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The Batman Problem

The Batman Problem

So I've been trying my best to understand more about structural racism, and taking a second look at elements around me that may contribute to it.

I think one of the more obvious sources that has pervaded our culture has been the portryal of the police as uncomplicated protagonists. The percent of network TV shows that are some version of "police procedural" often times seems to be 80 percent or higher.

If a police officer is portrayed poorly, odds are it is because he likes donuts or in the worst case, is a "crooked cop" who takes money from the mob.

Never do these shows mention or even hint at existence of "The Blue wall of silence", if they do it is regulated to a feature of an evil individual, such as a Sherriff in a small town in the south. Never would an entire metropoletain department be implicated, because to do so would acknowledge that the police force culture does NOT have a culture that "good guys" would have.

So I was already happy to goto war against TV pop cultural representations of police. But then I came across the following tweet, which stopped me dead:

Oh no, not Batman!

I really enjoy the "Dark Knight" iteration of "The Caped Crusader", the Nolan films being some of my favorite... But I have to concede the point to Sean Kelly here. Modern Batman is very much extrajudicial. He "gets results" when the police can't.

Say what you want about police procedural cultural crimes, who themselves, often allow their character to angrily strike out at a prisoner in frustration... But it is a rarity, whereas the major premise of Batman is that approach is "super" effective at stoppin crime.

Or put better by Mr Kelly:

Batman is a juggernaut in our culture, there are likely very few people unaffected by him as a symbol of retribution against criminals. But does it really matter?


Old Man

So retirement has been on my mind.

Not because I am close to it, but because it seems a solvable algebraic problem.

Acquire X money to live on for the remainder of your years which can be actuarily estimated for your currently age.

I don't use alegbra a lot. And it seems ill equipped to solve most other big questions in life.

The generations before us all got to have their "Free money as long as you draw breath", open ended pensions.

But not us, from my first week drawing a paycheck at my first job, my boss had a talk with me, insisting I set aside a certain % of salary into my 401k, and so I have.

A 401k, which I am still a quarter century away from being eligable to draw from by the way. So really, retirement should be the least of my worries.

However, money is math, and math is easy to think about. Highly quantifiable. You should see my spreadsheets.

But the thing is, money isn't all you need for a "happy" retirement.

Sidebar, I'm getting bored typing "retirment" over and over, henceforth it shall be referred to as "End Game".

To actually have a happy "End Game", takes more than financial planning.

Financially set, but estranged from one or more of my family members, and/or in poor health, is still a "losing" position.

It never really occured to me, that I should be worrying about, "investing" in things like my relationships and my health.

Again, the sexiness of compound interest makes is just too attractive for my min/maxing brain. It is the "tennis match playing on the restaraunt TV that I can't stop glancing at", level distracting.

But also "relationships" and "health" are not straight forward things to invest in. Exercise done poorly at my age, can easily blow out knees, shoulders, backs. It all seems like such inefficient faffing around to try to keep my heart in shape.

And relationships... Talk about unsolved domain space. I hope I don't screw things up and estrange my children and have a terrible relationship with them, but, what is the proactive thing I can do now to avoid that? Is there a stitch in time to save nine?

Parenting is hard because you just never see the new thing coming. You settle into a rhythm, and then they grow up more and change, and their behavior changes, and then your parenting changes, and then they change in response to that. It has all the makings of a three pendulum problem.

Although maybe health and relationships have stuff in common. Small issues crop up. You try to ignore them because you're too busy, and they turn into biggers issues, and by the time you try to address them it isn't a small issue anymore.

You remember to take care of yourself, and those you love. Keep them somehow in focus. Don't take them for granted.

That sounds hard... and worse, really hard to put into a spreadsheet.