From: Batman (1989)
Who said it?: Jack/Joker
The story behind the quote: This week’s quote comes from Tim Burton’s first take on Batman way back in 1989. The movie was a smash hit and, believe it or not, shed the “campy” mystique mainstream audiences associated with the character thanks to the (still rather wonderful) Batman live-action television series left. It made general audiences aware of Batman’s original dark roots and the movie lent a hand to the revival of superhero films.
The quote actually is mentioned several times throughout the film and can be considered to be Jack Napier/The Joker’s (played by Jack Nicholson) catchphrase. In one memorable instance, when confronted by Bruce Wayne (played by Michael Keaton) while in Vicki Vale’s (played by Kim Basigner) apartment, he delivers the quote and explains that he just likes how the phrase sounds.
Geek wisdom: Although Jack/Joker says it doesn’t really mean anything, there is a way to interpret the quote to have a deeper meaning. Essentially, The Joker delivers the catchphrase to anyone he’s about to kill. This could be his way of asking them if they ever tempted fate and did something so dangerous that their life may be threatened.
While it may be sometimes exhilarating to do something death defying, it may sometimes be better not to, especially if there is a chance of perishing because of it. You only live once, you know.
From: Batman, specifically The Killing Joke
Who said it?: The Joker
The story behind the quote: The quote comes from Alan Moore’s classic graphic novel, The Killing Joke. This comic drastically gives a different spin on the origins of The Clown Prince of Crime and turns it on its head. Basically, The Killing Joke tells the story of The Joker’s plan to kidnap Commissioner James Gordon and give him “one bad day” so he can go crazy like The Harlequin of Hate became after his stint as the Red Hood.
The quote comes near the end of the story. Batman managed to track down the Joker. The Joker attempts to escape and, all the while, goes on a tirade saying that he’s won (thinking that Gordon has gone as mad as he is). He also knows that something awful happened to him that made him become the Joker but he just can’t remember exactly what it was…
Geek wisdom: Our brains have this weird way of clouding our very memories. Sometimes, we can remember something so vividly, we’d bet our life on it, only to find out we remembered it wrong. Other times, we can have fond memories of the past. But, when we revisit the same thing, we find out that it’s not as good as we remembered.
This is not a bad, nor a good thing; it’s just a fact of life.
From: Batman, specifically, The Dark Knight
Who said it?: Alfred Pennyworth
The story behind the quote: It seems that I can’t stop getting quotes from Batman media. But this time, it’s from Bruce Wayne’s faithful butler, Alfred.
The quote comes from The Dark Knight, the 2nd film of Christopher Nolan’s trilogy of Batman movies. Bruce Wayne has been investigating a series of violent (and videotaped) actions of the Joker. Bruce has been reviewing the Joker’s actions and is having difficulty understanding why he does the things he does.
Alfred then tells the story about the time he was in Burma. His group was hired to bribe tribal leaders to get their loyalty for the government using valuable stones and gems. During this time, a “bandit” was wrecking havoc in the area and it was assumed that the “bandit” took the stones. One day, Alfred notice a child playing with one of the stones and realized that the bandit took the stones but threw them away. This is when he knew that the bandit didn’t care for money, he just wanted to wreck as much havoc as he can.
Geek wisdom: Like Alfred said, there are going to be people that you cannot reason with, no matter what you do. They will just do whatever they want, forgetting the consequences of their actions. We have to accept the fact that we will not be able to convince them with logic.
At the same time, we cannot let these kind of people run around doing anything they please, especially if it will lead to anarchy. The act of doing nothing about something is going to be the wrong thing to do in these cases. Sometimes, it will be necessary to step in and do something… especially if we believe it’s the right thing to do.