Holy Lawsuits, Batman!

By Chip “Sterling” Camden
Contributing Writer, [GAS]

Or maybe that should be “holey”, as in full of holes.

The mayor of Batman, Turkey (yes, there is such a place) plans to sue Warner Brothers and Christopher Nolan (director of “The Dark Knight”) for use without permission of the city’s name. He claims to have evidence that the city was named prior to the 1939 debut of the DC Comic hero. He also seems to think that the popular usage of the name has led to untold trauma for his constituents — including a high rate of female suicide, a string of unsolved murders, and difficulty registering businesses abroad.

I can see the merit of the latter claim — “You’re from Batman, Turkey?” Yeah, right. But come on, murder and suicide?? “I’m so depressed because the Batman movie has made almost a billion dollars and we poor Kurds in the real Batman won’t see a dime of it. So I think I’ll kill myself.” That happens frequently, I’m sure — and we need to stop this human tragedy by spreading some of that Hollywood moolah around southeastern Turkey. Money always cures depression, after all.

According to Wikipedia, the name of the town has nothing to do with a chiropteran human, but is rather a shortening of Bati Raman — which they claim to be a mountain range, but also appears to be the name of a large oil field in the area. The Batman River flows through this province as well.

This is not the first time this region has been embroiled over a debate concerning place names. Back in 2001, an earlier mayor of Batman wanted to rename certain streets in ways that upset the central Turkish government: Mahatma Ghandi Street, Democracy Avenue, and Human Rights Boulevard. Because the region is mostly Kurdish, the Turkish provincial governor considered these names to be a subtle signpost towards revolution. He got the court to not only slap down the new names, but also to rule that no Kurdish names could be used at all. No wonder these citizens of Batman are more than a little name-defensive.

And now for something not completely different, here’s a Turkish Batman and Robin: