Gotham Cable News

July 3, 2008

Everywhere in Gotham, One Question:
Who is Batman?

It's the biggest topic of conversation in Gotham City.

In offices, kitchens, barbershops and beauty parlors, everyone's speculating on the real identity of Batman. Who could this masked man really be?

"We talk about it all the time," said Wayne Enterprises secretary Janice Greetear. "It's definitely water-cooler conversation."

"Everybody has their own theory," said Todd Sieviersky, owner of Todd's Gotham Barbershop. "Usually it's the first thing people talk about when they sit down."

So GCN is joining the conversation. We've put together a round-table discussion on the question.

Our participants:
  • Bobbie Dooley-Rutherford, private investigator
  • James Levine, reporter on organized crime in Gotham
  • Felix Q. Freeblood, federal criminal profiler for 27 years, author of "I Didn't Do It!: Inside The Mind of The Criminal Mastermind"
  • GCN: Bobbie, James, Felix, thank you for joining us. Why don't we start with the obvious: Who is Batman?
  • Freeblood: That's the question, isn't it? Well, I think we know several things. First of all, this is a very intelligent, physically fit man. He's smart enough to get away with this type of outrageous vigilantism for a very long time. That requires organization — execution — lines of entry and exit into very high-trafficked locations. It requires an intelligence reminiscent of an engineer, or another profession that requires detailed planning.
  • Dooley-Rutherford: I agree, he's certainly a college graduate or higher, but someone who is not living up to his potential. He's frustrated, very frustrated. His life hasn't gone as well as he planned. One of my pet theories here is that he is a highly-educated man unable to get a job in his chosen field. He may live at home, and be considered a bit odd by neighbors. A narcissist who has grown up expected to do great things, but is filled with anger that he hasn't been as successful as he was expected to be.
  • Levine: It seems to me that there is a bit of pathologizing of Batman going on here. Batman does not strike me as a madman or motivated by any psychopathic concerns. Perhaps he is a regular Gotham citizen, like the rest of us, who saw violent crime destroy someone close to him. Perhaps, his genesis began when he himself was victimized.
  • Dooley-Rutherford: This is a man consumed with frustration — rage, really. Rage at a world where, as he probably sees it, scum, trash, and criminals are more successful than he is.
  • Freeblood: I would imagine that this is a man, perhaps, who has tried his hand at crime. Perhaps a mugging, or a burglary, but that a brittle psychological structure and a type of authoritarian morality prevented him from continuing down that path. In his guilt and shame, he turned to stopping crime.
  • Levine: Batman's existence does not need any grand explanation. The violent crime rate on the streets is reason enough for a phenomenon like him to exist.
  • Dooley-Rutherford: Any man who puts on a costume and attacks criminals has to be motivated by some deep childhood trauma.
  • Freeblood: I agree. I believe that this is a man who looked for an outlet for his white-hot rage. Perhaps he tried crime first before he became the caped crusader he is now.
  • Dooley-Rutherford: We should also not forget the exquisite physical conditioning that Batman has shown. Flying, gliding, fighting — he does it all. I suspect that we may be looking for a physically-obsessed loner, perhaps a "gym rat" who spends all his time working on his body. There is a bit of the exhibitionist about him, showing off in front of all of Gotham. Perhaps he is a frustrated bodybuilder?
  • Freeblood: I see him as painfully shy without his costume.
  • Dooley-Rutherford: Yes, I have considered that as well.
  • Levine: I think we may be on the wrong path. What do we know about him? We know he is an extremely intelligent, elusive man who is very physically fit. That's all we know. The rest is, excuse my language, hooey.
  • Freeblood: I'm not so sure. I think it's safe to say he is frustrated with his own job and often thinks himself better than other people. You may not hear him talk much, but he will often talk about crime and about the latest Batman sightings.
  • GCN: Thanks much to the group.