The White Knight: Batman as Esoteric Hero for the Dissident Right

Ethan Stoneman, JOSEPH PACKER

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper examines how white-nationalist and identitarian fan communities read The Dark Knight film series as a coded attack on liberal values by the secretly sympathetic writer-director Christopher Nolan. In a classic esoteric reading, white nationalists posit super villains like Ra's Al Ghul and Bane as giving voice to the true message of the trilogy, namely, that liberal countries have become decadent and must be destroyed so as to give rise to archeofuturistic ethnostates. The paper examines the white nationalists’ criticisms of traditional media critics on both the left and the right and in a way that helps differentiate esoteric hermeneutics from more conventional professional critical readings. It concludes by highlighting the peculiar capacity of pronoiac, fan-based esotericism to resignify and circulate pop-cultural memes for radical, right-wing ends and to do so in ways that avoid the strategies of cultural censors.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTransformative Works and Cultures
StateAccepted/In press - 1800


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