Evangelical leader Franklin Graham decided to sound off on Todd Phillip’s Joker starring Joaquin Phoenix. In a post on his official Facebook page, he states, “This is no joke. The Warner Brothers’ new movie “Joker” glamorizes a mass killer and is so violent that it caused law enforcement to call for extra security in some cities. This movie is potentially dangerous. Families of mass shooting victims have protested, and the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security warned law enforcement after there were online threats calling for mass shootings. Isn’t it ironic that as progressives in Hollywood call for extreme gun control, they are also the ones making money from releasing films that glorify extreme violence? When copycats are influenced by the evil and gore they see in films like this, moviemakers—in this case, Warner Brothers—should be held responsible.”
With rhetoric like this, you cannot blame leftists for thinking Christianity is tyrannical in nature. When you barrow their verbiage, be prepared to have it backfire. Franklin’s assertions are dreadfully vague. The need to bring awareness to the sinful themes in the film is understandable, but the compulsion assigned judgment where it does not belong is highly, highly unwise.
Franklin says that the Joker “glamorizes a mass killer.” What exactly does he mean by that? Does the film justify violence? Does the quality of the cinematography and costume make it more desirable to behave dangerously? I don’t think so. The vast majority of watchers are not going to watch the film, and want to be a ‘Joker.’ A fear of clowns is well known and socially shared. The message presented by the film is overtly about how one type of experience can exacerbate an emotionally vulnerable person. That informs the audience on how to possibly halt the development of that vulnerability in people they know. Isn’t that a good thing?
If Christians express intense abhorrence for presentations of sin, I am afraid they not well acquainted with the Holy Bible. Furthermore, if Christians what to assign blame on someone that is not directly responsible are, again, not well acquainted with the Holy Bible.
The Christian ethic to shield your eyes from manifestations of evil is meant for the individual to evaluate for themselves juxtaposed by the Christian ethic they hold. Attempting to incoherently scare people into your perception of morality will always defeat the purpose of helping people. If you, personally, do not think you can consume a type of media without holding true to solid morality, don’t watch it.
Some Christians poorly evaluate human frailty and fallen nature. It is healthy to understand what you don’t want to become. It is a consistent reason ‘why’ many of the Christian productions fall flat in storytelling due to lack of contrast between light and darkness.
Joker is a movie, and nothing more. Media is a mirror. You would do well to assess what you have inside you before assuming the worst in everyone else around you.
Rosemary Dewar is a commentator for Athens Now, Red Alert Politics, and a friend to this blog.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below. Tell me if there is a comic book, movie, or novel you would like me to review. While you are at it, check out my comic book review of Detective Comics 1009-1011 and Rosemary Dewar’s piece on virtuous men in blockbusters. Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe for more posts like this one.
This article does not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Chief Editor of the blog.