The Dark Knight Unmasked (Urban Menace)

in revolutionary process the desire for visibility is a teething disease and that massive crowds gathered to make demonstrations of insurrectionary yearning before white people make no sense; quiet selective effective efficient initiatives will do
Amilcar Cabral

In this final essay in the series, our aim is to explore the Dark Knight from a racialised perspective, i.e., within the context of white supremacy, which itself, transforms the content of, and meaning interpreted from, the movie. In the first place, rejecting the typical fragmentation of the supremacist mindset, we advance that The Joker, Two Face and the Dark Knight, are all niggers. By this, we mean that they are nihilistic expressions of, and responses to, the denigration of the awesome force. This being the case, in examining their characters, and the themes which they’re used to explore, we might better make sense of the circus which itself, is largely built on pretence. In his defence, the major benefit of the Joker lies in his efforts to unmask the duplicity and deception of the “good” people. Although it suits them to paint him as the embodiment and chaos, during the interrogation scene, as he does elsewhere and through the movie, he effectively argues against the duplicitous righteousness of the “good” people. In his words, the things which make them seem to be “good” are “bad” a joke which are, if not entirely, largely context dependent. In accord with this perspective, the law-abiding citizens are obedient criminals, as opposed to non-criminals, and yet, their dormant criminality typically manifests when “the chips are down” and they no longer have to lie, or joke, or pretend, or play. (Given the chance, if they can quit auditioning, they get serious about the things they publicly avoid rehearsing.) For the Joker, the game involves getting these people to realise that they are the freaks they so valiantly distance themselves from and attempt to deny. In his effort to demonstrate this, and thereby unmask their deception, he enlists Harvey Dent to play his game, in addition to recruiting the “incorruptible” Dark Knight.

For our purposes, we might view as the ultimate expression of the violence of white domination in as much as he commits himself to maintaining the lie of the people who sees through, and doesn’t even really trust, as the trilogy itself, explores the idea of him attempting to save a city seemingly too far gone already, and long compromised by myths, falsehoods and lies, and yet, if we were viewing this movie without exploring the supposed impact it was meant to be having on the audience, we would also be mistaken, as we would not do justice to the readers. Often the viewers see the “colour” or complexion of the Dark Knight and assume he is white when in reality; he functions as a maladjusted nigger. Unlike Harvey, who begins the movie, believing in the falsehoods of the white society/image, TDK starts the movie removed from everything, and, quietly watching, selectively interfering. The problem with this approach, however, is that it implies that all is “well” except for a few bad apples (criminals) who are rocking the boat and upsetting the cart, when in fact, as is slowly shown in the film trilogy – as it evolves – Gotham is full of decadence which is simply buried. This sentiment is expressed by Dent right at the end of the movie when he says, referring to his image, from this “there is no escape from this.” It means that although his face is visible disfigured, even it were fixed, it would not solve the problem of the ugliness of the city – the ugliness that the City must attempt to solely locate in the Joker (TJ). It is for this reason, at the conclusion of the boat scene, when TDK refuses to let the Joker die, he quizzes him and moans “what were you trying to prove; that deep down everyone is as ugly as you? You’re alone!” The irony is, that TDK seems to depend upon the existence of the Joker to demonstrate his “misplaced sense of self-righteousness”, or nobility, and yet, attempting to create distance between Joker and himself, he claims that the Joker will be in a padded cell: “this city just showed you that it’s full of people ready to believe in good” but If only it were that easy!

Joker explains that his capture was relatively meaningless in comparison with his greater project: the unmasking of Harvey Dent, explaining: “you didn’t think I’d risk losing the battle for Gotham’s soul in a fist fight with you. No, you need an ace in the hole.” For Joker, the people would conform to their public image, and normative values, but this façade would last “until their spirit breaks completely and until they get a good look at the real Harvey dent and all the heroic things that he’s done.” Alongside TDK, TJ’s other project involved the making of monsters and the manufacture of madness, for in his words: “I took Gotham’s white knight and I brought him down to our level. It wasn’t hard, you see madness as you know, is like gravity. All it takes is a little push.” Although it might seem that his battle is psychological, it is no difference from TDK who himself, early on, makes it known that his priority is with maintaining public image, when he says “you’re the symbol of hope I can never be. Your stand against organised crime is the first legitimate ray of Gotham in decades. If anyone saw this, everything would be undone….” At this point in the movie, Harvey was braking in as much as he was losing faith in his power to bring about justice, and was resigning himself to chance, which in the context of this film, seems to represent chaos. It explains why he later fumes, “It’s not about what I want; it’s about what’s fair” during the rooftop scene, when he also realised that “[we] thought we could be decent men in an indecent time, well you were wrong. The world is cruel and the only morality in a cruel world is chance: unbiased, unprejudiced, fair.” (In a funny way, this differs and agrees with TJ’s statement that we “can’t rely on anyone these days, you’ve got to do everything yourself, don’t we…it’s a funny world we live in.”) This idea of keeping up appearances is revisited in the final scene when, after Harvey’s death, Gordon concedes that “the joker won. Harvey’s prosecution, everything he fought for undone… every chance we get of fixing our city dies with Harvey’s reputation. We bet it all on him. The Joker took the best of us and tore him down…” and yet, rather than this being the catalyst for revealing truth, or at least, the true state of affairs, TDK settles with burying the story stating, “they must never know what he did.”

Our extensive focus on the conversations and narrative is for the purposes of revealing the violence of persuasion, and the confusion of contemplation. In their final conversation, they reveal their primary interest is with preserving falsehoods and so the rob Harvey’s wholeness of its substance, before sweeping it underground and into the shadows. In much the same way, this treatment is what negroes (Harvey Dent’s) are continuously subjected to, in as much as they are encouraged to believe in mythology, until the point their “spirit breaks” and they cease acting like public “White Knights” or private “Caped Crusaders”, instead losing themselves in the embracing the nihilistic absurdity of being “The Joker” whom, the Batman decides, “cannot win” even in spite of its victory. In his words, appropriated from Harvey Dent, “you either die a hero or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” In the manner of an obedient slave, he claims “I can do those things” before deciding “I’m whatever Gotham needs me to be.” At this point, he decides to take up the new image of the nigger, by denying his truth in favour of embracing that narrative needed for maintain the lie, accepting: “they’ll hunt me, they’ll condemn me. They’ll set the dogs on me, because that’s what needs to happen, because sometimes, truth isn’t good enough. Sometimes people deserve more. Sometimes people deserve to have their faith rewarded” and yet, if there is meaning to this, then what of Dent, who has his faith aborted on the rooftop. In that scene, just as the white society renders non-whites impotent, irresponsible, reckless children, before claming they are adults, Gordon and Batman attempt to externalise the sickness of the city and argue that Harvey has full capacity, as opposed to diminished responsibility; as opposed to being a mad dog let off the leash. The say “you’re the one pointing the gun Harvey so put it at the people responsible”, and yet, when he was doing that legally, the racket protect those who targeted, and yet, this only reflects the rhetorical ethic of these traducers who first resort to the tactic of appealing to his their ideals; better idea angels: “you were the best of us; he wanted to prove that even someone as good as you could fall” and indeed, Harvey does fall, only, rather than eradicate the distance between Harvey and the Joker, and with that, the missing link which is the Dark Knight, in the tradition of oppression, it is denied.

About omalone1

I live I die I write
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