I loved, Loved, LOVED “The Dark Knight!” In my opinion, Christian Bale is the ultimate Batman (sorry George) and the late Heath Ledger was phenomenal as the Joker. Of the Batman movies I have seen, I thought it was the best; so, I was amped for this summer’s release of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Like many people I am sure, I entered the cinema this past weekend with a mix of emotions. My heart was heavy for the victims and their families in Aurora, Colorado; as a result of the shooting, I was a little on edge and extra observant of my surroundings – especially when people got up during the movie; and yet, I was totally excited for what was about to unfold on screen and pleased that I had not spoken with anyone who saw the movie nor had I read any reviews beforehand.
Had I done either, I wouldn’t have been surprised by the movie’s dystopian view of our economy or its portrayal of our country’s complicated relationship with wealth.
I left the cinema thinking about two books: Octavia E. Butler’s sci-fi novel – “Parable of the Sower” and Philip Gerard’s historical fiction – “Cape Fear Rising.” The former is set in a future world where the government has collapsed, unable to address the chaos that is a result of “unattended environmental and economic crises;” the latter is based on real-life events during the late 1800’s (during Reconstruction) in Wilmington, North Carolina where a community of affluent blacks were massacred because of their wealth, by white residents of the same community. (Similar events happened in the 1920’s in Tulsa, Oklahoma – in an area referred to as the “Black Wall Street” and in a self-sustaining neighborhood in Rosewood, Florida.)
In case you haven’t seen the movie yet, but plan to, I won’t spoil anything by talking about the plot. However, I will say that while I thought the movie was good it was no where near as great as “The Dark Knight.”
Instead, I want to focus on why I believe “The Dark Knight Rises” is the perfect prompt for asking the harder questions we seem to avoid when it comes to wealth and class, and, yes, even race.
Scarcity vs. Abundance: The Ultimate Battle
The movie presents an extreme, visual example of what happens when there is a misguided notion that your abundance takes away from mine and vice versa. Like others of its type, the movie pits the classic battle of “good vs. evil” – aka “abundance vs. scarcity.” Watching these two forces fight for dominance on screen (and ultimately in our hearts and minds as well), I couldn’t help but think of the 2012 U.S. presidential election campaign.
Even though I am fairly certain the production of this film wrapped long before the current election season, the film mirrors the social and economic issues of the campaign to a “T.”
Are rich people “bad” because they have wealth?
Are poor people “good” because they don’t have or have little money?
Are your intentions only good if your suffering is like my suffering?
Does my having a dollar (or $10, $100, etc.) mean I’m taking money away from you, or preventing you from getting yours?
On the surface, these are actually simple questions. So much so that their profoundness gets lost. But they are actually the harder questions we need to ask because of what happens in the process of answering them — when all the hidden muck is unveiled.
If we took the time to honestly engage in a discourse about the simple, but harder questions (and there are certainly more to be asked than what is noted above), we just might be able to uproot our true fears behind how and why we engage with each other as we do. And, we just might be able to heal our country’s complicated relationship with money and wealth and prevent a dystopian end of our society.
Whether you’ve seen the movie or not, what do you think: Do you believe our culture has a complicated relationship with wealth? Let me know in the comments section.
p.s. are you ready to get out of the red and back to black? Are you tired of feeling shame, overwhelmed, and stressed about debt? If yes, click here to get on the list to learn more about a new program launching soon.
The Financial Wheel
The exercise & eCourse that will help you get clearer on how the choices you are making (and need to make) affect your life - today and in the future.
You are a better woman than me, Jacquette. I’m not in a place yet where I could see the movie and not be thinking incessantly about Aurora. I have a tendency to unproductively replay real-life horror movies over and over unless I work really hard not to – aka not going to a movie theater for a while. But I can of course still contemplate the questions you are asking. Yes, I believe that the campaign ads are asking us to draw some unproductive distinctions between wealthy (and greedy) vs. poor (and deserving). What fascinates me are how many truly struggling folks have an easier time identifying with policies that benefit the 1% and how many affluent people believe they have a responsibility to build a pathway out of poverty and struggle for those who are hurting. What do you believe is the question we most need to be asking about money and wealth?
GREAT WRITE UP.
Thank you, Mommy! (Check out my mother being all social media in her late 60s…go Mommy!)
Alexia, your points are spot on! They get to the humanity that is underneath, if we just took the time to share our stories. We all have a story, and it is both shaped by money and shapes our experiences with money. So to your question, I believe we most need to ask the following: For the person who identifies as 99% to the person in the 1% >> how did you do it? How did you create your success? By listening with an open, non-judgmental heart, you’ll discover some universal pearls of wisdom, and you’ll realize that no one is exempt from the vicissitudes of life. For the person who identifies as 1% to the person in the 99% >> What support do you need right NOW? In most instances, the tipping point for someone is just one call, one client, one opportunity away from their breakthrough. Perhaps the 1% can be that vessel or has someone in their network who can be. The important element here is to listen in the spirit not as “rescuer,” but as someone who is a channel for someone else’s blessing; this is powerful for both parties. What I’ve discovered personally and observed professionally is that the more we know about someone’s journey, the more we realize we probably have more in common than the appearances on the surface reveal. Plus, sharing our stories reminds us all that at the end of the day we are stewards…
Jacquette, thanks so much for sharing this thought provoking question! It really gets at the heart of alot of our decisions – esp our financial ones.
Is there a story you can share from your background that gets at the heart of the 99% and the 1% question?
Loved the Dark Knight Rises, simply amazing movie but, yes, the killing of innocent victims in Colorado filled my heart with grief.
I would really like to applaud to get so much out of this movie. This post has really made me think. I believe, yes, sometimes, we do have a complicated relationship with wealth, which is not true. Good and bad people can be found in all sections of society, rich or poor. But segregating people on the basis of wealth is not a right thing to do. Everyone gets what he is destined to.
Thanks for the post Jacquette! I believe our culture’s relationship with wealth is at best misinformed. There is a book called The Millionaire Next Door that has some good insights on what what our culture thinks and what is true about wealthy people.
I haven’t seen the movie myself, but this article was so engaging that I guess I know each and every aspect of the movie after reading it. The relationship between wealth and humans has been complicated since centuries and I guess will remain so for more centuries to come. This article is just amazing. Thanks for the post.
Thank you for sharing this post. I loved this movie and the way it was made, the special effects were great. I think being wealthy is just an important thing in everyone’f life, however they have to remember that life is not always perfect when you have money.
I agree with you here, I loved this film and it is my favourite out of the sequels! Great actors too! Love this post- just ordered the books you mentioned – thank you for sharing!