The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

The Greyhound

The Student News Site of Loyola University Maryland

The Greyhound

Why so serious? Thoughts on “Joker” concept


Studies show most Americans agree: clowns are no laughing matter. Is it the way they smile too wide, or the abnormal makeup they show-off, or maybe the shoes that are just too big? Whatever it is, the fear of clowns, or coulrophobia, is shared by more people than we may realize. According to, when they conducted a poll asking 1,999 Americans how they felt about clowns, “42 percent of Americans said they were, in some capacity, afraid of clowns. Among voters ages 18 to 29, nearly one in three admitted to at least a minor case of coulrophobia — fear of clowns.” So if people are afraid of clowns, why is the Joker so popular?

The Joker has been a well-known villain for decades, constantly pursuing his hopes of destroying Batman. He is widely regarded as one of the “best” villains ever created, largely due to his insane actions that are shocking to most people. This shock factor is what draws the audience to the chaos that is the Joker. However, could this chaos be too much in today’s social climate? As people become more invested in technology and media takes on a bigger role in our everyday lives, some feel the new “Joker” movie may not be worth the risk of encouraging acts of violence.

The U.S. Military is among those who feel the movie is cause for concern. The week of the release, they issued a warning. ABC News explains, “the alarming notice was sent out on Monday by military officials at Fort Sills Army base in Oklahoma, and was based on intelligence gathered by the FBI from the ‘disturbing and very specific’ chatter of alleged extremists on the dark web, officials said.” That article was published on Sept. 26, 2019. Thankfully, there were no reported shootings in any theaters when the movie was released on Oct. 4.

Perhaps the warnings were premature and the authorities were just paranoid, but they had good reason to be. With the release of a new movie featuring the infamous and maniacal villain, memories of the tragic incident on July 20, 2012 come rushing back. On this night, James Holmes killed 12 people and injured 70. The significance? He committed this horrifying crime at the Century Aurora 16 Multiplex Theater in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises.”

This movie also featured the Joker, played by Heath Ledger. CNN gives an account of the occurrence, writing, “eighteen minutes into the movie, shortly after midnight, Holmes opens fire into the audience. Holmes is ‘dressed head-to-toe in protective gear’ — a ballistic helmet, protective gear for his legs, throat and groin, black gloves and a gas mask.” This act of violence horrified America and changed the way many people thought of movie theaters. Now, rather than being a place for family fun and escape, the lurking feeling of being unsafe is present in the darkness of movie theaters.  

Despite the violence and fear associated with the  Joker’s character, the recently released movie has received strong reviews. According to Rotten Tomatoes, it has received an audience score of 90 percent, which is impressive when compared to “Avengers: Endgame,” currently the top grossing movie of all time, which received an audience score of 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. In addition, Joaquin Phoenix, the actor who has taken on the infamous role in “Joker,” is receiving praise for his work. explains, “Warner Bros. staged the film’s world premiere in Venice, where it received an eight-minute standing ovation and picked up the Golden Lion.” 

In an article by Marc Malkin, he explains, “the overall consensus seemed to be that even if the film was too dark and violent to truly enjoy, Phoenix’s performance alone was worthy of Oscar recognition.” So, just as Heath Ledger earned an Oscar (posthumously) for his performance as the Joker, it seems Joaquin Phoenix may be in the running for the same award. It is strange that movies associated with death and violence garner so much admiration. Nonetheless, I personally look forward to seeing the movie and learning what all the buzz is about. 

View Comments (1)
More to Discover

Comments (1)

All The Greyhound Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  • AnonymousNov 7, 2019 at 5:57 pm


Activate Search
Why so serious? Thoughts on “Joker” concept