Tuesday, July 08, 2008


This doesn't work. I found it on the carpet at my mother's house where I was informed that it came out of a Cheerios box. "But the arm moves!" my mom exclaimed, knowing darn well just how to get me started. How the child psychologists under the employ of Fortune500 multinational corporations to accelerate sales of units could have let this pass is a question worth posing. Cross-marketing genius? Not at all. Whose profit? Whose mental health? Whose dreams are they looking out for? Why the nightmare raid on a baby's imagination?
Don't get me wrong. I still remember the thrill it was to me when Frank Miller gave us a drawing of the Joker (Issue #1 of the Dark Knight...twenty-something years ago) with a face disturbingly and inspiringly plain-looking. No impossibly long chin. Just a dude with never-to-be-washed-off make-up. It seemed to me at the time (years before Tim Burton went horseback riding with Jack Nicholson with an interesting proposition) that the people in charge should give Willem Defoe or, believe it or not, Michael Keaton a crack at the role. I'll be there for Heath Ledger's performance of a lifetime. Believe me.
But this little artifact of psychotic marketeering...If I was standing in a factory in China stamping these things out by the millions, I would have some not happy thoughts toward that strange land faraway, the land of this little babyman scaryclown's origin, a land that has an interesting speech habit whereby it decrees and advertises itself as "freedom itself," a city on a hill, a light unto the nations.
TO Mr. and Mrs. General Mills, you shouldn't have consented to or arranged this. Focus on the family. Stop the plastic presses.
TO friends and readers, isn't this hilariously bad? I'm carring him around in my pocket. Sarah refuses to look at it a second time.


Jude said...

This character arguably killed the actor who portrayed him. He is the scariest of (non) clowns, who ALREADY haunt the sleep of many childers.

It's so wrong that it's entirely right for you to keep it in your pocket. You sick sick lubly.


jdaviddark said...

I please to aim.
I celebrate the character. I especially like the idea (effectively tapped into in the film, i suspect) that he and Bruce Wayne sort of generate/mirror one another, an idea the Joker celebrates and which sends the masked one (potentially) into a shame/rage spiral.
But yes...Or no...The figurine is NOT on the side of the angels...I'm enjoying making the most of it. You should've seen Alison's face when I showed it to her at the end of a DPC service.
Sarah cut her hair.

shilo said...

Don't you think, if you were Mr. or Mrs. GM, you would have at least had a second thought after Ledger's death? I mean, two strikes and you're out, right? on the other hand, he does have a big head and little body. How cute is that. Kids will love it!!!! David got a scary a** clown in his cheerios, all I got was a baking soda hand grenade -shane

Elizabeth Dark Wiley said...

I don't know how you were presented with it, but I love the thought that maybe Mom held onto it for a few days knowing how much fun you'd have with it. Yes, fun- admit it- you with your wide-eyes, clenched jaw, flared nostrils- it's grotesqueness is bringing you lots of satisfaction.

mrs metaphor said...

Sometimes I think clowns are unjustly maligned...and then I see something like this, ew.

Sadly, the biggest and scariest clown types are the ones who actually made this little bit o' hell...

again, I say ew.

Andrew Tatum said...

Just stopping by to let you know that I'm really enjoying The Gospel According to America and I'm thrilled to have found your blog. You are now officially on my blogroll!!

Andrew Tatum

M. Lumpkin said...

My wife was sad when we got this instead of the lil' Batman that was on the front of the box. Is one any less appropriate for kids than the other?

I think my 3 year old daughter picked him up and discarded him under the desk. He found his way into the trash...

dolin said...

I have a question about Notes from Underground by Dostoevsky. I read the book in your class and then again this week. I think maybe you could help. thanks - david

Joan said...

Ideas are like fish. Perhaps you've seen?:
Trillions and zillions of ideas.

Brook said...

David...You know I love your work and thoughts...but something about this reminded me of Andrew Beaujon at the Faith and Music Fest...Lauren Winner said that, with any work of art (and, because of the fest, directing this at music) we have to ask ourselves (something like)"is it true (or of the truth)?"...to which Andrew responded later somthing along the lines of (and I wildly paraphrase from memory a few years later) "Sometimes Christians just need to lighten up and enjoy life a little more without always needing to ask such kill-joy questions about truthfulness. I don't know if Steve Miller's song The Joker is 'true' or not, but I do know it's a kick-ass song". (the prophetic application of that statement in light of this post is astoundingly amusing)
I don't know whether scary clown toys are appropriate for kids or not, but I do know they don't care and are probably fighting with their sibblings over who gets it (a thought alone that makes me smile), knowing instinctively that, like Andrew Beaujon says, The Joker is kick-ass...

jdaviddark said...

I can't stop repeating Jude's word on the one called Joker. SO nicely put.
Shane, are you Doling, Wilson, or Caudill?
Liz, I take very seriously the possibility that Mom plotted the wee fellow's appearance. I think such strategies are in keeping with the ongoing curriculum that is our upbringing.
Mrs. Metaphor, I second your ew.
Andrew, I thank you (and thanks for putting up a photo of Rodeny Clapp. the thought of the man invigorates me).
M. Lumpkin, I actually have no problem at all with the Batman babyman.
Dolin, great to hear from you. Bring on the question. I'm thedarks1 AT bellsouth.net.
Joan, i suspect you're right about ideas.
Brook, I think I agree with you and Andrew Beaujon and Lauren Winner. I think we all agree with each other. And I think we'd all agree with Tom Waits: “Mostly I straddle reality and the imagination. My reality needs imagination like a bulb needs a socket. My imagination needs reality like a blind man needs a cane.”
The deeply entertaining dysfunction of the Jokerman's appearance the Cheerios appeals to me the way I relish billboards for casinos with emblazoned phrases like "THE LIFE YOU WERE MEANT TO LIVE." It's a sign of schizophrenic times which i note (hopefully) without getting too uselessly worked up. It's not the worst thing in the world, but I felt compelled to say something. Not just for laughs, but at least for laughs.
I say "Inappropriate" wit the same tone Dorothy employed when she noted a shirtless jogger doing push-ups on the sidewalk next to a bus-stop. "That's awkward," she remarked.

shilo said...

caudill, that is.

jdaviddark said...

black gold...texas tea.

Bethany Patchin said...

I'm getting a good laugh here at work. ;-)

jdaviddark said...

grateful this back-and-forth doth somehow entertain.