The final ‘Joker’ trailer is basically the origin story for every white terrorist

Days after the El Paso and Dayton mass murders, I read this interesting sociological piece about how white men in America are becoming radicalized into becoming domestic terrorists or white supremacist terrorists. It starts somewhat innocently enough for many of these (mostly) young white men: the feeling that they are not all-powerful in society, the feeling that other people (people of color, women) are gaining power. They feel alienated because they are not the center of everything. They start to seek out voices that agree with them and they’re sucked into an echo chamber (online and in real life) which feeds into their victim complex. Their ideas are reinforced and nurtured. All the while, guns and violence surround them, and pieces start to come together. Throughout the entire process, the men feel like outsiders, even as their echo chambers soothe them and make them angrier.

I bring this up because I think Joker is about that. It’s an apologia to the angry white man who feels he is losing power and decides to take back power through violence. The Joker has always been an agent of chaos, if not a flat-out domestic terrorist. I’ve argued that the power of the Joker’s position in pop culture is his lack of backstory – it’s scarier when we don’t know how he became that way, or what even motivates him. But Todd Phillips’ Joker, starring Joaquin Phoenix gives the origin story for the Joker, and big surprise… he seems to think he’s the biggest victim in the world. Everyone yells at him. Everyone is violent to him. No one thinks he’s funny. No one thinks he has any power. But don’t you know, he does have power: the power to sow chaos and violence with other aggrieved white dudes. Behold, the latest and final trailer for JOKER (no “the”):

“All I have are negative thoughts…” Yeah, that’s when “if you see something, say something” kicks in, especially when it’s an angry white nihilist dude. “Hello, 9-1-1? There’s a white dude with a clown fetish sitting in my office and I truly think he’s two seconds away from becoming a self-radicalized domestic terrorist.” It’s interesting that Robert DeNiro is in this too – Taxi Driver was the proto-Joker in some sense. Alienated white dude, turns to gun violence.

Photos courtesy of Backgrid, ‘Joker’.

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