We all have a little of the Joker

I have watched Tod Phillips’ adaption of the Joker a few times now. To state that Joaquin Phoenix’s portrayal is disturbing is rather the understatement. The first time I watched the movie, I was horrified. How graphic, how intense and how evil is this Joker? Phoenix is quoted as saying:

“There’s so many different ways of looking at it. You can either say here’s somebody who, like everybody, needed to be heard and understood and to have a voice. Or you can say this is somebody that disproportionately needs a large quantity of people to be fixated on him. His satisfaction comes as he stands in amongst the madness.”

The first watching was in horror – I don’t do violent movies well at all. The second, I came to understand the story line. The third – I cried as the humanity of a villain was fully exposed. We don’t like giving our villains human emotions. We will do so for our super heroes – Stark who has his epiphany when he is hurt by his own weapons, Captain America and the loss of his friend who he then has to fight and save and fight and save, Thor when he finally listens to his father and grasps the concept that ego does not make a good leader and home is not always the place you think it is, Black Panther and learning that revenge is not as sweet as it seems and the list goes on. All of our super heroes are allowed to be human, but not our villains.

I think that this portrayal of a villain, is one of the most profound I have seen. The movie shows what is possible when we ignore those who require our help, it shows how uncaring and unfeeling we are as communities. If someone is not at our level of expertise, or knowledge or just our own measurement pole, then we ignore them. We do not nurture or teach or help – we push them aside to find more like us.

We are all prejudiced and judgmental. Oh that is a hard pill to swallow, isn’t it? I am guilty of this too. I try not to be, but I realise that I fail in this, consistently. I have people who are “Jokers” in my life – hard to deal with, not measuring up to my standards, needing more attention and help, wanting to be the centre of all attention – and I ignore them. I stay away from them because fuck it, it is hard work.

Then I realise that I, too, am hard work. I have times where I want to be the centre of everything, I want it all and cannot find happiness in what is in front of me. I want the banquet when my appetite is the size of the entrée. I throw a tantrum when I don’t get my way (not Joker style 😉 ) and lash out hurting those who hurt me.

Do we all need a voice and to be heard? Fuck yes! I want to be heard, I want to hear others and make theirs, and my, experience a better one. I want to understand so that I can live, not in peace, but in empathy and consideration. We all have stories to tell, and stories that should be told and heard.

Do I want to have a disproportionately large amount of people fixated on me? Yes. (And trust me that was not easy to write). From time to time I do want to be the centre of attention, I want to have the adulation (or fear) that comes with being at the top of my game. I want everyone to see ME and not ignore me.

We all have a little of the Joker, or any other villain (I have a thing for Loki 😉 ). Just as we all have a little Iron Man, Black Panther, Thor or any other super hero. It is how we face into those characteristics that can make us, not better, but more empathic and understanding people. We will never be better in my view – no one is better than another – we can only strive to have empathy and understanding, and instead of ignoring, we should be reaching down and helping up.


9 thoughts on “We all have a little of the Joker”

  1. This just might be your best post, although I hesitated before typing such because I’m a fan of all of your posts. It’s not so much the specifics (although I am right there with you on almost every single point) but more so with the honesty. There is so much fakery and posing in this world, so it’s refreshing to see someone avoid the pretense and speak the truth, about oneself and about others.

    Please keep writing. Please.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. It has taken a little while to respond, mainly as I did not have the words (and I am not sure I have them now). Thank you for your input, it does amazing things for me when I feel I can touch anyone with my words. I promise to continue writing and to remain open and honest, always.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Came here via Bonny Brian. Well articulated. The crux being we see flaws in everything and everybody outside our own uniquely self-serving outlook, flawed as we know that vision is.
    Boy, that turned out far more pretentious than it did in my head!
    The sad fact being as well, we can delude ourselves if we only look at the world through our blinkers by choice.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Damn! I’d love to have some people fixated on me, doing my bidding, or just telling the world how wonderful I was. Probably why I enjoyed performing for an audience back when I could actually remember lines, sing songs, and dance without looking like a complete idiot. But beyond a bit of applause or a few tips, it never really happened.

    The thing that makes an actor good is that the actor knows this secret. We all have a joker, a hero, a beaten-down victim, even a damsel in distress inside of us. Brownie points if it is something they actually felt, even if only once in the past. A GREAT actor can reach inside, grab that part of their soul on-demand, and pull it to the forefront for just about any part.

    The mediocre actor cannot do this. They can only act roles that are front and center in their personality. The rest, they just have to mimic.

    Gavin DeGecker, in his book, “The Gift of Fear,” tells us that we are not helpless against the villains of the world. Every one of us can think like a villain. (Or a Joker.) It is this ability to do so that is our best protection against them.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. LOL! Maybe someday we can do a zoom meeting and put our neuroses on display for critiquing. Maybe an internet “show and tell,” with judges to hold up score cards for originality, technical merit, and quality of presentation.


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