‘Batman: The Killing Joke’ Is On The Joker

Based on the acclaimed comic book, in its animated feature, the Joker seeks to demonstrate that there is not much difference, if any, between him and everyone else… as ‘crazy’ as this might sound. The idea he deludedly and desperately craved to prove, was that all it takes is one bad day, and everything changes… enough to drive one crazy. It was twistedly yet sadly his way to ‘get back’ at life, at the world, for not comprehending this.

His backstory was the seemingly absurd tragedy of his wife and unborn child dying of a ‘freak accident’, an electric shock that had one in a million ‘chance’ to happen. Yet, there is no true ‘chance’ in this universe of causality. He was struggling to find work as a comedian, to get better lodging for his family. If only he worked harder, and in time? Was he doing his best? Not really, as he resorted to crime. It was collective karma’s ripening too.

However, the Joker exonerated himself of all responsibilities, seeing his misfortunes to reflect the ‘random uncontrollability’ of life, that he strives to perpetuate. He was an absurdist ‘existentialist’ of the most destructive extreme, forgetting that nothing is really random, what more with his detailed schemes of great cunning. Thus, perhaps, he was never totally mad; only mad at the appalling circumstances that karma dealt him.

With method in his madness, and madness in his method, he tried to justify his madness with a mix of rational and irrational means. He picks Commissioner Gordon as an ‘average’ man, of law and order, to wreck chaos upon his life. He shoots his daughter and lets his imagination run wild on whether she survived or not. The idea was to drive him mad with anxiety and despair, to suggest madness as ‘release’. A mad ‘cure’! Yet, the crazed like the Joker still suffer.

Gordon, who is rescued by Batman in time does not crack, as he retains his reason, asking the Joker to be orderly apprehended to curb his chaos. Indeed, life is not always ‘crazy’, and does not drive all crazy. Batman is the classic example. He too had a tragic backstory, of having his parents killed by a common mugger. However, he transformed his grief to be strength, with resolution to prevent others from suffering similarly, if not worse.

And what a difference this makes… this one bad day (or night), for two polar opposite individuals. While the Joker urged Batman to stop ‘pretending’ that life makes sense, that there is some point to all this struggling, Batman does see purposefulness in his strife. There is the Buddhist saying, that ‘Afflictions are Bodhi’, which means our troubles can be the very motivation for us to realise the liberation of enlightenment. So, do have a good day!

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