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What does the new 'Joker' movie have to do with incels?

by Matthew Yapp Disclaimer: The following contains conversations of violence, rape, sexism, and racism. The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board. On Oct. 4, Todd Philips’ Joker was released worldwide. The film is an origin story of DC Comic’s infamous Batman villain, the Joker. The film was met with praise and success at several film festivals, including a massive win at the Venice Film Festival. Some critics, however, believe that the film was not only subpar, but even problematic. Certain critics felt that the film was glorifying violence.  In an article for Time, critic Stephanie Zacharek stated that the movie portrayed violence as something that made the protagonist feel “more in control, less pathetic. Killing—usually with a gun, though scissors or a good old-fashioned suffocation will do just fine—empowers him.” She also felt that the film made the Joker seem less like a villain, and more like someone the audience was meant to feel bad for. “In America, there’s a mass shooting or attempted act of violence by a guy like Arthur [Joker] practically every other week. And yet we’re supposed to feel some sympathy for Arthur, the troubled lamb; he just hasn’t had enough love. Before long, he becomes a vigilante folk hero.” Fear resulting from this movie wasn’t just based on its content alone. The US Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation released a joint-intelligence bulletin to the police, later obtained by CNN, stating that there had been a number of violent threats posted online, including calls for mass shooting at showings of the movie. This led to the NYPD increasing police presence at several theaters. The Century Aurora and XD movie theater publicly stated that they will not be showing the film at all. The Century Aurora theatre was the location of the 2012 mass shooting, which occurred during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.  The bulletin notes that the threats make references to the incel community. This may have to do with, as Zacharek stated, the film depicting the Joker as someone who could “easily be adopted as the patron saint of incels.” But what exactly is an incel? The term incel is an abridged version of the term “involuntarily celibate,” meaning someone who would like to be having sex but is unable too. Incels are an online culture centered around the concept that they want and deserve to have sex, but women are withholding it from them. Because of this, they believe themselves to be victims of society. Incels create communities on sites like reddit and 4chan, but are often removed for misogynistic language and attempts to incite violence against women. Below are several posts found on different online incel community forums. While I find them disgusting and disagree with them entirely, I am adding them to get across the severity of many incels' radical beliefs. 

Image from Reddit
Image by Matthew Yapp
In 2014, Elliot Rodger sent a 141 page manifesto praised Rodgers,
Image by Matthew Yapp
the perpetrator stated released a video
Image by Matthew Yapp
Joker. In his article from The Guardian Joker Kayleigh Donaldson stated Joker In Vulture Nate Jones also stated Joker Joker Joker Joker,
Sources: Time NBC The Denver Channel The San Luis Tribune BBC Vice YouTube The Guardian Syfy Images: Featured Image: IMDb

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