Tuesday, 13 December 2011

The Joker - The monster within us

As a kid, I was petrified to look under my bed or look into my closet. Hollywood horror / slasher flicks  like Kid’s play, Psycho, The Shining etc made me believe that there would be a monster in there. Growing up, I often scared my younger cousins by creeping under the bed or inside the closet.
The bed & the closet become a part of one’s psyche while growing up. We are tuned into the fact that the monster often lurks around in the darkness.

These moments, those memories, faded away as I grew up. I grew up to understand that everything that they show in great, spine chilling movies is pure hogwash.  But one thing did not change……. The monster did not go. He stayed.

Did he stay back under the bed? Did he find himself a corner inside the closet or did he move to the attic and stayed there since?
The monster continued to trouble me. It would creep up on me randomly, shocking me, and shocking people around me. I kept checking in the cupboard, under the bed and attic till one day I saw Christopher Nolan’s classic “The dark knight”.
This was the takeout - "We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us."

Joker for the most part is written by people who read comics, not people who have a college degree in Psychology.
Ledger's Joker was a personification of disregard and chaos. His primary goal seems to be to prove that people, in dire situations, are just as sick and horrible as he is.

The chaos in our lives compel us to act as maniacs / insane. Looking and reading about all the thefts, murders, muggings make one feel sick. The times we live in, the situations we go through compel us to cross the so called line of sanity. We often end up doing something that one would not have done in an utopian world. Even if our actions do not convey our feelings, our thoughts clog up our brain.
Since sanity is a state of mind, isn't it only appropriate to judge minds as sane or insane rather than actions? Actions are simply a result of things and I think describing them in terms of emotions or logic is a metaphor/slang means of personifying whoever is doing them.
 Insanity isn't the absence of rational thinking. It's.. a very broad term for irrational behavior.

This brings me back to THE DARK KNIGHT….This film is really about the Joker. We're lured in to his world, where we learn what he's capable of and what he cares about—what motivates him. Learning more about him is like watching a car accident unfold, but worse and more frightening, because it feels like you might be hit next. Nolan's incarnation of the Joker, and Batman's reactions to him, seem so real that The Dark Knight doesn't feel like a superhero movie, but like a documentary on the emergence of a terrorist-cum-serial killer.

I was repeatedly struck by the Joker's cleverness and restraint: He planned three simultaneous murders, Godfather style. That takes extraordinary planning abilities, meticulous attention to detail, and the ability to defer gratification Sounds like anyone else in the movie – like Batman? This Joker is neither impulsive nor capricious, although he may appear that way at first blush. Just as with Batman, the Joker's actions are designed to create a particular impression, an impression that puts his adversaries at a disadvantage: that he's weird and unpredictable. That you never know how far he'll push something, so take him seriously. This, too, is part of the impression that Batman tries to create. But the Joker's got Batman's number because he knows that Batman isn't entirely unpredictable—Batman lives within certain self-imposed and societally-imposed rules. Because of those rules, Batman becomes predictable…at least to the Joker. Two men with similar talents, but in the Joker's case, his talents are used to create anarchy for his own amusement. 

As a movie buff, I would like to cheer for Joker, but as a societal creature, my moralities do not let me root or cheer for the Joker.
We are Sociopaths – who know right or wrong, but simply do not care whereas the Joker is a psychopath who is born with temperamental differences such as impulsivity and fearlessness that leads him to risk-seeking behavior and an inability to internalize social norms.

This blog started as a note or journey into our own self, but ended up as a pseudo thesis on the Joker.
My thoughts were muddled while writing this piece, just like Joker’s actions.
Nonetheless, let me know what you feel.
Why so serious?


  1. "What does not kill us only makes us STRANGER!"
    Loved this note!

  2. completely autopsy of Joker's mind I would say !!! Interesting read...

  3. @ Yashad - My personal favourite is " If you are good at something, never do it for free"

    @ Vinod - Thanks mate.

  4. "Let's put a smile on that face"
    ....interesting read

  5. love what you've written. deep and makes you think about a lot of things.
    my favourite quote:
    “We stopped checking for monsters under our beds when we realized they were inside us."

    thank you for the awesome read

  6. Thank you Cadence... These words mean a lot. Hope I can churn out more of these :)

  7. this was super awesome to read. opened my mind a lot. thanks!(:

  8. @Tori - Thank you very much. Glad that you liked it.

  9. This is the truth. Everything you say is like taken from my mind. Except for one thing: in real life, I would root for The Joker. Because chaos is fair, anarchy isn't judgemental.

  10. This was a great paper I really liked it. It's things I have thought about before but really never understood the feelings. The Joker I would have to say is my favorite villian, because he really has no plot he just is and does.... To quote Alfred "Some men just want to watch the world burn."

  11. This was a really interesting entry, that I actually took time and read. It was really good, and so true! Plus I love that movie, and like you I wanted to root for the Joker. But unlike you, I did root for the Joker. I don't like society telling me what to do, and in reality bad guys get away all the time, that's why I love when it happens in movies. But I'm not some crazy killing manic, I just think it makes the movie or TV show more interesting!

  12. the joker was the best villain ive ever seen
    the whole concept of the movie is:
    you either die a hero or live enough to see yourself become the villain

  13. Ah, amazing words for one of my favorite villains. The movie was completely surrounding Joker but the end was very shocking, Batman really wasn't a hero - he was something more.

    On the final note, "Madness, as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little…push."


  14. amazing insight into joker's mind........u have put it together really well! :D