Mr Joker is a character in a Bob Dylan song. He has contacted me because he is unhappy with the circumstances of his existence: "Can you please tell Bob to rewrite my life?" he pleads, "It sucks".
No whimpering Mr Joker. It’s time to take responsibility.
Mr Joker cries out that "There must be some kind of way out of here" but seems not to realise that he has found a way out simply by breaking free of the words in the song and asking me for help
No doubt some of you will say that our Mr Joker is not the same character as the joker in the song — that this real joker has no existence outside of the song. Clearly this is nonsense. How many times have you watched a character from one TV series show up on another? Did you complain when Bobby Donnell from The Practice showed up on Ally McBeal?
Some of you might say that it can only be the same joker if it was Bob Dylan who wrote the question that appeared in my comments box — the a character is only real when written about by its creator. Also nonsense. If this was true then Bart Simpson would only be the real Bart Simpson when an episode of the Simpsons was written by Matt Groening.
But, again you might object (in that irritating whiny voice), surely the original author has to give their permission? And again, the idea is nonsense. If it were true then fan fiction would be unintelligible gibberish and you would have handed over responsibility for literary interpretation to lawyers. Do you seriously think that someone like James McConvill can tell you how to read a song or novel correctly?
Just as the whimpering Mr Joker must take responsibility for his life, you readers you must accept responsibility for reading. Don’t whine to me that your university English tutor says "the conventions of the genre dictate that…" Ask who is doing the dictating. The answer is that it’s you my dear readers. You are the dictators. Be brave. Take a deep breath and make Mr Joker real.
Congratulations Mr Joker. You are free. Now go away and leave me alone.