The Joker controversy

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The Joker controversy

Photo by: Alex Kitchell

Photo by: Alex Kitchell

Photo by: Alex Kitchell

Noah Holt, Illustrator

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On September 21st, 2018, the first trailer for the critically acclaimed ‘Joker’ dropped. Receiving massive responses, varying from likes and skepticism, a surprising controversy sprouted from the film. Would this film cause more widespread panic or would it just be another comic book movie to be released?
Joker follows the plot of a mentally ill Arthur Fleck, whose story is a downward spiral into insanity. From the relationships Fleck forms to the harsh treatment he receives from the world, the movie comes to tell how the world can break people so easily and how so many people slip through cracks and ultimately cannot be saved by any sort of help.
The controversy originates from the arguments put forth that this will encourage people in similar situations to act out just like the Joker did in the movie. Arguments of people who view themselves as being wronged by society will go on killing sprees as they are influenced by the film.
Though, similar to the controversy with video games, people who wish to cause violent harm will strive to find a reason through any sort of medium. As well as with video games, not a single factor in the film will cause a nonviolent person to act out. So that thirty-two-year-old in their mom’s basement is just as harmless.
A fairly concerning point was made by victims of the Aurora, Colorado shooting that this could be a repeat of the Dark Knight screening in which a man walked into the theater, claiming to be the Joker with a clown get-up and opened fire on the viewers before being apprehended by the police. Well, that would be the case if it weren’t for the fact that the shooter just had red hair, made no claim to be the Joker, and was wearing tactical gear, not a clown suit. The shooter attacked the location simply because of the number of people there at the time.
As October rolls around and the Joker is released with critical acclaim, and even more actions against the film appear. Armed police officers guard entrances to theaters, constant articles are released about the smallest issues related to the film, costumes related to the film being banned, and all the way to a prank sign being hung up saying that ‘single males’ are banned from viewing the film, with all of this adding up to simply ridiculous behavior.
At the end of it all, the Joker is just like any other piece of media. It is meant to be an experience and enjoyed, while any concern around should not be the forefront to keep it from being made.