DC's Latest Box Office Hit, Joker, Is No Joke


Image from Warner Bros.

DC's latest box office hit, Joker, portrays the reality of mentally-troubled comedian Arthur Fleck. Disregarded, mistreated, and mocked by society, Fleck spirals, invoking a revolution that sparks a breakout of bloody crime.

I don't want to spoil the film for those who may not have seen it yet, but I do want to discuss the underlying issues that make a film such as Joker jolt such a chill up our spines.

Issues that involve me and you. Issues that don't have to be inherent.

So, who is Arthur Fleck (aka Normal Guy)?

Let's just call him Normal Guy. Without the clown makeup, main character Arthur Fleck appears to be just like everyone else upon passing him on the sidewalk. He has a job (even if it's as a clown pursuing comedy). He has a love interest. He has a sick mother to take care of. Normal Guy.

Fleck is bullied. Fleck is laughed at by the society around him. His "strangeness" is pointed out to him by all, and his condition creates a canyon between himself and his peers. People keep their distance. People roll their eyes. Fleck's medical assistance is even cut off while his social worker tells him, "They don't care about people like you."

This is Arthur Fleck. Normal Guy. Bullied. Cut off.

So, who is Joker (aka Monster)?

Seen as a monster, Joker is nothing more than Fleck's alter ego, which, according to Merriam-Webster, is the opposite side of a personality. Joker and Fleck share the same skin. Their brain shares thoughts (because it is the same brain). Their heart beats at the same pace (because it is the same heart). They are one. Except, of course, Joker is the Monster.

Joker is noticed. Sure, it's out of fear. But still, he is noticed. He even points out the fact that people are starting to notice him, meaning everything to mentally-troubled comedian Fleck.

To break that down, here is the fact of the matter:

Fleck is Joker - Joker is Fleck.

Normal Guy is Monster - Monster is Normal Guy.

So, how does Fleck alter into Joker?

Joker portrays the life of Fleck, walking us through the events that took place over the course of his lifetime. The film echoes back to Fleck's childhood, opening the door to the detriment that determines his outcome.

When watching a lifetime of events unfold in flashbacks that make up a two-hour film, Normal Guy becoming Monster no longer seems so abrupt.

Seemingly small ridicules from society no longer seem so small.

Seemingly unnoticeable canyons created between yourself and the "strange" guy on the bus no longer seem so unnoticed.

Help being unavailable for the needy no longer seems so far from self.

Because think about it... the "monsters" of our society's past (Ted Bundy, Columbine shooters, Charles Manson) had no actual people on their list, just types of people. Types of people that rejected them.

Yes, people must be held responsible for their actions.

The monsters are the ones who pull the triggers and plot the tragedies.

However, actions rarely arise without causation.

Where do you find yourself in the midst of a busy society?

Are you a friend?

Do you take notice of the people around you, even if just a smile?

Really, where do you find yourself?

Now, where is it that you want to find yourself?

Go there.


Madeline Burdine is a Communication major with PR concentration at Mississippi State University. As Founder & Editor of Mississippi Millennials, her passion is to push people to higher heights within themselves, thinking more and doing more. Madeline enjoys running, reading, and learning.