The “Joker” controversy

Violence in movies does not motivate real-world violence, and it's time we treat entertainment as entertainment

Haley DuHamel, Staff Writer

The movie “Joker” came out last Friday, and  many people are upset at its storyline, mainly because they believe that it will encourage “lonely white boys” and “incels” to commit acts that the main character, the Joker, takes in the film, and that the people who watch the film will sympathize, and excuse the Joker and his crimes. I don’t believe that this opinion is true at all.

According to an article in “Psychology Today,” there isn’t enough evidence to back up the theory that violent movies or video games influence kids and adolescents into becoming violent. The author writes that violence and war has been around for way longer than gory video games, adding, “The fact is that analysis of school shooting incidents, from the US Secret Service and the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime, do not support a link between violent games and real world attacks.

As a society, we have grown to accept some violence. In fact, children’s movies, like Disney movies, have a surprising amount of violence in them. So, why do people complain about “Joker,” which is a rated R film, for having violence when Disney movies that are directed for children, have violence in them as well?

Though the psychological violence in “Joker” can be intense, it may provoke positive responses instead of negative ones. It could inspire the audience to seek professional help and therapy after seeing what untreated mental illness did to the Joker. It might even reinforce people’s will to do good, to do the opposite of what the Joker did.

A YouTuber named John Doyle may say it best when he says that it’s the same kind of argument that people attempt to make, about how video games cause mass shootings, which is not true at all. Most of the time, humans are emotionally intelligent enough to not make excuses for committing these acts of violence just because they relate to the character who commits them. Audiences can sympathize with a character’s pain and trauma and still understand that what they are doing is wrong, and condemn the character for them at the same time.

Doyle also mentions that there are several movie theaters across the country that might have extra security and a three-day waiting period for this specific film. I think that this is unnecessary and ridiculous, because no one would commit a mass shooting because they watched “Joker.” The reason being that it is fictional. The story is not real. Films are made to entertain people, not to instigate violence.

All in all, movies, TV shows, video games, and all other forms of media and entertainment are just that, entertainment. There might be some of these that are based on true stories, but most of them are fictional, like the movie “Joker,” and their main purpose is not to encourage violence, but simply tell a story.