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Warning: lately this diary has had a rather lighthearted bent. This entry is not lighthearted; I have just seen something quite upsetting and I'm going to talk about it and, um, yeah, basically if you're not in the mood for that sort of stuff don't read this.
So there's this american TV show called "Crime and Punishment" which is created by filming real court cases and then editing it into something that is close enough to "courtroom drama" to be watchable. Real life court cases drag on for months and, whatever else they might be, are always tedious. Anyway. I watched this show for the first time tonight and it was about a rape case. I won't go too far into the details except to say that the man was clearly guilty, that the case involved kidnapping, violence, and threats of further violence and it was one of the most disturbing things I've ever watched.
My first response was just disgust at the guy who did it. Listening to him speak... the excuses, the lies, the pathetic, whimpering, "I'm not to blame" tone... like a little child who's been caught and knows it but is trying it on to see if they can get away with it...
...in fact, it's the same tone I used with my mother when she caught me out. And realising this made me start thinking about two other things. First I felt a kind of disgust at myself, at all men... but, what is it that they always say, rape isn't about sex but power. And where does that desire for power come from? What am I...
...see, what's the attraction of watching the prosecutor rip this guy to shreds except for a kind of sadistic pleasure in seeing the bad guy get it, and knowing that it's ok because he's the bad guy?
I don't even know how to get clear on all the feelings it brought up in my mind enough to write them down in the rambling, incoherent style which is my signature. Shame and hatred and guilt and confusion...
...I believe in mercy. When I discovered that someone had said some very nasty things about me then the way I got over it was to meditate on mercy - that if the remarks hurt it was because I saw some truth in them, and the only way out was to have some mercy for both that person and myself. I believe there's really something in that; salvation only comes through mercy. But... I had no mercy for this man, no pity, no sense of him as a fellow human being. I wouldn't have blinked if they'd hung him in the courtroom. And I'm totally anti-capital punishment, that's my "position", but I just couldn't feel anything for him...
...but this disgust, isn't it just an alibi for my guilt? See, the other thing that was going on while this program was on were the ad breaks. And I was suddenly seeing all this rape imagery... like this Toohey's New ad (it's a beer), and these guys trick a woman into exposing her breasts to them and then sit around laughing about how clever they are afterwards. Isn't this basically a rape fantasy, in its symbolism, in its basic intent? And it started me thinking about the way my own sexual desire operates... I don't have explicit rape fantasies or anything close to them, but nonetheless... I believe all hatred comes out of self-hatred. Bah. I don't know how to talk sensibly about this; I want to write it all out in clear, abstract terms and not get involved, but I feel involved, I feel stuck in the mess of this.
Someone I knew and didn't like much when I knew them was beaten and raped recently. And the man who did it was an aboriginal (indigenous australian) and probably a brutalised person himself and not very bright and not lucky enough to have had all the advantages I've had, and the girl wasn't very bright either and, god, this world, this fucking world... people talk about saving the world. They want to set up someone as the enemy - I want to set up someone as the enemy, and say, "those capitalist pigs!" or "those muslim fanatics!" or "those bleeding-heart pinkos!" or "those ignorant, violent thugs!" or whoever it is, and having put all the evil on them, figure all there is to saving the world is taking away the power from those people and... well there is no and. That's it. But it's just not true. There is no saving the world because it's *us*. We do it to each other and we do it to ourselves and it just never ends.
"How can I ever be simple again?" - Richard Thompson
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