Movie review of Joker (2019)

Note, the following contains spoilers of about the first half of the movie, so wait for later to read this if you haven’t watched the movie but intend to do so.

There are two interpretations of the Batman franchise, a long-standing comic book with spinoffs in TV and movies.  The first way tends to be a little campy, silly, and sometimes gayed up.  The campy take characterizes the 1960s TV series, which was pretty awesome.  It also characterizes the film series that fizzled out in the 1990s, which had its moments.  Actually, Jack Nicholson’s Joker rocked the house!

The other portrayal takes it all seriously, generally pretty grim.  That characterizes the newer films, of course.  Bruce Wayne is so rich that all he really has to do to support a lavish lifestyle is show up at board meetings.  At night, he’s wearing a bat suit and beating up criminals.  What kind of psychology goes into a trust fund kid who turned into a costumed vigilante?  (Rorschach from The Watchmen is the blue collar version.)  Batman’s origin story has been covered quite a bit, of course.

The plot of Joker

The new Joker movie goes into the origin story of Batman’s number one antagonist.  All told, it’s pretty grim.  Set in 1981, it captures the ambiance of NYC prior to the Giuliani administration.  (That’s basically what Gotham City is, after all.)  In that regard, it’s much like Taxi Driver.  The following explains how Joker borrows several Robert DeNiro tropes:

Arthur Fleck, who becomes The Joker, is one of the many down-and-out who inhabit Gotham’s bleak environment, and the film covers his slow decline.  He lives with his mother in a tenement better described as a panelak, an East European term for the typical crappy government high-rises constructed during the Communist days.  He chain-smokes and appears to suffer from malnutrition.  Even early on, the drabness and anomie is stunning.

He stays with his mother, and they’re supported by his crappy job as a clown as well as her disability check.  She seems like a nice lady, but later on their past is revealed.  She had a case of hybristophilia during her “young, wild, and free” years, seeking the company of dangerous men.  Some of them tortured little Arthur, and he ended up getting brain damage from a beating.  While getting her Stockholm Syndrome funsies, she failed in her number one duty to protect her child.  I wish I could say it was only a movie, but this shit happens for real.

Getting his brains scrambled causes his strange laughter which he can’t control and happens at all the wrong times, rather like a Tourette’s outburst.  This isn’t his only problem, since he’s on seven different psych meds.  (The newer generation of drugs that came out beginning in the 1990s is pretty bad as it is.)  Other than that, he meets a Black single mom who becomes his love interest, because it wouldn’t be a recent Hollywood film without an interracial couple.  Later it turns out that most of the relationship is probably Walter Mitty style daydreaming on his part.

All told, already he’s at the bottom rung of society.  It gets worse, of course.  There’s a surreal scene at a children’s hospital where he’s dancing to “If You’re Happy and You Know It, Clap Your Hands” among little cancer patients and other seriously sick kids.  At that point, I wanted to chug a screwdriver made with isopropyl alcohol and Agent Orange.  The kiddos actually are getting into it until a gun falls out of his pocket.  His boss fires him immediately – the guy is a dickweed, but it’s understandable.

On the subway back home, three rich guys start beating up on him for laughing.  (It’s the second time in the film where he gets kicked when he’s down, fairly symbolic.)  Then he shoots them.  The first two are arguably self-defense, but the third rates as a Murder Two.  That, of course, recalls the Bernhard Goetz “subway vigilante” case, in which actual muggers got shot, rather than very uncharacteristically aggressive rich dudes.

Other than that, he loses his shrink (who hasn’t been able to do much to screw his head back on straight) along with his supply of psych meds.  The city had some budget cuts, so the program got cancelled.  You already can tell that the downhill slide is getting into terminal velocity.  I’ll throw in a cheerful dance track to break the grim mood:

Bringing us to the real world for a moment, I might add that it sucks that mental health care isn’t better.  If you’re a Yuppie with a case of the blahs, no problem.  However, lots of the people who need therapy the most are screwed because they can’t afford it.  Talking the bartender’s ear off only goes so far.  Popping Oxycodone ain’t going to enhance someone’s life either.

Back to the movie.  It turns out that shooting the rich guys in the subway made Arthur a folk hero.  Quickly a movement arises with protesters wearing clown masks.  (Welcome to Clown World, right?)  However, they aren’t Occupy Wall Street types, who were notoriously dirty and disorderly, but never made lamppost ornaments out of any banksters or stock market swindlers.  As things turn ugly, this becomes a much more violent crowd, rather like Antifa.  I’ll add that I don’t have much of a gripe with OWS, but Antifa can put the lotion in the basket as far as I’m concerned.

I’ll wrap up at this point.  More stuff happened, and things spiraled dreadfully out of control.  What followed completed Arthur’s transformation into the Joker.

Summary

All told, this was a very grim show, rather like a Greek tragedy.  (For one example, Oedipus Rex shows that fate can be a real motherfucker.)  This brings us to something I wrote in Deplorable Diatribes:

Flawed societies tend to exacerbate problems with human nature, bringing out the worst in people. Granted, that’s a liberal idea, so it’s paradoxical that I’ve come to accept it. To clarify, a bad society will create bad conditions. Still, it’s possible to realize the truth about one’s conditions and act rationally. On the other side of the equation, society only can be perfected so far; it’s impossible to create heaven on earth, or even make everyone equally happy.

Arthur did make some choices here.  He wasn’t too crazy to do that.  Unfortunately, every desperate attempt he makes to improve his conditions – or even keep from sinking deeper – ends up with him getting kicked down yet again.  Rather than succumbing to learned helplessness, he starts lashing out.  Consider it a case of wrong heaped on a pile of wrong.  Again, I wish I could say it was only a movie, but this shit happens for real.

What happens when society continually pisses on someone all his life?  I’m reminded of Nietzsche’s remark that humility is like a worm curling up as it’s stepped on, to prevent it from getting stepped on again by the other boot.  Alternatively, a few people just snap.  This doesn’t end well.

The incel massacre that didn’t happen

Finally, I should discuss the reaction to the film even before it came out.  The way the MSM was hyping it up, they expected that the film would lead to hordes of incels going postal.  There were warnings not to attend the premier because one of these guys would gun down a crowd at the theater.  With all the buzz about the possibility, the media wizards might as well have said, “How about someone just do what we’re talking about incessantly – hint hint – so we’ll have a new lurid story to run, and our talking heads can comment on it for the next month.”  It didn’t happen, so there we have another failed MSM prediction.

For those unfamiliar with the term, an “incel” is basically a guy who can’t get a date to save his life.  I will discuss the fearmongering about them in another article.  For now, I’ll just say that society already pissed all over them, and this new rhetoric alleging that they’re inherently violent just amounts to high-tech bullyingReal classy, huh?  The MSM characters who are pushing this line are externalizers of the Oedipus Complex.

Will the film ever incite someone to go postal?  Taxi Driver, the spiritual prequel of Joker, indeed had that problem.  So did that crappy book Catcher In the Rye.  Actually, Mark David Chapman did have a wife, so he wasn’t an incel.  Unlike him, John Hinckley had a rich family and better looks, so he certainly could have had a wife or a girlfriend, if he wasn’t so starstruck over a teenage actress who turned out to be a lesbian.  The common thread there wasn’t about being incels, but rather being so mentally disturbed that they didn’t know what was real.

Maybe it’s time to figure out what can be done to help people like that before their downward slide reaches terminal velocity.  This includes the ones on the bottom rung of society – the homeless, the addicts, and those hanging by a thread.

Movie review of Joker (2019)

What is the lumpenproletariat?

The proletariat is a social class containing blue-collar workers.  In historic times, these were the wage slaves who just barely got by.  The owners of the factories, mines, and so forth typically exploited them, endeavoring to pay them as little as possible.  (As for today, well, not too much has changed.)  One of the goals of Socialism is to elevate the proletariat’s status.  The proposed means is via state-owned businesses; the historical track record isn’t too promising, but that’s another matter for now.

“Lumpenproletariat” is a derivative term, prefixed by the German word for “rags”.  That represents a worse-off class, particularly the homeless, criminals, and others at the economic fringe.  They have either very unsteady employment, or none.  Since there are these types even in good times, the problem is one of motivation.  This group generally encompasses drifters, slackers, ne’er-do-wells, etc.  The phrase “no visible means of support” comes to mind.  It’s a subject that appears occasionally in Communist writings.

Marxist approaches to the lumpenproletariat

Once again, going back to the point in the first paragraph, Socialists generally are interested in blue collar guys who punch a clock and perform manual labor every workday – “Workers of the world, unite!” and all that.  Those are the folks who would be interested in trade unionism, which they hoped would be the gateway drug to worldwide proletarian revolution and all that.  However, people who do no constructive labor – or as little as possible to survive – don’t really qualify; they’re not even workers.  Still, there’s actually quite a bit of variation in the Party Line on this point.

One traditional take is that the lumpenproletariat isn’t worth considering, since they’re natural reactionaries.  That one seems to be a bit of a stretch.  Some of those folks might have strong political beliefs, but they’re generally not activists.  Opinions are likely to be all over the place, but there’s no special reason to believe that many of them are fans of Friedrich Hayek, Corneliu Codreanu, Pat Buchanan, Julius Evola, Mencius Moldbug, or some other flavor of “reactionary”.

Another opinion is that lumpenproletariat members are natural anarchists.  That one seems closer to the mark; those guys often do have a problem with authority.  A related notion is that they’re just too unreliable to be useful for Communist activism.  On the right, such types obviously would be an absolute liability.  Being a leftist means never having to worry about optics (more on that subject in a later discussion).  Even so, any cause will need more than just warm bodies; a bunch of screwballs who can’t get their act together will be nothing but trouble.

Finally, there are those who hope to radicalize the lumpenproletariat.  The reasoning goes that since they’re the worst off in society, they’d be the most motivated.  The problem is that being motivated really isn’t in the nature of bums and slackers to begin with.

Then Franz Fanon – best known for writing books lately used to instill White guilt in college students – had a curious redefinition.  He described colonized peoples as the lumpenproletariat, who would go smash the bourgeoisie and all the rest of it.  That’s a pretty screwy formulation.  Someone in an actual colony (and there aren’t many real ones left) making fifty cents a day hacking down sugar cane certainly isn’t a bum.  He’s a manual laborer who happens to have a remarkably shitty tightwad of a boss.

Karl Marx, the big banana himself

Interestingly, Marx was basically a card-carrying lumpenproletariat member, though he certainly didn’t boast of it.  Friedrich Engels owned a factory (silly class enemy!) and repeatedly offered to give Marx a tour to see for himself how one operated.  However, Chuck just wasn’t interested.  Therefore, during all his life, he never stepped inside a factory (much unlike Yours Truly), despite writing about the subject at great length.  Reading up on factories was everything that the champion of the proletariat needed to know, apparently.  This is also much unlike Adam Smith, who wrote a classic case study about one.

Marx himself came from a fairly well-off family:  yes, a bourgeois by birth.  However, he frittered away his inheritance, and then had to survive off of handouts from his buddy Engels.  Laziness and heavy drinking didn’t help, and because of that, his family lived in miserable poverty.  He dabbled with journalism occasionally, but other than that, the champion of the proletariat never worked a day in his life, and certainly not any manual labor.  Being educated, he could’ve gotten a decent job if he wanted.  Even someone who wasn’t educated could’ve been a sailor, worked in a factory, or found some other gainful employment.

What’s the deal with that?  When work in my own chosen profession dried up, I had to do day labor in construction for a little over two years.  (So I took a job away from an illegal alien – now there’s a switch!)  I got heat exhaustion frequently, but that’s what it took to pay the bills.  Filing bankruptcy and then living off of The System was unacceptable to me.  Actually, I still do construction as a side project occasionally.  It’s called being practical.  Karl Marx, however, was an intellectual; therefore, he was too good to work.  He just wanted everything handed to him because he deserved it.

Actually, that explains a lot about his mindset, and that of some of his more naïve followers cranked out by today’s universities.  They don’t understand that production doesn’t happen by magic, or that wealth must be maintained.  Many of those behind decolonization liberation movements found out the hard way too.  The mentality goes that someone else has a pile of treasure, you steal it, and now you’re set up for life.  Zimbabwe is one example of many.

An economic planner from East Germany or Czechoslovakia would’ve known better, of course.  They had to get things done as best they could, within the framework of the system handed to them.  Outside the realm of pure theory, things work a little different when the rubber hits the road.  Anyway, I’m going to start getting trolled by Communists again, this time for insulting the Prophet.  Comrades, the truth hurts.

My Fascist solution

Yes, poverty is a drag, to put it mildly.  This is especially so if it’s a chronic condition in someone’s life.  Fortunately, there’s this thing called social mobility.  A drifter doesn’t have to remain a drifter.  Getting jobs back to this country will be a necessary first step.  That means tuning out all those neocon whiz kids and other free trade worshipers (cough, Krugman, cough) who don’t realize that peasants can’t afford durable goods.

Other than that, society does have a problem with increasing extremes of wealth.  However, Socialism doesn’t have a good track record of fixing things.  If it did, I’d be down for that.  Instead, the answer is Distributism.

What happens with able-bodied slackers who, after adequate opportunity is provided, still refuse to work?  Western welfare states (“Socialism Lite”) have a lot of tolerance for that, engineered to create a dependent voter bloc.  However, true Socialist societies did not.  It’s more realistic that way, actually; society should have less indulgence for slackers.  Handing out checks just perpetuates the problem.  If they feel like being unproductive, ever after opportunities to better themselves are there, they can go nibble grass or something.

What is the lumpenproletariat?

The “omegas” – how to help our brothers out

I’m a bit unenthusiastic about the reductive personality dichotomy classifying men as alphas and betas.  Still, the concept does have validity, taken with the right qualifications.  About 20% of the men are “haves”, and the others are “have-nots” in the social arena.  At the left side of the bell curve is a worse-off category of have-nots, the “omegas”.  This describes someone basically at the very bottom of the pecking order, also known as “below average frustrated chumps”.  An omega doesn’t have a green tentacle growing out of his head, but others basically act like he does.  The Japanese call them “herbivores” or “hikkikomori”.  The English language has a number of unkind terms for them:  dweebs, dorks, basement dwellers, etc.  A beta might well be able to get a girlfriend every now and then, but it’s pretty much a labor of Hercules for an omega to do so.

One of the good things the Manosphere does is helping men improve themselves generally, and their love lives specifically.  The information we’ve made accessible has run into quite a bit of resistance.  Supposedly, men naturally good with women are awesome and rightly popular; but those who study this are using forbidden sorcery (often followed by lots of ignorant descriptors about their character).  These naysayers have no solutions, other than people should stay in the place chosen for them on the totem pole.  We, on the other hand, have made the truth available to those who seek it and can stomach the uncomfortable realizations and challenges to one’s previous view of how the world works.  That’s what taking the Red Pill is all about.

Humans have the most complex courtship ritual of any species; not knowing the rules of the game means you lose.  The information edge is one huge factor in whether someone is a “have” or a “have-not” in the social arena; that is, if you know these things you’re not “allowed” to study!  Although some guys might be relatively advantaged from the start by good looks, being born into wealth, etc., the truth is that young guys all start out adolescence being awkward, making mistakes we’ll cringe about years later, and basically knowing squat about how to attract girls.  Some of us are keen observers and pick up information quickly, others have early successes and build on them, and a lucky few have someone to show us the ropes.  As for the others, years of no success lead to lack of confidence, Approach Anxiety, and so forth.  Where did things go wrong?  Today’s toxic social environment doesn’t help.

Worse, most guys are stuck with loads of misinformation:  conventional dating advice that became obsolete following the Sexual Revolution, Hollywood tropes that fail in the real world, and advice from women which (to put it kindly) is pretty spotty.  In fact, much of the misinformation gives you a one-way express ticket to the Friend Zone.  Where else can a young guy turn to for advice?  Most of his peers are just as clueless as he is.  If he listens to the advertising industry, he’ll just hear “buy our shoes, designer clothes, watches, cars, etc. and you’ll be  a babe magnet.”  Fashion helps somewhat, but none of those things is really the golden ticket.  To a large degree, the betas are in a disadvantaged status because of lack of correct knowledge.  They’re not really second-rate men; rather, they’ve been told that supplication (kissing ass) works, they’re not allowed to start conversations (“street harassment”), they can win someone’s heart only after a long courtship, “just be yourself” (awesome advice if you’re already a rock star), etc.  As for the omegas, they went further:  they took the Blue Pill and washed it down with a big glass of Kool-Aid.

Sexual Market Value follows economic laws.  The relative SMV of men to women fluctuates over time, similar to currency exchange rates, both societally per decade and individually during their lives.  Eventually, many betas make observations about the way of the world and start rejecting the baloney they’ve been fed, eventually get some successes and discover what works, or get clued in either by a friend, the seduction community, or the broader Manosphere.  Eventually they get better.  These are basically the same processes that those called “naturals” benefited from early on.  Also, men tend to increase their status and accomplishment over time, while eventually young women mature and come down to earth (“hit the wall”, to put it slightly unkindly).  So in the end, the betas have their day, though unfortunately after a long stretch of deprivation as young men, during which time the young women were living it up.  For the omegas, though, the climb from the abyss is a much steeper one, and some of them just don’t get out.

Things are tougher for young guys than ever.  I can tell you from personal experience that it certainly was no walk in the park back in the ’80s – to put it mildly – but things have declined further.  For a few examples:

  • Feminism is just as nutty as it was in the ’60s and ’70s, but now it’s more culturally entrenched than ever and backed by the law.  For just one example, flirting at the workplace can get you fired or sued.
  • There are more broken homes these days, and it’s hard for a boy to have positive male role models in a fatherless family, among other distressing effects of course.
  • Ironically, social media has made us less social.
  • Cyber-porn has become very pervasive, and the effects on young minds can be pretty disturbing.  The least bad effect is that it reduces motivation for young guys to go out, learn valuable social skills, and find a girlfriend.

It’s hardly a surprise that today’s society  is producing quite a few omegas!

What happens to omegas who never dig themselves out of a rut?

  • Some sink into a well of depression, or even kill themselves.  This may partially explain why the suicide rate for American males is four times the rate of females.  This is very appalling.
  • A few even “go postal”.  Spree shooters never have happy love lives.  Even the terrorists are doing it because they bought into the “seventy virgins” fairy tale.
  • After years of rejection, some omegas defect to the gay community, much like guys with long prison sentences who also have no other options.
  • Going further, others will question their masculinity and jump on the transgender fad.  This is an increasing trend, now that it’s aggressively pushed in the education system and the media these days.
  • Some become “Social Justice Warriors“, or join another cult where they feel acceptance.
  • A great many turn to that new safety valve of cyber-porn.  That’s a lousy way to learn to interact with women, either in or out of the bedroom.  Porn induced ED is starting to become an epidemic.  This probably falls short of the top ten reasons why society is going to hell in a handbasket, but still, it’s not a good trend.

The omegas need to be told the following:

  • If you get constructive criticism, take it in the spirit in which it’s meant and give it due consideration rather than resisting it.  Rather than getting defensive, keep an open mind.
  • Where needed, you must butch up, grow a pair, and pull your head out of your ass.  That sounds harsh, but I can’t think of any more diplomatic way to put it.  You can’t make progress if you’re stuck in a self-defeating state of mind.  Get out of that rut.  Life might suck now, but it doesn’t always have to be that way.
  • Have as little as possible to do with people who don’t give you basic respect.  That might mean looking for a new job, changing your social circle if your “friends” suck, or perhaps even moving to another city if you’re stuck someplace where you’re regarded as the local butt monkey.  Getting a fresh start is easier than fixing a ruined reputation.
  • Keep improving yourself:  appearance, knowledge, physical condition, career, etc.  Either you’re progressing or stagnating; what’s better?
  • Cut way back on time-wasting pursuits like television, video games, and porn.  This frees up more time for things like self-improvement, reading mind-expanding classic literature, or finding a girlfriend.
  • As the Japanese say, “The nail that sticks up gets hammered down.”  I would add that there are good ways and bad ways to stand out; know the difference.
  • Get out there and socialize.  Just freaking do it.
  • Learn some game.  Don’t let others decide what you’re “allowed” to study.

The last item a very broad subject, of course.  To anyone suffering from involuntary celibacy – and it certainly is a form of suffering – I would advise the following.  First, curing Approach Anxiety is essential; it’s impossible to get anywhere if you’re afraid to talk to someone.  After that, work on having interesting free-form conversations.  Then study other fundamentals such as discerning IOIs and IODs, handling Shit Tests and Bitch Shields, and so forth.  Developing your Inner Game is also essential:  for starters, building confidence, cultivating abundance mentality, and avoiding self-limiting beliefs.  Learn about the Friend Zone scam and how to steer clear of it.  Read up on why supplication is bad; all those RomComs lied to you.  Finally, remember that learning theory is all well and good, but it won’t get you anywhere until you start putting it into practice.  I wrote a book on all that.  If you don’t like mine, I won’t be upset if you find another good one.

Let’s do our part to get the correct information out there.  The omega males are an under-served community.  Society isn’t doing much to help them; not to put too fine a point on it, society took a giant crap on them!  If anybody is going to help get them out of their rut, it’s going to be us.  Some will say “That’s not my problem.”  (As I write this, I can imagine the dismissive braying already.  Come on, guys, not all of us were always social butterflies.)  Even so, there are pragmatic reasons to help enlighten our fellow men, when we can.  For starters, depression, suicide, and spree shootings are a very bad thing.  (One could certainly argue that learning game saves lives!)  Also, the more the transgender fad catches on with the omegas, the greater the likelihood you’ll run into a dude wearing a dress and trying to hook up with you.  Moreover, the fewer recruits there are for the Social Justice Weenies, the better.  Finally, alleviating misery and helping our brothers out is a good thing.  If we want to change society, we have to enlighten the public one individual at a time.  You probably know a few omegas, as well as struggling betas.  Some won’t be ready to accept the truth, but for others, it can change their lives.  This doesn’t mean you have to take on their problems as your own or anything like that, nor should you.  Just knowing that someone out there gives a damn and understands where they’re coming from is a first step that can make a world of difference individually.  Don’t be afraid to reach out.

The “omegas” – how to help our brothers out