Youtube user Like Stories of Old presents his video Creating The Ultimate Post-9/11 Allegory: The Dark Night on Risk and Terror as a way of suggesting a similarity between Post-9/11 society and the society of The Dark Knight Rises. The video creates a structure through its use of texts to inform the viewer of the similarities between the way both societies handle risks and terror. Risk, in this sense, refers to the perceived terror a society may have towards the unknown. In the real world, this unknown terror refers to the idea of terrorists attacking the country again. As a means of preemptive protection, society assesses the risks of what could have caused such an event. In doing so a fallacy between risk and catastrophe occurs. The video underscores this fallacy, explaining how such an error does not take into consideration the actual process between risk and terror. The video refers to risk as the anticipation of a catastrophe. Even more, Gotham society further depicts a similar process of a perceived elevated terrorism in Post-9/11 society.
In order to create this parallel, the video constructs the soul of Gotham through the use of various cityscape shots. In doing so, the video wants the viewer to develop a familiarity with the environment. This creates a sense of spatial accessibility. This same structure parallels to the way that the video uses newsreels of 9/11 to depict the type of material that the media and the government use as a means of propagating a sense of elevated terrorism. These institutions use such videos to demonstrate the ultimate terror a society can experience if they do not let such institutions assess these risks. The various newsreels further create a parallel between the terror of Post-9/11 society and to The Joker’s reign of terror on Gotham.
Furthermore, the video focuses on constructing The Joker’s terror. Unlike any criminal The Batman has faced before, The Joker acts with full malicious intent. He does not search for any monetary benefit in terrorizing the city. Rather, he wants to instigate terror on the city to provoke The Batman. In this return, The Batman wants to end his terror. He will take all measures to ensure The Joker’s capture. Thus, he focuses his energy on tracking The Joker’s every move. In this sense, The Batman’s actions parallel the same way the U.S. government handles such perceived terror. Instead of relying on his own abilities, The Batman replaces his instincts and uses technology to spy on Gotham.
Continuing, the video juxtaposes The Batman’s ideology by introducing two other scholars as a means of guiding the viewer through this conflict. The video presents Prof. Ulrich Beck’s theory on modernity. He states that the success of modernity follows its consequences, the evil that has been suppressed. Therefore, in succeeding to eliminate the criminals in Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, then, follows the consequences of the utopian society that The Batman tries to create. The Joker realizes this same fallacy of modernity and uses it to show The Batman’s failure in wanting to create a perfect society. In this, The Joker’s spontaneity disrupts The Batman’s ability to trust his own instincts.
The video continues the juxtaposition of texts on the screen to the shots of chaos by presenting another point: the constant fear of terror forces those in power to assess the risks of catastrophe. Those in power will implement laws and systems that can ‘protect’ society from this perceived threat; however, the simple act of anticipation destroys that which protects the individual. This describes the same way that The Batman tries to take control of the city because he believes they cannot protect themselves from The Joker. At the same time, The Joker’s terror on the city elevates his status to that of a God or demon, an abstract concept that cannot be physically grounded. Thus, those in power—in this case, The Batman—implement their own rules and laws to ground this terror.
When The Batman loses his love interest, The Joker proves his point: in trying to protect the city and his love interest from such terror, The Batman could not realize that he could not play God. His omniscient ways proved him wrong because he focused on everything, yet he lost the only thing that he loved. The video echoes this same point by juxtaposing the scene in which Rachel dies to the ensuing chaos of Harvey Dent’s downfall. In this scenario, the desire to attain perfection through systematic control eventually destroys the individual’s right.