Why We Love Joker And Selena Gomez
These two are essentially in the same business.
One is a mega-successful international pop-star, the other a fictional murderer with a nick for disfigurement and torture games. Yet, there is an undeniable connection between them – an underbelly reason of why we are drawn to them. We often find themselves rooting for villains. Their complexity speaks to our souls because we all know that the core of our souls is not perfect, either.
We want to see a broken-down spirit succeed over his demons, see redemption, understand the motivation because there is nothing more human than screwing up and trying to come back from that screw up to find happiness.
Perhaps we continue watching the Joker´s story over and over again because he has not been granted his redemption yet. Because he has not expressed his remorse yet.
Perhaps we do the same in Selena´s case because we still haven´t seen her get her happy ending. Because each song is a pain-inducing carousel of struggle.
Or maybe it´s just a solid piece of entertainment on both ends.
The Joker is a polarizing figure, to say the least. Normally, unless a villain is visually pleasing to the eye, they are dismissed with raised brows, a wave of a hand and an indifferent grin: “Whatever, psycho“.
Selena has raised a few eyebrows over her behavior a couple of times, too, in a completely non-fictional way. Her endless drama with Justin Bieber has been filling the tabloid front covers for years now, and similarly to the Joker´s tips and tricks on how to enter-ruin- abort and repeat the cycle – it just won´t go away. Like, ever, apparently. Whether you view it as a result of inevitable series of chemical reactions that wreak havoc in your brain and turn it off temporarily, or simply a feeling of foolish curiosity, these two never run out of pulling out more and more heart cards for us to play with.
In the true spirit of the Joker´s success on the silver screen, and Selena´s bombastic new album Rare, let´s explore what lies beneath the world´s fascination with the disfigured villain, and his ethereal ties to the pop singer.
We appreciate a good drama
Hey, there is a reason why Days of our Lives has been running for 175 years, and there is no chance in hell or even a whiff of cancelation in the air despite the questionable acting or the washed-up storylines where everyone has poisoned everyone at least once.
Without diminishing or generalizing, most of us enter our daily routines without anything bone-chilling, sensational or life-altering happening throughout the day.
Self-fulfillment might be on the very top of the Maslow pyramid, but just because the icing on the cake is the final touch, doesn´t mean it doesn´t provide the sweetest of pleasures.
Some people even steal solely the cherry on top from the cake, because they believe that tipping your toes in the water impassions the five senses more than a full-blown dive.
The drama may be tiring, stretching out across a franchise, five albums, or a series of a fever dream-like Instagram stories - seeing happiness, feeling happiness, well – that just means that we have reached our satisfaction point. There are no more races to run. We have come to an end. And who wants their story to end?
We relate to the pain
Selena has lived quite a turbulent life, from growing up on television, to selling out stadium tours – nothing has touched her audience more than the Odyssey starring Justin Bieber as King of Ithaca, Victoria Secret models as the sirens, and Selena´s own self-absorbed tendencies as the journey the king Odysseus endured in the ancient Greek epos.
Just as every woman and every man, Selena has entered a romantic relationship, had her ups and downs and whether you condemned her or rooted for her, all of her experiences were displayed publicly, and we all at some point or another in time said to ourselves:
”Oh yeah, I´ve been there.” The pain ties famously in a prolific Joker story, the Killing Joke. “It takes one bad day…”
To turn a sane human being cuckoo bananas. Whether we take into account a sob story about his pregnant wife and his own personal lack of funds to support the family or a wild carousel ride of unimaginable traumas, we all agree that no one just decides one day to unleash Jeffrey Dahmer on society. There is a series of long strings that tow behind every mental health diagnosis. Those strings are often valid, but unfortunately invisible to the bare eye.
Ay, bandito factor
You know how sometimes there is a story on the news how a woman decided to electrocute her husband for cheating? And then the state instead of putting her on an electric chai, gives her a maximum sentence? Well, the first sign of sanity is questioning whether you´re actually sane. The second one is asking yourself the tough questions, such as:
What would I do if I were standing in her shoes? Carrying her burden every day, being disrespected, dishonored, cheated, and humiliated?
A crime is a crime, but a human is only a human. A victim card is a mighty tool that we all keep up our sleeves, and use at the most convenient of times. Selena has often, sometimes maybe despite her wishes, fallen into the category of a poor, cheated woman, which skyrocketed her album sales. And although she has never actually plugged Bieber onto a 202 Volt battery, and splashed cold water onto his head turning him into a Bieber-Schrapnel (yet); How many times did we actually acknowledge: Poor girl, she can´t catch a freaking break?
From this, of course, stems another popularity contest: Who rises from ashes all hefty and vigorous, and even more influential? Joker has been defeated again and again, yet the stories keep coming. And each time he returns more powerful and even sicker – and we are all here for it.
That one arch-nemesis that just won´t go away
The story has been retold several times. You wake up in the morning feeling pretty cute, drive to Starbucks for a daily dose of caffeine or whatever hash mix of sugar, whipped cream and zero coffee amount you feel like having that morning. You drive to work, the yellow Lamborghini passes you by like a flying bullet, and you don´t even give a damn that you´re driving an environmentally friendly Prius named Horatius after your grandpa who is a veteran and a total badass.
And then you arrive at work – and there.she.is. Freaking Karen waiting for you by your desk to dump a bunch of papers by your computer, giving you the look. Although you have a master´s degree, can recite the moonlight sonata back and forth, and on the weekends have a theater getaway on Broadway to feed your soul, she is the one who gets to do nothing, only delegate. Like a captain delegates to his first mate, although the captain drinks way too much rum and sleeps around with office boys.
No matter what you do, how hard you work, how smart you are, Karen is always there to remind you that being a boss´s daughter is a privilege you don´t get to have.
Whether it is a teacher you loathe, a mum who is way too strict for her own good, a colleague you can´t stand – there is always that one person in your life who signed a contract with the devil to turn your life into a warzone as an exchange for a lifetime supplies of witty comebacks and insults addressed to you.
Joker is the one person in Batman´s life who constantly outsmarts him. Not only then – he questions his belief structure, his purpose. Joker is not a mustache-twirling villain, he is a worthy adversary. Despite his apparent insanity and addiction to revel in tormenting others, the Joker often raises a valid point in his cognizant speeches to Batman. He is not just an opponent – he´s a life teacher to Batman.
However staggering and pain-inflicting the relationship with Justin Bieber had been for Selena Gomez, Bieber has proved to be a live teacher to her, too. The strength she has found within herself to keep moving, to keep producing music, to be a well-rounded person; Without an arch-nemesis, we would never be pushed and pulled and twisted in such a prodigious way that would incite growth.