The Joker is wild

A couple of years ago – maybe a year I cant remember – I read a blog post by Keguro on things he thought of / wanted to blog about but didn’t. Thinking about blogging on something and not doing it is a sure sign of blogger paralysis / disinterest / being blogged out or on the verge of a blogging breakdown. I’m not sure which one applies but I suspect it is all three. So here are some of the things I thought of blogging about but never quite moved from thought to opening up my wordpress “write new post”!

Reflections on Nigeria – actually I was a bit economical with the truth here as I did start writing down stuff but it was all so negative and depressing I thought I cant possibly post this. On Tuesday I was down in Canterbury at the Anglican Church Synod gathering where I spoke with a Nigerian gay man who is seeking asylum here in the UK. I felt even more miserable as he recounted his life in Lagos and Nigeria generally. Shaking with anger and bitterness on surviving there and being in the closet and surviving here, being out but still living on the periphery, being ripped off by his landlord the awful waiting to see if you will be given asylum or deported. In Lagos I met a lesbian who was deported a year ago after spending a year in Yarlswood. According to Harriet Harman it is safe for lesbians to be returned to their home countries such as Nigeria because all they need to do is be “discreet” and hide themsleves. Totally ignoring the reality as in the case of this woman whose family and friends found out about her sexuality, disowned her and left her to fend for herself on the streets. Fortunately one friend took her in for a while until she had to move to another city and try to manage her life somehow. Harman also ignores the fact that no one should have to deny themselves and go through the pain of living a lie? On the other hand when the government sees an opportunity to front their illusion of humanitarianism – then LGBTI persons, rape and torture survivors, political dissidents from across the globe – get handed asylum on a plate in 2/3weeks.

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The other day I decided to indulge myself my watching a blockbuster movie. I thought it sad and disturbing that I felt watching a “Hollywood” movie was an indulgence. Will self-flagellation be the final step on the road to the denial of pleasure in my life? Anyway I followed the hype and went to see “The Dark Knight” with Batman looking and sounding a bit like Darth Vadar. The film plays with the theme of good and evil which is presented in both simple comic book terms and also much more subtly as “evil” surfaces in unexpected places including Batman himself. The late Heath Ledger is superb in his performance as the demonic wild hilariously funny Joker and master of chaos. At one point he dresses up as a nurse, flicking his hair and licking his lips whilst blowing up a hospital and jumping on himself as the last detonator goes off. Afterwards I felt the director, Christopher Nolan, was playing with my mind with this scene of “comic terrorism” – should I be laughing? Well yes because the world of Gotham like the real world – is full of liars, corrupt police and government hypocrites (Batman included).

The only real person is the Joker – “I am what you see” he wears the mask but it is the other characters who are “masked”. Still it was a relief to see that humanity redeems itself and fails him (the Joker) dismally. Race comes briefly into play when it is the huge Black prisoner who stands up to pick up a detonator set by Joker as a trick for the two groups to blow each other up. A bit obvious that the stereotype Black murderer (bad citizen) was not actually going to do anything and rather it was the white middle class male (good citizen) that nearly blows the “other” to smithereens.

Joker plays everyone, from criminals to the police to Batman who, apart from looking and sounding like Darth Vadar was clinical with no depth to his character. His transformation from good to a man with evil tendencies was hardly recognisable but for a few prompts from the narrative. Rachel was a mediocre femme fatal and it was hard to feel any sympathy for her or her lover who “turned” from the all American white boy hero into a “two-faced” cold hearted rather boring revengeful killer. But they all seemed so peripheral to the Joker whose lines often held the kind of home truths some of us would rather not hear. My favorite was his reference to it’s ok to kill hundreds and thousands but everyone freaks out when one person like the mayor is under threat “cause it’s not part of the plan”! The Joker doesn’t “plan” he just lives and there is something inviting about not planning and not being part of the plan.

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