July 24, 2008, - 1:47 pm

Here’s Why I Have the Prob w/ “Dark Knight” and Kids

By Debbie Schlussel
**** UPDATE, 07/25/08: See Cracked’s funny video parody of this absurd marketing of violence and evil to young kids ****
When I reviewed “The Dark Knight and was asked about it last week, I told people that while I loved the new Batman movie, I was dismayed at the gratuitous violence (by the bad guy–the Joker–some of it against innocent people) in a movie aimed at and marketed to young kids.
People challenged me for examples that it’s marketed to kids (even though it’s obvious that little kids will want to see anything that’s Batman–it’s known as a kids’ superhero). Well, over the weekend in USA Weekend, there was a full-page spread from Wal-Mart of “Dark Knight” toys and capes and bat mobiles aimed at young boys. And there was this portion of the ad, in which kids are pimped on a “Dark Knight” The Joker Action Figure, complete with the hand-held rocket launcher he shoots at police and Batman.

darkknightjokertoywalmart.jpg

You want your kid playing with this? As I noted, in “The Dark Knight,” the Joker murders, via stabbing or point-blank range shooting, almost 100 people, many of them innocent. And he speaks graphically of how his face was carved up and how he wants to do so with others. The Joker is a terrorist. You want your kid playing with this? Why not just buy him a Bin Laden action figure? Then you’ll be honest about what you’re really buying your kid.
The Wal-Mart ad says,

Get all the new Batman gear without having to tighten your utility belt.

How ’bout tightening your parental responsibility belt? Unfortunately, few parents actually do that, these days.
Sad. Very sad.

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7 Responses

The Joker is a sadistic sociopath. An unpleasant reminder the world isn’t entirely filled with G-dly people. As every one knows, what they do is unspeakable. The milk of human kindness is wasted upon them. The death penalty, which liberals uniformly oppose, is the only answer that can ensure their evil is permanently removed from the face of the earth.

NormanF on July 24, 2008 at 2:11 pm

unfortunately the studio is promoting a movie which is NOT a children’s movie, they are piggy backing their ads on the cartoon network animated series. i enjoyed the film, but i will not be taking any children to see it.

WPDunn71901 on July 24, 2008 at 3:41 pm

I disagree Debbie,
this is not an issue of the movie but the merchandising.
plus, it is rare today that a character is really pure evil and not just a victim.
when I was a child I read fairy tales that were more cruel and gruesome than what would be read to kids today. most would be too disturbing for adults in the US I think.
this film is not for kids, but a story of a pure evil man stopped by a heroic figure is not so bad for kids imho.
Kids need to learn that there are people out there that do not seek compromise, but pure destruction and mayhem. Today this is not the case. everyone seems to think Palestinians are angry “about” something and just want peace and compromise. Why? Because people can not imagine that they simply want to wipe out or forcibly convert all the Jews. The whole idea of evil is Disney-fied in our heads today.
I strongly oppose the view that sanitized movies are better for kids. I do exclude porn here of course. but violence and evil is something they have to deal with. and if they start dealing with it in college or later, they will just rationalize it and explain it away as a “justified” response to some misdeeds done to them.
The Joker is a perfect example of what we are facing today. People who do not want anything, no compromise, no reasoning, no good deeds, no nothing but destruction and control.
A 100 years ago, it would have been made into a fairy tale.

Schlusselfan on July 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm

I saw the film. Its psychobabble premise is: villians put targets into dilemmas where the lives of innocents is in the balance, and heros save the innocent while capturing the villians. In order to create drama from those scenarios, film-makers create social conditions of general corruption and pervasive danger. However, dark sider conduct is treated as a mere variant. Children aren’t given moral instruction in films like this. Hence, they could identify with the villians. In some failed cities, crime bosses have reached heroic status.

supercargo on July 24, 2008 at 7:05 pm

good point

Schlusselfan on July 24, 2008 at 7:09 pm

Deb, you’re right. Many parents will buy this garbage for their kids.
For those parent’s who want to rear good, productive children try this site:
http://www.vintageprojects.com/site-map.html
You can get free pdf plans for homebuilt wood toys and many other useful things.
We just finished some of the toys for our kids, and they won’t let them go. They’ve slept with them the last few nights.

bhparkman on July 27, 2008 at 1:25 am

The people who make movies are very disturbed, and are intentionally trying to harm the psychological well-being of children. In “Mousehunt”, which was obviously for kids, they swear and say things like, “get the little s*n of a b*tch”. In “The Incredibles”, the hero and the audience are led to believe that his wife and children are wiped out, and it is very traumatic. These are not oversights; they are a very conscious and vicious assault on children. Why, I don’t know, but it’s no accident.

John Harper on July 27, 2008 at 2:42 pm

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