Batman and Prejudice

My favorite Batman actor was Adam "Some days you just can't get rid of a bomb" West. Then there was Michael Keaton, Val Kilmer, George Cluney, and Christian Bale. Next up, Ben Affleck. None of the tough guys warm my heart like Mr. West does though. 

Six unique portrayals of the Batman character. Why not stop at one or two? After all, once you've seen one Batman movie, you've seen them all, right? 

But that isn't the case, not by a long shot. That's because people like to hear the same story over and over, especially if there is a bit of variation between one telling and the next.

The story of Batman is the story of fighting for what is right in spite of the odds. It's the story of the inner struggle between light and darkness, and the hope that light wins even when no hope is in sight. It's about personal sacrifice, and duty, and a thousand other things we, as humans, identify with. No matter how many times the story is told, there will always be millions of people ready to hear the story of Batman again.

Plenty of other stories have been retold many times over. Pride and Prejudice has been made into four films and four televisions series (I myself am partial to Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy). Love wins over stubbornness and misunderstanding and treachery. It's a story we need to hear again and again. We also need to hear the word equanimity every once in awhile.

Movie number four certainly wasn't the final version. Be on the lookout for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to be released in the next year or so. 

As artists, we each have a story to share. Your story might be conveyed through painting or performance art or speaking words or writing songs. Whatever your medium of choice, what matters most is the story you care about and the unique way you tell it, even if it has been retold countless times. 

In our world of mass media, storytelling has become centralized to a large degree. We rely on others to make movies for us to watch, songs for us to listen to, books and articles for us to read, stuff for us to buy. But after all the watching and reading and listening and singing along, we are still ready to hear the story -our story - again.

Like a little girl who wants hear - again - the story of how her parents met, or of when her mother held her for the first time, we can't get enough of the story of how we are all different yet the same, all of us experiencing what it means to be human.

We need to hear from each other that, yes, life is wonderful and horrific and confusing and amazing and sometimes lonely, and always worthwhile. There is meaning to be shared, and it goes beyond eating and sleeping and working and trying to stay sane.

It might seem to you that nobody wants to hear your story since it is a story that has been told before. But the truth is, we the people want to hear your story because it is our story, told in a slightly different way. Familiar, yet different. We want to hear from you because it helps us remember that none of us are truly alone.

It's risky to stand up and tell your story. People might make fun. People might choose not to listen.

But what if someone does listen? What if something is sparked within them? What if your story gives them the courage to tell a story or, even better, live a story that wasn't a possibility before they heard from you?

That's the end of the post, but I do have a couple of other things I want to mention in closing. The first is that I'm getting ready to write a series of posts about art and money, so be on the lookout for those in the coming weeks. 

The other thing I want to say is that, if you found this post to be helpful in some way, I would love it if you shared it with someone you know. Sharing makes Batman very happy.