Most of my friends know that I really like comic books or at least that I used to. I don’t buy them often or collect them. So I’m not a “nerd” in the technical sense. I’m more a fan. Nevertheless I like them. I also like the band “Coheed and Cambria.” So when, about two years ago, they released a song titled, “Deranged” about the Batman’s conflict with the Joker from the Joker’s point of view I was excited. They did not disappoint. The song is excellent. Claudio Sanchez (the lead singer of Coheed) has a great capacity for singing in the voice of the characters beside himself because of the fact that his whole musical project is a fictional story of quite epic proportions (a novel, a series of comics, back story albums, and seven disks of albums in the main story).
The song captures the idea that the Joker thinks that Bruce Wayne, who often longs to kill the Joker but refuses to do so on principle, in a twisted way, needs the Joker to motivate and justify his crusade against crime in the eyes of less committed people (like the police who fight crime for a pay check).
Here are some of the lines that summarize the Joker’s diagnosis and capture not only the Joker’s interpretation of Bruce Wayne, but Joker’s own sociopathy and psychopathy.
Joker: “There is no me, without you…I will be an afterthought, your make believe, your darkest day, and your friend in need. Who will be your pretty little enemy, when I’m gone? Your world will prove empty. I promise, you will always remember me! The joke’s on you, poisoning. While you clean the streets of misfortune, I pick the innocent from my dirty teeth, we’re one and the same, deranged.”
This song, which was written long after the Dark Knight film, nevertheless gives a potential new perspective to Batman’s interrogation of the Joker. The Batman, Joker notes, wants to be like a police officer, but he isn’t.
The people, Joker replies with a sense of triumph, only do what’s right when it suits them. The Batman sticks to principle. Because of this principled way of life, the people will reject Batman.
The interesting thing that the Coheed song brings up is that the Joker sees the Batman’s righteousness as a malaise that is just as sick as his own. The difference is that the Joker’s point of view is, at least, philosophically coherent. Batman, because he continues to believe in good (which Joker thinks is a non-existent quality), is as deranged as the Joker who sees that goodness is a farce and does evil (which is no different than good) for fun. Everybody else, as I noted above, only acts for the good when it suits them.
In summary, the song allows for a different interpretation of the events of the film. Joker’s pathology is such that he sees that Batman’s principled refusal to do a deal with the devil and kill him as, in reality, a need to have somebody to vilify because the average person will reject Batman himself when Batman destroys the obvious enemies to the good. They will do this because Batman’s own commitment to principle reveals the evil in their own lives.
In conclusion, have a listen: