The Joker has tattoos and no eyebrows and, like, weird teeth, now. Lot of people are all, “no!” Probably plenty of people like it. You know, there are responses across the human spectrum.

Jared Leto Suicide Squad movie Joker DC COmics

ScreenCrush wrote Jared Leto’s Joker Is Both Problematic and Interesting — and included a line that made me laugh like I laughed when I first saw the image.

“My immediate reaction to the image was shocked laughter, and the Joker is definitely supposed to be shocking and off-putting, but for all his twisted humor, he’s not supposed to be laughable.”

Really, there? Uh. What about him is so… serious?

The gist of this article’s “problematisation” of this Joker is not that he’s offensive, actually. Problematic here means “dislikable.”  The problems are that his tattoos are too obvious (HAHAHA, too on the nose), and that “Damaged” is a bad choice because it creates sympathy for the joker (as this tag must represent his emotions, I guess). The writer, Britt Hayes, compliments the way that “his eyes have the maniacal look of a disturbed person with insomnia,” though, so I guess the sympathy’s not too much.

As for me, if the Joker’s going to exist, I think this is a “good” design for him. My feeling mirrors pretty precisely my reaction to POWER/RANGERS, in fact: the source of this thing is played out and not necessary for today’s entertainment, but if it must exist — it should at least play its hand.

Batman things are boring to me and I am not interested in the Joker. He is a dull clown man who is “crazy” and does “wacky crimes” and sexual assault. Batman is his best-worst friend and he’s incredibly edgy and there’s some ineffable magnificence to him that means we should all take the idea of “a scary clown, for adults” seriously. We shouldn’t; that is the point of the Joker. The Joker is bullshit. He is a troll. A crime troll. The joke is that he makes a lot of money for some people who don’t care about you.

I don’t think it’s nice to write “damaged” on a mentally ill man’s forehead (this is what the design team and approving producers have done, fictional man or not (we go to films to believe in the stories they tell us, no?)), but I don’t think it’s nice to engage in the literally Lovecraftian bigotry of filling up a spooky gothic hilltop mental asylum with costume freaks and horror shows, visiting it at night, and repeatedly describing the care staff as abusive or abused. The Joker is “insane.” Do we still believe in “insane” as a description of an individual? Do we call a movie “Suicide Squad”? Then we believe in “damaged” as a facial tattoo. The Joker is not a metaphor.

So I laughed when I saw it, because the clown is clowning himself. You love that Joker imagery, all those covers with the wide mouths, the written laughter, the scratchy-scratchy, the push-it-further? Here you go, mister president. A fucked up try-hard concept deserves a fucked up try-hard aesthetic.

I get the joke!

It’s pretty funny. Hey, is this why they call’em comics?