Is this an endorsement? President as terrorist, sociopath, villain? Socialism as sociopathology? Of course, the Joker would not be going to such remarkably dangerous (from a campaigning standpoint) lengths to rescue a floundering economy. He would joyfully revel in its catastrophic implosion. And without a hint of irony, this is precisely what so many right-wingers in this country say they want – let the market handle it. The market, of course, does not care in the slightest if you have a job, a house, health insurance, or even food to eat. If there is a dollar to be made in your misery, then it will be made.
Obama’s ‘socialism’ is a bizarre spectacle of ‘socialism’ stepping in to rescue capital, whose insane march to the very edge of history has fallen just short of successful suicide. Only a socialist can rescue capitalism…
Yet identifying capital with the Joker is no more appropriate. Capital will do anything to make a buck, given the alternative of making less. The Joker also sought to accumulate great wealth…for the purpose of destroying it.
The Obama/Joker mashup makes a bit more sense in this light – Obama’s bailout as accumulating massive amounts of money through taxation, only to destroy it. Of course, Obama was quite late to the bandwagon. Conservatives should remember under which administration the massive bailout program began, and whose Treasury Secretary pleaded for it.
The Joker really falls outside of these coordinates. Neither saving capitalism from itself, nor endulging in its solipsistic expansion-at-all-costs, he aims for a bizarre inversion of conspicuous consumption – conspicuous destruction, perhaps. A sociopathy distinct from that of capital? The Joker was less a sociopath than a sort of joyful nihilist, reveling in the ruins – especially the psychical ruins of schizophrenia – rather than exploiting them for his own control. This is the clear difference between Nolan’s Joker and Burton’s – the latter was himself the exemplar of mafioso capitalism, a crimelord, whereas the former made himself intolerable to such an economistic opportunism.
Obama is rather not unlike Batman – shouldering a burden that is by no right his. He refuses to plainly state that it was Republican (pro-(extreme-)capitalist) policies that brought us to the brink of disaster. Rather, he continues to silently endorse the notion that his policies are responsible for the current state of affairs. Socialism – taking responsibility.
Capitalist ideologues seem bent on holding government responsible for economic failure, while simultaneously denouncing every attempt of government to take responsibility. They want it to let go, relinquish responsibility, and for what? For the benefit of opportunistic corporate mafioso, who continue to wonder about the dangerous deal they’ve struck with the happy nihilist, the joyful sociopath.