PhD and tenure aside, Dr. Travis Langley is incredibly easy to talk to. No doubt, his years of teaching Psychology at Henderson University (a liberal arts university in Arkansas) have taught him to be patient with overeager psych nerds, like me. It’s not just his patience that puts you at ease, it’s also own eagerness and excitement for the subject. Dr. Langley is the Batman Psychologist. This is not just a self-professed title; Besides the recent release of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Knighthe just wrapped up teaching a course about the psychology of Batman at Henderson. The book evaluates the inner psyche of Batman, applying different psychological theories to Batman’s intensely traumatic life. Before I launched into my questions about the book, though, I had to ask Dr. Langley about his class on Batman. Specifically, how did he convince the psychology department at Henderson to let him teach a class about Batman?!
Dr. Langley: You know how in a math class you might have an example, “This train is moving at this speed, and that train is moving at that speed…” Well, for somebody who loves trains, why not have an entire course on the math of trains? They could learn all the math more easily if it’s full of examples they appreciate. With Batman, it’s using psychology to teach Batman, and Batman to teach psychology. And it works out really well. And it’s got a mix of students, from those who know Batman really well to those who didn’t know him any better than average. But, they were the students who were interested enough to take the class. And they all reported that they got a lot out of it. They get close, too, because a bunch of these are students who…they have to be guarded in a lot of ways. You don’t go out in your other classes and just announce your nerdy interests. But in a class called Batman, there’s nothing too nerdy to talk about in there. (more…)
We’re three days into a tragedy and up to our knees in a sea of anger, sadness, information and factoids about a killer. I’m not goona name him, I’m not goona talk about his motives here. These people sometimes seek notoriety and the mainstream press has gift wrapped infamy. That is their way — the ever continuing conveyance of identical information, fear mongering, and anything else that gets you to stay in front of your television. This is their agenda, there are many others who have one as well.
I am exhausted by people from the left and the right who try to use tragedies as an opportunity to spread and enhance their agenda. I have friends who are saying that we need to discuss gun control, friends who say that if someone else had had a gun in the theater this would have never happened. These people are still my friends, some of them have a good point, and all of them have terrible timing.
I am disappointed by the people who wonder why someone in the crowd wasn’t “courageous” enough to stop this. I am disappointed by the people who imply that this has happened because we have supposedly abandoned God and I am mortified by those who use their faith to justify abominable acts of protest against the dead. These are the same kind of statements that we hear surrounding any tragedy — statements like “homosexuality caused Hurricane Katrina”, or the Haitian Earthquake, or anything bad really, because it helps inch that agenda forward and it helps get them notoriety. I’m not naming these people either — not because they are on par with the killer, but because I just don’t want to see their names again.
I feel these things but most of all, I feel sad. As has been said by many others in a far more eloquent fashion: these were movie fans, comic book fans, and Batman fans. People who were excited to fall into escapism. This doesn’t make their lives more valuable than anyone elses, but we identify with them and it hits hard.
Separate and apart from the above text, I spoke to Dr. Travis Langley yesterday afternoon about information overload, the media’s need to keep feeding us information about the killer, and those who try to blame movies, TV, video games, and comics for this tragedy. Dr. Langley is a psychology professor from Henderson State University and the author of Batman and Psychology: A Dark and Stormy Night. The interview is about 8 minutes long, it is posted below, and I urge you to listen/download it. I also urge you to read up on the victims‘ stories, and as I said the other day, go see a movie.
This is most likely the last thing I have to say on this and once again, my heartfelt condolences to everyone made a victim by this tragedy.
Jason Tabrys Talks With Dr. Travis Langley on 2012 Aurora shooting