Lessons From Losers: Batman Villains

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In The Dark Knight Rises — the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, for anyone who somehow doesn’t know — the villain Bane is hellbent on two things: The FUBARing of Batman and Gotham City, and the acceptance of goofy oral headgear. We don’t know if the Caped Crusader has met his match this time, but if history is any indication, Batman will manage to defy the odds and vanquish Bane, just as he has countless Batman villains of all shapes and sizes. Whether he was battling Joker, Two-Face, Catwoman, Penguin, or Film Freak (hey, they can’t all be classic Batman villains), the Dark Knight has always been able to restore order … but not before those villains taught us some valuable life lessons. 

Batman Villains Joker

Lesson 1: MAINTAIN YOUR SENSE OF HUMOR

Several Batman villains loved to laugh — Two-Face, Riddler — but only one was truly committed to preventing things from becoming so serious: The Joker. Turns out he was onto something … other than a way to scare the bejeezus out of anyone around him. Laughing reduces the level of stress hormones in the body and increases levels of happy-making endorphins and brain-boosting neurotransmitters.

Studies have also shown that laughter strengthens the immune system and might even help prevent heart disease and lower blood pressure. In desperate need of a laugh? Re-watch Batman & Robin!

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Lesson 2: REMEMBER THAT YOU’RE REPLACEABLE

bout 4 million job listings are posted online each month, with an average of 300 job seekers applying to each job. So think of Bob the Goon next time you decide to spend the workday LOLing at YouTube vids or trolling Facebook (reading ModernMan is totally okay, however. —Ed.). Bob was Joker’s right-hand man in 1989’s Batman, but as soon as he made one tiny mistake — he neglected to inform Joker that Batman owned a Batwing — and he was promptly, um, terminated.

Lesson 3: YOU NEED A WORK-LIFE BALANCE

Being the first to arrive and the last to leave may get you noticed by the boss, but it could also be detrimental to your health. In Selina Kyle’s case, it got her pushed out of a skyscraper window in Batman Returns (1992), which led to her becoming Catwoman. And in Edward Nygma’s case, devotion to the job turned him insane in Batman Forever (1995), which led to him becoming The Riddler.

Fatigue in the workplace affects almost 40 percent of the American workforce, and impedes the ability to communicate, make good judgment calls, and react and adapt on the fly. Experts estimate companies lose billions of dollars every year due to lost productivity, so while you might not get dropped out of a window, your inability to power down and recharge your batteries might end up getting you canned.

Lesson 4: THINK TWICE ABOUT WORKPLACE ROMANCES

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In Batman, Jack Napier (Jack Nicholson’s pre-Joker identity) gets set up by his boss, crime lord Carl Grissom (Jack Palance), after Grissom finds out Jack has been boning his mistress. Napier survives the attack, but gets dropped into a vat of chemicals, goes insane, and insists on wearing gaudy purple outfits and listening to Prince at inconsiderate volumes. Workplace romances don’t typically end quite that dramatically — but there is often fallout.

In a Careerbuilder survey, 40 percent of people said they dated someone they worked with, and 6 percent left a job due to a failed workplace relationship. We’re no mathematicians, but that means about 1 out of every 7 people who entered into a workplace romance had to leave their job after it went south. (That said, an ever-increasing number of couples say they met through work.) Still, if possible, try to keep it in your Dockers.

ModernMan.com Batman

Lesson 5: DON’T RELY ON GUNS


Lots of Batman villains use guns. Batman, on the other hand, never uses a gun. And you know who typically wins those battles. This might explain why: Scientists at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine found that, on average, guns did not protect those who possessed them from being shot in an assault. The study estimated that people packing heat were 4.5 times more likely to be shot during an assault than people who weren’t carrying guns — and approximately 20 percent of those shootings proved fatal.