The Joker: Is He Funny?

The Joker is a hard movie to write about, it is so dense and interconnected that to explore its themes in a linear fashion, as one must in a blog post, is a daunting task. To chase one theme, one sub narrative or idea is to ignore all others, and for that reason, every analysis is only grasping at parts, illuminating some bits, while leaving much unexplored.  I believe movies are best analyzed in conversation, where a more probing, circular, approach is possible. Thats not what I did here, instead, I tried to reconstruct the narrative of the movie by chasing down some of the key thematic threads. I’ll leave the reader to decide how illuminating this is. Spoilers ahead, you have been warned. 

Arthur Flak lives a hard life. He suffers from a medical condition “causing sudden, frequent and uncontrollable laughter,” especially when he is feeling anxious. This leads to all kinds of misunderstandings. Arthur is often misunderstood and abused by others. He is called a freak and a weirdo, his job as a clown fits with his position as an outsider and reject. One of the first scenes in the movie is of Arthur dressed as a dancing clown, holding a sign advertising a local store. The sign is ripped out of his hands by a group of young men. Arthur chases after them—managing remarkable speed in his giant clown shoes—only to be hit over the head with his own sign and beat up in an alleyway. Arthur’s boss blames Arthur for losing the sign. We watch Arthur make a child laugh, only to spook the mother with his involuntary laughter. Arthur is willing to bear the abuse. He apologizes for his condition to the mother, and when a co-worker describes his attackers as “a bunch of savages,” Arthur dismisses the incident, blaming himself: “it just bunch of kids, I should have left them alone.”

Arthur struggles to conform to society, and to make friends, to live a happy and fulfilled life. He struggles to be in touch with reality. Early on, he asks his psychiatrist to increase his dose of medication because “I just don’t want it to feel so bad anymore.“ In his journal he writes: “The worst part about mental illness is that you must act as if you don’t.” Indeed, a plot that runs throughout the film is Arthur struggling with the tension between his own view of the world and what “everyone on TV says.” Are Arthur’s jokes funny even if no one else laughs? Can he kill even if the law tries to stop him? Does he have a condition or is he normal? More on this later.

He is told by everyone around him that he is a freak, a clown, that he has a “condition.” Others seem to be happy, funny, to be able to hold down a job and make friends, but Arthur can do none of these things. He says at one point, “I have never been happy for a minute in my life.” In this way, Arthur’s job as a clown—a bringer of joy and laughter—conflicts ironically with his depression. Like the faithless and hopeless pastor in First Reformed, whose white robe masks a black heart, Arthur’s smile is one that has been painted on. Both perform a job they cannot live, they act out what they cannot believe, they offer what they cannot give and desperately need themselves. A hopeless pastor who tries to instil hope in others. A joyless clown who tries to bring joy to others. His job as a clown is a mask for the despair he really feels,

And yet, there a few guiding lights in Arthur’s life. One, is his aging mother, whom we see Arthur caring for tenderly. There is a scene where he is giving her a bath, another where he cuts up her food and then sits down to watch TV with her. When she has a stroke, he is obviously devastated, and sits at her bedside in the hospital all night. Arthur loves his mother, and she seems to love him.

Another person who loves Arthur is his girlfriend. A woman who finds him funny, is delighted by his company and is always there for him in difficult times. At the hospital, she is there, sitting next to Arthur. More on her later.

A third key figure for Arthur is Murray Franklin, host of the “Live with Murray Franklin Show.” Murray is everything Arthur aspires to be, rich, successful, funny and popular. Arthur’s mother told him as a child that he would grow up to “spread joy and laughter,” and Murray is the embodiment of this. His show, brings joy and laughter, not just to his live audience, but also for Arthur and his mother. Arthur genuinely seems to admire Murray and seems to aspire to be like him. In one scene, Arthur imagines himself being called onstage by Murray who praises him and embraces him warmly. Murray seems to be almost a father figure for the fatherless Arthur.

Arthur aspires, like Murray, to be a stand-up comedian, but his jokes disturb rather than amuse. Early on, his psychiatrist reads a joke from his notebook: “I hope my death makes more cents than my life.” His struggle with being funny is connected to his struggle with fitting into society, with his struggle with reality. His jokes, like his life, are absurd, they point out profound suffering, while simultaneously making light of these horrific situations. Indeed, the entire movie leaves the viewer with a similar mix of disquiet, revulsion, pity and humour. This is a tension throughout the film, Arthur is a character that invokes pity, but at the same time, there is something funny, humorous, absurd, about what happens. And yet, the humour is never pure or legitimate, it is always tainted by the macabre.

Perhaps the scene which most acutely captures this absurdity is one where Arthur, dressed as a clown sits on the floor, splattered with the blood of a former co-worker whom he has just murdered with a pair of scissors. In the far end of the room, a “midget” shudders, looking at Arthur with fear and horror. Arthur tells him he can leave. The “midget” obliges, but realizes the door is latched, up too high for him to reach. With terror, he is forced to ask the blood splattered Arthur to let him out. Arthur apologizes and unlatches the door. As he leaves, Arthur kisses him on the head and tells him “You were the only one that was ever nice to me.” The scene is pitiful, macabre but tainted with an absurd humour one cannot laugh at.

What’s going on here? Why can’t we laugh at the “midget” or at Arthur’s jokes? Have we been so conditioned by our “politically correct society”? Is it the fact that these jokes reveal a shocking, horrifying reality that makes us uncomfortable, a reality which we dare not laugh at? Do these jokes shock us out of our complacency? I don’t really know the answer. The line between the funny and the horrifying is always a blurry one that shifts depending on context. Also, what does laughter signify? What are we saying about reality or about ourselves when we find funny what the Joker finds funny? These questions get to the heart of the film.

The first major turning point in the film occurs when Arthur is suddenly fired from his job as a Clown for dropping a gun while performing at a children’s hospital. Dejected, he heads home on the subway, still dressed in his clown suit. It is comical and pitiful scene: the dejected clown sitting and staring out the window. When Arthur is bullied and attacked by 3 young Wall Street lawyers, he finally snaps. As the men jump on him, he pulls out his gun and shoots his attackers. He kills two and injures a third who manages to escape the train car. Arthur, still in the clown suit, chases after him and shoots him multiple times in the back. Arthur runs away from the scene and slips into the apartment he shares with his mother. Inside, Arthur falls into a slow dance. It is his victory dance.

A fundamental shift has taken place in him, for the first time in his life he feels empowered. He has stood up to the tyrants, he has confronted the bullies, he has finally fought back against the society that has destroyed his life. For the first time, he has ceased to conform, to accept the reality society gives him, for the first time, he has asserted his will, his way, his reality. The clown, the outsider, the “freak,” is no longer taking the oppression lying down, he no longer sees himself as the “freak.” Society is the real freak; it oppresses people like Arthur, and illegitimately forces them to conform to its standards. Arthur has seen through the system, its naked power has been unmasked and he is finally asserting his own will. With his new found strength, Arthur kisses the woman he has had his eyes on. He quits his job in style. He tells his psychiatrist: “For my whole life I didn’t know if I even really existed, but I do, and people are starting to notice.” Arthur has become Dostoyevsky’s Raskolnikov, he has asserted his will, and stands out of the crowd.

On TV, Thomas Wayne, a rich businessman running for mayor is asked about the killings. Hearing that there has been a “groundswell of anti-rich sentiment,” and a popular movement siding with the killer, Wayne, dismisses the protesters as “clowns.” “Those of us,” Wayne says, “who made something of our lives will always look at those who haven’t made anything of their lives as nothing but clowns.” With this comment, Wayne, and the rich upper class he represents, are unmasked. We see the clear loathing and contempt that the elites have for the poor. One thinks of Hillary Clinton’s infamous description of Trump voters as a “basket of deplorables,” the resonances between the rise of Trump and the Joker seem too obvious to ignore. Chris Arnade writes helpfully about the difference between “front row” and “back row” America. Front Row America is the world of the liberal elites, the rich and the white colour. Back row America is the world of the working class and the poor. These are two different worlds. The Joker is in part and exploration of the tensions, dysfunctions and mutual loathing between front row and back row. The Joker’s climactic speech on the Murray Show captures these sentiments:

“I killed those guys because they were awful… Why is everyone so upset about these guys? If it was me dying on the sidewalk you would pass right over me! I pass you every day on the sidewalk and you don’t notice me. But these guys, why, because Thomas Wayne went and cried about them on TV?… have you seen what its like out there Murray, do you ever actually leave the studio? Everybody just yells and screams at each other, nobody’s civil anymore, nobody thinks what it’s like to be the other guy. Do you think men like Thomas Wayne ever think about what it’s like to be someone like me, to be somebody but themselves? They don’t, they think we’ll just sit there, and take it, like good little boys, that we won’t werewolf and go wild!”

What Wayne’s comment about the “clowns” who cannot “make anything of their lives,” reveals is the elite obliviousness to the plight of the poor and the inability to recon with their own compliancy. As Arthur’s psychologist tells him after social programs in the city have been cut, “they don’t give a shit about people like you.”

As the film continues, Arthur becomes completely disillusioned. All around him masks slip. He realizes that he lives in an absurd world, a world without love, a world of nothing but power and oppression. When Arthur looks into his past, he discovers that his mother has been lying to him. He is not her child, he is not the illegitimate son of Thomas Wayne as his “narcissistic and delusional” mother had told him. As a child, his “mother” had stood by while her boyfriend abused him. Having deconstructed his past, Arthur realizes there has never been any love, only lies, and rootlessness. The woman he has been serving, much like the society he has been conforming to, turns out to be his oppressor. The cause of his ills, the reason for his mental illness—his abusive mother—is the very person he has been tenderly supporting for years. As he discovers this about his past, Arthur also realizes he has been deluding himself about his girlfriend. He never had a girlfriend, he had only been imagining it. She was never there at the hospital, never laughing at his jokes, never there, leaning into his kiss. Even Murray, his hero from TV, lets the mask slip. On his show, Murray plays a clip of Arthur’s failed stand-up comedy debut, mocking Arthur and calling him a “Joker.”

It is from this complete disillusionment, that the Joker is born. Arthur lives in a world devoid of love, nobody loves him. His mother has been exposed as an abuser, his girlfriend as an illusion, Murray as one of the contemptuous elites. In a highly symbolic act, Arthur smothers his mother in a pillow. Nature and Nurture have failed him, they have formed the monster he is. He is oppressed by the system, by society, by his own biology, indeed by reality itself. But, he resolves, he will stand against it all. He will assert his will, he will fight the system, and he will fight reality. As he says later “I’ve got nothing left to loose, nothing can hurt me anymore, and my life is nothing but a comedy.” If all of reality has conspired against him, he could take the disempowering route of submitting to its blows, “like a good little boy.” Or, he could stand his ground like the “werewolf”; he could bend reality to his will. He is done trying to conform, he is tired of being called the freak, and he is not the freak: everything else is the freak. He tells his mother before he kills her: “Penny Flak, I always hated that name, you used to tell me, that my laugh was a condition, that there was something wrong with me. There isn’t. That’s the real me.”

There is a scene that captures the Joker’s approach to reality. He is being interrogated outside the hospital by two police officers; he breaks off the interrogation and tells them he has to go. He strides purposefully towards the entrance and walks straight into glass door, its marked “Exit.” “That’s the exit,” a helpful police officer remarks, “You can’t go in there.” The Joker makes no response, as he fumbles to activate the sensor which isn’t there; a woman walks through the exit door. The Joker slips around the woman and enters the building by the exit. Though nature and nurture push against him, he defies their rules.

The climax of the movie is when the Arthur is invited to appear on the Murray Franklin Show. He arrives; dressed as a clown, because of the clown riots taking place in Gotham city, (spurred by Arthur’s killing of the 3 young men) Murray is concerned that Arthur is making a political statement. Arthur assures him he isn’t, “I don’t believe in any of that” he tells Murray, “I don’t believe in anything.” There is no cause Arthur is attaching himself to at this point. He doesn’t believe in justice, he doesn’t believe in humanity, or truth, or society, he has lost all faith in everything. Arthur tells Murray to introduce him as “Joker,” after all, that’s what Murray called him on his show. What was meant by Murray and Thomas Wayne as an insult, has been turned on its head by the Joker, he has embraced his position as the outsider: he is the clown, the deplorable, the looser, and there is nothing wrong with it. Why? Because he rejects the judgements of the elites, he has had enough of their oppression and it is time to turn the tables.

On Murray’s show, the Joker shocks the audience by introducing himself as the killer of the 3 young men. The Joker declares that he finds the deaths of these three men funny, and he is “tired of pretending it is not.” An entire movie of failed jokes reaches its climax here, as the Joker decides that contrary to what everyone thinks, he is funny. The same system that is oppressing him and the other “clowns,” the same system that decides what is right and wrong, also decides what is funny, or not: “comedy is subjective.. all of you, this system that knows so much decides what’s right and wrong, the same way you decide what’s funny or not.” Even his “mother,” who asked early on, “but don’t you have to be funny to be a comedian?” was exposed as being part of the same, oppressive system.

And yet, we’re back to the question we asked earlier, is the Joker funny? Jokes put us in touch with reality. There is something deeply honest about a well told Joke and our response to it. We cannot help but laugh, the truth comes out in snorts and giggles. Can the Joker ever force the world to laugh at him?

The Joker ends the show with one final joke, a joke which captures the whole movie in one sentence. “What do you get,” the Joker asks Murray, “When you cross a mentally ill loser with a society that has abandoned him and treats him like trash?” Pulling out his gun, the Joker shoots Murray as he shouts: “You get what you F**ing deserve!” The Joker is the funniest one in the end. The clowns have toppled the elites and the clowns now get to decide what is “right and wrong” and what is “funny or not.”

To me as a Kierkegaardian, there is something, attractive at some level about the Joker’s brave last stand against society and reality. In a strange, inverted fashion, his venture of “there is nothing left to loose,” mirrors the movement of faith which gives up the world to gain it again. There is something profoundly true about his stand against the oppressive system, his recognition that it is the powerful that subject us to their own self-created reality. And yet, the Joker is a character utterly devoid of Love, and utterly enslaved to his own illusions which he has confused with freedom. Of course, the Joker cannot Love because he has never been Loved and he finds freedom in “being himself” because no one ever made space for him. However, it is for these reasons that we cannot take the Joker’s moralizing all that seriously. It is deeply ironic to hear the psychopathic killer screaming that “no one is civil anymore.” The elites stand naked before us, but the Joker has no way out of the power games because he has no Love. There is nothing left for the Joker but revenge, resentment and the power of death. Indeed, it is the lack of Love that is most striking about this entire film, there is not one person who loves the Joker, and the only person who shows anything resembling Love throughout the film, is the Joker. Love is what holds the world together and when love fades, the world falls apart. The chaotic riot scenes at the end of the movie show a world that has lost its Love. If there is no Love, only will remains. There is only one way out of these power games and that path is the way of the Cross, the way of self-death and self-giving Love. Only through the self-giving Love of the Cross, can a new world, a new way of life be brought into being.

“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.”

5 thoughts on “The Joker: Is He Funny?

  1. Fantastic post! There was so much I wanted to say about the narratives of power and subjugation, but you covered all of them… even the subtle ones 🙂 The echos of folks like Nietzsche, Foucault, and Dostoevsky resound in nearly every scene of this movie.

    What’s interesting about Arthur’s “descent into power” is how…deterministic, it was. Arthur’s autonomy isn’t the rich, robust, reflective kind, it’s the autonomy of necessity – of desperation – the choice one makes to embrace the fact that there is only one choice left to make.

    …and desperation is a key theme in this movie – nihilism, the feeling of being at the end of the rope, having the rug pulled out from under you, and having your world turned upside down. Arthur wasn’t an ENEMY of the grand, elitist machine. That state of affairs would have conferred a certain valor, a perspicuity of purpose, and a means of defining himself as a person and a man. Arthur was a COG in the machine. It didn’t grant even grant him the dignity of hating him. He was an object, a bone on the road to Magadan. His job was simply to smile and keep turning, so the elitist machine could hum along generating goods he will never enjoy, for people who fancy themselves too good to work for them.

    Arthur’s revolutionary act was to get too exhausted – too broken – to turn anymore. Hence, the entire machine came grinding to a halt. Peace for the cogs, terror for the industrialist.

    To complicate the narrative (something Joker does brilliantly over and over again), it shackles the Wayne family (and ultimately, the origin of Batman [presumed to be the symbol of order]) to the chaos of Gotham in a direct, causal manner – a coefficient causal manner. The rot of Gotham and the arrogance of the elites feed off of each other until they reach a breaking point (which is the backdrop of the movie). The contempt of Thomas Wayne for the “throwaway” class prompts Arthur (and eventually the class as a whole) to rebel. Their revolutionary destruction leads to the execution of Thomas and his wife (Bruce’s parents), which directly motivates him to become Batman.

    Gone is the tidy, valiant, heroic narrative of the blameless caped crusader who fights for the innocent. Batman murdered Gotham. Joker just feeds off its body. They both have blood on their hands.

    The themes of identity (and its loss, its reinvention…etc.) are all over this movie. I think a lot of Arthur’s core character can be described in terms of his lack of an authentic identity. Indeed, notably, when his FALSE identity crumbles, it leaves him with no identity at all. His smile wasn’t his. It was rehearsed and painted on. His laugh? Out of his control…divorced from his own assessment of what he found humorous (even when he DID find things humorous). To the extent he had an ethic (which is an interesting area of debate), it’s to fulfill other people’s expectations – to bring OTHER people joy and happiness.

    Arthur was a selfless character in the most robust sense. He was both selfless AND self-less. Indeed, he was so selfless BECAUSE he was so self-less. His identity was crafted from the outside (from the external world), and he wore it like a suit – a clown suit – over the body of a stranger.

    So, when this alien identity fell apart (at the realization that he was an orphan, his mother a monster, his heroes betrayers…etc.) he finds himself naked, both inside and out. Curious to me that his social charisma and confidence, throughout the movie, only surfaced in scenes which reflected his fantasies …until his final scene, on the talk show, when it came strutting out again in full force. Until then, he was an awkward mess in real life, laughing at the wrong times, attracting attention in cringy and uncomfortable ways, and shuffling between complacency and naivety.

    Now, he has a new identity. He’s going to laugh when he damn well wants, and if you don’t find his jokes funny, then you can leave the audience. No longer will HE be leaving the stage. Notably, this isn’t a political action. He’s not taking an opposing side. He’s not standing up against “the established order”; he’s standing up against “order”, as a concept. In Arthur’s new world, no longer will the elites enjoy order at the cost of the disorder it creates among the throwaway class. In his world, the disorder you sow is the disorder you reap.

    Also an interesting sort of identity he has. It’s no longer crafted from the external, but neither is it a product of the internal. He hasn’t finally found himself…he’s just finally, FINALLY lost himself. There isn’t an inner self in control of Arthur (indeed, he doesn’t even know who he is). It’s just that there’s no longer an OUTER self in control of Arthur. He’s the personification of nihilism.

    It occurs to me that there’s a LOT to say about your narrative of love and how well it meshes with my own analysis of the Arthur’s character and his environment. In a very real way, love is the ultimate act of volition…a direct antiseptic to the festering, all-consuming rot of determinism and desperation in Joker. His entire life was an opportunity (a squandered opportunity) for someone, somewhere to speak “need not but WILL” into his world of “must be”, “can’t be”, and “can’t help but be”.

    What are your thoughts on the interplay between those concepts?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, Power seems to be central in this movie. I was thinking especially of Foucoult and Nietzsche, curious about the mention of Dostoevsky, I did reference him in the post, but only because I didn’t want to call Arthur “Nietzschean.” It seems like the question of whether Nietzsche was a Nietzchian is a debated one. Whats the book by Doestoevsky that you think most plays with similar themes to the Joker? 

      Spot on about the Determinism of it all, when you see the world though his eyes, you can see that this is the only real choice he has left: take it or werewolf. Interesting to think about the choice of “werewolf” in the Joker’s speech on Murray’s show in relation to your comments on identity.

      Hmm, on your description of Arthur as a cog. I think of his comment to the social worker, where he says something to the effect of: all my life I’ve been invisible, but now people are finally starting to notice. That description, as well as your perception of Arthur as a cog confuse me a bit because the PROBLEM is that Arthur has NEVER been invisible. He has never been able to be a cog, to fit in, to blend into the system. He’s always stuck out and attracted the ire of bullies and tyrants. He cant fit in because his humour is strange, his laugh is strange, his behaviour is strange. His job as a clown fits with his being a misfit. For these reasons, I think Arthur is struggling from the beginning of the movie with resentment against the system, against the elites. He is, unlike his mother (who is part of the system) skeptical about Wayne’s ability to save the city. 

      The System has been lashing out and oppressing Arthur all along BECAUSE he is making them grind to a halt. His existence continuously calls it out and calls it into question, just like his Jokes disturb because they point out the suffering and absurdity of life. Arthur’s revolutionary act is to decide that it is not HE who is the problem, and that the abuse he is taking is justified, but that the problem is that he is trying to acquiesce to a morally bankrupt system and an absurd universe. 

      You’re definitly right about the Joker subverting the easy good vs evil tales we tell. But neither is this an easy tale of the oppressed being justified in rising up against their evil oppressors. Wayne too, is an ambivilant character. He is presented at times as elitist and snobbish, but we are never really given good reason to hate him. He seems to want the best for the city, his interaction with Arthur in the bathroom isn’t all that cruel, all things considered. Indeed, the Joker himself isn’t interested in these good vs evil narratives, he has no patience for causes or abstract principles like justice. He has given up on the whole game, the whole attempt to make sense of a complex world. 

      The whole issue of identity is something I haven’t explored at all, so I look forward to hearing more from you. One thought before I respond to what you’ve written. You can see a development from Arthur to the Joker and indeed, in writing about the Joker movie, you sort of have to be careful about using the two names interchangeably. By the end of the movie, Arthur has ceased to exist, and the Joker has taken over. Whats going on? It doesn’t really seem to be a Dr. Jakel/Dr. Hyde thing, because Arthur doesn’t really seem to be all that resistant to the Joker coming into existence, or taking over, he seems to be very happy to fade away and become the warewolf. So where is “the Joker” at the start of the film? We see Arthur in a clown costume–Interesting to note that all of the clowns in this movie are creepy, there is no normal clown, they are all scary and dirty–but what is the relationship between Arthur the clown just doing his job, and the psychopathic Joker who kills? Whats the difference between these two clowns and where, before the subway killing is the Joker lurking in Arthur’s personality? I think we see the Joker in Arthur’s psycopathic jokes, his boss’s comments that he is “creeping the other guys out,” and the insights we get into Arthur’s notebook. At the same time, we see the ambiguity in the acts of kindness and caring Arthur performs, as he cares for his mother and, as he makes the young child laugh. Does this abiguity ever leave completely? Does Arthur ever completely turn into the Joker? What are we to make of the scene where Arthur saves the small person? Is that the last apprearence of Arthur (he isn’t in the full Joker costume as he performs that act) or does he persist into the end of the movie?

      Great point about Arthur’s lack of a real identity, he is wearing a mask to fit. My friend Luke Thompson pointed out that one of the first shots is Arthur putting on his clown makeup and you see a tear rolling down, smudging the paint. We see the tension between the false identity he is projecting on the world, and the bubbling mess that is underneath. On the selflessness, it’s interesting that the Joker is sort of the inversion of Christian virtues here. To REALLY be selfless, you must have a WILL, a identity, a goal that you are putting to one side for the sake of others. But if you are just acquiescing to the will of others because you have no will yourself, that is not selflessness. Similarily, the Joker stands up against the powerful and the opressors, but not because he has any real principles or any care for the opressed, he just wants power himself and he just wants destruction for the sake of destruction. I was struck by the scene near the end, where the Joker is “coronated” on the hood of a car by his clown fans, and it struck me that not one person there genuinely cares for him or is interested in what he has to say. There is hatred driving the movement and each is interested only in himself, if Arthur steped an inch out of line, he would be torn to shreds. There is the illusion of community (another Christian ideal) but it is only a crowd. 

      “Notably, this isn’t a political action. He’s not taking an opposing side. He’s not standing up against “the established order”; he’s standing up against “order”, as a concept. In Arthur’s new world, no longer will the elites enjoy order at the cost of the disorder it creates among the throwaway class. In his world, the disorder you sow is the disorder you reap.” 

      This is part of what makes this an interesting movie. There is no narrative of good vs evil, the oppressed vs the oppressors, we see the blind power game that motivates both and the sheer hatred that infects them both. There is no moral highground for anyone. 

      Oh boy, you said it well here, I’ll just quote you again: 

      Also an interesting sort of identity he has. It’s no longer crafted from the external, but neither is it a product of the internal. He hasn’t finally found himself…he’s just finally, FINALLY lost himself. There isn’t an inner self in control of Arthur (indeed, he doesn’t even know who he is). It’s just that there’s no longer an OUTER self in control of Arthur. He’s the personification of nihilism.

      On the lack of love: its just a perpetuating cycle of hate, one that is never broken until Arthur snaps and decides to fight back. I was hoping thoughout, and many have said this, that someone would just show Arthur some love, what kind of a transformative effect would that have? I think Maryann Robinson (LOL) said it when she gave her cultural prognosis: “there is a lack of love.” Its cliche, and kitchy, coming from her mouth, but I think its profoundly true. 

      I hope I didn’t short change you on the end there, I was running out of time. Hope this gives you something to chew on.


  2. If those who are not loved cannot love then human love is a thing too fragile to endure. One break in the chain of transmission and it’s gone for good.

    Humans can’t heal each other. We can’t save each other. We can’t perfect each other. We are not stronger together, Humanism is impractical.

    That’s the joke.


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