The occult smiley face and the killing joke

Batman The Killing Joke.jpg

The following is more brainstorming out loud (or, in writing) than anything else such as actually connecting dots. This is a styled companion piece to my article The dark occult side of the happy smiley face.

The term “killing joke” connects to at least three major pop-cultural references (all three are British in nature—as was Aleister Crowley, see my smiley face article). Generally, it refers to deep irony so that one laughs so hard that they die from it—“Amused to Death” as a Roger Waters’ album has it.

One reference is the 1969 AD comedy sketch “The Funniest Joke in the World” aka “Joke Warfare” aka “Killer Joke” by the comedy troop Monty Python.
The premise is that a certain Ernest Scribbler writes down a joke and subsequently dies laughing at it. The setting is World War II and when the British get a hold of it, they devise a means whereby to have it translated into German: each word is translated by a different person. In any case, this results in a joke that is “60,000” times more powerful than previous jokes. The German version is distributed beginning on July 8, 1944 AD’s Battle of the Bulge and the rest, as they say, is history.

The other reference is the musical groups “The Killing Joke” which formed in 1978 AD. Original member Jaz Coleman has described the band’s name as follows:

The killing joke is like when people watch something like Monty Python on the television and laugh, when really they’re laughing at themselves. It’s like a soldier in the first world war.
He’s in the trench, he knows his life is gone and that within the next ten minutes he’s gonna be dead…and then suddenly he realises that some [expletive referring to a woman] back in Westminster’s got him sussed – ‘What am I doing this for? I don’t want to kill anyone, I’m just being controlled.’

The third reference is the 1988 AD DC Comic by the occultist Alan Moore which is titled “Batman: The Killing Joke” (loosely based on the 1951 AD “The Man Behind the Red Hood!”).

Batman The Killing Joke.jpg
FYI: Moore seems to have tipped his
hat to the Monty Python sketch to some
extent as “The Killing Joke” translates
as “Ein Tödlicher Witz” and the brand
name of the Joker’s camera is “WITZ.”

It is a styled origin tale for the character called “The Joker.” He and Batman find themselves in an insane asylum with Batman attempting to reason with the Joker. Batman implores the Joker to cease his homicidal mania, accept therapy, etc.

It just so happens that the Joker denies him and relates the following joke when Batman encourages him to leave behind the realm of insanity and follow him into the real world:

Two guys live in an insane asylum. And one night, one night they decide they don’t like living in an asylum any more. They decide they’re going to escape! So, like, they get up onto the roof, and there, just across this narrow gap, they see the rooftops of the town, stretching away in the moon light… stretching away to freedom.
Now, the first guy, he jumps right across with no problem. But his friend, his friend did not dare make the leap. Y’see… Y’see, he’s afraid of falling. So then, the first guy has an idea… He says ‘Hey! I have my flashlight with me! I’ll shine it across the gap between the buildings. You can walk along the beam and join me!’ B-but the second guy just shakes his head. He suh-says… He says ‘Wh-what do you think I am? Crazy? You’d turn it off when I was half way across!’

This plays off of the scorpion and frog joke wherein the scorpion asks the frog to allow it to get on its back and swim it across the river. The frog replies that it will not do so because the scorpion will sting it. Yet, the scorpion points out that if it stings the frog then they will both drown. Unable to find a hole in the logic, the frog allows the scorpion to get on its back and yet, halfway across the river: it feels a sting. As it begins dying it asks the scorpion why it did it since now they will both die. The scorpion simply states that it did so because it is in its nature.

Clearly, the two characters are Batman and the Joker. Of course, Batman himself has a long history of being somewhat psychologically disturbed. The Joker does not trust Batman, thus the concept that Batman would cause the Joker’s death.

So, be that as it may. Theologically, I find the Batman story’s killing joke to be applicable to Satan who “masquerades as an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14) only to put your lights out when you are halfway toward claiming the worldly riches he promises. Keep in mind that the term “Satan” means “adversary,” this being is also known as “Devil” which means “accuser” but this being’s name is “Heylel” which came to be translated in to Latin via the compound term “Lucifer” from “lux” which means “light” and “feros” which refers to being a “bearer” or “bringer.”

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