Dear Batman

Dear Batman,

I know you but you don’t know me, this is even so as you employ me but do not see me despite all the sophisticated surveillance [1] and information systems [2] that you and your family’s empire have created [3]. You think you are invisible and stealthy in your activities but you are not; you are keenly visible to all of us, people like me who are made to serve your beck and call invisibly, unquestioningly.

 

I notice that you seem to think you are having a conversation when you occasionally pull one of us aside to impart parables about your own life but you are monologuing, you are speaking to your own voice; you are used to hearing your own voice [4] and not others; you are used to being listened to [5] – I can see it in your eyes, a glazed look as you gaze over your memories where you are the centre of everything [6]; it comes of the yes culture [7]  you have had built around you and the unvarying privilege [8] which has been accrued to you as succour.

 

Your anecdotes you suggest as wisdom are empty calories of the soul; you proffer them as if you benevolently bestow life unto the listener, but they are the stories the rich tell themselves and little more. Even whilst you do it, I see you patting yourself on the back for giving something to those you deem need guidance – advice from a billionaire to someone who the banks will not extend credit to [9].

 

Nobody says anything because largely people are afraid of you [10] – even if they do not realise it; they know that they will be punished by your stylised disfavour, that they will disappear further from sight because of the world you and your other czar-ettes have created. People fear speaking out because they wont get the work [11] they need to feed their families and themselves, they will be silently and automatedly put on algorithmic watchlists [12] for unionised values [13] that determine what opportunities they get given [14]. They will get silently get passed [15] over as not suitable candidates [16] with not-the-right postcode [17], with not-the-right attitudes; they will get disappeared into the subtle categories of almost-people [18].

 

The fear breaks us, fractures our lives and communities with an uneasy silence we nurse around our tables – tables we cant afford to put food on [19] in rooms we cant afford to heat [20] in communities where even the benches and bins have been stripped out [21] leaving no spaces we can collectively assemble [22] without license and permission and coin from a civil service in thrall to you [23].

 

The very landscape of the city has been designed to be hostile [24] so that of a hot summers afternoon, when having taken an outing to read a book and felt dozy, a citizen cannot rest their head and close their eyes to think about the novel they escape into; the whole place has now been designed to keep people moving on [25] and surveiled [26] so that underpaid security mobs [27] come out and stir you from what quiet spots are left, otherwise they lose their job.

 

We have been sanitized from our own cities [28] and wild spaces [29], locked out from the diminishing gardens [30] and green spaces [31], locked into lives scavenged in the digital realms [32], corrals profiling data captures [33] and choices [34] strategising to shape our future possibilities [35]. We are forced to endure your virtue signaling charity casino nights [36] and endless gala days [37] branded with your companies [38] and delivered by vertically integrated supply chain collaborators [39] that scoop up the mythical trickle down [40]. No, it is not money or sufficiency that trickles down onto these streets in Gotham, it is nothing that you would keep in your bank vault, nothing that you and your empire see value in.

 

A rising tide drowns all those who have no boat in the sewage ridden water [41]. What is left in the hazy pollution [42] of the city are the dry sinews of the lives [43] of generations of people you have extracted the marrow from [44]; the toxic negative externalities [45] of the industrial effluents [46] and underinvestment in key infrastructure [47] that people like me have to rely on but are never depicted in your investment brochures [48]; pamphlets of a world increasingly barren of well-being [49] – a concrete, glass and steel construction of a vice gripping the hearts of people [50,51]] like the asthma that chokes our lungs [52].

 

Neighbours don’t know neighbours [53] any longer because even to visit a café is now an outing where people pay rent on social time with their family [54]; cafes designed to funnel all the scraps of disposable cash left back into your stock exchange coffers [55]. After a coffee and a cake – each bearing the sugary hallmarks of an adulterated ersatz food chain [56] – there is no more money to find a place in the lives of other people [57] so we are left bereft, and we fear what – and who – we don’t know because ‘the city’, its banks [58] and insurance machines [59], its institutions [60], its industrial scale employers [61,62] have taught us that we will get savaged.

 

What small businesses are left are dominantly located in neighbourhoods which price out the clientele they don’t want visiting [63]; the neighbourhoods where rents and mortgages [64] set by your real estate portfolio managers [65] ensure that only those who play your game – your colonizing empire of the soul – those who have bought into stocks and shares [66], financial instruments [66] which they short [67] and churn [68] at the press of a button [69] – can afford to live [70].

 

They are the people you have mocked up in your aspirational vision statements [71] of another neighbourhood gentrified [72], the digital watercolours with vague and flamboyant, clean, upstanding, designer clothed citizens [73]; none of the people are to be seen who live hand to mouth [74] crippled from a life’s work [75] or pollution [76], the mentally stunned in shock from the expropriation of their labour and health [77], the emotionally blighted [78] from the crushing weight of the world your empire has created – none of these people are featured in your architects plans [79] or your public relations photoshop vision sales [80], just like they don’t feature in your life [81], around your dinner table, or in your policies [82].

 

And when people break [83], when people are so hurt and starved [84], desperate [85] and shut out [86], they turn to crime [87]; first they may be taking drugs [88] to compensate for their lost habitat [89], community [90] and life, which gets them into the punitive system [91] you have endorsed with slush fund [92] crumbs and influenced to become another damned business [93]. Then when people are excluded from even the most menial of jobs [94] and maybe steal food [95] or anything to make ends meet the brutal and subtly sadistic justice system [96] puts them in the jails you under-fund [97], which are understaffed [98] and poorly trained [99], that twist the mind [100] of even saints in banal, cruel and unusual ways [101]; people who are made to never find rest [102], who never find the chance to be the better versions of themselves [103].

 

These are the jails you have cast as profit streams [104] with the mayor [105] and other merciless oligarchs [106] who reap the contracts on the captured labour [107] forcing low skilled [108], repetitive grind [109]; the monkey’s chained to turning the organ handle which makes the music getting the people to applaud [110]. People hardened over years [111] are dumped into the community with no support [112], who are told to their face they are the cursed walking the earth [113], the sleep deprived shunned [114] who are ejected into Gotham and told to make their own way – and if you can’t it is a mark of your character and a lack of trying and they were right all along [115].

 

Are you surprised they turn to the only parts of the city which will take them in without a poxy curriculum vitae read by your poxy algorithms [116] to digitally bin their chances for a job interview [117] ? Are you surprised they enter the only part of the economy left to them which values their human capital [118] as still theirs [119], turning a trick [120], selling some blow [121] or performing a hustle [122]? And when the communities have dried up coz they cannot pay your business rents [123] and the world has been forced to ground to live what marginal experience they but can, and the people cannot extend the hand of help to speak practically of forgiveness, is it a surprise that some crack and turn on others ? I know you ‘go-out-and-beat-up-the-bad-people’ but news flash, have you thought that you may be the problem ?

 

I, part of your all singing, all dancing troop of economically yoked and frankly abused domesticated work force [124], see you go out in your cutting edge body armour and combat weaponry striking fear into the hearts of the population by your brutal violence. Didn’t anyone tell you violence begets violence [125] ? The criminality is created by the economic system [126] you and your family and your hobnobbing nomenklatura [127] friends have brought into being.

 

Your dressing up in a fancy car and some hark back to a chivalric mythos [127] is you acting out your violent desire on a population placed at your mercy and put under such economic stress [128] that the populations have turned to blotting out the unthinkable [129] and making do with life choices [130] that might get them put in the jail because the world your empire has created does not offer sufficiency [131], it pits neighbour against neighbour, friend against friend, sibling against sibling, parent against child – all with you and your likes set as Caesars high on the Circus Maximus vainly adorned with conspicuous wealth illustrating who lives, who dies, who is worthy by your silently given favour.

 

Be it your nightly vengeance [132] or the policies [133] and structures [134] you impose on the world outside your bubble, what you are manifesting is rage; a sadism [135] which leaches like your majority share industries [136] into the aquifers of life. The money you have invested in arms manufacture [137] that you pump into the world [138] betrays your vanity in the close combat strikes you make on the streets; you fill the world with need and violence before launching yourself out in the squall to strike out individuals in highly visible ways making a parade of the occasional throwback [139].

 

How many have you killed ? How many have died Mr Billionaire Bat ? Of starvation [140], deprivation [141], hypothermia [142], preventable illness [143], stress related disease [144], malnutrition [145], suicide [146], despair [147]? How different is your battering mask to the mask you wear at charity masquerade balls held in exorbitant private estates [148] that the public like me, the little people your merchant bank chums [149] and legal buddies [150], do not even converse with. To you we are just wall paper in your mansions and drink delivering automatons there as agency staff – no contract [151], no dental [152], no health insurance [153], no payment of travel or breaks [154]; we are just there, less important than the canapés we serve before the auction where a sea of paddles waft up and down like fans in Versailles giggling over who gets the blood diamond studded collar [155] for their affection dog, a mutt bred purely to pander – its brain addled through generations [156] of Stockholm syndrome [157] training and killing off the wrong-uns [158] and making the compliant cousins hump [159]; dogs so genetically abused that they can barely breathe or function [160].

 

Your sheer capture of finance [161] has created ranks of clone wannabes [162] all prepared to off the next person or family in pecuniary ways – modes that facilitate the moral disengagement [163] needed for such immorality which gets talked up as amorality [164] at soirees. You are the single biggest property owner [165] in the whole of Gotham and employ factors [166], economic bagmen, to carry out the choke-hold on fresh businesses [167], legitimized economics of subsidiarity [168], before they get on their feet. Your stewarding, as I note you like to think of yourself, undermines the government [169] you bully [170]; the one you tacitly dictate and then lambast as the doer of all evils [171] because it wants to take ‘the peoples money’ [172].

 

Your tax arrangements [173] ensure the whole city comes to your doors with begging bowls; all the oligarchs came up through this path picked by your favour. You are a bully and you fetishize it by making a show of your conquests [174] and pantomime virtue sticking yet more cheap advertising [175] in another underfunded hospital wing [176] when ten are needed or some limp community building [177] which gets oversubscribed by workers [178] of failing charities [179] which need space to operate.

 

The collateral damage done to the health care of the people is plain to see in the state of the asylums [180] which are now functioning as means of sedating people to non-operational or compliant versions of themselves [181]. Your empire is an economic and social cancer [182] and you and your family’s behaviour has manifested it through endless growth [183], appropriation of resources [184] to the starvation of other enterprises [185], the integration and laying down of supply routes [186]  that dominantly lead into the empire accounts.

 

You seem to be under the illusion that if you lock up all the criminals there will be no more crime. Why don’t you use that exclusively educated [187] mind to read up on sociology, criminology, town planning, psychology, ecology, ethics, human rights and other subject areas needed to intelligently manage a metropolis rather than throwing cash around and influencing outcomes that suit your questionable taste for violence – structural [188] and physical [189].

 

Seek help batman for a person who dies wealthy dies in disgrace [190]. Give your fortunes back to the world they have been wrested from; dismantle your reinvented panopticon prison city [191] and let it develop as somewhere which promotes social and civic interaction [192]. Why don’t you disband your trauma bonded [193] yes-men-women-poodle-cultures [194] and open up subsidiarity market places [195] where people have a chance to operate a business without tithing to you ?

 

I forgive the desperate thief who raided my home, the half crazed mugger who knocked me out to steal the change in my pocket, the petty scammers who blight the day-to-day; but you I am not sure I can forgive as you continue to maintain and harden your decadent psychosis. Your crime is of a different order of magnitude [196] and what is possibly worst is you are not even aware that what you do is a crime [197] in the awareness of history. What is one to think about the individual who refuses awareness of their wrong doing [198], one who keeps doubling down in an attempt to make their actions the actions of others in complicity ? What is one to do about a madness so malign ?

 

Whilst the law forgives the McNaughton’s [199] they also become a ward of the state [200] – but what happens when Nero has set himself above the state he has set on fire ? What hope does Gotham have when it is bereft of choice and resources ? As a child I wanted to be you – all the kids did – you played across our screens as a hero and we scoured every detail of your life so that we may too become you; that is, until one day I grew and put the pieces together.

 

The grief I felt as I questioned the icon of hope I had held so long felt like what had happened to the schools [201], the roads [202], the water companies [203], the food chain [204], the air [205], the environment [206], the job opportunities [207], the hospitals [208], the world [209]; the countless dead and suffering [210]… I have seen what has happened to the other kids who wanted to be you; many of them have been ended, many of them in jail, many exhausted and a few droogs elevated into privilege to continue the cycle [211]; all of them have been touched by the extension of your hand. Your coin has sealed the eyes of so many a life I can no longer bear my own silence, the indignity of not telling you; so I have and in doing so at least I can keep something.


 

Alex Dunedin

 

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