Liberals suffering from Trump Derangement Syndrome (TDS) have a whole new theory: President Trump is Joker.
The new hit movie starring Joaquin Phoenix has exploded onto the scene, splitting critics down the middle. Some think the new film featuring the comic villain origin story is worthless garbage, while the brilliant critic Rex Reed wrote that the movie “borders on genius — repellent, dark, terrifying, disgusting, brilliant and unforgettable.”
Of course, the movie doesn’t have anything to do with Trump and doesn’t explicitly cross over into the world of politics. But that hasn’t kept liberals from declaring that the movie is all about him — or at least “the America that gave us Trump.”
Filmmaker Michael Moore came out of the woodwork to say the film is an anti-Trump screed.
“It’s about the America that gave us Trump — the America which feels no need to help the outcast, the destitute. The America where the filthy rich just get richer and filthier,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Our country is in deep despair, our constitution is in shreds, a rogue maniac from Queens has access to the nuclear codes,” he wrote. “Yes, there’s a disturbed clown in that mirror, but he’s not alone — we’re standing right there beside him. ‘Joker’ is no comic book movie. The film is set somewhere in 1970s Gotham/New York City, the headquarters of all evil: the rich who rule us, the banks and corporations whom we serve, the media which feeds us a daily diet ‘news’ they think we should absorb.”
CNN went one step further. In an op-ed from Sunday titled “‘Joker’ — a political parable for our times,” writer Jeff Yang goes to extraordinary lengths to connect the movie to Trump, with repeated declarations that Trump is racist.
The piece notes that the main character, Arthur Fleck (Phoenix), is “brutalized by young thugs. He’s beaten by suit-clad Wall Streeters.” But to Yang, it’s all about race and class. “And his answer to this dual pincer of oppression by people of color and one-percenters is a murderous rampage of revenge, which catches fire among fellow angry citizens of Gotham and sends them looting through the streets.”
Then he jumps to Trump.
“While many reviewers have focused on Fleck as an ‘incel’ hero — his status as a sexless loner who turns to violence — the true nature of the movie’s appeal is actually broader: It’s an insidious validation of the white-male resentment that helped bring President Donald Trump to power. ‘Joker,’ at its core, is the story of the ‘forgotten man,’ the metaphoric displaced and disenfranchised white man whose goodwill has been abused and whose status has been reduced. A man who has been crushed underfoot by the elite, dragged down by equality-demanding feminists and climbed over by upstart nonwhite and immigrant masses,” he concludes.
The writer also notes that director Todd Phillips has attacked the “outrage culture” of the “far left,” quoting him as saying: “Go try to be funny nowadays with this woke culture. So I go, ‘How do I do something irreverent Oh, I know, let’s take the comic book movie universe and turn it on its head.’”
Yang goes on to declare that “after watching ‘Joker,’ it’s easy to decode what Phillips really meant in this quote” going on to compare it to what he said “fired ‘SNL’ cast member Shane Gillis meant when he excused his repeated use of racist, misogynist and homophobic slurs as ‘pushing boundaries.’”
“It draws from the same well of resentment that Trump strums with his racist rhetoric at his rallies — the fear of no longer being at the center of the political, social and cultural universe, with everyone who isn’t you positioned at its perceived edges. (After all, being racist, sexist and anti-gay only ‘pushes boundaries’ if you define yourself as ‘normal’ and define nonwhite, non-male and non-straight people as marginalized outsiders.),” Yang claims.
Yang then all but declares Trump is “Joker.”
“Trump won by using outrageous statements, theatrical posturing and grimacing mockery to generate raucous mob energy — the very opposite of law and order. White men, in particular, responded to his rhetoric and persona — seeing in him a disruptor of oppressive correctness who could lead them back to the top of the heap and the center of the world,” he writes.
Then the writer goes even further:
“At the end of the movie, a triumphant Fleck — seemingly dead, but magically revived by the cheers of a throng of clown-masked rioters — does a grotesque soft-shoe on top of a shattered cop car, literally dancing on the destroyed remains of the rule of law. Imagine Fleck as Trump, shrugging off impeachment, rebounding with his roaring red-hatted supporters, winning reelection against every prediction and probability.”
It seems impossible, but liberals see Trump in everything. Or at least the sufferers of TDS do.
And that’s every bit as scary as “Joker.”
*Joseph Curl ran the Drudge Report from 2010 to 2014 and covered the White House for a dozen years. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter at @JosephCurl. A version of this article ran previously in The Washington Times.