Does "WOKE" hate the movie Joker (2019)?

I am not from the US or from any of the English speaking countries. So, I have difficulty understanding the politics perfectly. I came across several videos on Youtube that talks about how “woke” hates the movie Joker. I am not even quite sure what woke means. I read some entries on urbandictionary, and it seems to be somewhat progressive point of view. It might be my dumb interpretation, though. If you want to watch them, please just type something along the lines of “woke hates joker” on the search field on youtube, and you will find them I watched the movie several times over. I didn’t notice any sort of attack or critique on “woke” or “the American left” or any sort of progressive ideology in USA.

Would you please help me (and those who are confused about it) understand? Thank you :slight_smile:

How would “woke” hate a movie? My understanding of “woke” is that it is a term used by incels or conservatives or what have you, used to insult people.

@discobot what do you make of this “woke” jibber-jabber?

Hi! To find out what I can do, say @discobot display help.

Firstly, I haven’t seen the movie. I probable am “woke” though - I’m not a horrible monster of a person, so hard conservatives would probably call me that, because “woke” means “neither a racist, a sexist, or a bigot”.

From what I’ve heard, Joker is a movie where the Joker character is basically an incel, and he gets away with a lot of bad things, up to and including murder. The sort of person who calls people ‘woke’ might like this, and (I further speculate) that they assume that anything they like, decent people don’t like. And thus they’d assume that “woke” people hate the movie.

Myself, I only know what I think, and I admit that the movie didn’t look interesting to me. That ain’t hate, but it’s not love either.

Are you actually under the impression that Urban Dictionary is anything other than a source of laughs?

What planet are you from? Woke people openly call themselves woke as a term of endearment.

I do like saying things that endear me to myself.

Oh, self, you’re so cute. And stylish. And humble, I wuv you so much.

Over at The Mary Sue they many times complained that the movie was being made, often declared it would be a flop, and weren’t happy when it was a success. Here is one sample article.

The planet I’m from, let me tell you something, you’re never gonna believe it. Donald Trump, yes THAT Donald Trump, is the so-called president of the United States. My world is all kinds of fucked up, be grateful that you inhabit anoher.

It is most certainly a reliable source of context about slang terms and memes. It’s not the OED, but it’s not the fucking Onion.

Having seen the movie I did not get the impression the Joker was an incel. He definitely had mental health issues and was somewhat of a “loser” according to “society”. But nothing was mentioned or hinted at about his sex life.

It was a good movie. It made me feel bad for him until he decided to go evil.

First off…

To alt-right fuckwads, woke people = people who call out my racism, bigotry, sexism, etc. Buncha pansies.

To most everyone else, woke people = being tolerant of things like LGBTQ rights, acknowledging white privilege is real and being concerned about climate change. Essentially having empathy and a conscience.

Woke is not a noun. It is an adjective, it is a type of person or a way to see the world. Sometimes woke people go a little bit too far in seeking out things to be angry about which is counterproductive.

I haven’t seen Joker, but I am familiar with some of the controversy.

More background, in the US, and probably elsewhere, there’s developed a particularly toxic subculture of people who’ve termed themselves “incels”, short for involuntarily celibate. They are mostly angry young men (gamers in a lot of cases) who think the world has turned against them, particularly liberated women, and that they are the victims in a less fucked up patriarchal system and society. This group has started to evolve into a more broad-based hatred of liberalism and social consciousness in any form. They are gun obsessed and tend to think there’s some grand conspiracy that’s out to get them.

Like I said, I haven’t seen the movie yet, but my takeaway is that the Joker character represents a bit of wish fulfillment for these incels. He’s basically a quiet, sad, pathetic person who gets bullied by the normals. He becomes a violent anarchist and criminal who was driven to that place by his just outrage against society at large. These incels have turned him into a hero and a role model. Since the movie is a bit ambivalent about whether he’s a hero or a villain, it certainly makes him sympathetic, it got a lot of criticism from the more liberal segments of the media for encouraging some of the violence and hate we’re seeing on the streets today. Thus certain people, usually assholes, have tried to say that “woke people hate Joker”.

I really wish people who haven’t actually watched the movie go on dozens of paragraph long screeds about the movies messages and themes.

I’m not woke by the standards of this forum, but I didn’t like “The Dark Night” -implicitly a defense of post 9/11 American vigilantism. The Batman franchise has form in this area.

Okay ignore everyone in this topic who admitted they didn’t watch the movie and are literally just making shit up for attention.

Long story short the Joker “controversy” was a confluence of three major things.

  1. The 2012 Aurora shooting during a Dark Knight Rises opening night showing, for whatever reason the media reported at the time that the shooter “dressed up as the Joker and claimed he was the Joker from the film” which he didn’t do at all. It turns out if was a rumor was started by a police officer who had nothing to do with the investigation. However this now forever linked Batman and the Joker specifically with a mass shooting.

  2. Prior to the Joker’s release there were several rumors online and reported to the press that “incels” or “white supremacists” were planning on attacking showings of Black Panther or Captain Marvel. Nothing obviously came of these rumors but it kept the idea that “bad people” are planning to shoot up a movie theater.

  3. For whatever reason, there’s a weird trend where fans of DC live action movies are more conservative, while fans of Marvel live action movies are more liberal/progressive. This definitely has lead to more conservative people on the internet praising DC movies while disparaging Marvel movies and vice-versa.

What basically happened was that due to these three combined events, there were rumors that Joker was going to be the next “target” of a mass shooting event. The US Army and FBI even released a public statement warning people of a potential “mass shooting” at a Joker screening, based on the very flimsy evidence that incels were potentially going to be inspired by the Aurora shooting due to the above factors. The survivors of the Aurora shooting victims released a public statement condemning the film for making Joker out to be a “hero” again in the mistaken belief that the Aurora shooter was doing it because he was an incel who wanted to be the Joker. This poisoned the discourse around the movie severely, and several message boards even had warnings to not see the Joker due to the fact “the only people going to see the movie opening night are incels and mass shooters”.

Progressive sites VOX and The Mary Sue in particular took the news of potential incel violence at screenings of Joker and ran with it, publishing dozens of articles claiming of the “dangers” of a movie that “glorifies” incels even before the movie even came out. Clickbait outrage spread like wildfire. The movie was both going to have incels shoot it up, but also inspire incels to actually emulate the Joker/Aurora Shooter and start shooting up everywhere. Pearls were clutched en-masse.

Then the movie came out and got both surprisingly good reviews and a massive box office appeal. The Joker isn’t the incel or white supremacist people had predicted he was, but rather a “normal” person who turns to a life of crime and murder due to a variety of circumstances outside of his control (or maybe within his control and he just always evil, it’s up to interpretation), he’s no more of an incel hero than Michael Corleone in the Godfather or any other movie where the main character starts off as a normal person and just becomes evil by the end.

So now Vox and other progressive websites are left holding the bag, having predicted this movie was going to lead to mass shootings everywhere and copycat incel attacks, but it didn’t. So what do they do? They start saying the Joker is “over-rated” and “is a bad film not because of incels but because of just being a pale rip-off of Taxi Driver or The King of Comedy”. Its valid film criticism but coming form the same people who legit wanted the film banned or sent straight-to-video because they thought it was pretty much going to lead to the end of the world. Plenty of left leaning movie viewers actually liked the movie (a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes means at least the vast majority of film critics liked it) so it’s not like it was THAT divisive in the grand scheme of things.

So to finally answer the question, the reason why “Woke” hates Joker is because in the run-up to the movies release progressive leaning websites like Vox fear-mongered that Joker was going to lead to a series of incel motivated mass shootings that were based on false rumors that ultimately never happened.

I’d take some serious issue with your interpretation of the movie…though I think it’s a common misinterpretation.

Joker - Joaquin Phoenix’s take (aside: there are other villains, Hollywood!) - isn’t ‘normal’ in any sense. He’s deeply, fundamentally mentally ill. I felt bad for him the entire time. From the beginning when it looked like he just might be a misfit until later when it was clear he was violently unstable he’s a symbol of the people who have been left behind or abandoned by modern American society.

Now, I can understand an interpretation of that where people project that onto the incel, maga, trump-voter sort of thing because there’s a level of that in that cohort. There’s always been a strong element in the Trump voter cohort - not a majority by any means, I’m not implying that - that feel they’re losing group and being left behind by the changing of American society. Those people who’s paycheck is buying less and less as inflation exceeds income growth over the last 40 years can FEEL it even if they can’t figure out why. They feel left behind and Trump gave them a focal point to rally behind. So I can understand the perceived connection to the movie even if I think it’s specious.

I wasn’t aware (woke?) of this, but the term “woke” evidently arose for the most part from black cultural sources and was widely adopted by progressives, as well as by critics across the spectrum.

“This idea of purity and you’re never compromised and you’re politically woke, and all that stuff – you should get over that quickly. The world is messy. There are ambiguities. People who do really good stuff have flaws.”

  • Barack Obama

Never seen the Joker movie, and don’t intend to comment on the movie or on “woke”. But in general I agree w the sentiment of the quoted post.

IMO the majority (all?) “superhero” movies are actually glorifying vigilantism and violence while teaching the audience that the world is full of very scary stuff and our conventional power structures like civil society, commerce, & government are fundamentally inadequate and ineffectual at best.

These are all profoundly socially corrosive ideas. Even if the “superhero” is supposedly on the side of “Good.”

These movies are teaching an audience mindset that “All we need is a powerful superhero to lead / protect us and all will be well.” The problem is that superheros don’t really exist, so human tyrant wannabes will be the closest stand-ins.

IMO this is not a good thing to teach the public.

Not one mention here that Todd Phillips said he made Joker because

I mean, whatever wokeness is, don’t make up some self-congratulatory narrative that all those bad leftists got up in arms out of nowhere. Phillips brought it up himself.