Wisdom from the Batcave by Cary A. Friedman

I once was a teenager with aspirations of becoming a comics artist. Above my drawing table, against the wall I would stare at blankly when I didn’t know how to draw what I didn’t want to have to draw, was a collage of Batman images meant to inspire me when I was feeling least inspired. There was something about Batman that clicked with me. Mostly he looked cool. But there was more. I would tell people that I considered Batman an excellent role model, mostly for humorous effect, of course – but only mostly, not quite only. I said I admired his can-do outlook and his lemonade from lemons attitude.

Apparently, I wasn’t the only one. Rabbi Cary Friedman thinks he’s a pretty good role model, too. He even wrote a book about it, Wisdom from the Batcave. Then, even cooler, he mailed me a copy! Thanks, Rabbi Friedman!

Wisdom from the Batcave is, in Friedman’s own words, a book “about recognizing the larger truths in a character of fiction1.” He sees Batman in particular as a model of heroic truth and of virtues like friendship, persistence, and courage. And, you know, I couldn’t agree more. I recommend the book to anyone, comic fan or not. It’s fun. It’s edifying. It’s written by a Rabbi who worked for the FBI.

But I do have one problem with it. In conclusion Rabbi Friedman notes that:

It’s always seemed to me that the people who read Batman tend to be more confident of themselves, of their ability to get the job done and to make a difference in the world than, say, fans of Superman, whose story begins with a gift of enormous, and unearned, power.

What!? Say it isn’t so! Oh well – I like to think that when you combine the ideals of the two you wind up with The World’s Finest team2.

1. Right on. I hope everyone looks for these larger truths in fiction. Otherwise, put the books down. Please. Just stop reading now.

2. A lame comic book joke. Don’t worry if you don’t get it. The people who do get it wish they didn’t.

One response to “Wisdom from the Batcave by Cary A. Friedman”

  1. I get it!Oh. Dang.

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