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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Literary Crime and Punishment

I believe you do remember a scene from the 1971 film of Anthony Burgess's dystopian novel A Clockwork Orange, the scene where the young criminal Alex is strapped in a chair and forced to watch hours and hours of violent, graphic films. What a lovely bit of British black humor, of an objective correlative of the Old Testament, of violent salvation.  Let us dream a political scene of American white humor: all of our senators and representatives are forced to endure aversion therapy. Strapped in hard Puritan chairs, they wear headgear that does not allow their eyes to blink.  They are forced to watch Pier Paola Pasolini's film Salo, or the 120 Days of Sodom.  They are forced to watch the film twice before they are released. The film is a pornographic monstrosity, a very Italian bit of red humor.  The film is, as Francesco W. M. Palmieri noted inLiberazione, October 2005, "the erotic spasm of a diabolical angel."

I remember that when I discussed Pasolini and Salo very briefly with James Baldwin many years ago that we agreed that Pasolini had crossed a moral line of no return, a soul-murdering line.  In the Age of Cosmic Evil, it would be a fine gesture of post-human justice to compel our politicians to watch themselves and regurgitate "the pleasure of corruption."  They might emerge from the experience as paragons of patriotic justice.  As our nation goosesteps into Armageddon, we should dream. 

Jerry W. Ward, Jr. 
December 13, 2014

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