“The American public, it seemed, refused to allow change in its heroes.”
–R. Gary Patterson, “The Walrus Was Paul”
Welcome to Butterfly Language, a look at the world inside and outside my head!
I hesitated to possibly give this topic its own post, but honestly I was planning on working on a major update/rewrite of my old “Paul Is Dead” article today.
So about three days ago I put up my video reaction to the new Joker movie trailer, and one of the things I addressed is the idea of Joker “copycat crimes.” I am not the originator of that concept; Copycat Effect author Loren Coleman is. However, since 2009 I have studied the phenomenon, probably in part because I had actually worked in the comic book industry—and even edited “Batman” comic books!
Now, one of the speculations some people made on social media was that this current Joker movie would set off a new wave of Joker-related crimes. I did not subscribe to that theory outright—largely because the movie is one of the few goddamn superhero flicks I really want to see! (selfish, I know—but I am a fan, after all!)
On April 6th, pro wrestling legend Bret “The Hitman” Hart was attacked while giving his induction speech for the WWE Hall Of Fame ceremony in Brooklyn’s Barclay Center. Somebody dressed in a “Rastafarian” outfit tackled him live on camera, followed by a fucking shit-ton of other wrestlers beating the shit out of the assailant.
Now, when I first heard about all this, I’ll admit what I thought was: “was this real or just more kayfabe?” No disrespect to Hart—who is battling cancer and whose own brother died in a WWE stunt years ago. But in the world of pro-wrestling—which has included numerous “scripted” attacks of exactly this nature—you know, you have to rule out whether it’s just part of the “act.”
But as details emerged over the course of the next day…it became clear that this attack on Hart was real.
26-year-old Zachary Madsen was arrested for the deed, which he told police he did because he “just felt like it was the right moment.” A couple of days earlier, he posted a picture of himself on Twitter with the hat/wig he would later wear to the attack—wearing clown-like make-up.
Also referring to himself on Twitter as “The Clown Prince Of Rhyme” (a play on the Joker moniker “The Clown Prince Of Crime”)—as well as making numerous Batman references—I’m going to make the assumption that it’s at least *possible* that clown makeup was supposed to resemble the Joker.
The date of that posted picture? April 3—the same day the Joker movie trailer dropped.
Of course…it must be added that Madsen was also a big fan of Harvey “Two-Face” Dent, and so not all the “bad influence” blame can be lain at the Joker’s feet for all this. And while this is NOT a justification for such obsessive fan actions towards pro wrestlers…the whole pro-wrestling “thing” is this blending of fantasy and reality. You know…just like LARPing and cosplay!
Anyway…that Bret Hart story was the main thing on my mind today. I will also add that when I was a kid, the two coolest things in the world for boys were 1) Ninjas and 2) Bret “the Hitman” Hart.
And, well…Transformers. They also thought Transformers were pretty cool, too.
Now that I got this whole thing out of my system, I’m going to try to finish this “Paul Is Dead” article now.
But before I go…apparently it’s the 20th anniversary of the movie 10 Things I Hate About You—starring Heath Ledger!—so…
Have a good Monday!