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INTERVIEWED BY THE INDIE SCENE
July 18, 2012

 

Click on the link below to read the article The Indie Scene wrote about me and my musical endeavors.  Enjoy!

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Jamie B.

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WHY SO SERIOUS?
July 15, 2012

 

Below is a lecture I taught a writing class on the Light/Dark motif with Christopher Nolan's Dark Knight as the text.  Enjoy!

Jamie B.

“Why So Serious?”

An analysis of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight

Motif – A distinctive feature or dominant idea within an artistic or literary composition.

Light/Dark Motif

            The Light/Dark motif is a common way to juxtapose two figures, i.e. to place them close together for contrasting effect.  Thus, motifs are useful when establishing foils within literature, films, etc.  The connotations, or feelings that these words “light” and “dark” evoke in addition to their literal meanings are more or less universal:

LIGHT

Goodness

Purity

DARK

Evil

Corruption

  We see the Light/Dark motif manifest itself in Christopher Nolan’s film Dark Knight through 3 characters: Batman, Joker, and Harvey “Two Face” Dent.  On the Dark end of the spectrum there is Joker, who is the epitome of villainy with his vision of Gotham in a state of complete anarchy.  Conversely, on the light end of the spectrum is Harvey “Two Face” Dent, Gotham’s White Knight, who, because he fights criminality via the traditional measures of the justice system, is the film’s hero in a traditional sense.  Finally, Batman – who understanding that Gotham needs Harvey and his ideology as a beacon of light to shine through the mayhem that Joker has created from his unrelenting measures to bring the city to its knees in chaos – falls somewhere in between hero and villain in the Light/Dark spectrum.  Because Batman is the only real threat to Joker’s vision of chaos, Joker turns the city against him via fear; thus, Batman must serve as Gotham’s shield, protecting the city from Joker’s madness from within the underbelly of the criminal world while simultaneously absorbing the fallout from his “heroic” actions, which ultimately preserves the city’s vision of its White Knight. 

JOKER

A NEW BREED OF CRIMINAL

1)   Joker does not care about monetary gain.

a)    Although Joker proves himself a more than capable bank robber in the first scene of the film, money is merely a means to his end goal.

i)              After each man in his crew completes his task, Joker has another crewmember, who has yet to serve his purpose murder the expendable members.

ii)             Eventually, Joker is the only one left standing and drives away with all the money without having to do any real work.

b)   He enjoys simple things, such as “dynamite, gunpowder, and gasoline,” which are all cheap and highly unstable when combined with fire.  Thus, these are all elements used by Joker to wreak havoc upon Gotham.

i)              Joker’s claim, “it’s not about the money.  It’s about sending a message; his line “everything burns” supports this notion that Joker is a new breed of criminal.

ii)             When Joker says, “this city deserves a better class of criminal, and I’m going to give it to them,” we know that he’s not interested in elevating his economic status or place within Gotham’s societal class system, but its criminal class system.

2)   An engine of chaos

a)    Joker’s story of how he received his scars, which physically represent the disturbed nature of his psychological state, changes continually.

i)              The “Why So Serious” scene leads us to believe that his father gave Joker his scars, meaning his madness stems from some abuse he suffered as a child.

ii)             During the party scene, Joker tells Rachel his scars were self-inflicted in an attempt to get his wife to smile after she had been carved up by bookies.  This story implies that Joker once had the capacity to experience emotions, such as love, and that it was in fact the loss of this love that resulted in his madness.

iii)           Yet, because his story changes throughout the film and we never find out the true origin of his scars, it is plausible that the scars - which externally portray the madness within– are actually intrinsic (meaning that his madness is simply an inherent characteristic of his nature), which is all the more terrifying.

b)   A foil for Harvey “Two Face” Dent

i)              As an “engine of chaos,” Joker both creates and propels the anarchy that “upsets the established order,” making him its antithesis.

ii)             Because Gotham’s D.A. (i.e. the figurehead of the justice system) and White Knight, Harvey Dent, believes whole-heartedly in the due process of law and order, he is a foil to the Joker.   

c)    The battle for Gotham’s soul

i)              ORGANIZED CHAOS – It’s paradoxical that Joker – an instigator of chaos, mayhem, anarchy and a self-professed “man without a plan” – is in reality the architect of an incredibly elaborate design to overthrow the order of Gotham by corrupting its White Knight while simultaneously turning its people against Batman, Gotham’s Dark Knight. 

ii)             As a result of Joker’s new breed of criminality, Batman must alter his role as “hero” in his vigilante form of justice and adopt a more sinister persona in order to spark fear into the heart of Gotham’s criminal underworld.  However, when Joker (an “unstoppable force”) recognizes that Batman is an “immovable object” and is thus truly “incorruptible,” he turns his attention toward Gotham’s White Knight, turning Batman into a mere pawn in his chess-like game of organized chaos.

d)   The Putrefaction of Purity

i)    Joker’s ultimate aim is to poison Gotham’s proverbial water-well.

ii)   By corrupting Harvey Dent – Gotham’s White Knight and hero in the traditional sense – and driving him to engage in criminal behavior, Joker effectively destroys any confidence in the justice system.  “Madness, as you know, is like gravity; all it takes is a little push.”

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JULY NEWSLETTER ABSENCE
July 15, 2012

 

Greetings friends,

I wanted to post a quick apology for failing to send a July newsletter.  My wedding on the 6th and the looming deadline for The Blue Hearts Project have saturated much of my down time this month, so I'll be sure to lump the details of July in with the August newsletter.  

Thanks for your patience and understanding,

Jamie B.

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