The Reel Thing: The Joker

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By Ben Pensant

I hated The Joker. That’s right, I went there. Get me arrested for hate speech if you must. I’m past caring. Because if the last few weeks have taught me one thing it’s that there are times when speaking your mind isn’t just important, it’s absolutely vital. And after a month living in fear of abuse, cancellation, and burning dogshit posted through my letterbox, the time has come to say it once and say it loud: I hated The Joker and I’m proud.

That felt good. Not as good as watching Jezza demolish the Tories by losing an election to them, but definitely the second best experience I’ve ever had fully-clothed. After weeks of biting my tongue, to finally stick it to the haters is the definition of liberating. Now I know how self-help guru/professional mental patient Matt Hague felt when he risked ridicule by telling Twitter: “I don’t believe in astrology and couldn’t give a fig who knows it!”.

To go against the grain takes courage, the kind unique to social media liberals willing to say the unsayable no matter how many fascists they offend. And as everyone who read the bootlicking reviews knows, to even suggest that The Joker may not be the masterpiece the establishment tells you it is practically guarantees pile-ons, death threats, and funny looks at Klan meetings.

The silencing of those who saw through this vile film was so thorough that barely a dozen negative reviews were published. Indeed, the journalists who dared to speak out have been quietly ‘disappeared’, so determined are the alt-right to promote rabidly conservative propaganda via a sombre character study about inequality and mental illness. And judging by the media whitewash it seems they’ve succeeded. Indeed, if you didn’t know better you’d think critics and audiences loved the film. Which is why, after keeping shtum since its release, the time has come for those of us who detested this offensive flick to finally have our say.

And zoy, is there plenty to detest: gratuitous violence, culturally insensitive colour schemes, and aggressive demands that the audience feel sympathy for ‘comedians’ – currently the most dangerous people on earth. But the most hateful thing about Ted Phillips’ love-letter to fascism is the way it suggests that society turns white men into killers, when any idiot knows the thing that turns them into killers is movies like The Joker.

Not that you’d know this from the biased press coverage. Indeed, the average idiot on the street would probably tell you The Joker has inspired zero hate crimes or mass shootings and swear blind that since early October the streets haven’t been awash with blood, facepaint, and fake flowers filled with sleeping gas. For a whole month cinema goers have been routinely slaughtered during screenings of this terrible film yet do The Scum report it? Do they balls. At the performance I sneaked into twenty people were shot dead but surprise, surprise, the Murdoch empire smothered the story so efficiently even I didn’t notice. For all I know they shot me dead too.

But let’s ignore that and blame ‘poverty’ and ‘mental illness’ for making privileged white men kill, as opposed to movies about far-right supervillains. And newspapers. And ‘Go Home!’ posters. And big red buses. And all of those things the modern left used to hold dear but have now decided are bigoted, like free speech, democracy, and women having their own changing rooms.

Needless to say, the crass deflection and glowing reviews prove once and for all that the MSM has been hijacked by right-wing misogynists, such as the woman who gave it five stars in Premiere. It’s also been a box office hit, meaning everyone who paid money to see it has blood on their hands too. Yes, in 2019 there are still people who think it’s perfectly okay to enjoy a movie in which bad people do bad things. All the more reason then, to salute those brave journalists fighting for decency by praying The Joker will incite far-right violence so they can say ‘I told you so!’ the next time someone shoots up a cinema.

That the politics espoused by Phillip’s hatefest are pretty left-wing is irrelevant. The film’s message – that inequality and alienation can lead to antisocial or psychotic behaviour – may well be the same one promoted by everyone from Occutipy to Bernie Saunders but as all good leftists know, it becomes null and void when the antisocial, psychotic behaviour is carried out by straight white men. To suggest that marginalisation can provoke people into killing is deeply problematic in 2019, despite the fact that we’ve spent decades saying the exact same thing about jihadists.

And while reports of mass shootings and green-haired violence since the film’s release have been thin on the ground – ie ‘covered up by Mossad’ – the knock-on effect is everywhere. One only has to look at how the film’s most contentious scenes inspired the awful events of the last four weeks to understand the horrors this movie has unleashed.

Take the pivotal sequence in which our hero kills three men on the Metro. Critics went gaga but none of the privileged bellends praising Phillips ‘directorial flare’ or River Phoenix’s ‘acting chops’ considered the impact the scene would have on the impressionable public. Needless to say, weeks after the film’s release a pack of cockney thugs brutally assaulted a harmless Extinction Renegade protester for trying to save the earth by pissing about on top of a train and disrupting their precious commute. Yep, in the warped minds of greedy bankers and brainless Leave voters the destruction of the planet is nowhere near as dreadful as being late for work. We can’t upset bossman just because people who care have decided that combatting global warming is more important than capitalist drones losing their bonuses for bad time keeping.

At one time these animals would’ve simply tutted, spat on the floor, and written an angry letter to The Daily Fail. Now, thanks to The Joker they’ve been emboldened to deliver street justice in the most fascistic manner imaginable. And who can blame them? If the mumbly dead fella out of Brokeback Mountain can dress as a clown and assault people on trains why can’t they?

But it didn’t stop there. Take the sad story of the 49 Japanese tourists who froze to death after being trapped inside a truck by a gang of Scum-readers trying to make a quick buck selling their organs to racist butchers. A horrifying story which led many to ask: what could possess a human being to do such a cruel thing?

Not me. Because I knew fine well what had possessed them. Like most sensible people, I instantly remembered that at no point in the film’s two-hour running time does a Chinee or Jap appear onscreen. Not only that, at one stage the clearly non-Asian Joker eats a ready meal which looks suspiciously like it contains noodles. In 2019. Sickening.

It doesn’t take a genius to make the connection. Erasure of Asians + cultural appropriation = Essex truckers murdering a wagon-load of orientals. It’s painfully clear these horrible bastards watched The Joker before embarking on their foul body-smuggling enterprise but will this be brought up in court? Will it knackers.

But it isn’t just normal folk who’ve been inspired by The Joker: world leaders are taking cues from the sharp-suited bigot too. The extrajudicial slaying of misunderstood ISIS leader Apu Bangra El Baggio initially seemed like a normal day at the office for the racist Trump administration. After all, it’s not like the US government need an excuse to murder brown-skinned men with beards and funny names. But the timing of this latest atrocity is deeply suspicious. Indeed, it’s obvious to anyone with half a brain that Trump was inspired by the scene in The Joker where the titular fascist mocks a dwarf.

Because what few people know is that brave El Bagdaddy was a somewhat small fella. Consequently, it doesn’t take Jessica Fletcher to deduce that Trump’s decision to take him out was influenced by Phoenix’s sick protagonist giggling uncontrollably while a work colleague mocks some poor little bastard. Clearly President Pussy-Grab loved this awful scene so much he just had to get in on the act, complimenting his love of bullying with a healthy does of Islamophobia by slaughtering the most high profile short-arsed Muslim he could find.

But it isn’t just the current POTUS who’s been prompted into evil by a mad midgetphobe with a deadly hand-buzzer. Last week St Barack of Obama sold out both his party and pigmentation when he attacked woke culture, breaking left-wing hearts by talking the kind of common sense that infests the grim wasteland known as The Real World.

Oh, Barry. We were happy to ignore all those immigrants you deported and Muslim countries you bombed but this ‘speaking the way normal people do’ stuff is beyond the pale. Though frankly, what did we expect? You’re a 59-year-old black man who desperately wants to be accepted by the establishment: even your baby mama was white. You’re a relic, too out of touch to function in the intersectional world. And unless you’re determined to tarnish your legacy for good I suggest keeping your right-wing rants to yourself. Okay ‘Bama?

Because for a supposed POC to take inspiration from such an abhorrent film is unforgivable, especially one which completely erases black women by giving roles to three of them. Even worse, Phillips thinks so little of these queens he kills one, objectifies another, and makes the third a cold-hearted therapist so uncaring she might as well be white. That Rocky & Bullwinkle star Al Pacino would co-star in such racially problematic filth makes a mockery of his much vaunted fondness for African-American ladies. Threatening to sock Trump’s jaw and telling Foxy News to go fuck themselves on breakfast television seems an awfully long time ago.

Of course, Obama was clearly emboldened by Ted Phillips’s identical rant in the jaw-dropping Variety Fair interview that offended liberals everywhere, some of whom had even read it. In the piece – a River Phoenix feature in which Philips’ comments took up roughly two paragraphs – he bemoaned woke culture and responded to a question about why he decided to make a serious drama by pointing out that nobody in Hollywood wants to make comedy anymore because they can’t be arsed with offended progressives on Twitter.

Cue an avalanche of criticism from offended progressives on Twitter, proving the shite director wrong by listing all of the great sitcoms currently being made in spite of ‘cancel culture’, cleverly ignoring the fact that Phillips was specifically talking about comedy movies, which they’d have been aware of if they’d actually read the article.

Well, guess what, Ted? You got your wish. The crawly-arse critics loved your movie, those of us who hated it are terrified to speak out, and the last month has seen your film inspire enough right-wing violence to guarantee a megabucks sequel is personally greenlit by Agent Orange. They’ll probably throw the wrap party at Trump Tower. And just yesterday it was announced that your magnum opus is the most profitable comic book adaptation ever. Well done! Keeping Lady Marvel off the top spot is the icing on the cake! Congratulations!

Thankfully, as the existence of this blog demonstrates, some of us are still fighting the good fight. Which is why I’m taking a rifle to the next available screening of The Joker so I can shoot the first white person who laughs. Sorry, is that not what you had in mind? Is it only women, minorities, and dwarves we’re supposed to kill? Silly me. Oh well, too late now, I’ve bought bullets and everything. Never mind, there’ll be as much chance of this being reported as Jacob Rees-Mug growing a conscience. I guess the only question is: how did you expect the public to react to a film which instructs them to kill people?

Riddle me that one, Twatman.

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