Ayup, Batman!
December 13, 2008 1:26 PM   Subscribe

Christmas Caped Crusader Tis the season for heartwarming news filler, perhaps, but the video of this guy at the children's hospice makes me think he's the real deal. When the cameras stop rolling, though, do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity?
posted by Grrlscout (12 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Really, you know, this guy's time would be better spent this Christmas researching the efficacy of various charities, rather than doing good.
posted by game warden to the events rhino at 1:34 PM on December 13, 2008

do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity

I think (perhaps counter-intuitively) this sort of approach has something to do with ego diminishment. If you were one of this guys rich buddies would you gladly pay to see him ditch the power suit and tie for once and don a superhero costume? Sure, some would just to see him do it. If you were a small contributor would you be more likely to feel ok about it if you didn't think you were just stroking the guys ego? In a way, beside simple attention-getting for the cause, he's making it easier for others to contribute.

It's been a staple of charity fund-raisers I've attended in recent years to make fun of the "big guys" one way or another, to make 'em step out of their usual power roles for a short time. It makes the whole deal less about them.
posted by scheptech at 1:51 PM on December 13, 2008

wearing a £3,000 movie replica Batman suit

for that thing?! He overpaid.
posted by P.o.B. at 1:53 PM on December 13, 2008

I assume unimaginative reporters will fall back on this annoying trope long after I'm dead and gone. It's just so depressing to see this repeated endlessly by so many reporters. Can't you think of a better hook on which to hang a "superhero" story?
posted by Ron Thanagar at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2008

do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity?

I'm more interested in whether stunts like this inure people to the myth that the symptoms of class-based society can be assuaged by relying on the cause.
posted by regicide is good for you at 2:43 PM on December 13, 2008

do stunts like this make people give more deeply or more often to charity?

Nothing does -- people decide to do that on their own, or decide not to. It's not somehow a failure of this guy's if other people aren't inspired to give more (or can't afford to give more). But so what? He's visiting with sick kids, doing volunteer work, donating gifts, and generally doing a lot, it looks like. That's awesome.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2008 [3 favorites]

do stunts like this make people give more deeply

Does "more deeply" here mean "more money"?
posted by grobstein at 2:56 PM on December 13, 2008

i made you a sooper white guy doin' somethin' that the kids'll just enjoy the heck out of.

i don't know why, but i felt this comment needed to be made in sarah palin voice.

posted by CitizenD at 3:39 PM on December 13, 2008

There is a documentary about real-life superheroes called 'Your Friendly Neighborhood Hero'.

The guys in the film dress up and do supposed good deeds but usually fail miserably. It's pretty funny.
posted by flipyourwig at 3:42 PM on December 13, 2008

Stunts like this certainly don't make people less likely to give their time and money to worthy causes. And even from a very cynical point of view (which I don't necessarily hold, because one little news article doesn't tell me much about this guy or his motivations,) I don't mind this rich Batman. He could have spent the money on a Bentley, or lavish gifts for a mistress, or a set of gold-plated golf clubs to make himself feel better about himself. Instead (or perhaps, in addition, who knows), he's making kids happy and giving money to worthy charities.

My dog-trainer brain sees the Batman costume this way: by choosing to dress up in a Batman costume, he's setting himself up to be rewarded with smiling faces. Smiles and goodwill are very, very powerful rewards for humans, much more reinforcing than a plate at a rubber-chicken fundraising dinner or a thank-you card with a donation receipt enclosed. Behavior that is rewarded strongly tends to motivate the actor to do it again. So good for him. He's reminding people that giving can be fun and self-rewarding, not just abstractly or grimly altruistic. In that way, yes, perhaps he'll motivate others.
posted by freshwater_pr0n at 3:51 PM on December 13, 2008 [2 favorites]

I love stories like this. He's hurting no one, actually helping people in fact. And he's getting to dress up as Batman. I don't know if it will inspire others to give but I'm glad the world has people like him in it.
posted by Ruby Stevens at 7:03 PM on December 13, 2008 [1 favorite]

+1 to everything above. Goofy and sweet. He sounds like a great guy.
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 7:26 AM on December 14, 2008

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