Hollywood’s influence over popular culture and politics is hard to deny. In this election period Republicans have been getting revved up over “The Dark Knight Rises” (reviewed in this week’s edition by Kevin Bowen) because of a recent controversy. Some members of the party have accused Bane, the villain, of being a Mitt Romney clone. The ultra-conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh defended the thesis on air, claiming that “The Dark Knight Rises” is pro-democratic. And yet, any relationship between the two is coincidental at best, according to people involved in the movie. So, what are the conspiracy theorists shouting about?
In the past Mitt Romney ran the investment fund Bain Capital. The argument advanced by Republicans rests on the theory that Bain equals Bane, the presidential candidate probably being as bad as Batman’s nemesis, played by Tom Hardy in the movie. Democrats accuse the Republican candidate of being responsible for massive job losses due to the activities of Bain Capital. And the pounding of the name “Bain” could unwittingly create an association with “Bane” in people’s minds.
Chuck Dixon, creator of the Bane character and reputed to be a conservative, quickly rejected Limbaugh’s on-air assertion, telling online publication comicbook.com, “I refuted this within hours […] Bane was created by me and Graham Nolan and we are lifelong conservatives and as far from left-wing mouthpieces as you are likely to find in comics.”
Jonathan Nolan, the director’s brother and author of the film’s screenplay, also commented, “only a total fool would buy into that sort of blatant b.s.”
That ought to put the matter to rest.