Southeast Missouri State University student publication

“Joker” makes surprising political impact

Saturday, November 23, 2019

This document is in no way an official statement by the SEMO College Democrats and should not in any way, shape, or form be regarded as such.

*Editor’s note: The following piece contains spoilers for the 2019 film “Joker.”

When I saw “Joker,” I had recently been put into a cast just after being out of a boot for a few weeks. To say I was jaded would be an understatement, so I seemed like the willing recipient to be radicalized and become a shooter — according to the narrative CNN has been espousing.

To my pleasant surprise, “Joker” was not the far-right boogeyman CNN had made it out to be, and instead was a rather liberal film.

From Arthur being beaten up by kids and yelled at for entertaining a child, it is clear Gotham is a city devoid of empathy. While not inherently liberal, it is important to note studies show liberals are more empathetic, at least according to a 2018 study by UC Berkeley. This is shown by leftists pushing for universal healthcare, among other policies, to help our fellow man.

Now, conservatives will espouse they just want to give people to alleged “freedom to fail.” This supposed freedom is just a code word for wanting to cut all safety nets for the public. Similarly to how saying you want healthcare to be “affordable” means you do not support universal healthcare.

Many people, especially those in the lower class, do not have the freedom to fail because they do not have the means to attempt to succeed nor anything to fall back on if they fail.

Even the fact that Gotham is dirty is a nod to liberalism as the garbage men strike can be compared to the janitor’s refusing to work against Doug Ford’s government in a show of solidarity with the teachers.

It’s worth noting the film is set in 1981 when the ill-fated air traffic controllers strike occurred. The main point of the strike was a reduced work week for air traffic controllers to help prevent fatigue so they do not accidentally cause plane crashes as a result of burnout (as shown in Breaking Bad).

Yet this demand was deemed prosperous by the prophet of republicans, aka Ronald Wilson Reagan.

Within the first act of “Joker,” Arthur's social worker is laid off due to cuts in a city that already seems to lack any and all social welfare programs.

Recently Trump attempted to cut $1.5 trillion from Medicare, which “covered 22% of non-elderly adults with mental illness and 26% of non-elderly adults with serious mental illness” according to Newsweek.

Sidenote: It should be worth noting neoliberal prophet JFK also cut mental health funding on Halloween in 1963 but even us leftists hate neoliberals.

After being attacked, Arthur is loaned a gun from a friend to defend himself. It’s safe to say conservatives cheered at that scene due to the commonly espoused talking point, “Yeah I’ve got a gun and will shoot anyone who tries anything,” that seems to populate the comments section of midwestern TV station Facebook posts.

This scene was probably Dan Crenshaw's wet dream as conservatives screech about how everyone should always be armed everywhere. Yet the film increasingly shows why you should not be armed everywhere when Arthur gets in trouble for having the gun at a children's hospital, which in their world may seem ludicrous.

It brings back memories of the Mercy Hospital mass shooting and the feeling we could be gunned down anywhere, anytime.

Arthur does wind up using the gun in self defense against some faux Wall Street bankers. For simple self defense, he is labeled a clown since the one he defended himself against were rich and entitled.

Those who share an anti-rich sentiment are immediately looked down upon by the rich since they don’t see Thomas Wayne in the light Penny Fleck does.

He is seen as a savior akin to how those who lost jobs due to coal mine closure saw Trump as a savior. Their supposed savior then proceeded to cut taxes for the rich, raised them on the middle class, and cut food stamp assistance. Which, to his party, cemented his spot as the “savior of the poor” he billed himself as.

The movie is not a story of a crazed alt-right incel (for that check out the film “Cuck”); instead, it is a treatise on GOP policies and their effects. In the end, there is no good way to end this piece, so I’ll leave you with a quote that should guide our lives and adorns my shoes.

“Be More Kind.” — Frank Turner.