Wednesday, September 03, 2008

The Joker. My critique on the man

Before all the spandex and the silly man who wore his underwear outside his pants there was only the Dark Knight. Somewhere between his story was Alfred's story about his life before Wayne.

Alfred: When I was in Burma, a long time ago, my friends and I were working for the local Government. They were trying to buy the loyalty of tribal leaders, bribing them with precious stones. But their caravans were being raided in a forest north of Rangoon by a bandit. We were asked to take care of the problem, so we started looking for the stones. But after six months, we couldn't find anyone who had traded with him. One day I found a child playing with a ruby as big as a tangerine. The bandit had been throwing the stones away.
Bruce: Then why steal them?
Alfred: Because he thought it was good sport. Because some men aren't looking for anything logical, like money. They can't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. Some men just want to watch the world burn.

Alfred was right. Of course, he may have his own version of the character he was talking about but there is another term for this and a lot of modern day heroes fall in this category - even Batman himself. You see, people like these are seen time again as the ideal people. The character in Alfred's story isn't just watching the world burn but is after the basic thing that most egotistical people want - GLORY. As one person describe's Lara Craft: "While others want the money she's just in it for the glory."

Earlier in my life when I was young, naive and foolish, I, too, was in it for the glory. I couldn't be bought, bullied, reasoned or negotiated with. I prided myself for my loyalty and, frankly, that hasn't gotten my anywhere! If my bosses would ask me to hijack our competitors' armored car I would do it so I could burn their daily earnings right in front of them. That goes without saying that I'd do it for free!

The disturbing thing about being the Hero or The Joker is that society unwittingly gives you the right to be manipulative where you can "introduce a little anarchy and upset the order". Both the hero and the villain puts the world in chaos by either their absence or their presence (hopefully in that order.)

I relate to a lot of things in the Joker's character in many ways but the following are my favorites:
1) He prefers to use knives than guns due to their usage being "personal" between him and his victims. I agree. I like bladed weapons as well. I simply cannot shoot somebody at close range in a scuffle but I can blindly cut anyone near me without having take a second to aim for them.
2) He enjoys reminding humanity of its weakness and relishes on the misery that manifests itself on this weakness. In the real world, one of the boats would have blown up by now. Nobody is as upstanding as they claim to be. Thus, break a plan and everyone falls into chaos.
3) He is not necessarily a person you would attempt to interpret or understand lest you want to come out with some form of body injury that requires stitches - lots of them.

Today it's all about the money. In the world of Supermans and Batmans where you can project to the world an image that you are invincible you can live off the rest of your happy life basking in glory. In the real world, you don't live forever, you can't shield bullets and you can't afford a crime fighting car so better settle for a high paying job. And when you're done projecting a facade of being glorious than you really are, you can move on to other people who look at you as a bigger hero who, at the right price, can be bought, bullied, reasoned and negotiated with. It's that time in our life when we stop playing superhero and start being a man - human.

My advice: Take the money because glory, just like love, doesn't pay the bills. Grow up. You always do.

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