Those complaining about the impact of ‘Joker’ are the same voices who chased the director into making the film.
CNN has been one of the louder voices in the chorus of hand-wringers warning of the possible impending violence this film may inspire. “The ‘Joker’ hit movie theaters this week despite a wave of criticism that it glorifies a killer and could encourage copycat attacks nationwide” says the outlet, almost sounding hopeful some kind of calamity might transpire.
This echoes comments of this sort which have been made for well over a month now, but it ignores the cinematic history of this type of character. The hysterics have been loud enough that the studio releasing the film, Warner Brothers, prevented reporters from interviewing the cast during its red carpet premiere. It has all been a ridiculous enterprise, and it exposes a massive contradiction within the industry.
I discussed this issue on last week’s broadcast of “Disasters In The Making” with writers Paul Young and Christian Toto. While critics and social activists have been intoning grave concerns this manages to become a paradox within Hollywood. All of these voices predicting or promising a spark of impending violence are in direct opposition to the knee-jerk reaction from this same group when legitimate violence has taken place and anyone dares suggest Hollywood was the cause. As recently as this week actor Robert DeNiro was getting angry at the suggestion made by Donald Trump that acts of violence could be attributed to movies.
So we are in a curious nexus where it is acceptable to blame impending violence on a film, but it is outlandish to attribute actual violence to film. If anyone can untangle that knot, by all means, let me know how.
What is even more vexing for the left is how they are upset with Todd Phillips, the director of “Joker”. Phillips is a curious figure to be behind this type of movie, as his filmography is populated with ribald comedies. (“Road Trip”, “Starsky And Hutch”, and the “Hangover” franchise are his most notable efforts.) Much of that outrage results from the fact that he is upset with them. “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture,” Phillips recently told Vanity Fair. When responding to why comedies do not work as well in Hollywood he offered up, “I’ll tell you why, because all the f***ing funny guys are like, ‘F*** this s***, because I don’t want to offend you.’”
As a result, Phillips moved away from his core source material and decided to address the very mob mentality in his allegorical take on a comic book villain origin story. He decided to take on the hectoring hordes.
“With all my comedies—I think that what comedies, in general, all have in common—is they’re irreverent. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent, but fuck comedy? Oh I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head with this.’ And so that’s really where that came from.”
Therein lies the irony. The outrage experts on the left who are dismayed with what is being portrayed in “Joker” are seemingly unaware they are in fact being addressed directly in the film. The “how dare he!” experts are upset over a product they have themselves inspired with their “How dare you!” attitude towards the culture.
The only thing funnier than seeing them becoming satirized in a drama on screen is seeing them missing the point entirely.
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