• Anthony Piseno

The Joker Was Right About One Thing

The Dark Knight recently became available for streaming and I decided to sit down and watch it again - I have always had a relationship with this particular film, which was made great by Heath Ledger's Joker. Regarded as one of the greatest cinematic villains of all time, Ledger gave a memorable performance when playing Batman's greatest foe. I, like anyone else, felt he stole the show, however, my relationship has more to do with breaking down this villain versus anything else. I see the Joker as the perfect nihilist, a logical end to an atheistic ideology, using this understanding I have spent a considerable amount of time writing and speaking about this insane character.

The current pandemic times got me thinking about this character once again and one of his particular statements. When the Joker is speaking with Harvey Dent in a Gotham hospital after he was injured in a fire, his conversation sparks the villain in Dent and launches Two-Face. This bit of dialogue within Joker's "Agent of Chaos" monologue, exposes human beings in civilization.

"Nobody panics when things go 'according to plan.' Even if the plan is horrifying! If, tomorrow, I tell the press that, like, a gang banger will get shot, or a truckload of soldiers will be blown up, nobody panics, because it's all 'part of the plan.' But when I say that one little old mayor will die, well then everyone loses their minds."

Is there any greater example of this than our current crises? While we may not be "eating each other alive," as Joker told Batman, we are losing our minds. We are looking into conspiracies, watching press briefings, looking for someone to blame - all searching for some information that makes the pandemic seem less important.

Jokers' criticism ultimately targets the idea that human beings at their core are not able to replace God with human ontology because we are all animals. In this, the Joker is right, so long as one accepts the premise that there is no God or that the mere archetype of believing in any metaphysical ontology is invaluable. Joker may be right about our instability when "the system" crumbles but it takes great leaps to conclude his entire perspective is true. Are us humans stable, logical beings, or are we actually the creatures we display in times of desperation?

Watch this film today with the perspective of our current crisis and see how it all relates. Comment your thoughts below.

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