No ‘Joker’ at NY Times: ‘Is It Incel Propaganda? Might It Even Be Dangerous?’

October 8th, 2019 7:27 PM

Jennifer Vineyard, who reports on pop culture for The New York Times, had a rundown of commentary on the controversial new movie “Joker,” a grittier-than-usual take on how the clown prince of crime came to be. Predictably, Vineyard hit all the liberal panic buttons in “‘Joker’: What to Read About the Divisive New Film -- The movie earned roughly a quarter of a billion dollars its opening weekend. It also earned some polarized reviews and an F.B.I. warning. Here’s what people are saying.

(Seems the F.B.I. has garnered new-found respect on the cultural pages of The New York Times.)

Two of the three “Joker” reviews she plucked from the ether were harshly negative, including one from the paper’s resident liberal scold film critic A. O. Scott, and a crazed take from the New Yorker that NewsBusters dealt with here.

Vineyard began with an aggrieved rundown of liberal handwringing over the movie, joining the moral panic over “Joker” for daring to show empathy for its troubled eponymous character, in a tone that the paper would have mocked as simplistic and preachy if uttered by social conservatives a couple of decades ago.

(Note: “Incel” is recently coined term for lonely, troubled men rejected by potential sexual partners.):

Is “Joker” a definitive movie of our time? Is it incel propaganda? Might it even be dangerous? The film arrived in theaters last week accompanied by F.B.I. warnings about the threat of related gun violence, but by Monday its international box office had already reached about a quarter of a billion dollars. Meanwhile, the debates over its politics and artistic merit raged on. Here are some of the many reviews, interviews and features that have been prompted by this dark and divisive movie.

Julia Jacobs made the front of the Tuesday Arts section while reporting from a huge annual comic book convention in Manhattan, talking to fans made up to look like the various Jokers over the years: “Fans of the Joker Find Their Tribe.” But before the positive profiles of attendees, Jacobs also engaged in the seemingly mandatory throat-clearing about the potential danger posed by a movie about a comic-book villain:

At Comic Con, where attendees show off meticulously prepared costumes inspired by their favorite fictional characters, one generally does not dress up as the Joker without knowing which Joker they are....At this weekend’s convention at the Javits Center in Manhattan, there was a new Joker character to consider. The “Joker” movie opened in theaters this weekend, and this rendition of the comic book character, played by Joaquin Phoenix, has drawn scrutiny for exhibiting psychological traits of real-life mass shooters.