Can a movie about a sad, pathetic, mediocre white man who turns to cruelty and violence because he is mentally ill really be “not political”? Finding excuses for the cruelty and violence of sad, pathetic, mediocre white men sure seems like it has political implications, notwithstanding director Todd Phillips’ ridiculous belief that movies only “mirror” society and never mold it. (Even that idea in and of itself is a political one, and only someone embedded in American society’s idea of whiteness as a non-political default really could get away with claiming otherwise.) I’m also not clear on what Phillips’ means when he says that the movie is “about the lack of empathy that we are seeing in the world” or that Arthur Fleck just “made a few bad decisions along the way”. Is he really saying that a lack of empathy for Fleck is responsible for what he becomes? That the cruelty and violence of so many fragile white men is society’s fault for not having enough empathy for their sense of entitlement being frustrated by a world that’s growing up?