The Arkham Sessions, hosted by Dr. Andrea Letamendi and Brian Ward, is a weekly podcast dedicated to the psychological analysis of Batman: The Animated Series. Nostalgic, humorous, and even a little educational, each episode promises to lend some insight into the heroes, villains, and classic stories of the Dark Knight!
The Arkham Sessions, Ep. 131 - "Knight Time"
"Does Batman look bigger to you?" He sure does! Because he's not Batman--he's Superman disguised as Batman! In an effort to uncover the truth about Bruce Wayne's disappearance and dismantle the new criminal regime in Gotham City, Superman confidently dives into the crime-ridden streets of Gotham City to play detective. The evening takes an interesting turn when Superman explores what it is like to be in Batman's shoes, quite literally. In his "performance" as Batman, Clark Kent begins to realize that levels of aggression, intimidation, and outward displays of violence are necessary to be effective in Gotham. He must also filter his impulses to smile and show positive emotions. (Robin notes that such expressions are unlike Batman and would risk compromising the mission.) Though this lighthearted episode of Superman: The Animated Series
pokes fun at Batman's obvious mood swings, it carries some deeper messages around what it is truly like to be in Batman's shoes. In fact, as he navigates his new "identity," Superman must exercise a level of empathy for Bruce's experiences and the trauma he carries. He must learn to understand what it is like to manage and negotiate feelings of anger, over-attachment, and disproportionate passion for his mission. He must also limit his use of Kryptonian superpowers in order to "pass" as Batman, raising some important issues around the concepts of privilege and power as existing protections against trauma.
As a part of the discussion, we cover the "Batman Effect" which posits that we can actually be more successful in our work if we exercise some level of "self-distancing." The published research on the Batman Effect showed the benefits associated with dressing up as superheroes such as Batman, Dora the Explorer, etc. You can read the full article here
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