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Brett Favre is Harvey Dent: He was the face of the NFL

January 1, 2009

"You either die the hero, or you live long enough to become the villain."
                                                                          --Harvey Dent, The Dark Knight

When Bruce Wayne, accompanied by a Russian ballerina, sits down with Harvey Dent and Rachel Dawes, at dinner in The Dark Knight, a conversation ensues about whether Batman is really the sort of hero Gotham needs.  The most insignificant of characters, the Russian ballerina, is the character who begins the debate and calls into question Batman's heroism, stating that Harvey Dent is the real hero.  The movie then continues to build on the premise that there is a difference between the heroes people want, need, and deserve.  Bruce Wayne agrees with the ballerina, confessing to Alfred and Rachel Dawes that Harvey Dent is the hero Gotham City needs.  

This whole idea that Harvey Dent is the hero Gotham needs is based on the fact that he does not wear a mask or make-up.  Harvey Dent does not hide who he is from the every day citizen.  Bruce Wayne views Harvey Dent as a hero who is open and honest and can inspire people to safely walk in his footsteps.  Bruce Wayne views the actions Batman inspires, from behind a mask, as dangerous to those ordinary citizens who try and follow his lead.  Citizens inspired by Harvey Dent pass the bar and fight crime through the laws of the land.  Citizens who follow Batman break the law and attempt fighting criminals while wearing hockey pads.  In other words, Batman inspires foolishness and Harvey Dent inspires real change.  

The thing is, Harvey Dent was never the white knight on the steed.  Batman wears a mask to intimidate and to hide his own fears.  The Joker wears makeup to physically display how much he scoffs at the rules of society.  Harvey Dent's blue eyes, blonde hair, and square jaw mask his corruption.  Justice is supposed to be blind and give everyone a fair chance.  Harvey Dent uses a coin, that's double-sided, to make all his important decisions.  This coin is how he got Rachel Dawes to fall in love with him, so why is anyone surprised when he starts using this coin not only as cupid's arrow but as lady justice's scales?  He is not a calm man who suddenly becomes reckless.  He is a reckless man disguised as a calm one. 

Harvey Dent's first scene in the film features a witness he is questioning holding him at gunpoint, but Harvey Dent doesn't frighten.  He doesn't even hesitate to act.  He punches the thug in the face and snatches the gun from the would be assassin's hand.  This move is a reckless one, endangering everyone in the courtroom, and yet it makes Harvey Dent into a hero.  He takes matters into his own hands here, so why would anyone be shocked to later see him take the law and people's lives into his own hands as well?  Harvey Dent was never who Bruce Wayne or a Russian ballerina thought he was.  Harvey Dent was always Two Face, like how a sculpture is already present in the marble, even before the artist renders it.

The Joker's first significant line is "that which doesn't kill you, only makes you stranger."  This line implies that no one is normal.  Otherwise, the line would have read "that which doesn't kill you, only makes you strange."  Harvey Dent is already strange, and The Joker aims to display this truth.  Dent initiates his relationship with Rachel Dawes through a fixed coin toss, and he punches a man at gunpoint.  He is a man of significant hubris, which is why he constantly makes a joke of free will with a trick coin.  He pretends to give people a choice, but really he's already made the choice.  Really, he's playing god, and in his world, freedom is a pretense, even for him. 

A coin with two sides reading heads is a metaphor that Dent's fate is decided, and he can't be the hero when his decisions are built on falsifications and corruptions of the truth.

So what does any of this have to do with Brett Favre?  

Today, Thomas Jones called Brett out for being a selfish teammate.  He accused Brett of isolating himself from the rest of the team, and he accused Brett of playing in a reckless manner that never took into account his teammates.  Thomas Jones centers this last argument on Favre's three interceptions in the Jets' last game against the Dolphins.  

I'm a life long Packers fan.  I'm a life long Brett Favre fan (despite what my letters might say), and I've never heard a teammate of Brett's accuse him of being a bad teammate.  I only remember how much Robert Brooks, Frank Winters, and Mark Chmura always liked playing with Brett.  They said so in interviews for tv, magazines, and newspapers.  They hung out at his house, and they hunted with him.  Brett never seemed like a guy on the sidelines who was distant from his teammates.  He was always laughing, grinning, picking them up, jumping into their arms, and cracking jokes with them.  He always seemed like one of them, and his coaches always described him this way.   The Brett Favre I knew in Green Bay would not have sat in offices away from his team, behind closed blinds, like the owner in The Natural.  

The Brett Favre I know would have been with his teammates, telling fart jokes and drinking stories, but then I remembered two instances from the past.  When Javon Walker and the Packers' front office were disputing his contract extension, Brett called Walker out in public; and when Aaron Rodgers was first drafted, there were rumors that Brett wasn't exactly enthusiastic to pass on any of his wisdom.  There's a scene in The Dark Knight where Batman sees Harvey Dent holding a gun to one of The Joker's henchman and tossing his coin in the air. Batman tells Dent, "he's not worth it," and continues to hold Dent up as the hero Gotham needs.  Before Thomas Jones opened his mouth today, had I already seen Brett Favre in an alley with a trick coin and a gun, putting himself ahead of his teammates?  Did I ignore what I saw because I needed a white knight?  

Before Rachel Dawes dies and before The Joker plays roulette with Two Face in the hospital, Harvey Dent hides the strangeness underneath his Arthurian exterior, but he battles with it.  His reckless anger and his fragile hubris show themselves in flashes, like the twitching of an eyelid hints at exhaustion.  

With half his face gone, Harvey Dent becomes too tired to keep suppressing the Two Face within.  He snaps and goes on a killing spree.  The last life his spree takes is his own when he falls to his death.  At this point, Batman decides to take the blame for Two Face's actions.  He covers up the scars on Two Face's body by turning the head so the world sees only Harvey Dent.  Batman's mask now hides not only his own fears, but the truth of who Harvey Dent actually is.  
When Brett Favre went to the Jets, he left Green Bay with scars.  He went to New York with something to prove--he didn't prove it.  The Jets started 8-3, but they finished 1-4; and Brett Favre's reckless throws inside the courtroom of one hundred yards are one of the main reasons they missed the playoffs.  Missing the playoffs cost Eric Mangini his job, which in and of itself would have rolled Brett's face over so that all we saw was Harvey Dent.  Mangini could have rode off on his motorcycle, into the night, with all the blame, but instead Thomas Jones, the Commissioner Gordon of this situation, couldn't keep the secret that Harvey Dent wasn't playing quarterback for the Jets at season's end--Two Face was.  

I don't know if everything Thomas Jones said is true.  I don't know if Brett locked himself away from his teammates, but I do know he didn't play well down the stretch.  I know he held too tightly to hubris and kept on chucking.  I know I'm glad Aaron Rodgers is Green Bay's quarterback.  I wish Brett had stayed retired.  I needed my white knight, whether I deserved him or not.  


Langston said...

I am inclined to believe Thomas Jones. When they acquired Favre, they went from the Jets to the NY Bretts. When they won the media used it as an opportunity to0 talk about how great Favre is not how great the running game was or how good the defense played. They became a one-man show, and in a game where it takes 53 players and a slew of coaches to win and lose it is easy to see why he became resented in the locker room. If he didn't lead the league in INTs or they were in the playoffs, these statements would have no merit. But since he did and they aren't, his play deserves to come into questions. But like I said it takes 53 men to play the game, and it takes 53 men to lose the game. All the players need to be re-evaluated for the collapse.

January 2, 2009 at 11:34 AM
Anonymous said...

from what I have heard Brett Favre has not shied away from saying he played poorly down the stretch. I think he feels bad for his team and the role he played. I guess what we see on the field and on the sidelines may hide what the true feelings were among the team. Did Thomas Jones and other Jets reach out to Brett? It is a two way street with 53 players. I think the media was responsible for the one man show mentality and it goes against the Brett Favre at Green Bay. However, things may have changed in the last few months. I hope Brett retires and does not play anymore.

January 2, 2009 at 2:23 PM

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