Then, he recently finished his part in the upcoming Batman movie. This is version 37, I believe (“holy excessive sequel…Batman”). He played The Joker and from all I am reading it’s clear that this is not my grandchildren’s grandpa’s Joker – you know the one with Caesar Romero? No, the new, in my opinion unimproved, Joker is apparently no joke at all. He is a far darker (can I say “demonic”?) character than the one in previous Gotham crime-fighting manifestations.
I know the Joker is supposed to be a bad guy. I get that. But, why does his badness have to be so graphic? Ledger, himself, in an interview last November with The New York Times, described his version of the man with the twisted smile as a “psychopathic, mass-murdering, schizophrenic clown with zero sympathy.” He also admitted that while portraying the character he had difficulty sleeping.
Cue the sleeping pills.
Now, I know I am running the serious risk of knee-jerk reductionism, but to overlook the capacity of how darkness impacts the human mind is the opposite of appropriate reflex (that being to be so hardened and twisted that the obvious becomes the last place we look for answers).
Playing around with evil always does that. Excessive exposure to the darkness of morbid immorality tends to pull a fierce and troubling shadow over the human heart and mind. And, when darkness is so pronounced that light seems too distant to ever approach, it creates chronic personal vulnerability.
The Bible talks about those “who became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” And, though I am in no position to judge Mr. Ledger (and I am, in fact, not doing so – just trying to highlight some larger issues that speak to me from this tragedy), I do very much believe that the utter moral and emotional bankruptcy of modern living with its aversion to commitment and continuity, is the elephant in the room that too many, trying today to find answers in the tragic death of a gifted young man, will miss.
Finally, all praying people should pray today – for his family, especially that beautiful little 2 year old, Matilda. And, we should pray for the rest of us – our nation, our culture.
Celebrities are not really that different from people in general. They are just symptoms writ large.