Sunday, June 29, 2008

Dr. Robin on the History Channel

The History Channel aired a segment called Batman Unmasked: The Psychology of the Dark Knight. I spoke about Bruce Wayne, the trauma he experienced in watching his parents' murder, and how it has transformed him.

Here are links to riffs I've given on other superheroes:

Superheroes generally (in the Boston Phoenix) and movie reviews of the first Hellboy and Hulk movies.


  1. I agree with everything you say about the psychology of the Joker, but I don't quite agree (or see) how the Joker uses superficial charm. What I saw was bullying and possibly promising something: money, take the voices away, opportunities (aggressive expansion).
    I don't recall seeing him charm anybody in any way. Unless you'd consider his method of getting hired help as being charming, but I saw it more as a just a way to get a criminal to work for you. I also got the impression that people wouldn't cross him.
    Lookswise, the joker wasn't attractive even without make-up (scars alone don't make him quite as ugly, but he looked a bit odd around the eyes too).
    Do I have the superficial charm idea all wrong? I am curious.
    You wrote an excellent article.

  2. Robin S. RosenbergAugust 29, 2008 at 8:12 AM

    You are right that the Joker isn't actually "charming," but many of his behavior indicate that he understands what is needed to charm other people and has the ability to do so: Rather than charming people, though, he terrorizes terrorize them. That is, he appears to have the capacity to be charming (to "seduce" other people into being under his power) but doesn't use it.

    But he is witty (in a scary way) and smooth--almost suave in a sick way. And he is certainly mesmerizing.