The Joker is... The most mysterious card in history

Maps have always attracted people a certain mystery. With their help in the old days could learn the future, look into the past of a person and see his fate. In any deck, there is a specific set of cards that do not change over the centuries. Despite the fact that each of them has its own history, the most interesting is the joker. This card is especially exciting for mystery lovers. Since no one knows the true history of its origin. Joker is a card that refers to a fool, a joker.

joker joker

Etymology of the name

If we consider the word joker, the translation will accurately reflect the very meaning of the card. In English this noun means a joker or a merrymaker. In Germany, however, when the word is uttered, the association with the old game comes to mind. There is also an opinion that the origin of the name of this card can be found if we look into medieval records. That's where the joker first appeared - a card as part of the famous Tarot deck. More often than not, the image represented a jolly jester or devil.

Occasionally, of course, you can also find an evil joker card, indicating that this symbol did not always reflect good for the person who was guessed.

If you take a standard French deck, there is this image occurs twice. It happens that in the set there is one or two of these cards, although people are not used to this. Oddly enough, but this name colocated and in other games. For example, in the well-known game of Mahjong joker is an additional game dice.

My thoughts on the "Joker" phenomenon

As it happens, I recently needed to do a survey on the topic of cultural leisure. The questions were largely aimed at my favorite area of theater, but it also got his half-brother, the cinema. Respondents were divided into aesthete film buffs and those who regard cinema as an inexpensive and painless way to "switch off the brain. The procedure of switching off is most often carried out with the help of action and science fiction genres. Such pictures for 2 hours allow to forget about the hardships of everyday life and be transported into a universe where all the problems are placed on the shoulders of other people, and you are sitting there phlegmatically popping popcorn.

Remarkably, just in sync with the survey process, I was fascinated by the book Psychology for Writers. In this regard, I found the category of "reset" or "head off" style responses particularly amusing. The fact is that, in fact, any colorful and dynamic film is a way of manipulating the viewer's unconscious. And while you naively believe that you have managed to tame your rabid monkey-head while watching it, the screenwriter and director have already managed to sneak into the wilds of your secret fears, desires and even basic instincts.

Before I get directly to The Joker, I want to turn to a series of films where such a character has always played sort of second fiddle and been in opposition to the main character. Bondiana, Marveliade and Star Wars are examples of pictures where the development of the plot and the unfolding of the characters is largely subordinated to Freud's theory of neurotic conflict. According to the father of psychoanalysis, our unconscious stands on three pillars: 1) the id, which represents our animal instincts of sexual drive and aggression; 2) the ego; and 3) the super-ego. For many decades, scriptwriters have successfully used these components and used them to construct acting characters. Thus, the protagonist is the bearer of ego traits, the villain is the embodiment of the id, and the mentor/father is the super-ego. What does this conflict get the viewer? Identification.

If you sympathize with Heath Ledger's character in "The Dark Knight," Javier Bardem in "Skyfall" and other charismatic badasses, it doesn't necessarily indicate just great acting talent. It also speaks to the fact that through these characters the viewer transcends social norms and spiritual morality, his instincts Eros and Thanatos are given complete freedom. By the way, it is the writing of the villains that is considered the most fascinating and, strange as it may sound, the most enjoyable part of a screenwriter's work. There are no inhibitions and no restrictions. What's more, moralists can sleep well - at the end, the villain will be punished anyway, that is, all the wild things will be curbed, and the winner will be the ego - the main character who has gone a special way, overcome obstacles and become a better version of himself (not without the help of his mentor).

If you keep this scheme in mind, there is no reason to wonder why The Joker has caused such a stir and made even the most liberal film critics speculate about the controversial nature of this film.

One of the reasons one can cave in to "The Joker" without even seeing it is that there is no progressive movement toward the Good. If there is evolution, it is only on the scale of Evil. And most people have a legitimate question - why make such a movie? In fact, this question itself would not arise if we lived in an ideal world. After all, then the psycho clown would be seen as an entertaining horror story (not without being comical) for adults who know for a fact that it would never happen in real life. Meanwhile, we know differently-the line between fiction (which helps us disconnect from routine in movie theaters) and reality has become the threshold of that school that children and teachers cross, unaware that in 20 minutes a madman will burst into the classroom and carry out his bloody plan in Aristotelian drama trinity mode.

The creators of The Joker, by romanticizing this character, have stepped on an open social wound that bleeds not only in the United States and is not limited to the debate over the right to own firearms.

The romanticization in this case comes at the expense of manipulating the viewer's feelings. Even if you hold yourself back and don't allow yourself to find justification for Arthur Fleck's cruelty in the unfavorable circumstances of his life, you will still, sooner or later, catch yourself admiring Joaquin Phoenix's acting work. That is, the formation of judgment toward the villain's actions constantly stumbles over the need to acknowledge the Joker's brilliant acting and vague pleasure in dancing.

In general, I equate the dance inclusions in this film with the 25th frame.

Dance always carries a positive charge. Trained by musicals, our perception reads dance as a burst of pleasant emotion. Usually we look at the dancing character, mentally following his movements and beating the rhythm with our feet. We get on the same wave as the hero. The same thing happens to the viewer of the movie The Joker. Joaquin Phoenix is no Gene Kelly, of course, but his movements are definitely rhythmic and incendiary. The aversion to the brutality with which he massacred his mother is quickly replaced by sympathy for his movements to aptly chosen, kind, by the way, music.

Over the past few days, I've seen a parade of enthusiastic brevity on Instagram Stories about this film, which has passed under the "cult" banner. And an expert like Anton Dolin even called the film a classic and, not without a note of ecstasy, summed up his review with the enchanting prediction that "green-haired killer clown masks will be in demand." I wonder if after reading Crime and Punishment he also harbors the hope that the volume of worldwide sales of axes will increase?

The mentally unstable clown humorist Arthur Fleck goes beyond the brackets of a fictional character in the acclaimed comic book. He becomes a composite image, woven from the social and psychological traits (mental illness, domestic violence, living with a single mother, professional failures, lack of a sexual partner) that have, in one way or another, served as triggers for the terrible massacres that have occurred over the past eight years. The only thing scarier than such realism can be the fact that every brutal action by the Joker is justified by a different plot twist, and this brings the Overton Window into play.

It is certainly nothing new to put a homicidal maniac or someone with violent tendencies at the center of the narrative. The cinematography already knew Scorsese's Taxi Driver, echoes of which are hard not to hear in The Joker. The memories of Lars von Trier's creepy "The House That Jack Built" are still fresh. I did not do without referring to the Spanish cinema close to me, in the depths of which lurks the ambiguous grotesque film "A Sad Ballad for Trumpet" by Alex de la Iglesia - there is also a clown with sadistic tendencies.

Each of us can recall a dozen movies where the main character acted in a villainous scenario. However, such films have one thing in common - between what is happening on the screen and the viewer is built a shield of metaphors, the decoding of which very often has a strong edifying moral effect. There are no puzzles of allegories and metaphors in Todd Phillips' film. The villain's actions are not met with opposition. On the contrary, they are further developed in the form of mass riots. An insane clown becomes the king of street chaos and sets in motion a mechanism of hatred that rapidly infects the blood of ordinary city dwellers.

Gotham in Phillips' film captures with disturbing accuracy the New York of the 1970s, when, as my esteemed historian Paul Johnson aptly put it, America tried to commit suicide. It was a period of total nihilism and the flowering of radical individualism. New York City may have suffered more than any other city then. Crime, garbage and rats became the three main symbols of the metropolis. In the summer of 1975, at the exits of New York City airports, those arriving were given printouts. Under the greeting "Welcome to the City of Fear," a hooded death was depicted and step-by-step survival instructions were given: one was not advised to leave the perimeter of Midtown Manhattan, to take the subway, to walk anywhere after 6 p.m., etc.

The Joker portrays this oppressive atmosphere perfectly. And while I would summarize the overall impression of the film as devastating, I was nonetheless curious to see the distribution of scenes across the key spaces of the city. The first atrocity is committed in the realm of the underground, the subway. The path to the hero's eventual salvation is punctuated in the scene where Arthur Fleck rides the shaky elevator with his neighbor and her daughter - love could have lifted the hero from the level of earthly sin and delivered him to the Happiness Floor, but who says we're watching a fairy tale?

If the filmmakers wanted to make an artistic-documentary cast of the mood of the era, they succeeded. But the last thing our society needs right now is the popularization of violence, hatred and insanity. Just a few days before the film premieres, we've already had a glimpse into the eyes of the girl Greta. And if you're not intimidated by what you saw in them, you probably won't be confused by the Joker either.

The image of the Joker on the cards

The most common picture is of a court jester with a cap on his head. Since there are two of these cards in the deck, they are almost indistinguishable from each other. In Tarot cards, they are depicted in opposite moods: cheerful - sullen. In playing sets, jokers are available in different colors, in accordance with the suits present, that is, red and black. In Australia's Queen's Slipper cards, they decided to highlight this card, so the joker features a local kookabara bird, also called the giant kingfisher. In general, it is believed that it was taken as an addition to the map, as the cry of this bird is very similar to human laughter. Later on, it came to be said that the joker is a bird that brings with it fun. If we talk about the letter index of the joker, it is usually J or the word Joker.

Joker sketches for tattoos

Below are sketches that can be used for a Joker tattoo.

Joker tattoo sketch

Joker sketch for a tattoo

Sketch for a Joker tattoo

Sketch for a Joker tattoo

Joker face - tattoo sketch

The Joker's face - a sketch for a tattoo

Joker - tattoo sketch

Joker - sketch for a tattoo

Joker tattoo sketch

Sketch with Joker for tattoo

Tattoo Joker - sketch

Tattoo Joker - sketch

Joker in esotericism

In the variant of the Tarot, which came to us from France, you can see that this card not only exists in unchanged form for several centuries, but also has a very interesting meaning. The presence of this card in the layout immediately speaks of a certain rebelliousness, defiance of fate. This is most likely the case, because jesters have never been so attached to anyone, they are not considered as dependent as servants or warriors.

joker card
Also, this card signifies duality, so it is believed that the joker symbolizes people who can become anything and make others believe what they are. These people are great at adjusting to a situation, and therefore win all the time. Do not underestimate this card, as it shows how strong the capabilities of a man in whom the people around him or even those close to him do not believe.

Meaning in men

The image in the form of a joker is a symbol of impermanence and disappointment. The personality of the bearer of the joker tattoo is characterized as a person lucky, risky, daring. These images are popular with people who tend to believe that luck is favorable to them, they believe that it will always be so.

The meaning of the joker tattoo - life is fickle: every minute, every hour, every day everything changes. A person with such a tattoo can be embodied in any role. He can be both a positive hero and a negative one, depending on the situation and on the impulse of the heart.

Such a tattoo is often made by people who have gone through different life situations and who are sure that luck is temporary, and in life you need to count only on yourself. Tattoo with the image of a joker also has the following meaning: in front of us a person who lives by his own rules and concepts. With the point of view of other people he is unlikely to take into account. He always differs from other people and challenges the whole world and those around him. The goal of such a person is to get maximum joy and pleasure from life, and to accumulate experience playfully.

There is no strictly defined image of this character. Therefore, the tattoo that a person draws on himself, serves more as a reflection of the inner world of a person, his emotions, his essence. Guys choose mostly black and white images. At most they add sparks of blue, red, green.

The base remains black, it adds drama and power. The joker on guys is often very similar to the image of the devil. Joker girl tattoos are chosen most often by those who have had the experience of unhappy love, who are disappointed in women. Such a tattoo has the following meaning: life is fickle and treacherous. The standard in men is recognized as a smiling joker, which is a sign of intimidation.

How the joker card is used

Depending on which card game is chosen, you can find out if the joker is used there or not. In some of them, it is a key link that simply cannot be replaced. Sometimes the presence of this card almost does not change the essence of the game. In classic gambling entertainment such as poker, there is a variant with bonus games where the joker card is present. In internet slots there is a game called Joker's Wild, which can provide a person with several types of jokers at once. There are many varieties of games that feature this card in one way or another on internet portals.

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Sometimes the value of the joker depends on what cards have fallen with him in the neighborhood. Most often it strengthens combinations, so many people wait for him to appear throughout the game. In rare cases, on the contrary, he causes panic and terror in players. This is found in those games where you have to collect paired cards. In this case, this card is left alone, and thus provides the player with a known loss. In all other entertainment Joker guarantees a good game, the constant presence of Lady Fortune. Many experienced players specifically think about the joker, trying to mentally pull it into their hands. And even though the joker card has long been used in games and esotericism, its origin remains a mystery.

The game "Joker" - the basic rules

In addition to various card variations with the joker, there is a full-fledged game with the same name. It can be played by strictly 4 people, the task of each person is to collect the maximum number of points.

The hand begins with bidding, but not in the usual poker sense. Everyone announces how many bribes he plans to take during a particular hand, and the game is played in private.

Here Joker performs several roles:

  • Replaces the six of spades or clubs.
  • Used as the youngest or the highest card.
  • Sets a suit for the next bribe. For example, one of the contestants lays down a joker and announces that the next hand is by the rules of "high clubs". This means that each of the competitors must put on the table in the closed clubs card of the maximum face value

In Girls.

Girls make the joker tattoo choice even less often than guys. They are a little deterred by the gloomy image, not attracted and the size of such a tattoo, as the image requires a lot of space, which can be allocated only on the back, abdomen, thighs. Many women are not ready to give up large areas of their bodies for such drawings.

Most of them like a small tattoo on the wrist, neck, ankles, arm, leg. Those who still dare to take such a step, choose the image of a joker not so gloomy, as in men.

Negative is smoothed with brighter colors, because girls prefer colorful images and bright colors. Tattoo joker on the lady more often appears in a female guise. It means that fortune is insidious, like a windy woman. Tattoo with the image of a joker man has the following meaning: she needs a risky, confident funny man.


There are several versions about the origin of the joker. Interestingly, it is not associated with the English word joke.

Some researchers believe that this guy with a bright non-standard appearance was present in the Tarot deck of fortune-telling cards in the form of a funny devil or court jester.

Others believe that joker is a distorted pronunciation of the word juker, the name of a German card game that actually had a similar picture.

Others think that the name came from the word "poker."

Therefore, it is impossible to say exactly when this card appeared - during the Middle Ages or at the end of the 19th century.


For women

For men