Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Batman Is Constantly Throwing Me Off

While I am teaching, I try hard to stay focused.

That's not totally accurate.

I do try, but I don't always succeed. When we're having fun in class, it's easy to go off on a tangent. Today's tangent was Batman.

Let me back up.

We read and analyzed a really interesting essay by Barbara Kingsolver titled "Life Is Precious, or It's Not." Her main argument is that we are a society that glorifies violence so our children are learning that killing is acceptable. Her call to action is to get rid of all of our books, movies, video games, and music that represent murder ("however symbolic") as anything but the tragic loss it is. This pushes students a little too far. That's why we analyze it. I told my class today that I am unwilling to give up my Batman movies (and graphic novels).

Just before moving into the next phase of the lesson, a student asked if I had seen the newest trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. Well, he got me. We spent two minutes of class watching Bane torture Batman, and Selena Kyle in her catsuit.

It was awesome.

My life has been full of Batman awesomeness lately. Last week our friends invited us over to play the Wii LEGO Batman game.

We were greeted by this:

On the kitchen table were a selection of snacks, like these:

Yes. That is actually a venus flytrap next to Poison Ivy's carrot cake.

They had a balloon pit for the kids (not a Lazarus Pit, thank heaven). Their littlest is just younger than Ji, and those boys went crazy with the balloons.

After the girls had both had a turn battling bad guys as Batman and Robin, I was paired up with their four-year-old to battle Mr. Freeze.

Here's a confession: I think this was the second time in five years that I've played a video game (if you don't count the three times I've died on Google Pac-Man). The last time I played a game was Dr. Mario on a Super Nintendo. My brother, sister, and I had a three-player game going, but since my gaming skills are pathetic they put me on the easiest level. They were busy competing against each other, watching the other's progress and freaking out because their diseases weren't eradicated quickly enough. The screen suddenly stopped; they both thought the game had frozen. The truth was that I had won. They hadn't even noticed my few laughing diseases had all been cured by my slow-falling Dr. Mario pills. I think that's the only video game I've won.

But I stood up and played LEGO Batman.

If I look confused, it's because I am.

I kept having to pause and figure out where the A, Z, and B buttons were. Our friends' four-year-old was politely asking if he could do different tricks, like constructing some LEGO carts and things. As a heavy magnetic-suited Robin, I fell down into the depths of Mr. Freeze's ice cream factory dozens of times.

It's good to be humbled. I may be able to rhetorically analyze an argument with my hands tied behind my back, but even Batman can keep me guessing.

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