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madness through the prism of modern society

By Ford KiddPublished about a year ago 10 min read


One terrible night, a gang of criminals led by a man in a red cap infiltrated the Ace Chemical Processing Inc. factory to rob a card company in the same building. Minutes later, they were discovered and confronted by the police and a mysterious avenger in a bat costume. All of the bandits, except for the Red Hood, were killed by police bullets. The leader was able to find a way out of a hopeless situation: he jumped over the railing, jumped into a vat of chemicals, flew through the sewers, and found himself in the river, where “Ace Chemical” dumped its poisonous waste.

The offender successfully escaped the pursuit and, having got to the shore, took off his cap. It turned out that swimming in the poisoned liquid left its traces: from the reflection in the river, a nightmarish clown face stared at the unfortunate. Chalk white skin, hair the color of artificial grass, and ruby ​​lips stretched into an eerie, toothy smile – this is what the hapless robber saw. And from that moment he disappeared … his personality disappeared into madness.

NOBODY knows who this person was before that day. NOBODY, not even himself – in his fevered brain, true and imaginary, truth and falsehood, reality and fantasy were mixed. Was he a cold-blooded thug or a common loser who risked breaking the law to raise money for his family? One thing is certain: something bad happened before he visited Ace Chemical, and physical transformation was just the last straw for him.

The silence of the night was broken by insane laughter: the disfigured criminal appreciated the joke that fate played with him. And he decided to joke back. “I look like an evil clown … Clown? Not a clown, but … JOKER!!!” And the reborn got down to business.

Very soon the newspapers called him nothing less than the Clown Prince of Crime. Acting with tremendous ingenuity and ruthlessness, the madman has earned a reputation as the most dangerous creature in the city of Gotham. Robberies, mass murders, nuclear terrorism, alliances with other supervillains, as well as (short-term) world domination and the near end of the world – this is not a complete list of the Joker’s deeds. He even managed (I’m not kidding) to be the UN ambassador from Iran and to serve in a Soviet concentration camp.

The Joker commits his crimes in a special style. The realization of the phrase “to die of laughter” became the goal of his life. He loves to turn his atrocities into sinister performances, accompanying actions absurd in cruelty with buffoonery and clowning. His criminal plans are carefully thought out, but at the same time leave room for improvisation and include many different options for retreat.

1989 Version

Joker (Jack Nicholson)

Jack Napier, the right hand of the mafia, always carries his lucky deck with him, and his favorite purple suit. But suddenly the mafia decides to get rid of him (Jack liked the leader’s girl), and sets the police on him. Scene of Exis Kamikals. Batman appears, of course. And it’s his fault that Jack Falls into acid. his face becomes disfigured, his skin takes on a shade of blue. Even plastic surgery does not help. We tried to do everything in their power, but alas, now our Jack is doomed to wear a malicious smile on his face. When Jack looked at himself in the mirror after the operation, he lost his minds.

Now he has nothing to lose. In fact, Jack died, and like a phoenix, a psychopathic killer was reborn from the ashes. Oh yeah … New life – new “business cards”, and this is, of course, the Joker card. The weapon certainly looked like a clown prop. And the same Joker that we know today appears before us.


Is everybody and everyone. The Joker trusts no one and treats victims, enemies, allies, assistants, and those who just “passed by” with equal cruelty. He is a “wild card” in any human deck, an outcast in any company, uncontrolled and unaffected by anyone. Those who see him as an ally tend to die first. Those who hire him for the “dirty work” must be prepared for unpredictable results. His assistants better keep their mouths shut (“Learn not to ask stupid questions,” says Joker, throwing one of his subordinates under the wheels of a passing car, the rest of the gang in one of the comics). Decent people …

Decent people have no place in this city. They’d better live somewhere else.

The jester-maniac also has a circle of favorite victims. First of all, of course, Batman is a superhero of Gotham, a mysterious night avenger, protector of the innocent. It was from him that the Red Cap ran away, jumping into the chemical waste. But this is not an act of trivial revenge. In most of his comic and on-screen “incarnations,” the evil harlequin does not consider Batman to be the cause of his misfortunes; he thinks that fate struck him by accident, and strikes back in the same way – at random.

But the competition in cunning with the Batman quickly became the very essence of the criminal clown’s existence. He needs a worthy opponent on which to play deadly jokes, and constant defeat only stimulates him. The Joker always says that he will kill the Bat, that he hates the Knight of the Night, etc., but in reality, everything is much more complicated – without an opponent, his life will lose its meaning, because there will be no one to “play” with him.

Therefore, the Joker, although he had many opportunities to end the Black Avenger forever, always delayed the reprisal until the last moment or gave a chance to save his enemy. And he never once took the chance to find out the true identity of the mysterious opponent. However, according to many fans, he recognized her a long time ago – it just doesn’t matter to him.

Next on the list are Bat’s allies. They are just the most in danger – the Joker needs them only as a way to hurt Batman. Then – policemen, lawyers, politicians – everyone who personifies the law and order so hated by him (the more famous, the better – the mayor or the police commissioner, for example). Finally, the doctors treating the Joker in the Gotham psychiatric hospital “Arkam” – after another escape, he sometimes visits his doctors to communicate at home.

There is no reason as such. Everything the Joker does, he does for his pleasure, experiencing psychotic ecstasy from his sociopathic deeds. His main goal is to prove to everyone that he is both the greatest comedian and the greatest criminal of all time. The clown – Prince of the Underworld is sure that he can achieve this only in one way – by defeating the Bat and always with the help of some witty trick.

Of course, in many stories, the villain pursues mercantile goals, but still, money is not the main thing for him. He can rob a bank, and the next day buys 20 thousand “devils in a box” for, to put it mildly, obscure reason.

The Joker has no superhuman abilities, no international criminal empire, no millions in a Swiss bank, no even highly developed muscles. And yet in the DCU (DC Universe – a universe that exists in the imagination of thousands of authors and artists working in the company of DC comics), it is he who is the most terrible and dangerous psychopath, striking fear into the hearts of much more powerful and physically powerful villains. The Joker loves to say that his strength is in insanity, and it is.

He is ready for anything in the name of achieving his goals and implementing his plans; dangers and even death do not frighten him (at least in many stories), although the instinct of self-preservation always works at the right time, saving the psycho from imminent death. His madness manifests itself in an uncontrollably frivolous attitude to life and reality: he ridicules everything in his path and, having ridiculed him, destroys. Therefore, he is ready to laugh at both mortal danger and formidable adversary. In some comics, it is directly stated that the Joker is not too versed in what is happening both around him and in his head.

Nevertheless, without delving into the essence of what is happening, the sinister jester navigates a dangerous situation much better than healthy people and knows how to turn the tide of a duel with a seemingly predetermined outcome: his sick brain always prompts unexpected and witty decisions. He has no equal in the ability to find the weak points of his opponents and use their weapons against them. Finally, the Clown – Prince of the Underworld never cared about such nonsense as the honesty of a duel.

Madness gives him some other abilities. As you know, the physical strength of madmen increases due to the adrenaline reaction of the body. The Joker has never studied martial arts and hand-to-hand combat and has nothing to boast of in a fight, but sometimes insane rage gives him the strength to rush at the enemy like an animal and fight on equal terms even with Batman, an expert in all possible martial arts.

In addition, the permanent phase break rewarded the killer jester with an unusually mobile nervous system: no psychotropic, intoxicating, etc. drugs act on him (although they often then act on the doctors who give them), as well as “the gas of fear ”, Invented by a mad scientist named Scarecrow, and the botanical enchantment of the villainess Poison Ivy.

Over the years of his criminal life, the Joker acquired many practical skills: he shoots well (his favorite tactic is to shoot at all living things indiscriminately), he is good with cold weapons, is well versed in explosives and poisonous substances, not to mention various cunning tricks and dastardly tricks, often demonstrates undoubted acting talent and skill of transformation, is an expert in all kinds of torture and sadistic methods of brainwashing. But still, his main weapon is ingenuity, lack of principle, and … madness.

He has no friends and constant accomplices, for he denies any laws and rules – including the criminal world. The Joker has repeatedly joined forces with other supervillains (Penguin, Scarecrow, Lex Luthor, Carnage); each time it all ended in mutual betrayal and a fight. However, his eerie aura and nightmarish reputation inspire awe and almost awe in most criminals, and his power within the walls of Arkham is limitless.

Joker has never lacked helpers, as he pays well and his plans always work (as long as the Bat does not intervene). As a rule, a maniac clown takes in his team of two or three strong and stupid thugs who do not ask unnecessary questions and do not think about what they are doing. But, unlike most crime bosses, he loves to do all the dirty work himself.

Joker maybe is a bad guy and is shown incorrectly. We are shown a mad criminal, but what do we know about the other residents of Gotham? What can we say about them? Maybe the city is the main character of the story. Cold, unprincipled, angry, and insane. He is much more frightening than the Joker himself.

In my opinion, the best Joker was performed by Joaquin Phoenix. From the point of view of pure psychology, social and personal problems.

Arthur Fleck is the embodiment of Gotham. The Joker also evokes compassion and horror. He is already a sick person, but Gotham finally turns him into a psycho who has no friends and relatives.

It is easy to draw parallels here with our everyday life, which is also cynical and often evil. Yes, we live in an era of “new sincerity and morality”, where it’s more and more difficult for comedians not to hurt someone’s feelings, and Hermione Granger suddenly, for no reason, changes her skin color in the play, a direct continuation of the Harry Potter story. The Joker serves as a perfect reminder that the world is still full of problems, it is very easy to go crazy here, and it is more important than ever to monitor your mental health.

We are used to the stable axiom Wayne is a hero, the Joker is a villain. Bruce Wayne is unable to cope with childhood trauma and its direct opposite. Bruce believes in people, Joker personifies all the dark sides of society. And tell me which of them is more right, even if you admire the villain almost more than the hero?


About the Creator

Ford Kidd

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