Rush Limbaugh apparently thinks it is not a coincidence that the main villain of the new Batman movie will be Bane, homonymous with the name of Mitt Romney’s former company:
So, anyway, this evil villain in the new Batman movie is named Bane. And there’s now a discussion out there as to whether or not this is purposeful and whether or not it will influence voters. It’s gonna have a lot of people. This movie, the audience is gonna be huge. A lot of people are gonna see the movie, and it’s a lot of brain-dead people, entertainment, the pop culture crowd, and they’re gonna hear Bane in the movie and they’re gonna associate Bain. The thought is that when they start paying attention to the campaign later in the year, and Obama and the Democrats keep talking about Bain, Romney and Bain, that these people will think back to the Batman movie, “Oh, yeah, I know who that is.” (laughing) There are some people who think it’ll work. Others think you’re really underestimating the American people to think that will work.
As others have pointed out, the character predates this election by nearly twenty years. A little more interestingly, there are comparatively few conservative comic book writers out there, but it just so happens that Bane was created by one of them: Chuck Dixon.
Not to defend Limbaugh, because he clearly has no idea what he’s talking about and seems largely uninterested except in the phonetic angle, it’s theoretically possible that that Bane and Bain are connected. They might have, for instance, chosen to use Bane as the villain of the upcoming movie as a partisan potshot. Early on, the villain was actually slated to be a guy named Black Mask. Then it became Bane. Coincidence? To be perfectly honest, I don’t expect much different from Hollywood. The problem is that it falls apart after even a little inspection.
The truth is, if they were willing to sacrifice their art for the sake of partisanship, Black Mask would have been the way to go. Black Mask was born Roman Sionis, the scion of a wealthy Gotham family who could never live up to his family name. He has a fixation with masks. It would be remarkably easy to make a movie featuring Black Mask as a marquee villain and make him look a lot like Mitt Romney. It would require leading the movie to go somewhere other than where it appears to be going (Bane appears to be down with the 99%). But hey, what’s a plot when you can score political potshots? (At least, that’s what Limbaugh is implying.)
The choosing of Bane as a villain isn’t air-tight, though. First, they stripped him of his origin, more or less. One of the few minority villains out there (Bane is Latin American) and they remade him British. That’s a disappointment, not just for the sake of diversity, but because I’m sick of villains with British accents (even muffled ones). The only think that comic book Bane and movie Bane appear to have in common is their name and a propensity for strategic thinking. This is the opposite of Bane from the previous franchise, who had the origin and appearance (more or less), but was disappointingly a drooling idiot. Even with all of this in mind, though, if you need a mastermind with brute force, Bane is a pretty natural selection.
In any event, this turns out not to be the first time that Limbaugh has taken aim at fellow conservative Chuck Dixon. A long while back, Dixon had a character named Link Rambeau that was clearly patterned on Rush. Apparently Rush got wind of it and condemned it, without regard to the context of Rambeau’s appearance. The plotline involved a ridiculously liberal psychologist making the rounds on talk shows. The psychologist was clearly an idiot (he was trying to say that the Joker was merely misunderstood) and Rambeau opposed this train of logic. In other words, Rambeau was right and the characterization not really unflattering in any meaningful sense.
Okay, this is funny:
“It has been observed that movies can reflect the national mood,” said Democratic advisor and former Clinton aide Christopher Lehane. “Whether it is spelled Bain and being put out by the Obama campaign or Bane and being out by Hollywood, the narratives are similar: a highly intelligent villain with offshore interests and a past both are seeking to cover up who had a powerful father and is set on pillaging society,” he added.
As the Friday release date has neared, liberal blogs were the first to connect Batman’s toughest foe with Romney’s firm. But now even some conservatives, concerned Romney isn’t fighting the Bain attacks hard enough, see a similarity in the epic DC Comics fight and the political campaign.
It’s just as ridiculous when a Democratic strategist says it, but in light of the grief that Limbaugh is (rightfully) getting, funnier.