I used to have a strange relationship with an outwardly professional, very down-to-earth, to all intents and purposes “normal” girl.
Throughout the relationship she would “try” to get me to hit her. Sometimes she even hit me to try to provoke a violent response. I always thought it was something to do with her Radical Feminist tendencies conspiring to drive me to violence, thus justifying the idea that all men are bastards.
I will interject here and just state that I am aware that the principles of Feminism do not posit that all men are bastards. I am a Feminist. And she was also an enlightened woman, a true Feminist in many ways, and I have a lot of respect for her. She was however plagued by certain negative beliefs born in childhood of her neglect and abuse at the hands of certain prominent male figures in her past.
Aware of this, it seemed a reasonable conclusion to draw that someone who modeled a relatively positive male figure would need to be induced in any way possible to inflict violence upon her in order to fulfil the childhood belief that men are cruel, heartless, purveyors of violence. My conclusions came from observation of behaviours, the study of certain prominent thinkers in the field of psychology previous to these events, and a certain intuitive reasoning. But I am no authority and I could have it totally wrong.
And my thoughts this Winter evening may confirm that. After all, there are plenty of ways to get a man to fulfil the aforementioned criteria without trying to get him to hit you. Why, specifically, did she want me to hit her?
I’ll just interject again, for the sake of my reputation, to say that I never did hit her.
So, recently, as you can see from my previous entry, I have re-acquainted myself with the movie Fight Club (I’m kinda breaking the first two rules here if you take it to extremes!) A master stroke of film making in my humble opinion. That question of etiquette thing – the ass or the crutch dilemma – still sticks in my head to this day, along with certain other pearls of wisdom that rolled off the tongue of Tyler Durden in those couple of hours. It’s Tyler’s alter-ego, played by Christopher Norton in the film, who says, I think, “You never felt more alive than when you were fighting.” And that kinda rings true with what a lot of people say: when you take a big risk you feel alive, that exhilaration, like from bungee jumping, hunting, or whatever. It puts you in touch with something primal, something our button-down society, with its convenience food and ever so polite transactions, fails to deliver. So getting right in there with someone, fighting tooth and nail with nothing but the weapons Nature gave you touches that.
The principle is also advocated in the film Green Street. Elijah Woods’ character says something like “When you realize you’re not made of glass” you lose that fear about speaking your mind and worrying what other people think of you or what you’re doing.
And a fight is not generally mortal to one of the combatants. In the film Rocky IV the kid hits the bully for nicking his jacket, the fight’s finished, the guy gives the jacket back, the two go on about their lives. Countless other films have portrayed the same thing. So it’s obviously an important thing in our collective psyche. And the point, beautifully painted in Fight Club, is that you can even be closer to someone after a fight. Hell, you can even just fight for the feeling of being alive that it promises.
I remember the first time I hit someone. I spent plenty of my school career being termed as “a pussy” because I didn’t like to fight. I was also extremely slow to anger. Then one day a kid got right in my face and, completely unconsciously, I landed a perfect right hook on the side of the guys head and he hit the concrete like he’d been shot. I dropped to my knees, sobbing uncontrollably, shocked, appalled, terrified at what I’d done to another human being. Or so I tell myself. Was I actually feeling a huge in-rushing of “Life” that I’d never felt before and which was so completely overwhelming to my twelve-year-old self that I was reduced to tears?
I never got a chance to test this theory because a) I’ve only just come up with it, and b) after the other kids had seen that, I was afforded a level of respect which meant I didn’t need to prove myself again. And to this day I’ve never been in a situation that demanded physical intervention. Now that’s probably mostly due to my disposition – Watch the weather change… Sorry, I happen to be listening to Lateralus at this moment – and the fact that I’m not a fan of violence… and probably also because I’ve spent a good part of my adult life taking downers that suppress those instincts. But, to someone who doesn’t take drugs, could that in-rushing of life become addictive. I should think so!
So one wonders if my ex wasn’t seeking a “hit” of sorts that mirrored my need to anaesthetise; a release, an exorcism, an act that gave her the feeling that she was still alive. And who could blame her? If I didn’t take drugs I’d do something drastic to “feel” something.
One of the reasons I’m not prone to getting into fights is that you don’t know where they can end up. It’s no longer, as with some previous generations I’ve spoken to, that you have a disagreement with someone, get your fists out, slug a few to each other and when a guy goes down you pull him up and shake hands. Now there’s a pretty good chance that if you get into a fight, once you hit the deck the guys mates will pile in and break every bone you’ve got. Or someone decides to pull a knife or some other such weapon to bring an edge of fatality to their violence hit.
Is it any wonder? If you suppress urges they magnify, fester, grow ugly and perverted, and manifest ten times worse in spite of your best efforts to bottle them up.
We are so out of tune with ourselves and our surroundings and etiquette demands you keep a lid on all that shit you’re feeling and plaster on a smile for the sake of everyone else; no fucking wonder kids ever more frequently pull out GUNS on their fellow brothers and sisters. The Doublethink forced down our throats is vicious: video games and TV, tabloids and friday nights are exponentially more graphically, narcissistically, gratuitously violent than certainly I have ever seen; and yet they don’t embody the true expression one gets from being understood, rather they distract you from connecting with people around you; and then coming down from on high the politicians peddle wars while all the time calling for world peace! FUCK YOU!
A well armed populace is the best defense against tyranny…
I don’t believe in guns but I believe a populace should be taught to deal with these violent urges that manifest in each of us differently. I’m not sure how yet but I’ll figure it out at some point. I know it won’t be delivered by the people in charge: they thrive on us being divided and conflicted about tearing at each others’ throats while desperately trying to be tolerant of everyone!
Then again, maybe a militia is what we need. Peaceful protest doesn’t seem to achieve an awful lot in this day and age; they seem to keep fucking us no matter who’s in power.
At the very least the fight should be reclaimed as a reasonably safe method of solving differences. I’m sure it would weed out this nasty litigious virus we’ve got. The idea of beating someone to within an inch of their life is abhorrent, and, I’m pretty sure, is abhorrent to every man, woman, and child on the planet. Something in your bones just screams “No!” On the other hand, sometimes you just want to smack someone in their bigoted mouth when they are shooting it off about something… And my point is someone should be able to, and even supported in this act, without fear of being beaten to death.
“Third Rule of Fight Club: someone yells ‘Stop’, goes limp, taps out, the fight is over.”
I don’t think I’ve ever seen a more beautiful end to a film than when those credit card buildings (with no one in them, I stress) come crashing down as the culmination of Project Mayhem’s activities. And then the Pixies comes in. Happy Day…
Well, I’m off to my friend’s house to see if he’ll hit me as hard as he can.
In the world I see – you’re stalking elk through the damp canyon forests around the ruins of Rockefeller Center. You’ll wear leather clothes that will last you the rest of your life. You’ll climb the wrist-thick kudzu vines that wrap the Sears Tower. And when you look down, you’ll see tiny figures pounding corn, laying strips of venison on the empty car pool lane of some abandoned superhighway.