Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Would you rather?

One of my favorite podcasts, Jordan, Jesse, Go!, has a reoccurring game called "Would You Rather?" Last November, in Episode 45, hosts Jesse Thorn and Jordan Morris tackle a rather "counterfictional" question:

Would you rather. . .
A. Be a great and celebrated novelist, or
B. Be friends with Batman?

Given the proclivities of the contributors of this blog, I thought it would be an interesting question to also pose here. What do you think? Would you rather?

Some important points that you will want to consider before making your decision:

  • What era Batman? We should assume a "modern era" Batman, but given the scope of literature, from year one to one hundred, I'm not certain what "modern era" is supposed to mean to us.

  • Is friendship with Alfred implied here?

  • In terms of being a novelist, will you be a popular, or rather a literary novelist? Let's assume that you can choose your own path here, whether you fancy the life of James Patterson or Philip Roth.

  • But, really, more questions about Batman. Would you have access to all things Batman? Can you bring dates into the Bat Cave? Will you be introduced to the Justice League? Can you help out with the crime fighting?

  • Jesse and Jordan bring up the astute point that being friends with Bruce Wayne immediately grants you access to anything. You're plugged into the social scene! Do you want to meet Al Gore? Well, just have your pal Bruce set up a benefit dinner and send the private jet. A counterpoint, however, is thinking of what bad things come with being plugged into the Batman world. Will becoming friends with Batman make you a target of the Penguin? Of course it will.

  • Will Batman help you move? Pick you up from the airport? Would he be too tired to hang out on the weekends?

  • I think the choice is clear, but is it too obvious?


    Tim said...

    So, basically the choice is Penguin or the Penguin?

    Gavin said...

    In all honesty, Penguin over the Penguin. (Especially when it's put that way. I'd kill to see one of my own novels in that elegant black Penguin Classics binding.)

    The only way I'd choose Batman would be if I got to be Robin. Not some stupid tag-along hero like Azrael or Sasha Bordeaux. Robin. With the likelihood of becoming the Batman when Wayne dies.

    Otherwise it's not worth it. Wayne, on the whole, is a lousy friend. Good in a pinch, like when you owe a mobster money, but not around much and he never, ever helps you move.

    Additionally, I really don't want to live in a universe that has a reality-altering "Crisis" every ten years or so. No one needs that shit. I'd take being James Patterson over that.

    Tim said...

    I'm with Gavin. Even without the collapsing of multiple worlds onto each other, Jason Todd coming back from the dead, etc., Gotham is a hole. An insane asylum with supervillains. I don't need that noise.

    I'd only take the gig if I could be Batman's friend in Tuscany. You know, like Indy has Salah in Cairo.

    PoN said...

    Batman doesn't have buddies.

    Tim said...

    Re: PoN, yes! And as Gavin and I agreed in our dialogue, Batman always has a plan to kill everyone he knows. And that, I think, would poison the friendship.

    Tim said...

    A similar question, re: Star Wars -- if you were married to Natalie Portman, and knew she would die, would you turn to the dark side if you thought you could save her?

    Brandon said...

    To Tim's last question, I certainly wouldn't turn to the dark side to save her. Sure, the temptation would be intense, but as someone that always identified with Luke Skywalker (as we all did growing up, I'm sure), I'd like to think that my faith, integrity, and nobility outweighed my desire to wield the dark side. In a sense, it's a bullshit argument to make -- "I'm better than that." But it's as we've been saying about Batman and his moral code. There simply are things that Batman has restricted himself from doing by virtue of a code. This is one of the sexiest things about Batman, or Luke Skywalker. It's like with Omar Little from The Wire -- Is Omar as compelling a character if he doesn't wield his ghetto code? No, he's not.

    All that said, it really sours Anakin Skywalker that he turned to the dark side for such a petty thing as to alter the fate of his wife. Petty might not be the right word, but when you put the fate of one woman up against the fate of the universe, I'd say the more noble individual would sacrifice the one life for the benefit of the universe.

    Robin said...

    Wait, what about being Alfred? Can't I be Alfred?

    B/c I would *totally* be Alfred. He gets to dress up & go out on adventures sometimes... but mostly he kicks it in the Batcave.

    Tim said...

    Robin, you just want to be Michael Caine.