut the film is not great entertainment and if not entertainment what is there else? The film creates a believable back story for the comic strip character, orphaned as a child by victim of the Depression the boy feels a sense of guilt and escapes top find himself as soon as he is in position to travel the world mixing with the criminal underworld to find how they live and why.

As a child he had fallen down a shaft on the estate and been frightened by the bats. Taken to the opera he presses his parents to leave midway during a scene in which flying bats are recreated and it is this is the cause of their leaving early and encountering the lethal mugger. On his travels he encounters a mysterious seer and teacher who trains him in a monastic environment at the top of a mountain Tibetan style and on his return to Gotham City, a modern international city, with the help of his guardian played by Michael Caine, he determines to use his wealth to tackle the crime and corruption which has taken over the city during his absence. Conquering his fear of bats he adopts the creature as his persona, using his wealth to acquire the latest materials and technology, and his training and natural abilities to develop the concept into the legendary cartoon strip character. All this is needed as the his mentor visits the city with the purpose of cleansing its corrupt people and only Batman is able to thwart this plan as well as tackling the major figures and their henchman who are terrorising the good people. The action takes places at night and overall the film is very dark in every sense. Just as Superman is adored by an investigative reporter Batman has a childhood female friend who has become one of the few campaigners for good as a member of city justice department. As with Superman she has contempt for the say to day alter ego of her hero but comes to realise they are the same individual.

Strip away all the contemporary fantasy creating film techniques this is a simple story of the battle between the good and evil within all of us, cowardice and fear, courage and honour. Earlier there was an amusing science fiction nonsense in which the scientist who has discovered time travel tries to hide his device as the government plan to use for military purposes, thus it was ever so, and it is time the myth and illusion was ended that those who become scientists in any field of invention and originality are unaware that their work can be out to military and negative purposes as well as for the good.

For the past six years a group of animal welfare terrorists committed acts of physical and psychological violence against a company using animals for the developments of new medicines, turning their intentions to the workforce and the suppliers. The most alarming aspect of the case was why it took so long for the authorities to catch the gang involved and bring them to justice. I have sympathy with those who find the use of any beings for experimentation unacceptable especially when paid and death are part of the trial and error involved in search for new ways to assist and further the welfare of other beings, and can also understand the mind set which changes idealists into dangerous fanatics who do harm than good, to other beings, as well as to their cause.
Work which is designed to prevent premature death or deformity, whether natural through biology and diseases, or through economic and political systems, ignorance and accident is always to be commended, except when it causes harm to some beings and where the justification is the greater good. It is the understandable defence of all governments given responsibility for the protection and furthering of the interests of the majority that they will accept the sacrifice of some in the cause of the many, although it is also the responsibility of government to seek to protects the welfare of everyone, including those who are the critics of government. However if you use means which are incompactly with the ends then you become the same as those you oppose.

In my own instance I am fighting against the reality of old age and that I no longer have the physical energy to work for as long and as consistently as five let alone ten years ago, Instead of trying to maintain and improve physical ability, I compensate by over eating which in turn means less energy and ability to work. I resent using the decreasing time when I am mentally and physically fit in non work activities such as walking or exercise within the home even if it just for half an hour. I need to break out of my present cycle into a more constructive one.

There were three stories in the overnight online news media which aroused my interest. I can understand how those who feel they have no influence on a society which they believe, usually rightly, the odds are stacked of those who already have wealth and power against those who through no fault of their own do not. The New York Times had an excellent article on why serious university students, such as the one featured, are becoming Muslim activists. Aged 20 he was ambitious and with ability and wanted to study abroad but discovered that he lacked he connections to be allowed to do so. He found that by joining the Muslim Brotherhood at University his background and connections did not matter. The article uses this example who young people across the middle east and elsewhere are turning to fundamentalist Muslim beliefs because of its inherent sense of justice and as a means of fighting in the inherent conservatism of their government a conservatism which tends to protect the existing order of power and wealth.

This may be sp but it does not auger well for the future of the rest of us. The government‘s in question and Saudi Arabia is the one likely to be regarded as the worst offender by these young people and as they article by Michael Blackman argues, are unlikely to voluntarily give up their wealth and power, or promote moderate religious or secular movements. The consequence is that young people, who might have been attracted to democratic movements, genuine socialist developments now find themselves in the vanguard of preaching an intolerant fundamentalism which requires the state to reflect the religion in its worst as well as better aspects. One bright development is that of the educated young women who do not accept that adoption of the faith requires them to become slaves to an exclusively male view of religion although this will require considerable sacrifice and martyrdom from some, for just as those with the wealth and power oppose anything or anyone who could affect their position adversely young Muslim men, supported by their religious teachers and elders will oppose all suggestions of a religion or state in which there is equality between the sexes.

It is also unfortunately a truth that in all movements based on strict acceptance of a hierarchical structure the realistic compliance of the majority is required and the elimination of dissent becomes a priority. Recently I watched again the film of George Orwell’s Animal Farm in which the rules are revised in order to suit the changing needs of the new hierarchy as they become more and more like the people they initiated the revolution against. It is always those who question who are eliminated first and it is no accident that under Communism and Fascism and other Dictatorship hierarchies that the dissenter, the free thinker and the artist are the first to be persecuted, expelled or worse still executed.

I am still optimistic that president Elect Obama will use his ability to command a consensus to bring about real change. The way he distanced himself from the corrupt politicians mortgaging their integrity to the lobbyists and worse augurs well and it is encouraging that he has sown distance between himself and the transitional team and the State Governor only the last in a succession of corrupt men. It was right to release the findings of the internal investigation.

A more difficult test is the approach taken in how the billion age package of economic stimulation will be focussed. The understandable response of State Governments and Legislatures is to press for every road highway scheme on the books to be brought forward. The proposed Sunderland River Wear Crossing in Britain is an example of this. However I share in the view of the environmentalists that we do not need more road or more vehicles unless they can become carbon monoxide free. The same applies to new airport runways. The problem is that many of these projects are shovel ready while the new grids for wind and solar polar are in the early stages of planning and development. My local Council sent an email pressing residents to limit the extent of paper and other immediately wasted material used for Christmas presents. Well done. I had already taken heed.

No comments:

Post a Comment