If Dogberry Had a Blog


Michael Keaton as “Dogberry” in “Much Ado About Nothing”

From “How to Practice ‘Vigitance’ without Offending Anyone”

  1. Sleep freely and without conviction:

In my humble experience, one of the least offensive ways of keeping a steady watch by night is to sleep at free and regular intervals. If you make it to morning unmolested, you will be as fresh as the bright dawn sun that greets you and more pleasurable company for your companions. Now, I know what you’re thinking: “But, Dogberry, if I sleep, won’t that leave my company vulnerable to attack?” Truly, but fret not, for should a knave sneak up to your camp in the night and dispose of you while you slumber, think little of it, as you will soon greet your Savior in all of his radiant glory and no more will you need trouble about the cares of this life or the lives of your companions.

  1. How to deal with vagrants, thieves, and the like:

To stop a thief one must verify his thievery, and this can only be accomplished by letting him steal; if you stop him in the act, he ceases to be a thief. You then would commit a grave offense by arresting him since you saw to it that he did not become a thief. Of course feel free to stop any man to inquire of his intentions. But, in my humble opinion, it is usually best not to “touch pitch” as it were, and so get embroiled in the heat of unwanted conflict when, after all, I have only been commissioned to watch, not to stop. That being said, if the vagrant or knave directly interdicts[1] with your watching, then you are within your God-given rights to stay that individual. If he refuses to be stayed, then of course you must let him go his way, as the objective is to keep watch without causing offense.

From “How to Detect a Lying Knave”

  1. What is a liar?

A liar is any man or woman who speaks an untruth, slanders, gives false report, or who does any number of the following.[2] I am of the opinion that all liars are knaves, though whether all knaves are liars ‘tis a subject best left for its own section.

  1. What is a knave?

By knave of course we mean any person who by our office we judge to be dishonest. However, the real challenge comes when one tries to distinguish between a generic knave and what I tend to call an “arrant” knave, which may be indisposed[3] to doing the works of the devil, and on this basis we may reasonably conclude that the devil himself is also a knave, since he does his own works.

Sixth and Lastly – How do we know when someone is a lying knave?

Since we have established that all liars are knaves, it is not less than more than slightly unreasonably safe to judiciously suspect all liars of also being knaves. Of course, the real challenge is met when you encounter a lying knave who professes to be one, in which case you would be unwise to take him at his word. Thus, not taking him at his word, you must trust that he is a plain-dealing and honest man even though he has given false report concerning his own character. These are the worst kinds of lying knaves.

[1] Interferes.

[2] Dogberry of course means to say the “previous.”

[3] Predisposed.

The Dark Knight Rises and Isaiah 1:17


The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight Rises and the Biblical Mandate of Isaiah 1:17.

While it is not a perfect movie, The Dark Knight Rises is for me the most positive example of the intersection of my faith with art. Certainly, the movie is not without its holes, such as the lack of explanation for how Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale) gets back into Gotham after his exile. While these issues deserve attention, I keep going back to the movie for its thematic message, which reflects my favorite scripture from Isaiah: “Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow” (1:17, NIV). This scripture, especially the part about the fatherless, is the basis of Bruce Wayne’s journey throughout the film.

The Dark Knight Rises draws somewhat from the French Revolution—the villain, Bane (Tom Hardy), takes over the city on the pretense of stripping power from the “corrupt” and giving it back to the people. But the backstory that precedes this pivotal revolution concerns the Wayne Foundation and its failure to support orphanages and teen refuge centers. As a result, teens with nowhere else to turn “descend” into Gotham’s sewers to find work. Instead, they find Bane who, in the absence of Batman, becomes their role model and liberator. Without the Wayne legacy, the lost boys of Gotham become the forces of destruction that will perpetuate the same cycle of murder that brought Bruce Wayne to his darkest hour.

The catalyst for Batman’s redemption (and Gotham’s) is a young hothead named John Blake, a.k.a., Robin. Just as fans of the character would expect, he goes straight to the Wayne mansion to shake Bruce Wayne from his stupor and to remind him of his calling. Interestingly, their conversation ends with Bruce asking, “Why did you say your ‘boys home’ used to be funded by the Wayne foundation?” (The Dark Knight Rises). The revelation that Wayne Enterprises no longer funds orphanages is the impetus for Batman to return to the streets. Few big-budget Hollywood films possess this kind of thematic undercurrent, and even fewer can be traced to scriptural mandates like Isaiah 1:17 and, similarly, James 1:27. Given the evidence, I do not see it as a theological stretch to trace The Dark Knight Rises to these mandates.

Without question, my faith-based perception of a story like The Dark Knight Rises is directly linked to the kinds of stories I hope to tell. The film ends with Bruce Wayne giving his home to Gotham’s orphans and also with the assurance that Robin will be nearby to watch over them. This is a far-cry from the dark, morbid turn some Gotham comics have taken in the past two decades, which insist that Bruce Wayne is as psychotic as the villains he struggles against. While these darker stories have their fans, I am convinced that the vast majority of film-goers want to see redemption on the screen—even for Gotham.

My story-telling drive compels me to descend into similar dark worlds of human crisis and to focus not on characters who succumb to the crisis, but who turn the tide in the midst of dark times, dark agendas, and dark principalities. And, just as a side-note, the idea of Batman as the Byronic hero doesn’t hold up in a story where the hero sacrifices himself and gives up everything he has to defend the oppressed and the fatherless. Quite the contrary, this is one of the most prominent and current examples of a biblical hero in mainstream Hollywood cinema.