From Owen Gleiberman‘s “Why Joker Is About All Of Us,” posted on 10.20:

“The only thing everyone seems to agree upon [these days] is how violently we disagree. [And] what’s important to recognize, however, is that the anger at the center of our social-cultural-political entropy isn’t simply a destructive force. It has taken hold because in some desperate way, it’s a cathartic force. I rant, therefore I am. I snark and tweet (with a vengeance), therefore I am. I rage, therefore I am.

“And part of what we should all be angry about is the fakery of our public discourse. Not just the fake news, but the real news that’s too devoted to stirring the pot (since that’s what’s profitable), the entertainment designed to numb us instead of enlighten us, and — yes — the social media that was supposed to embody a liberal ideal of ‘connection,’ but that didn’t quite work out that way because even liberals spend so much time on it posturing and positioning (i.e., lying about who they are).

“All these layers of unreality are something a lone human animal instinctively wants to blast through. And that’s just what happens in the spectacular climax of Joker. Arthur turns toward the entertainment figure he has idolized as a surrogate daddy, and he says, ‘You’re awful.’ And he’s right. It’s the fakery of it that’s awful. The fakery, in its way, is what Arthur wants to kill.

“That’s why he’s more than just an ‘incel’ — he’s all of us. All of our anger, all the rage that leaves us feeling so liberated when we let it out. Yet don’t take that too literally. Arthur is a figment, a projection, a dream image of our collective spirit. That’s why he’s a warning. Joker says: Smile when your heart is raging. And know that this is what it looks like.”