‘Joker’ Is All About Trump And ‘White Male Resentment,’ CNN Writer Says
For those who still don’t believe that Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) is real, take a look at this CNN op-ed from Sunday.
The piece, titled “‘Joker’ — a political parable for our times,” is written by Jeff Yang. The writer goes to extraordinary lengths to connect the movie to President Trump, with repeated declarations that Trump is racist.
The piece notes that the main character, Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix), is “brutalized by young thugs. He’s beaten by suit-clad Wall Streeters.” But to Yang, it’s all about race and class. “And his answer to this dual pincer of oppression by people of color and one-percenters is a murderous rampage of revenge, which catches fire among fellow angry citizens of Gotham and sends them looting through the streets.”
Then he jumps right to Trump.
While many reviewers have focused on Fleck as an “incel” hero — his status as a sexless loner who turns to violence — the true nature of the movie’s appeal is actually broader: It’s an insidious validation of the white-male resentment that helped bring President Donald Trump to power.
“Joker,” at its core, is the story of the “forgotten man,” the metaphoric displaced and disenfranchised white man whose goodwill has been abused and whose status has been reduced. A man who has been crushed underfoot by the elite, dragged down by equality-demanding feminists and climbed over by upstart nonwhite and immigrant masses.
The writer notes that the director, Todd Phillips, has attacked the “outrage culture” of the “far left,” quoting him as saying: “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent… Oh, I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head.'”
After watching “Joker,” it’s easy to decode what Phillips really meant in this quote, and it’s the same thing that fired “SNL” cast member Shane Gillis meant when he excused his repeated use of racist, misogynist and homophobic slurs as “pushing boundaries.”
It draws from the same well of resentment that Trump strums with his racist rhetoric at his rallies — the fear of no longer being at the center of the political, social and cultural universe, with everyone who isn’t you positioned at its perceived edges. (After all, being racist, sexist and anti-gay only “pushes boundaries” if you define yourself as “normal” and define nonwhite, non-male and non-straight people as marginalized outsiders.)
Liberal critics have berated the movie, which has dropped to just 70% on the movie review site Rotten Tomatoes. Now we know why.
Yang says the minorities featured in the move are the “forgotten men.”
Trump won by using outrageous statements, theatrical posturing and grimacing mockery to generate raucous mob energy — the very opposite of law and order. White men, in particular, responded to his rhetoric and persona — seeing in him a disruptor of oppressive correctness who could lead them back to the top of the heap and the center of the world.This isn’t the first time Phillips’ and Trump’s worlds have collided. When his last film, “War Dogs,” came out, Phillips said in an interview with Little White Lies, “Also there’s a thing going on right now where the world as a whole is waking up to the fact that the system is rigged… It happens to be Trump’s theme,” even though, Phillips notes, Trump is part of the system that created these problems.
At the end of the movie, a triumphant Fleck — seemingly dead, but magically revived by the cheers of a throng of clown-masked rioters — does a grotesque soft-shoe on top of a shattered cop car, literally dancing on the destroyed remains of the rule of law. Imagine Fleck as Trump, shrugging off impeachment, rebounding with his roaring red-hatted supporters, winning reelection against every prediction and probability.