Bane, Bain, Link Rambeau, Rush Limbaugh [Updated]

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.

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.


  1. The decision to go with Bane would have been made before the GOP primary. Which means for Rush to be right, this is the SECOND worst use of a time machine ever.

    • There’s not a big enough eyeroll in the world for how monumentally stupid the mere concept is. That the producers of Batman, a year or more before the GOP primary, decided to go ahead and sandbag Mitt Romney….just in case.

      Godzilla couldn’t eyeroll big enough for that. Those giant space aliens from Robotech couldn’t. Cthulu would be hard pressed to roll his single, baleful eye, enough to express how dumb the concept is.

      And if they had — if they HAD two years ago decided to go ahead and use the movie as an anti-Romney vehicle, then I can’t help but wonder why they’re making movies when they could be ruling the world.

      • I think the more important thing is how utterly weak the “sandbagging” is. If they were actually wanting to go after Romney, there would be more direct ways to do it. I don’t consider the “two years ago” to actually be as much as a disconfirmation than the Bane they (apparently) went with.

      • Sauron, though? He’s got one hell of a eye.

  2. Someone who was wondering “Hmm, should I vote for Obama, or should I vote for Romney?” and decides “Oh, Batman’s enemy in this movie has the same name as a company Romney used to run, so I’ll vote for Obama” was probably not a person likely to vote at all in the first place.

    Seems to me that the choice of Bane and Catwoman as characters for the last of the Batman movies was made for the reason of verisimlitude. Could you even approach the goofy villany of the Riddler or the Penguin or Poison Ivy in the gritty, tortured-souls world of this permutation of Batman?

    • Yeah, word association would really only take villains so far. Especially when Bane’s politics appear to be anti-Bain.

      Penguin would be tough because the version you would want to use would be the one from Batman Returns, and of course we’ve already seen that in movie form.

      Riddler would open up some real possibilities with the 99%/1% dynamic. The engineer who was screwed by work-for-hire, made his company millions, was terminated, and is out for revenge against the power structure. Not physically intimidating like Bane, though, and that’s the rub. You could combine him with a physically intimidating villain… but Bane is the one that comes to mind (and the mere thought of trotting Bane out as a henchman – again! – makes me angry).

      Mr. Freeze has a similar story, but wouldn’t really fit at all. Poison Ivy would definitely a no-go. Maxie Zeus? The Ventriliquist? You’re right that they are low on options. That’s probably one of the reasons that a relative no-name like Black Mask even came up as a possibility.

      • There’s only one Batman villain for the 99%er role.

        I dreamed I saw Joe Chill last night,
        alive as you and me.
        Says I “But Joe, you’re ten years dead”
        “I never died” said he,
        “I never died” said he.

        “In Gotham, Joe,” says I to him,
        Him standing by my bed,
        “He got revenge for what you did”
        Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead,”
        Says Joe, “But I ain’t dead.”

        “The Caped Crusader killed you, Joe,
        He shot you, Joe,” says I.
        “Takes more than guns to kill a man,”
        Says Joe, “I didn’t die,”
        Says Joe, “I didn’t die.”

        And standing there as big as life
        And smiling with his eyes
        Says Joe, “What they forgot to kill
        Went on to terrorize,
        Went on to terrorize.”

      • The new Penguin is very 2012. He’s a guy, in a booth, in a restaurant with two vacant chicks sitting next to him as he discusses business with whomever stands across from him at the table.

        All of his dealings are plausibly deniable, he leaves the restaurant only to go home, and he can make a fairly decent case that crime would be less organized if he weren’t in that booth. Heck, he can even sell his rivals down the river to Batman from time to time.

        A devil you can cut deals with. A devil who will play ball.

  3. If you want to make the argument that Hollywood writers are predominantly liberal, there are a thousand better ways than this.

    If I didn’t know better, I would suspect this was some Colbert/ Borat deep cover parody to make Limbaugh look ridiculous.

  4. Are you pondering what I’m pondering, Romney?

    But, Bain, who would put a dog on top of a moving car?

  5. Also, it has come to my attention that some Democratic vandal has added the word “bane” to online dictionaries, defined as “a cause of misery or death”. Clearly an attack on Romney’s time at Bain Capital.

    Actually an attack on Bain for sounding like the word “bane” is even more bizarre. I can’t even do it. It’s like a writing partisan hack version of the trouble/pool song from The Music Man.

    • If I were watching a TV show, and the name of a corporation was “Bain Capital”, I would immediately assume that these were Bad Dudes, and would be rolling my eyes at the lack of subtlety of the writers.

      I actually half-considered a post explaining how every Batman movie ever made was actually in preparation for this election and further proof of Hollywood’s hatred of Romney.

      • One might wonder why a company would give themselves a name that sounds just like a word, bane, that is sort of a bad thing. Was it someone’s name? I don’t know. I wouldn’t name a company Kanser or Phear or Pane.

        • Okay, at some point I am going to have to name a character “Kanser” (pronounced can-zer) and that’ll become a thing with the character.

          Anyhow, the company was founded by Bob Bain. I would have decided not to name the company after me, in his shoes, regardless of whether I thought there was a remote chance it wold be used against the political aspirations of my future protege.

          • Named after a guy named Bain makes sense. I’m guessing he didn’t care how sort of ominous his name sounds. Or maybe he liked it.

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