Can you: Reference ‘The Dark Knight’ in AP Lang

April 21, 2014 — by Nick Chow
Chow_Nicholas238

Senior Nick Chow

Pretty much everyone knows that I have a healthy obsession with anything related to the movie “The Dark Knight.” OK, maybe not a healthy obsession per se, but an obsession nevertheless. And what’s a better way to test my dedication to “The Dark Knight” code than to see how many movie references I can use during AP Language discussions?

Pretty much everyone knows that I have a healthy obsession with anything related to the movie “The Dark Knight.” OK, maybe not a healthy obsession per se, but an obsession nevertheless. And what’s a better way to test my dedication to “The Dark Knight” code than to see how many movie references I can use during AP Language discussions?

A few ground rules here: I have to use these references in context, be it in regular conversation or a full class discussion. No, I can’t just randomly yell, “I’m the BATMAN!” during a timed essay write — even though I might have been tempted to.
During the first month of Mr. Nguyen’s AP Lang class, we read Bertrand Russell’s essay, “The Value of Philosophy,” and he proposed an idea that roughly equated that one must adapt himself to philosophy, rather than shape philosophy to himself.
Instantly, my mind flashed to the 2 hour 33 minute mark of “The Dark Knight,” where Batman flees the police, all while Commissioner Gordon praises him, saying, “Because he’s the hero Gotham deserves … He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A dark knight.”
I then proceeded to share this quote with the class and continued to explain how Batman epitomizes this aspect of philosophy because he adapted himself to meet Gotham’s needs instead of the other way around. As Batman, Bruce Wayne serves the city, adapting “[his] Self to the characters which [he] finds in its objects.”
At first, silence and blank stares greeted me. But then as I explained further, people began to smile and laugh. I bet that inside, they were all thinking something to the length of, “Who’s this Joker to pull out Batman in Lang class?”
But while others might have laughed and made snide comments, I felt that I did a legitimate job relating a perhaps convoluted philosophical argument to a modern-day parallel, and I was proud of that. Also, Mr. Nguyen cracked a smile at my crazy analogy, so I guess that’s another accomplishment in and of itself.
The next time, I struck during a Socratic seminar, relating Walter Kirn, who wrote an article in The Atlantic about his struggle in the American meritocracy, as equivalent to Bruce Wayne and his initial fall and rise as the Batman. Perhaps next time I’ll attempt to relate Batman to proving or disproving God’s existence. Or maybe, I’ll try my hand at connecting the Joker’s philosophy to an argument disproving the existence free will.
Why do I do this, you might ask? Well, I for one, think that the classroom could become a bit more lively. Batman adds a bit of spice and flavor to classroom discussions. Sometimes, I look around the classroom, and see blank stares and bored faces. I always seem to be overcome with an urge to do something about it. Why so serious? Let’s put a smile on that face!
 

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