I take it that by now most people with a pulse have seen The Dark Knight at least 1/5 as many times as my 18-year-old brother, not counting IMAX. Still, no spoilers here, except maybe of your jaunty “ain’t love grand?” mood. The Onion’s AV Club recently took up a topic from one of The Dark Knight’s IMDB boards — one that took what we over here take to be a bit of a disturbing turn. The question at hand: “Is The Joker ‘sexy’ — too sexy, in fact, to be an effective villain?”
Um, quick bio: The Joker is a deeply disturbed killer who shows no remorse for his actions. He takes perverse pleasure in chaos; he will go to any length to bring it about. My father, quaintly, compared The Joker to the Phantom of the Opera. Sure, some of us — uncomfortably — do find The Phantom a bit arousing, but he, let’s recall, is motivated by love. We know his sorrowful backstory; we develop sympathy for him, trapped as he is in an unbearable soundtrack. The Joker, by contrast, appears out of nowhere, backstory-, alias-, and fingerprint-free, motivated by nothing other than pure eeeeeeevil, to wreak havoc upon Gotham. No tragic story, just an appetite for destruction and a terrible hair day. So…”sexy!?” Yikes.