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Nyronus,

I ask you then, what is nihilism? Does it exist? Or is it just some comical absurdity?

I have no idea what this challenge relates to. Can you clarify for me?

Does art have a point in human affairs? Is it supposed to teach us something about ourselves? Or is it just a pointless exercise in meaningless emotional titilation? How is that attitude itself not nihilistic?

I don't understand this either. I understand the Objectivist view of art. I have no idea what you mean by this unless you are trying to imply that I am a nihilist, or at least am when it comes to art.

Also, remember the nature of nihilism (or any bad philosophical attitude for that matter): it isn't teneable. It cannot be practiced consistently.

Your post offered very little in the way of new points which hadn't already been made. It was full of assertions and quite hostile in tone.

It was hostile in tone because I do not like the idea that you have judged the totality of the morality of the audience in such a black category because they found a scene which was most likely engineered to be funny... funny. You are the one here who has something to demonstrate, that the "Joker" "inside" these people were coming out when they laughed. You are making the assertions, and I simply came along and attempted to demonstrate the your assertion was untenable via the evidence you presented in that one post, thus rendering your aforementioned assertions bare. I did not realize that the debate about this had stretched so far back. I only popped in and found your post and made all arguments independent of everything but the evidence you presented and my own experiences. If people keep finding the same problems with your arguments, why do you keep repeating them?

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Nyronus,

There is much factually wrong with your version of the arguments I have put forth. You clearly display a lack of understanding of my use of the term "nihilism" from your failure to address it directly. Curiosly, you irresponsibly decided not to read the discussion which my original comment provoked and to compensate for it you used a laughably specious argument to "prove" to me that my argument is flawed. With this evidence in hand, I must ask: what is your purpose in attacking my claim - even as you misunderstand it? What, specifically, are you trying to defend?

You "do not like the idea that have judged the totality of the morality of the audience in such a black category." Fine. Point to where I did that. It is an idea you conjured in your head. You think that the only way for a person to be a nihilist is to lack any desire for values in any and all contexts (which, you yourself, define and laugh at as impossible and absurd), so what is it about me which made you hostile? Clearly, it was not a sense that I wished to call into question the good nature of the people in the audience - that would be nihilistic and thus, by your standards, impossible. Furthermore, the obvious implication is that there was nothing good about these people which deserves defense - that would be heroism and thus, by your standards, impossible aswell. They certainly do not deserve philosophical enlightenment, let alone a suggestion that they engage in introspection.

So I ask again: what, specifically - in art or in life - are you trying to defend? Once you have given me a satisfactory answer, I will explain to you what I am attempting to preserve by pointing out what I have thusfar.

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Nyronus,

There is much factually wrong with your version of the arguments I have put forth. You clearly display a lack of understanding of my use of the term "nihilism" from your failure to address it directly. Curiosly, you irresponsibly decided not to read the discussion which my original comment provoked and to compensate for it you used a laughably specious argument to "prove" to me that my argument is flawed. With this evidence in hand, I must ask: what is your purpose in attacking my claim - even as you misunderstand it? What, specifically, are you trying to defend?

For a while I was trying to decide if you really were trying to put words in my mouth and imply a sort of moral depravity on my part. I've decided that, yes, yes it is. My refusal to define nihilism is not a moral failing on my part, or one of ignorance. If I failed to understand what you mean by nilhilism, that is your fault. I actually did go back and read everything you said. I still do not understand why you keep accusing me of not knowing nihilism is. I know what it is, but if it will satisfy you;

"Nihilism is the belief that all values are baseless and that nothing can be known or communicated. It is often associated with extreme pessimism and a radical skepticism that condemns existence. A true nihilist would believe in nothing, have no loyalties, and no purpose other than, perhaps, an impulse to destroy." From The Internet Encylopedia of Philosophy

This is what you have called these people. Hundreds of people whom you do not know. Where did you do this you ask? Well, remember this?

I realized that these people WERE laughing, just as the Joker laughs when he does something evil. I realized that there was no thinking underlying their laughter, in order to make the act of laughing their defense against the Joker. I realize now that that laughter I heard was REAL. It was the Joker inside them which was coming out. They hadn't missed the point, they had been awakened to it. Unlike myself, who was revolted by the Joker's actions automatically - they laughed.

That seems like a pretty barefaced moral condemnation of the entire audience, and anyone else who laughed. You talk of the Joker "inside" these people coming out. You are, implicitly, stating that the audience is really, deep down, nihilistic, and that they were reacting with, it seems if I judge your words correctly, pleasure at seeing one of their own. They may not be committed to destruction, but that doesn't change the fact that you have, with one fell swipe, declared them all so morally bankrupt that they no longer even believe in the term.

Who and what am I defending? Not people, at least not directly. I can't defend what I don't know. I am defend the sanctity of moral judgment against what appears to be your rash psychologizing and rush to condemnation. I am defending morality against those who would give credence to nihilism by wielding morality as a club.

Clearly, it was not a sense that I wished to call into question the good nature of the people in the audience - that would be nihilistic and thus, by your standards, impossible. Furthermore, the obvious implication is that there was nothing good about these people which deserves defense - that would be heroism and thus, by your standards, impossible aswell. They certainly do not deserve philosophical enlightenment, let alone a suggestion that they engage in introspection.

I have no idea what your logically saying here. I believe I understand the emotional message underlying your words, but not what twisted channels of logic used to reach it. Correct me if I am wrong, but this is the exact spot where you are putting words in my mouth and accusing me of, at least, subconscious, nihilism. I have no idea what has lead you to this conclusion, but, if I am reading the implications of the sentence correctly, I am to be very, very insulted. I ask that you not make statements like this again, unless you are prepared to actually come out and say what you mean and demonstrate exactly where I said nihilism is impossible or where I said heroism is impossible.

Edited by Nyronus
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Everyone seems to agree on a third installment... so who do you guys think is going to be in it? I'm thinking since Nolan is using the more believable characters we might see Black Mask, Hush, The Riddler, and Catwoman.

I'd like to see Catwoman (played by Angelina Jolie) or Talia al Ghul (played by Monica Bellucci). Heck, even Poison Ivey (Jennifer Love Hewitt) or Harley Quinn (Keira Knightley). Any ass-kicking hot chick villain basically. It is time that Bruce Wayne meet a more attractive love interest than Rachel.

Aside from those guys, I'd like to see Bane (Vin Diesel) and the Croc (Clive Owen + CGI & Makeup).

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Yeah, in the comics Catwoman and Batman were on-again-off-again allies and enemies. But, Bruce and Selina were an item. I think that would make it interesting. Also, they did Killer Croc in the anime prequel, he was done well I think, but I don't think he'd be good for the movie.

Penguin might be good too. He's just a mobster and arms dealer who happens to kind of look like a Penguin, so they call him Penguin to make fun of him.

Wow someone other than me actually likes Killer Croc. He was an awesome character in the anime -- a very interesting, tragic, and complex character that is equal parts villain and victim struggling to come to grip with the duality of both his body and his soul. If anybody can make him work on film, I believe that Nolan could.

Penguin would work well with the tone of the series. I have trouble coming up with who would play him though.

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I'd like to see Catwoman (played by Angelina Jolie) or Talia al Ghul (played by Monica Bellucci). Heck, even Poison Ivey (Jennifer Love Hewitt) or Harley Quinn (Keira Knightley). Any ass-kicking hot chick villain basically. It is time that Bruce Wayne meet a more attractive love interest than Rachel.

Aside from those guys, I'd like to see Bane (Vin Diesel) and the Croc (Clive Owen + CGI & Makeup).

Harley doesn't work without The Joker, and there should not be another Joker in this series after Ledger's performance.

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... there should not be another Joker in this series after Ledger's performance.

I'm not convinced either way on whether to have another Joker in this series. On the one hand, how can that performance be equaled? My roommate says, and I agree, that the man with the best chance at it is Johnny Depp. The point on the other hand is who, upon being asked who they thought could give an all-time performance in the role of the Joker, would have said Heath Ledger??? Perhaps there is another hidden gem out there somewhere.

I don't yet have an opinion on this point. There's something for your consideration.

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I rather think Catwoman will be hands-off for at least a few more years. The longer they wait, the fewer references to that Halle Berry mess they have to deal with. I also think it will be a while before there is another Batman film featuring the Joker. Long enough that when there is a new Joker, he will be played by someone who we don't know yet.

~Q

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I rather think Catwoman will be hands-off for at least a few more years. The longer they wait, the fewer references to that Halle Berry mess they have to deal with.
But... did anyone see that movie? As long as the new Catwoman doesn't look like a dominatrix, I personally will have no images of Halle Berry in my mind.

I liked the Catwoman in the more recent Hush comic book series. Hot, smart, unpredictable.

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Yes, Johnny Depp would be the predictable choice for a Joker re-redo, but as you stated no one thought at the outset that Heath would be SO magnificent. I think we should let Ledger's performance stand.

Qwertz, why did you have to remind me of that Catwoman movie? Ah! My BRAINS!

I think that is scrubbed from most people's memories, though.

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Nyronus,

I made a pscyhological judgement of anyone who laughed, not a moral one. The evidence within my posts - which you will not deal with in it's entirety - supports this. Instead, you have erected a straw man argument and accused me of moralizing. My position, succintly, is this: I maintain that ALL nihilism is subconcious. Concious nihilism is not possible. Not even the Joker, it's closest approximation, could be free of the need to, at least periodically, maintain a semblence of purpose and conviction in his actions. That that purpose and those convictions were perveted is irrelevant to my point. They are mere rationalizations to cover up something he was lacking; just as your explanations for why you laughed is, I believe, a rationalization in place of a full understanding and appreciation of the role of art in man's life. Possibly a lack in regards to deeper, more important values, but I could not say.

Laughing at displays of violence on screen - at least, the graphic violence in this film - is indicative of nihilism towards art. Joker had proven himself evil enough, and silly enough already, that doing tricks and wearing drag were not significant enoguh to distract from the gravity of the situation. They were nothing new; they were to be expected. Trickery and absurdity is the Joker's modus operandi. The serious tone of this film had already been set. The only way to be distracted by his antics was not to appreciate the gravity of the message Joker represented. To not be in wrapt attention - to be capable of a light-hearted moment - is to not possess a reverence for this film which it deserves. (it doesn't matter if the director did not posses it either)

Joker does refer to something in reality, but it isn't necessarily extreme cases of amorality. Instead it is the potential for the nihilism in even the best of us. Ironically, Bruce Wayne's struggles with revenge, with honor/recognition, with committment to justice all represent this struggle. This is the central theme of this entire series of Bat Man films. To integrate everything from the smallest detail to his most important choices around one central meaning; which constitutes his true identity.

To maintain that the reaction we get from art - or worse, pieces of a work of art - say nothing about who we are is what is immoral. It is to maintain a false premise.

This was a serious film, there is no question about that. It's seriousness was established in it's very first scene. I agree that even in the most serious matters of life, humor has it's place. This movie provided that. Examples would be the banter between Bruce Wayne and Alfred. The clever things Bat Man says when he sneaks up on the villians, etc. Anything the Joker did, however, was not one of them. Unlike in past attempts, Joker's essence - and by implication the transparency of his "jokes" - was too well presented to be anything close to funny.

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Nochrieaz,

Your petty psychologizing and arguments from intimidation win you nothing. You have, in a stroke, just accused me and half the people who have posted in this thread of cognitive dissonance at best, and being closet nihilists at worst. Congratulations. If nihilism not possible consciously, then why do so many people tote it? No one says that someone who believes in nothing is consistent. The Joker seemed pretty conscious of it. Unless you mean total and utter nihilism, at which case sir I point you to the suicides.

You accuse me of making straw men, but I hold that it you who do that and in turn use them as red herrings. I am not, nor have I ever said that men's reactions to art is irrelevant. What I am saying is that it is impossible for you, a lone human being who I doubt has a degree in philosophy, psychology, anthropology, sociology, or any other field which would give you leverage into the minds of men, to be able to judge so utterly and perfectly, the secret souls of an entire audience of individuals who you've had no prior relation to declare, as you have done, that they (potentially) believe, deep down inside below even their very consciousness, in nothing and would not fight for nothing, all based on a single reaction to a single scene in a single movie.

It is ludicrous. The premises you propose for your logic are narrow and arbitrary. The Joker is evil and does funny things, ergo, he is not funny. Laughter is for good things only, and is not, at all or could ever be, a reaction, to shock, surprise, absurdity, mockery, irony, or justice. Therefore anyone who laughed at the Joker is secretly a sub-conscious nihilist. The very fact that you claim to accuse them of sub-conscious nihilism or potential nihilism renders your arguments nil. Nihilism is a matter of belief, and belief is conscious. Since nihilism is a term in belief, and is a form or basis for a code of conduct, then it is in the realm of morality. Ergo, to accuse someone of nihilism is to make a moral judgment. Unless what you mean by "subconscious" is that they are utterly cognitively dissonant, but I don't think you have enough evidence for that either.

Mockery and sarcasm aside, I do think you are wrong. I think you have utterly misjudged me and hundreds, perhaps millions, of people. I think your position is untenable, and you lack. evidence. for. your. conclusion. That is all I have ever said (so consider that next time you put words in my mouth). Your premises are bad, horribly so, and when I go after them, you accuse me of being an artistic nihilist, and imply that I am a morally bankrupt. Wonder why it seems I fly off the handle? I am offended. I do not appreciate being accused of rationalization by a rationalizer. You have something to prove my friend. When I said non sequitur, you stated that anyone who holds my premise is immoral. My position is, once again so you get it, that you do not have the proper evidence to make the claims that you do. You do not know these people, yet you make claims about their subconsciousness. You do not know me, yet you claim I am rationalizing. You do this based off of a narrow definition of what you think should be funny, completely ignoring that people notice and draw different things from different situations. You saw the Joker's bone depth evil, I saw the absurdity of the situation. I laughed, you didn't. To accuse me, or anyone, of any type of nihilism or because I noticed and drew something different from our completely separate observations of a single scene is the worst type of psychologizing and moralizing. I'm going to kindly ask that you stop making such statements until you can provide more complete, thorough, and logically sound evidence to back your claims.

That's it. I am done.

Nyronus~

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When the joker keeps asking for his phone call, can i laught at that? :lol:

What do you think my answer will be? Is there some magical content within this example, among all the others, which prima facia shows my position to be absurd?

Furthermore, if I am being absurd, why aren't you laughing at me? My nihilistic hatred of the "good natured" laughers is likely to affect you just as much as the Joker's fictional antics. I don't know about you, but Nyronus certainly didn't think my position funny at all.

Why would you ask such a question?

Edited by nochrieaz
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What do you think my answer will be? Is there some magical content within this example, among all the others, which prima facia shows my position to be absurd?

Furthermore, if I am being absurd, why aren't you laughing at me? My nihilistic hatred of the "good natured" laughers is likely to affect you just as much as the Joker's fictional antics. I don't know about you, but Nyronus certainly didn't think my position funny at all.

Why would you ask such a question?

Perhaps we are laughing.

Once again, why so serious? This whole debate has been rather laughable, if you ask me.

Edited by TheEgoist
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But... did anyone see that movie? As long as the new Catwoman doesn't look like a dominatrix, I personally will have no images of Halle Berry in my mind.

I liked the Catwoman in the more recent Hush comic book series. Hot, smart, unpredictable.

After reading the comics, I have to say I really enjoy Catwoman and think if done right, she would be awesome for the Nolanverse

Particularly something like this...

6p20.jpg

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I really appreciated the cityscapes too...beautiful, both Gotham and Hong Kong.

I don't know if you realized this, but Gotham=Chicago. In Batman Begins there was some attempt to cover it up with CGI but this time it was almost all Chicago. The underground chase scenes were on Lower Wacker Drive, the boat scenes were on Lake Michigan, etc.

To put in my $0.02, trivial film editing bs aside, the Dark Knight rocked.

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