I love a deal. I often have to remember to distinguish between a deal and a sale, though – a sale is usually a weak attempt to get me to spend money I probably wouldn’t otherwise spend. But for their 25th anniversary Image had a Humble Bundle. It was more than $400 of comics for less than 5% of that. DEAL.
The first thing I read from my haul was the initial trade for The Fix, a crooked buddy-cop tale of two officers using the badge to make themselves more comfortable. It’s an engaging, outlandish story through which valuable life nuggets sometimes snake out. At one point the main character finagles his way into being the security detail for a teen star in a downward spiral. As he relays the story he says, “but then they gave us everything we wanted, and there’s nothing uglier than that.”
So I got to thinking.
One of the first examples I thought of to support that statement was a scene from Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight. When Batman procures Lau from China and delivers him to the GCPD, it sets up a chain of events that arrests and tries nearly the whole criminal underground through a racketeering charge. The mayor, amidst the startling and positive chaos, needs some cajoling to go forward with prosecution. He’s told to “think of all you could do with 18 months of clean streets.”
It’s said with such reverence for optimism it completely dismisses the fact that nothing’s happened yet. That can be a progressive state of mind but also dangerous, which is particularly true in comically crime-ridden Gotham. Clean streets sound incredible until you realize it’s what triggers the mob to bring in the Joker.
Then there’s The Violent. Through that link you’ll find my thoughts on each issue of the first seven issues. Issue two, in particular, delves into how protagonist Mason wants to make everyone and everything happy, including the good and bad parts of his brain. He can’t differentiate between them. So when he can’t prioritize his family over a friend even when it brings him to a place he shouldn’t be and he gets arrested, we see just how little we can truly concern ourselves with.
The Violent shows us we can only spread ourselves so thin before the world reveals how it’s always less than we want. If we refuse to cooperate – in other words, insist on attempting to placate our every desire – it will roll right over us.
And of course there’s an applicable Simpsons moment here. Remember when Homer wants to become obese so he can work from home, all so he can avoid the exercise program Mr. Burns has put in place? How he finally eats Play-Doh to reach his goal?
Working from home wasn’t enough. He gets tired of hitting the Y key to say “yes” to safety requests and wants to go out, so he decides to let a drinking bird do it for him. He comes home to it having fallen over and an impending nuclear meltdown. He ends up stopping it by inadvertently blocking a release tube with his fat cushion but the lesson isn’t lost: his desires, when appeased, only expanded like his waistline. He kept it up and almost killed everyone.
So then: is “everything we want” an incomplete thought? Is it shortsighted? Is it even possible to know? We seem to have plenty of examples that show us only certain parts of our hearts and brains can speak to us at any given time. Maybe the real point of a story is to show us just that.