Repeated failure: time, dressage and thingness in ‘Joker’ (2019)

Arthur Fleck stretching his shoes at Ha Has.

By Merlin Seller

Excerpt: “However, Arthur – down-trodden, depressed, homicidal – in drawing on alienated masculinity, invokes a history of masculinity in ‘crisis’. Indeed, some gender theorists describe modern masculinity as masochistic crisis: ‘a self-destructive identity … shrinkage of the self.’ Hegemonic masculinity, moreover, is ‘constantly’ in flux, subject to changing bases and strategies. An appreciation of this leads Grant to argue that: ‘Crises in the representation of masculinity are nothing more than especially insistent “defenses of patriarchy””. In 2019, ‘new toxic assemblages appear to complicate the orthodox alignment of power and dominance with hegemonic masculinity by operationalizing tropes of victimhood’, creating what Ging terms ‘hybrid’ masculinities. These operate in ambivalent tension with hegemonic ‘alpha male’ masculinity and can transgress normative values of athleticism and sexual prowess in attempts to defeat threats to white male privilege. As Carroll and Ging argue, narratives of white male suffering can reinforce the status of white male privilege.” Read the full article here