“What do you mean, I’m obsessed with violence? I hate violence! Don’t you know that I give generously to Americans Against Guns? I guess you didn’t know that I was at the protest marches in St. Louis to protest the slaughter of innocent young black males by police. And the saber-rattling in Kim Jong Un’s face that only spurs him on—I call my congressperson once a month, at least, about that. The movies? Yeah, I have friends in the industry. I’ve done some work around its edges. Wish I could do more. But you don’t understand the business. First, we do that because Middle America loves gunplay. Unfortunately, movies are business, like I said. And anyway, if you watched what was happening closely, you’d know that the protagonists in most of your so-called violent Hollywood movies are forced to violence by the depraved society they live in. These films are really a critique of violence, only you people can’t see their message because you get off on blood and guts. And anyway, only guns kill people. Movies don’t kill people. If there were no guns, then movies wouldn’t have to represent that reality. And as for my tweeting that I’d like to shove a stick of dynamite up Sarah Huckabee Sanders… well, who wouldn’t? That’s freedom of speech! But she and the orange baboon she shills for are the advocates of violence.”
Okay, brother. I think I’ve got it.
“And as for sexual exploitation—again, it’s what the public wants, in movies. And it also… again, you just don’t understand. Maybe some things are overstated on TV and such—but we’re trying to shake up America’s stuffy bourgeois repressive attitude. To demystify sex, you have to have sex everywhere. You have to get people used to seeing what’s only natural, after all. And if you’re talking about my own life, I have women because they want me to have them. We have some fun together, we do what normal, healthy people naturally do, and then we move on to the next time, either with each other or someone else. That’s not exploitation, it’s freedom. Freedom of association. Exploiting is when you make someone feel like she has to do this and that—has to get married, has to have kids, has to stay at home and be a mom. Why don’t you guys on your side stop exploiting women and let them be free human beings? Okay, so… sometimes there are misunderstandings. Bound to be. Sometimes women need to stick up for themselves more. If middle-class America didn’t bring them up to be submissive, maybe they’d have the confidence to tell a guy when to stop so that he gets the message. Right now, it’s all kind of vague, because your side has programmed women to think they shouldn’t ever speak up.”
I think we’re covering old ground.
“And racism! How can you call me a racist? Me? I love hip-hop, and sometimes I date black girls. And, you know, I want to get them back in the game by seeing that some of the injustices are balanced out. Quotas in colleges and in businesses? Why not? If you don’t make white-racist America do the right thing, it won’t get done. And even reparations—yeah, I’m for that. They have it coming. They were put behind by slavery, and now they need a boost to get back in the game. How can you call that racist? It’s just the opposite of racist. You’re the racist! You say you don’t want to notice their skin color at all? That’s just your hypocritical way of leaving them to be destroyed. They won’t make it on their own, you know.”
Actually, I’m pretty sure that they could.
Do you know this person? Have you had this conversation? It has inspired a theory of mine: that a certain weak-willed, self-indulgent, intellectually lubricious kind of showboat will uneasily glimpse particular failings in himself and then, rather than repent of them, project them all upon another. This Other becomes the repository of all that’s bad. The more our infantilized firebrand of the limber tongue fears that some despicable motive or attitude is bleeding into his conduct, the more he thrusts it upon the Other, and the louder he denounces it. We seem to have here a nascent schizophrenic: a denier of self, with ears plugged and eyes closed as he screams, “La-la-la!”—a hater of “haters” whose hatred is so intense and manifold that he must create a monstrosity to carry it clear out of his mirror.
But I’m no psychologist. I only know what I see.