American jokers

I leaned against the counter.

“Oh yeah? How was it?’”

He shook his head and looked down.

“I don’t know man…it’s not for everyone.”

On Oct. 19, 2019, I, Carter Newcomb, walked into theater number eight of the Midland NCG Cinema and walked out a very different person. 

Interestingly enough, it was not the content being displayed within the cinema that affected me in a negative manner; it was a great deal of the public’s reaction to “Joker” that churned my stomach and mind into a state of confusion and dispossession.

The film covers the backstory of DC’s most infamous villain: the Joker. I’m often not a fan of many hero-based universes, and the Batman universe is anything but an exception. However, I found the supposed philosophical, political, and social statements of “Joker” so intriguing that I actually paid somebody for the privilege to consume the film. 

It’s a story consisting of an unending string of rejection, abuse and destruction. Its a film that’s all too real, that highlights the outcasts and the losers, and doesn’t try to glamorize a life of desolation and failure as “righteous.” It tells (or in this case, shows) it how it is, and arguably critiques the good, square side of society in a slightly over-simplified manner.

A great deal of the public reacted negatively to the film, calling it senselessly violent, too dark, and even an advertisement for tobacco (Arthur, the soon-to-be Joker, is a smoker).

I will be the first to admit that this film glorifies violence, anarchy and the consumption of tobacco. As a matter of fact, I believe that Phillips wanted his film to elevate such things as righteous, especially to the lower stratum of society.

After watching it, I’ve concluded that Todd Phillips and Joaquin Phoenix finally did what the modern film industry is too weak to do: they showed the American people the underside of this beautiful country. They brought the waste, the byproduct of our decadence, to the big screen. 

The seemingly endless and heavenly torrent of luxury and convenience that showers our American minds is slowly being unveiled to us as the result of a terrible mistreatment of a great deal of people, and which ultimately leads many of said people to lash out in seemingly senseless acts of massacre, which happen bi-weekly in this country.

“Joker” may very well have given the “bad guys” a little too much credit and justification, but the public rejecting this film is an ultimate act of ironic ignorance. The goal of this film was to follow a man’s descent into madness, a path paved by a society that is unwilling to acknowledge that others are suffering at the hand of their desire for more, for cheaper, for bigger, and for prettier. 

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Carter Newcomb

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