What's wrong with Gotham city anyway?

Gotham city is an odd place: nightfall seems to operate independently of the circadian clock and criminal alter-egos are so common that the guy dressed up like a bat to fight crime barely even registers as unusual. But why is Gotham the way that it is?

Today we took a look at 20 of the enemies who posed the least credible threats to Batman. The thing is, a lot of them had hobbies and interests that aren't too far off from our own, but instead of taking up coin-collecting or adopting a cat from their local ASPCA, they tried to crush Batman with a giant penny or dubbed themselves The King of Cats. So what gives, Gotham?

Smurph

A Batman theory I'm quite proud of: The Joker actually successfully poisoned all of Gotham with a mild version of his gas at one point, and as a result the whole city is mildly insane. Including the whole Batfamily. It explains why so many ordinary people in Gotham randomly decide to create alter egos, dress up, and commit crimes using obviously flawed schemes.

Meander061

I'm fairly sure that was a subtext of Nolan's Batman Begins. Once you accept that the entire city is slightly-to-moderately deranged, (and Bruce more than any of them) it all makes more sense.

Of course, there are other schools of thought on what makes Gotham the way that it is: It could be a response to the deep-seated institutional corruption, or maybe it's Batman's presence itself that drove the city off the rails.

Give us your takes and theories on just what is going on in Gotham in the comments now.