Someone, and I forget who - we were in the round - don't think it was me, but I got drawn into it pretty damn quick - dropped the phrase "Batman's metadata"... like, What If, DCU equivalent of Google had access to or was able to mine Batman's metadata, through use of "Bat-phone" (LOL) or Batmobile / copter / boat / bat-exosuit's use of GPS o-o-o-o-or those communicators that the Justice League use - hey, just go with me / us here, okay? - what would Batman's metadata reveal about him algorithmically to Lexcorp or whoever was mining it? What were his preferences or life-style choices, if viewed by Gotham's equivalent of an Amazo(n) purchase-analysis bot...
Cue all the obv jokes about his preferences including leather / latex / kevlar clothing; steel / titanium / black-coloured goods, high-tech surveillance-ware; *cough* teenage boys; high-performance cars... climbing and scuba gear, martial arts equipment... but nothing - zilch - about music or films; except, maybe, replacing worn-out Blueray copies of Zorro... Batman is a pop-cultural-limbo, when you think about it, an entertainment.plex black-hole, despite himself being a pop-cultural icon... man, mixed-signals for any mining algorithms: Healthgoth meets tech early-adoptor meets adrenaline-junkie; and, boy, does this guy like to travel: Jeez, just look at his GPS signature zigzagging the globe... yet he never checks into a hotel; never used Airbnb or Uber.
What if Batman used a Fitbit analogue?
What if the DCU equivalent of Google, etc was Wayne Industries...? What if Bruce Wayne's own company was mining Batdata? It's a kinda A Scanner Darkly deal: Wayne / Bats dualism-split: would they register as the same person to Big Data?
Someone said, "What if Gotham had its own equivalent of FourSquare?" YOU HAVE JUST CHECKED INTO... ARKHAM ASYLUM. YOU GET 2 BAT-POINTS. WHICH OF YOUR FRIENDS HAS CHECKED INTO ARKHAM ASYLUM? BATGIRL CHECKED INTO ARKHAM ASYLUM 10 mins AGO.
People who bought this BATARANG also bought...
Dating Catwoman via Tinder analogue. Thumbing through a black encrypted batsmartphone gallery of superhero singles. Gruffly: "Nah, nah.. wait. Lady Metamorpho.... she's hot. Literally."
And on and on.
It drifted into villains' use of parallel-world apps / phones / social media. Someone said - and I loved this - "One of the Jokers was just a guy wearing make-up..."
As a flat, context-free statement, I thought that was great.
Yes, it's nothing but a guy in make-up (and, of course, an actor in make-up playing the role of a guy in make-up: it acknowledges all that too...), but it was this that was great too: "One of the Jokers..." -- a sudden, unexpected acknowledgement - a quiet, conversational rupture - that there were / are many / different "Jokers" now, from endless comic-book and movie franchise reboots... well, not "now" - they exist(ed) at different points in time, we thought, and should accordingly be sub-divided by time, split by generational demographics, but here was someone in their early twenties acknowledging an atemporal rupture of some sort, that there was a plurality of co-existing Jokers and "one of [them] was just a guy wearing make-up..."
I really liked that.
There are now literally hundreds of Batmen - of all shapes and forms - from Manga to 60's cartoons, 00's animations, Future Batmen, Miller's Dark Knightverse, Earth 2, 3, 4 .... Burton films, Adam West Batman '66, blahblahblah... yet Batman still holds as a 'singularity' - is still a unified concept-object of some sort. Batman is Batman; he remains un-fragmented / undiminished somehow; all those Batmen are homologues instead of analogues - part of the same thing: no one ever says "One of the Batmen..."