For many people, the emblematic scene from Todd Philipps ' The Joker is Joaquin Phoenix 's iconic dance on the steps. If you've seen the film, however, you know that Arthur Fleck dances throughout the entire movie. What does it mean? Sprinkled throughout the violence, the struggles to figure out how we can better help support mental health struggles, and the overwhelming feelings of detachment and anger, we find an individual in Arthur Fleck who wants to be good, to do good in the world. However, he is trapped in virtually all aspects of his life. It is only in dance that Fleck / The Joker seems to be his most free. But, with that freedom comes choice, and when Fleck becomes the Joker, he makes the choice to bring chaos and destruction upon the world. We cannot turn a blind eye to this. Trying to figure out where the line is between empathy for what Fleck is experiencing and disavowing his move toward destruction is incredibly difficult, which is why we're having a discussion about this film with our guest: Liz Wayson. Liz has written a wonderful article on The Joker entitled, "“Walking and Dancing in Gotham City: The Marginalized Flaneur, Mental Health Activism, and the Spectacle of Violence in Todd Phillips’s Joker." As always, if you enjoy the conversation, consider supporting our movement to bring civility back to discourse. Subscribe, hit the like button, and consider leaving a kind comment for me and my guest. As always, your time is appreciated.
// EPISODE OUTLINE //
02:09 Start of conversation
02:59 What was it about Phillips' The Joker that made you pursue this study?
05:46 What is a Flaneur and how does it connect with the Joker?
08:58 Is the Joker and activist or is he just viewed as an activist?
10:39 Were you able to reconcile the honesty of mental health concerns with the problematic depictions of mental illness and violence in The Joker?
12:11 It's important to differentiate mental health and mental illness to better serve everyone
14:47 We need to have difficult conversations about mental health and diagnosed mental conditions.
17:51 How does Gotham City dictate movement and body composition?
21:49 People are so disconnected in Gotham, even Thomas Wayne.
23:22 How does dancing help Arthur comprehend chaos?
28:45 Arthur understands his role in society
35:54 Has Arthur lost all agency to become his own person?
42:14 How did you read the relationship between Murray ( Robert De Niro ) and Arthur?
47:02 How do we read women and mothers in this film?
52:29 We need better mentors for young people
55:28 Final thoughts
// WEBSITE //
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