Marx & Engels versus Batman & Robin

Eminent Filipino historian, Dr. Floro Quibuyen, shared two Chat GPT stories about Marx and Batman. The first one was from a blogger who prompted,” write a story of Marx and Batman”. ChatGPT made Marx and Batman fight and the latter won. With titanic imagination, Dr. Quibuyen asked Chat GPT for a story about Marx and Engels and Batman and Robin. He was surprised at how the narrative changed so radically.

As you know, Karl Marx, German philosopher and economist born in 1818 wrote Das Kapital and co-authored the Communist Manifesto with Friedrich Engels, another German political theorist. Batman, a superhero comic character, defender of Gotham City, was created in 1939. Robin is his younger sidekick.

Rather than fight with each other, Marx and Engels and Batman and Robin collaborated to bring about a better, more just and equal society. Chat GPT explained that as an artificial language model, it does not promote stories that depict violence or conflict between characters, instead it explores how different individuals and groups can come together to create a more equitable and just society. While Marx and Engels and Batman and Robin are from vastly different worlds, there is potential for them to work together for a common goal.

In Quibuyen’s scenario, all four characters find themselves in the same city fighting for their respective causes. Marx and Engels advocate a socialist society where the working class has control of the means of production. Batman and Robin are crime fighters. At first, both are wary of each other as their objectives and advocacies seem so diametrically opposed. However, as they work towards achieving their goals, they notice they have similar objectives. Both abhor the system of oppression and exploitation that enslave the common folk; both realize that collective action is a power tool that can bring about positive changes.

They begin to work together: Marx and Engels provide the theoretical framework for their conjoined efforts while Batman and Robin contribute their practical know-how and resources to make their collective ideas a reality. Together, they create a grassroots movement that inspires others to join their cause and work towards a more just and equitable society.

As their movement grows, the city begins to transform, crime rates drop, the working class gains more control over the fruits of their labor. The city becomes a model for others to follow and as a result, the principles of socialism and collective action spread throughout the world. In the end, Marx and Engels, Batman and Robin realize that by working together towards a common goal, they created a better future for us all. They proved that by working harmoniously, using different perspectives and approaches we can solve complex issues on our own.

How enlightened, I must say, we should give Chat GPT prompt questions about what to do with rival groups of Filipino politicians who put their personal interests above that of the country’s.

Beyond depressing: At this writing, the Manila Post Office is burning; I saw horrifying photos on Google. It is heart-rending. You do not have to be a rabid advocate of heritage conservation to feel the pain. We Filipinos are losing historical landmarks, evidence of excellence that members of our race have reached through centuries. The Manila Post Office, in the neoclassical style, was declared an Important Cultural Treasure protected by R. A. 10066. Constructed in 1926, designed by Architect Juan Arrellano, it was destroyed during the Battle for Manila but reconstructed along with the Philippine Legislature, Departments of Agriculture and Finance ( all three are now the National Museum of the Filipino People, thanks to ex-President Fidel Ramos). My evil mind has noticed that burning a heritage structure and/or scavenging its interiors, is the best way of getting rid of a heritage structure and going around the inconvenient and bothersome Republic Act 10066.

In 2012, thereabouts, when Mayor Alfredo S. Lim was the incumbent, a group of foreign investors were interested in the Manila Post Office which they wanted to turn into a Fullerton Hotel, similar to the one in Singapore which used to be the island-republic’s Post Office and which is also near a river. Several meetings were held at the Department of Finance attended by representatives of the Manila Mayor’s Office, the National Commission of Culture and the Arts, the National Historical Commission of the Philippines to discuss the merits and mechanics of the project. The plan included the National Press Club building, designed by Archt. Angel Nakpil, which could be turned into a media communications center for local and foreign correspondents. Access to the Pasig was considered an asset, there could be floating restaurants, river cruises like that of the Mandarin Oriental by the Chao Phraya river.

Apparently, there were questions of land ownership, contending interest groups, veiled agenda, and heaven knows what else. A scandal has wings. Should we prompt ChatGPT?