The Asphalt Jungle
The Asphalt Junglei is an exquisite, utterly authentic rendition of Sir Thomas More's problemii on a script vaguely reminiscent of I soliti ignoti. In this true and truthful desert reign a desperation and a desolation as only free men can ever hope to build. The strange, expressive, blocky shapes of man-made items, cars and fans alike, resonate with the howling emptiness of everything outside, in a concerto of radiative background silence.
It tells the story of a farm boy forced into town and the girl that, back on the farm, would have loved him. She's a one-eyelash whore half-working a half-brothel (half-clip joint) hereiii, and it's no improvement. It's no betterment, it's no liberation and it sure as plugged drainage isn't any kind of progress.
Anyway, he dies, she cries, there's other things going on in the background. Such as for instance Marilyn in tip top shape, doing what she ever did as she ever was : the bipedal cow. She's evidently mentally retarded, by the slurred speech, by the horizon of preoccupations, by the fact that they gave up 500 takes in and included footage of her visibly looking at the director for directions whilst walking. But her hips are wide and her tits are juicy and her waistline undulates and James the Mick like Miller the playwright like Bubba the athlete like John the sniveling cur like Yves the frenchypoofiv like you and like me and like my girls -- everyone wants to fuck her (and most actually managed, she was a good girl and put out like a champ).
But he died doing what it was he wanted to do (within the space left open to his action by all the other people doing what they wanted to do). Oh, who ? You lost track of him, didn't you. Ok then, see, freedom is the best possible thing, with technological development a close second. That way you can lop off one leg just as you elongate the other, for optimal results : stability and the happy completion of all the journeys you aim to undertake. Isn't that right ?
Of living things only bacteria are truly free, and that's strictly because there's absolutely nothing they can do.———
- 1950, by John Huston, with Sterling Hayden, Louis Calhern, Jean Hagen, James Whitmore and an 11th billed Marilyn Monroe [↩]
- Consider the theoretical statement :
Oh? And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned 'round on you, where would you hide, Roper, the laws all being flat? This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast -- man's laws, not God's -- and if you cut them down -- and you're just the man to do it -- do you really think you could stand upright in the winds that would blow then?
Then consider the discussion of a practical implementation,
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.
Sir Thomas More's problem is that civilisation is built on the backs of cows, not by the hooves of horses -- and it's a major problem, for any and all who'd seriously consider freedom as a lifestyle. [↩]
- There's a mythological beast in Romanian ethnology, "jumatate-de-om-calare-pe-jumatate-de-iepure-schiop". It appeared at about the time modernity's town crashed against the stubbornly rural wooden civilisation of these stranded Roman legion veterans, and it encodes their disdain of it in a form that's only accessible to you through me, now, centuries later. Half-measures, you see ? Half-men half-riding half-steeds, see ?
It was said that "this is precisely the mark of genius in art : that forms once produced remain permanently and immediately meaningful throughout the passage of time" before, and so it was and so it stays. [↩]
- Edith Piaf's pooch. [↩]