So I have quite a few things on my plate so rather than give a play-by-play of everything accomplished and failed, I’ll just spout some nonsense that may or may not make you feel good. I have mixed feelings about it at the moment but it feels relatively positive.
It is the end of 2019 and I promised myself that 2019 would be better, that it would be the year I get my shit together. That failure was not an option, but merely something to adapt to. I lost many things at the beginning of the year. I regained many things through the year. I’ve made new friends. Reacquainted myself with some old ones. Lost some great ones who will always have a great impact on my perspective of humanity. Slowly, but surely, I am building a community around myself. Brothers-in-arms, piece by piece was I’ve always wanted to do. Slowly, I am creating the things I truly desire to create and focusing on the things that make me happy.
In short, I have excelled.
Even with the tragedies like the loss of my cat, the loss of my second mom and trying to figure out what to do with my health.
2019, I dare say, was a really good year.
That’s probably a commentary on how poor my years before have, but we’re looking forward and upward. So, what’s next?
My channel is becoming something I’ve proven to myself can actually thrive, I just had to find my voice.
My blog definitely needs some love and will have it in due time. Things at the very least are structured.
And I have decided I no longer need NaNoWriMo in my life anymore. Which, I will make a whole blogpost about that, so keep an eye out.
This Year has been filled with so many opportunities and all of them have been things I’ve chosen to say yes to without hesitation. It’s gotten be further than I originally thought it would. Here I am and I’m still moving forward. The future – no matter what is going on – is still always going to be bright, as long as there’s a chance for change. I’ve been changing, so it gets brighter while the past sits curated in a dimly lit room.
As someone with a severe mental illness, I go
into most movies that boast a character “suffering” from mental illness with
certain expectations and it’s never good. Either the person is a violent,
irrational killer because they have a mental illness or they’re an
absolute savant that somehow makes the neurotypicals believe that the severely
mentally ill are just secretly misunderstood geniuses waiting to be discovered.
I am neither of those things.
I haven’t really seen many depictions of
mental illness that stray from these two polarities. Those that attempt tend to
be from ages ago and don’t quite hit the mark. Shutter Island, A Beautiful Mind,
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. They still tend to make me question how much
research went into it. Then I’m reminded that there wasn’t much published
research at the time and it certainly wasn’t required for authenticity. Now
that there is, we have the chance to show mental illness in theatrical settings
the way it “really” is. It can be true for some, overkill for others, but one
thing is true: It is NEVER glamorous.
Welcome to the Cerebral Hedonist. I’m Harli V.
Park and this is my review of Joker.
Joker is a character I went in as a fan of.
His antagonism goes beyond the realm of just being against the hero, and into
the dark, and lately, rarely visited area of pure evil. He is a character
well-known and well-loved for his unapologetic and unjustified villainy set
against any and every one. So when I heard a drama was being made about the polarizing
character that dared to be an origin story, I was skeptical at first. Then, I
saw the trailer. Within that trailer, I saw an homage to insanity, a symbolism
of the downward spiral and after re-watching to catch every detail that drew me
in, I knew I had to see it.
So I did.
Ironically, I actually teared up. Not in
sympathy, but in response to how similar and far too true to life some things
were for Arthur Fleck. In fact, in all the reviews, I have yet to see a person
with a severe mental illness comment on those very real things. But I’m getting
ahead of myself. I’m not going to spend a whole time summarizing as the trailer
and interviews will give you the general story, so lets just skip all that and
I’ll tell you what this movie was like for a low-income mentally-ill person and
why I think it was amazing.
The story itself is not so much a great
triumph of cinema as the acting of Joaquin Phoenix is. I viewed it less as a
movie in the general sense and more as an intense character study of the Joker.
Once you enter that perspective, you can see the genius of it and it opens you
to a point of view you would not often take – the point of view of the “madman.”
Most reviews and commentary are highly focused on what was real and what wasn’t
and I feel that’s a disservice to the film in general. Everyone is so intensely
focused on the madness of Arthur Fleck that they are not focusing on why the
madness in Arthur spirals oh so dramatically and intensely.
The message is not about a crazy guy who lost
his mind. It’s not about a society on the brink of collapse. It’s not about how
the media glorifies violence to the point of desensitization. It’s not even
about who is solely responsible for everything that went wrong with Arthur
Fleck. All of these things are tools for the real point.
Throughout the film, you are given multiple
instances where personal choice is the determining factor in a web of events
leading to the “Rise” of Joker. It gives you the illusion of being just a
series of random events with a lead character as the focal point. However, the
events are not important. It’s the choices made by all of our supporting cast.
The not so noticeable background players around him. Here’s the greatest Set Up
of all time:
“Ever just have a really bad day?”
Joker opens with an unnamed clown dancing
merrily on the sidewalk to ragtime piano. He appears completely out of place
and out of touch with the grunge around him. He seems happy even in such a dour
setting. He’s there to entertain you. A group of kids steal the sign he’s
twirling and make off with it for no discernable reason. Rather than letting
the store owner know what happened, our clown chases them down in a cartoonish sequence.
In something that would be very comical in most circumstances – our clown is
hit by the sign and then kicked and beaten in something straight out of a merry
melody or a looney tune. In this, you get the first sense of brutality in the
film and what’s to follow our clown. You later realize that the piano player
doesn’t report what he witnessed; he chooses to say nothing. The store owner
himself chooses to believe our clown stole the sign and abandoned the job
rather than a bunch of ruffian kids made off with it in a cruel joke because
that sign cost money, and he wants it from somewhere. Further still, our
clown’s boss dismisses his side of the story despite having worked with him for
years. Thus, you are introduced to Arthur Fleck: the avatar of everyone’s poor
choices and lack of personal responsibility.
Whether or not the events in this film are
real or all a part of Arthur’s afflicted mind, Joker shows you repeatedly the
results of personal responsibility. This is what is all too real about this
movie. From his mother never taking responsibility for her illness for the sake
of her child to Thomas Wayne knowing a child was in the hands of a delusional,
mentally ill woman – having all the power to stop her from hurting another
innocent person and doing nothing.
You can ask, “Why is he responsible for what a
batshit ex-employee is doing?”
Easy, because he knows that this is
happening and has the power to do something about it. He chooses not to…
with dire consequences later.
Everyone in Joker has power in some form that
would stop the death of Arthur Fleck and the birth of “Joker” from ever
happening. There is no responsibility taken by anyone within Gotham. Even the
cleric in Arkham Asylum who hears Arthur Fleck admit out loud that he’s
committed a crime doesn’t bother to contact law enforcement with what he just
learned and the information needed on Arthur’s mother that would lead them
straight to him. This passivity shown by all the characters around Arthur feeds
into the downward spiral as Arthur relinquishes personal responsibility for
himself and his mental illness. And why shouldn’t he? Everyone else has because
everyone has their own problems – usually problems they, like Arthur, are not
taking responsibility for either.
Joker shows such a batshit scenario that is so
scarily true to life for the mentally ill that it’s easy to see how one not so
strong can give up and give into their darker urges in order to be seen and
heard in a cry for help that often is acknowledged far too late.
This is why I find Joker so fascinating and a
work of art.
It’s not the technical aspects – though they
play a huge part in conveying – but the storytelling that makes the life of
Arthur Fleck as surreal and real as it is. There is no “glorification.” There
is no “it was all in his head.” There was no “he was absolutely evil from the
start.” There was only the choices and the stomach-clenching knowledge that if
you are not the Joker in this scenario, then you are one of the supporting cast
who had the choice to stop him and instead, blamed someone else for not doing
Bystander Syndrome is a bitch.
That is what made the Joker such a great and
impactful display of mental illness, society, and the massive consequences of
even the smallest things.
Joker is standing there telling you a really
It’s not often that a reading slump takes you so hard but
when it does, it feels like nothing you read feels good, or worse, it drains
your energy to even look at the page. Then, when you’ve abandoned hope
entirely, something wonderful happens. You’re sparked by an intriguing, anime
as fuck cover, with two steely-eyed bishonen who are on a mission. Gorgeous
art, great premise and the promise of a whole new world the moment you read the
The best part, it was an indie author. I chose this one on my own guys, and she actually let me have that ARC!
As always, I never miss!
Welcome to the Cerebral Hedonist! I’m the Scholarly Squid and here comes a thought on:
If it isn’t noticeable already, I don’t often speak on my
sexuality and gender.
I prefer it to remain in the background of who I am and what
I do as a creator and I tend not to speak on it unless it becomes relevant –
which is rarely does. Not many have this luxury and those that do, often choose
not to use it, but I do and I take full advantage of that ambiguity.
However, it’s Pride Month and I’m feeling inspired,
compelled, whatever about who and what I am in the ever-growing spectrum that
is LGBT and the call for inclusion. So, here’s a bit about this side of me that
is one wriggling tentacle among many. Not so much celebratory, but rather a:
“I’ve always been here; you just didn’t notice me.”
An ongoing conversation that, once upon a time, was not placed under such scrutiny were negative reviews. Before the very abrupt maturation of the information age, these things called literary magazines, journals, and papers existed – and surprisingly still do – and were once the number one source for book reviews. All were written by highly educated figures, well-read authors, and people who were immersed in the literary world and storytelling whether it be through journalism or just being an editor. None thought to question their point-of-view and most of all, if you disagreed or if the author hated that review there weren’t many avenues for confrontation and retaliation. In general, few cared enough to dwell on it for long.
I’m in a bit of need of support, but I don’t expect somethign for nothing. Thusly, I have opened up comissions for the masses. If you’re in the market for an Avatar or Character or somethign of the like, I’ll be happy to hear the details and make it.
Okay so I am seriously horrible at finishing what I start when I attempt challenges. This is because I get intimidated and then discouraged the moment I fall even minutely behind. Catching up in itself becomes such a daunting task that eventually, I just give up. My anxiety and the jerk who lives in my brain are dickwaffles.
Nothing really to be done about it!
However, thanks to my well-read friends at the StrippedCoverLit, I found out about a neat thing called #hotandsticky — a summer challenge that is surprisingly flexiable and allows for my particularly atypical brain. Adrien explains the gist of his method this year which I’m going to be following since I have no idea what I’m doing.