“Joker” Controversy Prompted A Both Sides Argument From Director Todd Phillips, And The Military Has Issued A Warning
Joaquin Phoenix is probably in a panic right now as he watches his Oscar chances slip through his fingers with every new complaint that his portrayal of the Man Who Would Be Joker, Arthur Fleck, might incite violence. But things must slip through his fingers all the time, it’s hard to hold things when you’ve always got a cigarette in your hands. Besides, his little lettuce-fed Joker weight arms probably can’t really hold much of anything, least of all a heavy gold trophy.
But he’s got good reason to be concerned, the closer we get to Joker’s October 4 release date, the more pressure is being put on director Todd Phillips, theater owners, and now the military, to address the possibility of Joker inspiring a mass shooting or other violent acts.
According to Yahoo! News, the US military has issued a warning to Fort Sill, Oklahoma service members to be on high alert at any Joker screenings. While no specific threat has been identified, service members were issued a warning which read in part:
“Incels are individuals who express frustration from perceived disadvantages to starting intimate relationships. Incel extremists idolize violent individuals like the Aurora movie theater shooter,” the document read. “They also idolize the Joker character, the violent clown from the Batman series, admiring his depiction as a man who must pretend to be happy, but eventually fights back against his bullies.
“When entering theaters, identify two escape routes, remain aware of your surroundings, and remember the phrase ‘run, hide, fight,'” it continued. “Run if you can. If you’re stuck, hide (also referred to as “sheltering in place”), and stay quiet. If a shooter finds you, fight with whatever you can.”
Remember the good old days when the worst thing that might happen at the movies is you’d end up sitting next to a lady with a purse filled with hard candies accompanied by a half deaf man she’s got to repeat every line to?
In addition to the military warning, two popular US theater chains have taken steps to ban masks and face paint at Joker screenings. AMC had already banned masks and makeup in the wake of the Aurora shooting. But don’t worry, you can still wear your sexy Mister Rogers costume, you just can’t pair it with a paper bag over your head, which you should, because you should be ashamed of yourself for wearing that. (via CNBC):
“Guests are welcome to come dressed in costume, but we do not permit masks, face paint or any object that conceals the face,” it said in a statement widely reported in the media, including Variety.
Landmark Theaters has followed suit, saying that “no masks, painted faces or costumes will be permitted into our theaters” and that they want customers to enjoy Joker as a “cinematic achievement”. Sounds like maybe Todd got in their ear about the true meaning of Joker. Todd recently spoke with The Wrap about concern that his film might inspire real-life violence. Todd must follow Chris Pratt on Instagram because he almost quoted Chris’ favorite poem Ding-Dongs verbatim.
Phillips thinks that people as a whole are waiting for a target they can pounce on – and “Joker” may be an obvious one. And in this case, it’s not about the right-wing targeting Hollywood movies over guns – it’s broader than that.
“I think it’s because outrage is a commodity, I think it’s something that has been a commodity for a while,” he said. “What’s outstanding to me in this discourse in this movie is how easily the far left can sound like the far right when it suits their agenda. It’s really been eye opening for me.”
Great, now I have Stuck In The Middle With You in my head now. But I mean, I guess he’s got a point. If you want to stop random acts of violence, censoring the arts isn’t the solution. It’s banning deadly assault clowns. I mean look at the recent tragedy that happened at The Gathering Of The Juggalos! All of this reminds me of one of my favorite tweet responses of all time, which came during The Clown Sightings of 2016.
bitch wtf is an "actual clown" 😭 https://t.co/enFnr8KtHa
— CJ from 🐣. (@willis_cj) October 4, 2016
People don’t hurt people, clowns hurt people.