Saturday, October 8, 2011

Love(s) of My Life 2: Both Ways

ID: I told you we were going to talk about Hush today, who’s a surgeon. Somewhat related, I sent you a link to a news story on Herbet Chavez, a 35 year old Fillipino who’s been undergoing plastic surgery to look like Superman. As someone who knew the man, knew him well, I think, how do you think he’d feel about that?

B: I think what Clark would say to him, if he were here, was that he should be his own man, his own super man. Because Clark was just a man. Like you, or I. He was better, I think, because of the effort he put in, to being better. To being kinder. More caring. To helping people, in the little ways I myself don’t always have the patience for.

As far as Herbert goes, I think imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. But Clark never wanted to be anybody’s hero. He wanted to be the best possible person he could. It was a byproduct of that that people loved him, wanted to honor him, worshipped him- and I don’t just mean his little cult. If he really wants to be like Clark- if he wants to feel like Clark- all he has to do is be better. We all have weak moments, where we fail to do the little things it takes to make the world a better place- and these are sometimes as inconsequential as listening to someobody’s problems.

That’s why Clark was my hero; because no matter how tired, and stressed, and raw he was, he found ways to make things easier for the rest of us. A lot of the time he didn’t even want us to know it; you know, he could move faster than we could see, dressing wounds, making coffee, just little things, that after a long day of evil, superintelligent gorillas kicking me in the spine, or giant robot spiders punching me in the face, or all the less ludicrous and honestly more sinister things we dealt with, made it easier to keep going, to fight the good fight another day.

ID: What if he just wants to be powerful, because he feels like he isn’t?

B: That’s harder. But essentially the answer is the same, though I’d say, as humbly as possible, the model is more myself. If you want to be powerful, it takes training. Strength training, martial arts training, education. I don’t know that I ever stood toe to toe with Clark, but there was more than once when I had his back, where I got to feel a little of that magic because I got to be a part of the things he did. So if he really wants power, he should seek it. I felt powerless, when I lost my parents. I can’t imagine living a whole life like that; I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.

ID: That’s a nice sentiment. I feel a little bad about that; when I told you we were going to talk about Hush, well, we will, but he’s not the focus. I don’t feel as bad, though, because you lied to me. You said you were single.

B: No. You asked me if I was dating anyone, and I asked why, which you took to be a no. I didn’t volunteer it, but that didn’t mean I hadn’t started seeing someone.

ID: That’s okay. Because I already know the answer to the question we’ve been pursuing for several weeks in our countdown to the love of your life, which unless I’ve lost track of someone, we should be revealing next week. So you can’t tap dance around it. Though you might want to make sure the new boyfriend isn’t reading the interview.

B: Too late. In fact, that’s how we met. He’s a lawyer who’s worked with me- and against me, as a matter of fact. But he came across the interview where I was outed, and decided to ask me out for a drink. It was weird, being the, uh

ID: The woman?

B: The receptive.

ID: I just want to make sure I heard you right and you weren’t mumbling ‘receptacle.’

B: Don’t be crass.

ID: I was just making sure you weren’t. This is a PG interview. Maybe PG-13.

But this here is where I dazzle you with my journalistic, um, entrepreneurialshipedness. After much research, and some dumpster diving, and more than a little snooping, I now know for a fact that your lawyer boyfriend- your beauyer, I’ve been calling him- is someone we should all be familiar with. Former District Attorney of Gotham City.

B: Don’t.

ID: One Harvey Dent.

B: Shit.

ID: Formerly the villain Two Face; in retrospect, it shouldn’t be surprising, given his obsession with duality, that Two Face is bisexual. But he isn’t Two Face anymore. He hasn’t been, since his scarring was fixed by a plastic surgeon whose name given name is escaping me at the moment.

B: Tom Elliot.

ID: The villain known as Hush. Incestuous.

B: Well, at the time, I thought Tommy was a friend. But all that Tommy did was erase the outward manifestation of Two Face. It was Harvey, with the help of his doctors, that finally turned the monster away.

ID: So he’s cured?

B: I think that’s the wrong way of looking at it. Harvey has a dissociative identity disorder. He’s a survivor of childhood abuse, as is common with that diagnosis. His father beat him, nightly. The abuse caused him to dissociate; he couldn’t handle a father who beat him every day, so he shoved those experiences into his subconscious, which manufactured a personality that could cope with the experience. Two Face became the person who got him through difficult times.

Ironically, it was their shared history of abuse that first drew Tommy to Harvey- it was why he agreed to try to help him. But unlike Tommy, Harvey had always wanted to do right. Tried to. The Two Face identity was usually in control, but he fought it, too. It was ultimately Harvey who saved me from Tommy; he shot him, twice.

ID: Okay, so he’s taken a heroic turn, and he was never really the same kind of violent murderer that the Joker was. At worst he was a Mafioso, but even that’s probably a stretch. For the sake of completeness, explain Two Face to the crowd.

B: Two Face came about, as a manifestation, because of a gang war. And I put extra pressure on the mob when I started being Batman. At the same time, the Holiday Killer was murdering people, most of them mobbed up. Carmine Falcone believed it was Harvey, doing with a gun what he couldn’t with an indictment. That’s why he was attacked with acid. The physical scarring accomplished what a lifetime of abuse hadn’t: it finally broke him.

ID: So you… feel responsible for what happened, to Harvey?

B: No. But it’s hard to say, if I hadn’t made Batman, say if I’d died with parents, it’s hard to say Harvey wouldn’t have gotten through those events unscathed. He’d probably still be district attorney, if not the State AG, maybe even the Attorney General of the country.

ID: So, not responsible, but guilty. You feel guilty about it.

B: A little.

ID: And is that a good basis for a relationship?

B: It isn’t. And it isn’t. Harvey and I were always friends. Even when Two Face was in control, I often saw Harvey try to assert himself, and I can think of more than one occasion where his coin said I should die, and Harvey said, “No.” I think he’s the only one who’s ever had me at that kind of disadvantage, whose own rules allowed him to harm me, who showed mercy like that.

But I do think it helps me understand him. I think my parents’ death helps me understand him. We were both of us born of tragedy. And we both dissociated. The difference was, there were still people I could turn to and, because of that I never fell quite so deeply into the darkness as Harvey did.

ID: Is it love?

B: I don't know. But I hope so.

ID: Want to flip a coin?

B: If you put one on the table, I'll feed it to you.

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