Conversation about The Dark Knight – Part 1

Part 1

A conversation between two American Muslims about the recent film, The Dark Knight. The two guys are Saud and Kamran. My comments follow in brackets.

Saud: dude

joker = shaytan

9:12 PM Kamran: hahaha

9:13 PM Saud: think about it

he isn’t out to just blow up gotham

kill random people

he’s not just a murdering psychopath

he’s out for people’s souls

he enjoys the corruption

take whatever is good in humanity, and turn it up side down

9:14 PM and mostly by insinuation

taunts them

[The Joker does have a lot in common with Shaytan. They seek to corrupt people. They love chaos. They represent pure evil.]

Kamran: and puts them into ethical dilemmas

interesting

he takes pride in corrupting the best of them

Saud: exacty

exactly

Kamran: like he went after harvey dent for that reason

i was gonna write a post (gasp!) about the philosophical implications of the dark knight

9:15 PM Saud: he couldn’t stand the new face of gotham. The new hope of cleansing the city

[At one point in the film, in a news report, Harvey Dent is described as Gotham’s “White Knight.” In a standard chess set there are four knights – two white and two black or “dark”. The White Knights are opposed to the Dark Knights. But Harvey Dent and Batman are not fighting each other, at least not in the beginning. They are both fighting to clean up Gotham – Dent in the daylight and Batman in the dark of night. They are like the left hand and the right hand – two opposites working together.]

Kamran: because the joker represents post-modern nihilism

Saud: this is very true.. he does

Kamran: harvey represents the virtue of humanity

but how quickly virtue can fall and be corrupted

i think nolan is pointing out how in a post-modern world

Saud: Joker is definitely post modern, especially in comparison to how villains are portrayed.

[Nihilism is a philosophy that asserts that there is no objective truth and that nothing has value. According to the Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, “A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy.” This works as a great description of the Joker who trusts no one and believes in nothing.]

9:16 PM Kamran: overt virtue cant stand in the face of unrestricted nihilism

and thats why dent fell, he was too good overtly

Saud: Batman is a rock

Kamran: batman, on the other hand, is virtuous even more than dent, but he doesnt wear it on his sleeve

Saud: The thing joker said

9:17 PM about an unstopable force versus a completely immovable object

Batman’s principles are unwaivering

Kamran: what i took from it is that virtue now, in this post-modern world, can only defeat nihilism

when it isnt overt, it isnt in your face

yes, i was just going to get to that! =) you stole my thunder

[I don’t quite buy the argument that Dent fell because he was too good. He wasn’t too good, he was just enforcing the law. But I do think Batman is more virtuous than Dent. Courage s a virtue and I think it takes more courage to take on criminals in the street than in the courtroom. Batman also demonstrates the virtue of sacrifice as he sets aside the possibility of a normal life for the sake of Gotham City.]

Saud: lol

cool, give me credit in your post

especially if you put the Shaytan comparison

Kamran: batman in a way, represents muslims now

9:18 PM thats why the last lines of the movie are so powerful

Saud: the hidden hope

Kamran: that he is the hero that gotham deserves, but not the one that it needs right now

the muslims too are like that, but the world doesnt need them at the moment

and so both muslims and batman are hunted, because they can take it

Saud: lol

that’s awesome

Kamran: but they still watch over themselves and others like silent guardians, watchful protectors

9:19 PM like the hadith that says that the DOJ wont come so long as someone continues to say Allah, Allah

that we’re averting the DOJ from everyone, but yet we’re hunted

but we should be able to take it

because we’re dark knights

=)

[Consider the line, “both muslims and batman are hunted, because they can take it.” Muslim charities have had their assets frozen. Innocent Muslims sit in jail cells around the world, unable to even see the evidence held against them. And many Muslims are denied access to airplanes, simply because they share names with suspected terrorists. Batman is also hunted. The Gotham police officially consider Batman a dangerous vigilante who must be apprehended. Luckily for him he has a long-standing personal relationship with Commissioner Jim Gordon. DOJ stands for Day of Judgment. Traditions from Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, state that the Day of Judgment will not come while there are still living, practicing Muslims on the planet.]

Saud: dudwe

that rocks

but

sadly… i’m not sure if the state of our people is that. 😦

but

Kamran: its the model

Saud: Islam on the other hand, as an ideal

Kamran: certainly we’re far from it

Saud: is that

9:20 PM we must become the outcast

Kamran: the model of batman represents the only model that muslims can follow in hte world today and keep their sanity and survive

yes!

Saud: like alfred said

Kamran: exactly, we have to walk that lonely path

Saud: you know what interesting about the joker?

9:21 PM what makes him post modern also is two things

he’s a classic villain is that he has no sympthatic story

like the modern ones

no past to make you feel sorry and understand why he does what he does

but also

[I have to quibble with Saud here. The Joker does have a past, a back-story. In the film, the Joker makes intimations about his past. He talks about being married and how gangsters carved up his wife’s face. Also, both director Christopher Nolan and actor Heath Ledger reportedly consulted the graphic novel, “The Killing Joke” in constructing the Joker. In that novel, the Joker was an engineer at a chemical plant who turns to crime to support his family. ]

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