The Year Of The Mask: Bane Crashes The Superbowl

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Theatricality and deception are powerful agents to the uninitiated… but we are initiated, aren’t we Bruce?
—Bane

We interrupt The Year Of The Mask to bring you this special bulletin! It is February 2013, and apparently the power at the Superbowl has been knocked out by…Batman’s arch-enemy Bane?! Is it like The Dark Knight Rises happening ALL OVER AGAIN?????

HOLY LIFE IMITATING ART, BATMAN!!! (or…something like that. Some murky in-between hard-to-reach-with-a-washcloth liminal grotto like that)

In just another example of how deeply embedded our pop-culture is in our collective psyche, the temporary blackout at Superbowl XLVII was attributed to The Dark Knight Rises character Bane by hundreds of people on Twitter.

The pivotal scene in TDKR involved Bane taking over a football stadium and holding the attendees as hostages:

The profound resonance this movie had with Americans was evident in these Twitter messages, only a small portion of which have been screen-captured below:

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And yet, along with the quips and joking, there was also an underlying nervousness. Who sitting in that stadium didn’t immediately think, at least for a second, that terrorism might be to blame for the sudden darkness? With Bin Laden dead (perhaps as much as twice), what bogeymen did we have left to haunt our national subconscious?

It was up to Hollywood to fill in the gaps.

Besides Bane, there were two other…entities, if you will, which were also evoked as possibly causing said blackout.

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the Superdome during Hurricane Katrina

One was, of course, the “ghosts” of Hurricane Katrina, as the game was played in the rebuilt Superdome —the Superdome in which so many huddled masses were abandoned after the flooding of Katrina, some dying or suffering sexual assault. The Superdome was also believed by some to be “cursed” because of its proximity to Girod Street Cemetery; some Ravens fans blaming their team’s largely unsuccessful history on the curse.

But, thanks to sponsorship by Mercedes-Benz, the Superdome was supposed to be redone and rebranded—all that dark history behind them. Which reminds me of this Superbowl ad at the time by Mercedes featuring a man making a deal with the devil (played by Willem Dafoe):

Check out that “Illuminati” ring Dafoe was wearing:

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If that puts you in a conspiratorial mood, then the last “culprit” for who could have possibly pulled the plug on Superbowl XLVII will not surprise you too much:

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As we have seen so far in The Year Of The Mask, The Dark Knight Rises was pretty much a “resonator” within the public imagination since the shootings at Aurora. So it’s little wonder a nervous nation would assign the fictional character Bane the blame for the Super Bowl XLVII blackout…compare with the spectators in Times Square watching police stand off against a so-called “ninja.” In both cases, Batman and even director Christopher Nolan were invoked.

Terrorists bombing a major sports event…it was almost unthinkable. Certainly, the type of stuff that the Hollywood creative brain-trust regularly cranks out to thrill and horrify (“thrillorify”) the movie-going public.

But in two short months…it would happen for real. And the Goddamn Batman would STILL have a connection.

Bane—certainly, a formidable Batman, but nowhere near as iconic as, say the Joker—had just seen short-lived real-world political fame as a stand-in for 2012 presidential candidate (and Bain Capital co-founder) Mitt Romney…

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…he would later make a “comeback” in 2017, as President Donald J. Trump seemingly “quoted” him in his inauguration speech:

Bane: “We take Gotham from the corrupt! The rich! The oppressors of generations who have kept you down with myths of opportunity, and we give it back to you…the people.”

Trump: “…we are transferring power from Washington DC and giving it back to you, the people.”

What can you say? Bane is just a classic.

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