Wednesday, October 30, 2019

About #jokerstairs

I still haven’t seen Joker but it’s had so much coverage and analysis that I almost feel I don’t need to. It seems to have transcended its identity as a mere film and become a commentary on fragile masculinity, urban decay, Trumpism and, thanks to its explicit nods to Martin Scorsese (who has helpfully dissed the superhero movies that provide the mulch in which Joker grew), film itself.

In The Guardian, Arwa Mahdawi describes the tensions created by people (or, as she describes them, “influencers and imbeciles”) visiting a particular flight of stairs in the Bronx that features in the film, just to take selfies as part of a phenomenon that’s now known as “meme tourism”. I have no doubt that she’s right, if only because pretty much the same article has appeared in USA Today and Esquire and Vice and the Daily Mail and Wired and any number of other outlets, all falling over each other in a manner that’s no more dignified than the gawping phone-wielders currently attracting the derision (and eggs) of the locals.

Meme journalism, anyone?

PS: I’ve seen it now. It’s pretty good.

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