Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Comments on "Raging Bull"

Comments on "Raging Bull"

This movie brought up a long simmering rage within me, a rage I was once well acquainted with, a rage I enjoyed and loved. The few days since the movie hasn't been enough time for me to regain complete control of that rage, and therefore this paper is only a draft -- it has only my emotion, not any rationality or any research or any dead philosophers' words. It's just me.

Jake LaMotta: She says he's pretty.
Joey LaMotta: Yeah, well, you make him ugly.

Everything I have said about what it is to be a man is idealistic bullshit. To be a man is is to have an addiction to violence. To be a man is to validate one's Self by beating an Other senseless. There is no sweeter confirmation of manhood than to stand bloody but unbroken over the bloody and broken body of another man; a man broken by one's own hands. The familiar taste of one's own blood mingling with the strange taste of a beaten Other's blood is the nectar of the gods. To stand over an Other, rage subsiding, pain returning, realizing the Other can't get up any more; that is heaven. To walk into a room and have everyone fear and respect you, that is godlike.

"Who's an animal? Your mother's an animal, ya son of a bitch." -Jake LaMotta

Life is vicious. Life is uncontrollable. Life is suffering. Everyone else has goals that are at odds with one's own goals. While one can convince others to cooperate toward mutual goals for a time, only unyielding determination of Self over Others will strip the herd of its power over Self. Either you are the bull that leads the herd, the man who determines his own destiny, or you are part of the herd, a powerless nobody cowed by the leader.

"They're in a huddle. Big business meeting. By the pool, they sit around and talk. Big deals. They make sure she can hear. Big Man. Get the fuck outta here. Big shot. Get 'em all in a back room, smack 'em around, no more big shot, without his gun." - Jake LaMotta

Talking only goes so far. Rational discussion is always derailed by obstinate refusal to understand. Petty preferences of Others seek precedence over positive principles of Self. Intentional ignorance by Others frustrates the discourse and prevents full realization of Self. Cherished goals, precious moments of independence, delicious experiences of free will, exciting explorations of life's pleasures -- all obstructed by the empty adoration of the herd for an Other. One either joins the herd in their dementia or refuses to accept the shared insanity.

"He's a nice, a nice kid. He's a pretty kid, too. I mean I don't know, I gotta problem if I should fuck him or fight him." -Jake LaMotta

Strip away the herd. Send all the cows home. Just you and me. Just Self and Other. Throw away the restrictive rules of tame society. Forget the sugar-coated niceties of etiquette. Shrug off the shackles of domestication. Settle things once and for all. Settle things like men.

"He ain't pretty no more." -Tommy Como

To stand against the world, to stand while society tries to beat you down, to stand despite the herd deciding against you, to take everything they throw at you and never buckle, never bend knee to anyone; this is what it means to be a man.

"Hey, Ray, I never went down, man! You never got me down, Ray! You hear me, you never got me down." -Jake LaMotta

But in the end man realizes not only is there no god, but that man is not god though he strives so hard to deny his birth and Be God.

"Why? Why? Why?...Why'd you do it? Why? You're so stupid...I'm not an animal. Why do you treat me like this? I'm not so bad." -Jake LaMotta (alone in his prison cell, berating himself, beating the wall with his head and hands)

To be a man is to beat the fucking shit out of anyone who gets in your way. That is what is within every man. Violence is our nature. We can't be tamed. Look around you at all the senseless violence, bloodshed, rape and war. Where is the god-like rationality? Where is the shining idealism? Where is the messiah? Nowhere. Nowhere real. Reality is blood, life is pain. I would fight anyone and everyone if it would free me from the lying words of Others. Words kill. Words allow politicians to wield bombs and withold food. Words allow religionists to live comfortably while their followers suffer for the next life. Words allow the unscrupulous to chain down the honest people, and steal the riches of the world. Fuck them all.

"I don't go down for nobody." -Jake LaMotta

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