Fear of the Joker (Spoiler Free)

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Happy Sunday everyone! Lately there’s been a lot of talk about the premiere of the new movie Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. Many seem to believe that the film’s depiction of a man’s slow descent into madness could insight violence and others seem to think that the media is trying to make something happen. All of this fear has spread across the country and now even I am afraid to see the film in theatres. But I have to ask myself if that fear is caused by media hype or is it caused by any real potential threats?

So far since the film premiered on Thursday, there have been no reports of any violence in theatres showing the film. Although the police have been stationed outside some theatres, there has only been one threat reported that never materialized and one incident of an intoxicated man being disorderly while watching the film. But so far there have been no reports to my knowledge of any violent acts at a theatre that have been inspired by the film. So why am I still afraid?

The character of Arthur Fleck is a relatable character and anyone who has been mistreated, bullied, made fun of, or abused can relate to him. That covers a lot of people including myself. How many of us have ever thought about getting revenge against those who have wronged us? How many of us have actually acted on that revenge? From what I understand, the character of Arthur is someone we will feel sorry for and I don’t have a problem with that. But when we start cheering him on for taking the lives of others, there’s something very disturbing about that. Since when did villains become heroes?

Is killing an innocent person justified if the person deserved it? In my honest opinion…no. And whether they deserve it or not is debatable. I don’t care what anyone has done to us, it is never okay to take someone’s life. Unless…they are trying to kill you or someone you love. Then you are pretty much left with no choice. You have to act in self-defense. Some Christians may say I’m still wrong because it says in the bible, thou shalt not kill. But I’m sorry, there is no way that I am going to stand by and allow someone to take my life or the lives of my loved ones. And I consider myself a moral person.

I have not seen Joker yet but promised my son I would see it with him. But from what I can tell from looking at the trailers and being told about the film from someone who has seen it, in no way will I look at the character of Arthur Fleck as a hero for killing those who have mistreated him. I feel sorry for the pain that was inflicted on him but taking the lives of those people is not justified and fans of the film should not look at it as such. I’ve been reading people’s comments about the film and many are able to relate to Joker and feel empathy for the character to the point of applauding the route he takes in order to make his life better. And this is why some are afraid that the film can insight violence.

I know that some feel that a movie should not be held responsible for the violent acts of real-life tragedies, but it should to a certain extent. Why? Because think about how influential motion pictures have been on the public over the years. We are easily influenced by everything we see and hear. Our films, our music, what we read. That’s just how it is, and we need to stop lying to ourselves saying “Oh I’m not going to do something just because a movie told me it was alright.” Everyone’s life is based on something we saw or heard. Because pop culture shapes people’s personalities and makes people dress a certain way, act a certain way, buy a certain car, apply for a certain job, live in a certain city. We are influenced by the decisions we make every single day. We idolize celebrities, we want to be like them, look like them, be rich like them. And when they do cool things in movies, we try to emulate it. Think about it. I know that films have to do their jobs in order to make money and I don’t ever expect that to change. But stop lying about not being influential!

But just as movies do hold some amount of responsibility, so do we as a nation. We always have a choice in how we want to conduct ourselves. But I’ve noticed that it’s very hard for people to think for themselves. We are always so ready to jump on the bandwagon and follow what everyone else is doing or saying. We like to copy others, and we like to pretend. Why? Because we are not happy with our lives. Most of us want adventure and excitement. Some of us are so miserable that we are truly going mad and it’s just a matter of time before we explode.

I will go see the Joker movie and from what I can tell it’s probably going to be very good. I will watch it with my eyes open and my mind open as well. Joaquin Phoenix is a great actor and I am sure that credit will be given to him for his top performance. But I am also going to look at his character and see him for what he really is. A man who has a mental disorder and has a hard time surviving in a cold and often cruel world. A man who decides to take matters into his own hands and chooses to solve his problems by using violence in order to get through his life. He does it in order to feel like the hero that he strongly believes he is but most certainly isn’t. But that is what mental illness has the power to do sometimes doesn’t it? Make you feel like you can do whatever you want in this world and not have to pay any consequences.

Have a great week…

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