THE KING OF COMEDY: We Stan A King

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There’s a familiarity that comes with celebrity. We know our celebrities; we know their lives, their loves, their traumas and their peculiarities. We know stories about their private moments and in the 21st century we’re often privy to those things in a first hand way. We watch them on Instagram live, we enjoy their streams, we tweet with and at them. 

Over the past two decades the definition of celebrity has expanded; Warhol’s corny 15 minutes came true not because more folks got on TV but because being famous metastasized into the driving force of our culture and all of a sudden there were more avenues to pursue fame. There are nobodies who are famous for their Twitter accounts, Instagram influencers with more followers than Jesus Christ could have imagined in His lifetime, podcasters who in another era would have been cranks on the corner are now speaking to millions. 

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Why JOKER May Be The Defining Movie Of 2019

This contains spoilers for Joker.

They told us there would be death. It started with the first trailer, with people saying they weren’t interested in a movie that explained away a white man’s violence by showing him as a victim, and it continued with critics and journalists saying the film would be a beacon to violent incels, that it would spark shootings, that theaters would be dangerous places. The feedback loop of modern internet society was such that the fears of violence mashed up with knee-jerk trolling to create a liminal space where it was so unclear what was real and what was a joke that the FBI and US military issued advisories.

But nobody died. There have been some fights, but I’ll tell you as someone who has worked in movie theaters/movie theater adjacent jobs that this is not out of the ordinary. It’s just the movie itself that makes these fisticuffs newsworthy; I’ve seen people get into it at animated films. 

Instead of people dying, Joker has been a huge success. It’s the highest-grossing R-rated movie of all time and it is approaching $1 billion in worldwide box office. It made more in its opening weekend than Justice League, a PG-13 straight down the middle movie, did in its opening weekend. It’s not just a hit, it’s a phenomenon, drawing people to a staircase in the Bronx down which Joker triumphantly dances in the film. 

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