Thursday, February 5, 2009

Too /or two/ extreme/s/

“Two-Face is a fictional character; a super villain and enemy of Batman who appears in comic books published by DC Comics. The character first appeared in Detective Comics #66 (August 1942), and was created by Bob Kane and Bill Finger. Two-Face was once Harvey Dent, District Attorney of Gotham City and an ally of Batman. After a criminal disfigures half of his face with acid, Dent goes insane and becomes the crime boss Two-Face, who chooses to do either good or evil depending upon the results of flipping a coin. Kane was inspired by a movie poster advertising the Spencer Tracy film Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and conceived the idea of a villain with a dual personality. Originally, Two-Face was one of many gimmick-focused comic book villains, plotting crimes based around the number two, such as robbing Gotham Second National Bank at 2:00 on February 2. In recent years, writers have portrayed his obsession with duality and fate as the result of multiple personality disorder and a history of child abuse. He obsessively makes all important decisions by flipping a two-headed coin, one side of which is scratched over with an X. Although not appearing in the 1960s television show that popularized Batman and much of his rogues gallery, Two-Face has been a prominent foe of the Dark Knight and is played by Billy Dee Williams in the 1989 film Batman (although only in his Harvey Dent persona), Richard Moll (voice only) in Batman: The Animated Series, Tommy Lee Jones in the 1995 film Batman Forever, and Aaron Eckhart in the 2008 film The Dark Knight. » (Source: wikipedia)

Although the majority of the audience gave their « two thumbs up! » to the late Heath Ledger’s Joker in the latest, very acclaimed Batman film « The Dark Knight », to whom the kudos were, beyond doubt, fairly granted to. I couldn’t help but show more interest in the other “bad guy” featured in the movie, none other than my all-time favorite villain Two-Face. Aaron Eckhart was superb portraying the very righteous District Attorney of Gotham turned destabilizing Two-Face, who decides fate on the flip of a coin. Will his victims be spared or condemned? Lucky or cursed? Is it going to be life or death? One time right, the other wrong.

… Isn’t Two-Face the most disturbing yet fascinating character personifying – really symbolizing good and evil as/in one? There is more to him than being your average, typical enemy, who is scary and we need to be saved from. Harvey Dent represented justice and light, but unfortunate conditions brought out the worst in him. Could it have been that there was a naughty side to him all along? Or why still rely on his coin, which clearly proves he still believes in the good that’s left in him? He is a walking contradiction, a fierce oxymoron. Perhaps that is the reason why I am so intrigued by the chaotic Two-Face. To a certain extent, I am assured that there is a bit of him in everyone.

Looking deeper into the subject of « Two-Face » made me thoroughly question the terms good and evil. What exactly characterizes one as bad and the other good? Is it all written in the person’s manners, choices, lifestyle, behavior, personality… words and actions? As the left column stretches out the positive points, does that make one more worthy? And if that weren’t the case, will bad finally rhyme with his name? Not necessarily, not quite.

The world is far more perplex than that. An angry person is never regarded as an asset, but to get mad at times will work wonders. Being kind is the best quality one will ever possess, but living in the soft department too much can also lead to a lot of trouble. But unlike Two-Face perhaps -- who literally sees the world in black and white --, shades of grey could be the way one should perceive things and act through them. The right-hand mind and heart represents the “coin” in everyday life. One judges what is fair and what not, often just counting on basic instincts and morals. Yet it is relevant to know precisely when and how to react to different situations and people, even when in the books, the specific “element” – such as anger or kindness -- is usually defined as either plain faulty or strictly good. A very nice person is always admirable, but showing “violent” emotions when required is also exemplary. Why live on extremes when the key is to actually find balance? “Be gentle but not naive. Be very honest but sensitive. Be outrageous but still responsible.” Standing on the edge will eventually push someone overboard – too much of anything is not healthy. Like Two-Face’s personality (yet in a less fatalistic way, evidently), terms are often considered only as opposites when actually, they are on the same page. Of course one should aspire to always be good, but giving space to the mean bitch on occasions is equally as important. Being both does not mean weird or regarded as a sort of corruption, it is understandable. Sense the “positive” power of being a Two-Face?

Furthermore, it is presumed that behaving on good intentions genuinely makes one a model citizen. Very true statement, indeed. But as soon as one commits horrifying deeds, he’ll directly have the BAD label on his forehead. Very common thought as well, would you not agree? However, it does seem slightly superficial as I wonder: “Is it really just one or the other: are you angelic or devilish?” Once again, there’s more to it than meets the eye. Immediately, this generalization brought me to the conclusion that craving for a direct answer to “what is good?” and “what is bad?”, whether one is talking about behavior or figuring out the essence of an individual, was nearly impossible to achieve. This thought stirred up even more as “what’s good for me might sound bad to you” echoed in my head. I estimate the proper definitions of good and bad to be far too definite. They seem stranded on two islands with very deep waters between them. But contrary to common knowledge, it is not the case: I suppose good and bad not to be far apart at all. Actually, like Two-Face caricatures, only a fine line separates them.

There are rules to follow, there are things you should keep away from, there are basic human values and a code of conduct one should respect. “Love all. Trust a few. And do wrong to none.” (William Shakespeare) The rule is to know the difference between right and wrong. But no one is born this good or has gone that bad. Only a little is enough to do and be good, as it is as easy to move to the other so-called dark side. But could it be that you perpetually swing in both camps because you are, obviously, only but a man? The thing is, like Two-Face, “mistakes and stardom” are ironically an all-in-one package. Don’t beat yourself up for falling on the X side of the coin. Everyone crashes at one point, then everyone rises. Again, and again. The human being will juggle between good and evil all through his life. But in comparison with what is often implied with either being “a sinner” or “a saint”, which, in my opinion, are also two too definite categorizations. I see distinctively that there is a Two-Face in everyone, not because there is both good and bad in all of us. But what a wonderful realization to know everyone holds the coin to be brighter than sunshine or on the other hand, become one who seeks the shadows instead! Accept flaws, bad habits and overcome failures, but reward the great achievements and fantastic gestures as well! No man is an ultimatum: Human beings are unfortunately capable of the worst, but I wholeheartedly believe even more in the best in people. Again, and again.

What will it be, Two-Face? I’ll let you flip that coin.