Un prophète

Monday, 15 September, Year 6 d.Tr. | Author: Mircea Popescu

A Propheti as the English title goes is a definitive report on contemporary penitentiary life and the social milieu which properly calls prison home.ii If you have any interest in the matter and just about three hoursiii to satisfy that interest, watching this is what you should be doing - it will probably get you further than spending that time reading, even should you know what to read and somehow have access to it.

But leaving aside the wealth of particular information, such as for instance the straight razor trickiv, and the notable opportunity for cultural immersion - always and everywhere the mark of the well made cultural product - this film offers some higher order benefits to the viewer.

The first is a demolishing criticism of freedom, embodied in the scene of the first snow. Some men run out, like children, and play with snowballs, squealing in delight. If you didn't know better you could think they're just some dudes having dude fun together, after which they'll go back to their warm hunting lodge where loving wives and smart children await. This is not so, of course, but why is it not so ? What is the difference between those dudes and these dudes ?

It's a question worth meditating upon, and if you do you will necessarily realise that the only difference is the ideology. The taboo. The things that some dudes won't ever do, even though there's no good reason not to do them. The fact that the dudes with the warm hunting lodge having fun would never, under any circumstances, gouge one another's eyes out with a spoon while sitting around a table chatting - whereas the other dudes just might - is what makes the world of difference.

Freedom, you see, it's not all that it's cracked up to be. The unfree will behave in certain ways, and that behaviour, if slavish, if controlled, nevertheless allows an entire complexity to be built. A free man will behave in any random way, and that puts an insane amount of pressure on any and all things, resulting in very sharp limits for "the tallest building that can be built", metaphorically speaking. It's true that in this world every thing that stands has an incredibly detailed, fascinating relief etched on every side by the extremely strong winds. It is however also true that no thing will stand for very long, and that such a world is but a desert by another name.

Which is why freedom is not for everyone. As self serving and unfair that observation may seem, it is nevertheless a fact, flowing from nude reality rather than interest. Freedom is for somev, but not for all.

The second is a rather sharp take on demographics. This is interspersed all through the film, but eventually the image forms. Take the corrupt guardian won't do for 5 what he did for 20. If the leader of the 5, that used to be the leader of the 20 insists he may get a pacifying ersatz, but the point remains : he will not, no matter what, come hell or high water, ever, under any circumstances or in any way never ever EVER get for 5 what he'd get for 20. Fucking period. And when there's just one...

This is why gangland is fundamentally at war, and will remain fundamentally at war permanently. This is what made feudal Europe a story of the succession of wars. This permanent duality of property and biology, the desire of old men to retain relevance long after they've lost itvi, their baseless, ridiculous hope that if they tell the youngster that he needs them rather than the other way around something somehow changes.vii People never have and never will manage to cure themselves of magical thinking, or in the immortal words of Marsellus Wallace (the guy that's too butch to look like a bitch) :

You see, this profession is filled to the brim with unrealistic motherfuckers. Motherfuckers who thought their ass would age like wine. If you mean it turns to vinegar, it does. If you mean it gets better with age, it don’t.

There you go, there you have it, that's the whole story. So you have "Roth IRA" accounts which mean you'll be able to decide on the disposition of goods long after you've ceased being able to make goods ? Because why ? Who in his fucking right mind would believe such a thing, and why would they ? I said earlier

There isn’t, nor is there going to be a way, manner, instrument or device through which to protect the passive from the active.

and so it stands. What more, and why and wherefore ?

It is indeed rare for a film to be the sharp pin of reality that bursts the bubble you were daydreaming. Fiction is really supposed to work the other way, isn't it ? Make sure to leave a complaint on the matter.

———
  1. 2009, by Jacques Audiard, with Tahar Rahim, Niels Arestrup. []
  2. If you automatically think "wretches" you're simply not one of them. If you automatically think "free people" you simply are one of them, with the accuracy and elegance of the form you gave that thought a likely predictor as to how well you would or will fare among the other troop. []
  3. The film is lengthy, at 155 minutes. It flows rather well, you likely won't notice its length from inside. []
  4. To kill someone with nothing of a straight razor, you must first understand that the straight razor is a foil, and capillary forces a thing. To keep the blade safe, put it on your tongue, retract the tongue, lay it flush against the palate and remove air. Much like fuel needs air to burn, the blade can only cut you if there's a space for it to work. Attached to the palate, devoid of that air, it can cut about as much as a sticker. It will stay attached for even minutes at a time, and you can always rectify it during speech pauses for air, so you can maintain it there indefinitely. Not "with a lot of skill", it doesn't take an afternoon to learn to do this, and an afternoon isn't what "a lot of skill" takes.

    To kill, place tongue on razor, break the airseal so it transfers from palate to tongue, put tongue out so blade emerges completely, push base of tongue against top teeth and while keeping the upper lip away retract tongue. The blade will spin against the teeth much like if you were hand shuffling a deck of cards, and its end will come to lie on your upper lip, at which point you can use the lower lip to prop the other end in between the teeth and you're ready to go. []

  5. The solution where freedom is for none, as previously discussed, may come ahead of the situation where freedom is for all, but doesn't hold a candle to the situation where freedom is actually exercised by well chosen some. []
  6. Which is not really that much worse, nor in any way different from the desire of old women to retain relevance long after they've lost fertility, by the way. Exactly the same war carried in exactly the same manner with nominally "different" weapons, except absolutely not at all different in any way. Because they can't be, that's why. []
  7. Seriously, I owe something to all the people that wrote in English before me ? What may that be ? If I will I do, and if I will not you can stand on your head atop a shrine built out of "intellectual property rights" and try to shit clouds or something. []
Category: Trilematograf
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9 Responses

  1. Your references to relevance of people are overly broad. A womans fertility is relevant only to the business of haveing children and not even always linked to age. Or perhaps you think an unfortunate 20 something that had her tubes tied wouldn't even make you a good slave?

    Relevance makes no sense as a totally abstract concept.

    Sure the old man in prison isn't too relevant to gang fights, or then again maybe he is if he is the only one that knows how to properly use a straight razor.

  2. Queen Harry`s avatar
    2
    Queen Harry 
    Monday, 15 September 2014

    And I thought you were going to talk about the opera...

  3. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    3
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 15 September 2014

    @chett The reference to fertility was limited to the context of the linked material : some inane derp that contributed to the fraud of passing a certain brand of pseudowomen's studies for an actual academic topic and her "ideas" about the world and, most laughably, the world's future.

    The matter was in any case discussed in terms of groups ; its translating to individual case is difficult and likely to surprise. Inasmuch as you're willing to discuss 20 yo infertile women and their masters as groups, it's certain that they'd make poor slaves, or at any rate poorer than normal girls ceteris paribus. Otherwise as far as I'm personally concerned the girls are on pills, which practically works as an approximation of fallopian ligature, but what difference do my perversions make to the world ? Ideally none, for the sake of the world.

    All concepts make sense as totally abstract or they don't make sense at all.

    The "only one" fallacy is amply discussed here, usually around the topic of bright young fuckwit "had an idea" or "was a CEO", as if that's how it works. The only one who can be the only one with an idea is god, and his idea is apparent in nature to they willing to look. The fact that chloroform puts you to sleep is not J. Y. Simpson's idea, it's a fact. The notion of putting people to sleep before cutting their arms off is not his idea except as historical accident, as the guy recorded in the present set of records to have proposed it, otherwise the benefits are apparent and in being apparent'd have sooner or later been noticed. The idea of noting as CHCl3 that gas which put J. Y. Simpson's girlfriends to sleep so there was much rejoicing is an idea, even if it isn't his idea - and inasmuch as it is useful it is also not idiotic (the adjectival form of something being an idea). So it could have gone XYW3 just as well, if somehow Xarbon and Ydrogen and Wlorine were the names for those things. That's about it, the sum total of the idiotic contribution to the world - the 3 ain't budging.

    I find it remarkable, in any case, that in his efforts at a vague defense for his otherwise doomed vanity, the old man is reduced to restaging the argument of inane youth, similarly desperate to cope with its position between a rock and a hard place. Both child and elder are similarly destitute, in fact : one has nothing, though he may one day have the entire world ; the other has nothing, though he may one day have had the entire world. That they'd argue the same things about themselves is a sadder reflection on the elder than the child, for the elder was a child, but the child was not an elder.

    But yes, inasmuch as he actually is relevant, he actually is relevant. The discussion starts once he merely would like himself to be. A very subtle threshold.

    @Queen Harry I'm not old enough for that one.

  4. Someone once told me that in examining a concept it is useful to take it to the extreme. Taken to whatever extreme you wish relevance just makes no sense in this 'groups' business. Come to think of it the 'groups' don't make much sense. They just promote lazy 'thinking'.

  5. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    5
    Mircea Popescu 
    Monday, 15 September 2014

    If it weren't for lazy thinking there'd be no thinking at all.

  6. "Otherwise as far as I’m personally concerned the girls are on pills, which practically works as an approximation of fallopian ligature, but what difference do my perversions make to the world ? Ideally none, for the sake of the world."

    Why so modest?

  7. Mircea Popescu`s avatar
    7
    Mircea Popescu 
    Tuesday, 16 September 2014

    I'm only grandomaniac on even days.

  1. [...] Mircea Popescu I’m only grandomaniac on even days. [...]

  2. [...] Complexity takes over from here. It's a point of fact that biologic gender changes very little, you may see slightly more cunts during fat times and slightly less after a good war, but generally speaking there's a balance at work and it doesn't allow much leeway. Meanwhile, it's also a point of fact that available cultural gender roles vary with population density, and very intensely so. If there's few people around, everyone's male, whatever they may carry between their legs, which is how women got the vote in Washington state way early and without much ado. If there's many people around, most everyone's female, like it or not, which is how you ended up being a girl.iii There isn't much one can do about this, as population density increases optionality reduces until the choice becomes very strictly "play the chick or burn everything down"iv. [...]

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