This past weekend Warner Brothers and director David Ayers released by the first image of Jared Leto in makeup from the upcoming film Suicide Squad. You can check it out here.
Judgments from the imagine came fast and quick with some praising its brilliance, and some saying it looked terrible and announcing they had no intention to watch it. Followed by the inevitable people who complained about people complaining about the image, and the people complaining about the people who complained that people were complaining about the image, and so on. From a single still photograph of a makeup test.
Which isn’t to say that having opinions is inherently wrong. Myself, I think it’s a character design that is rife with bad decisions. That’s not what I want to talk about though.
The Internet, and the speed of communication it has created, has given rise to an age of snap judgments that are reinforced in the echo chamber of shared social media outrage. But it’s not limited to pop culture. We’re now making snap judgments about choices in our daily lives, and more often about other people. Look no further than the dating application Tindr.
It begs an unsettling question. Are we more prone to make these snap decisions when we’re unplugged and about in the meatspace world?
Do not be dismayed though, because a reminder to avoid this trap has come to us from the Internet itself! Recently news of a project that third grade teacher Kyle Schwartz undertook has gone viral. Kyle attempted to get to know her students better and asked them to write her simple anonymous messages completing the phrase “I wish my teacher knew…” so that she would have a better sense of what life was like for them. The results were inspiring, sometimes heartbreaking, but always surprising.
A sampling of some of the messages include:
– “I wish my teacher knew sometimes my reading log isn’t signed because my mom is not around a lot.”
– “I wish my teacher knew Vietnamese because then she can say words I forget.”
– “I wish my teacher knew I don’t have a friend to play with me.”
– “I wish my teacher knew how much I miss my dad since he got deported.”
It inspired others to share their own responses to the same experiment. The whole thing has helped to reveal the hidden struggles, the secret scars that we all carry, and encourages us to be a little more patient and less quick to judge.
So at the end of the day the Internet has proven to be a double-edged sword. While it can give rise to a tendency to make snap judgments, as long as it keeps on reminding us to be a little more humane and understanding with each other, I’ll keep calling it a net gain.
(Pun only half-intended.)
UPDATE: According to this article the Joker will, in fact, not have tattoos. The article claims it was merely a publicity shot to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the character. How accurate this is remains to be seen.
Keith is a freelance writer at Black Powder Design and a graduate of Edinboro University of Pennsylvania with a degree in animation. Keith hosts a podcast on the Deliberate Noise Network titled The Keith Show Show starring Keith. He is also the illustrator and writer of his own comic series called Stale Popcorn.