virus: Seven III

Ken Pantheists (
Tue, 14 May 1996 14:36:24 +0000 wrote:
> In response to the critique by kenpan@axionet:
However, I
> do not think that this motivated him to an act of "martyrdom." Rather, I
> think that his environment was a stimulus to depression and eventual suicidal
> ideation -- causing him to pursue a course that would kill him.

Yes. I agree. I can see we're quickly walking toward the middle here. He was not an
actual "Martyr", but I still think he was in his own mind. A suicidal act would have to
have been done by himself. Doe's death was an ultimate act of control. He was engaging
what I like to call a contolling mother persona. His death was a big guilt trip for us.
It was an interesting reinactment *and* inversion of the passion of Christ.

His death was not for him at all. He went through a lot of trouble to make it a public
discourse that would entrap and infect everyone.

Doe: "They'll be talking about this for years."

Although much of what your saying is right too. This is not a cop out. The movie is very
successful at inverting and suffusing suicide with martyrdom, murder wuith justice,
civilisation with barbarism. That is what good artistic endeavours do- take opposites,
shake them up in the same container and let people talk about it on the internet for
weeks afterward.

> In regard to Pitt's dismissal of Doe as routine for the film's society, I
> think that this was not so much a comment on Doe as it was on Pitt's
> character.

That is exactly my point. Pitt, as the protagonist is someone *we* identify with. Hence,
he is expressing *our* views and doing things we wish we could do and going to limit for

Doe had to provoke someone into enough rage to kill him in cold
> blood -- and who better than someone so insulated that he can brush off
> heinously grotesque murders as "a t-shirt at best?" By isolating him and then
> giving him the shock of his then-pregnant, unbeknownst to him, wife's head
> combined rage with disorientation and a total loss of any buffers
> (psychological or physical) that Pitt's character may have erected.
> Strategically speaking, it was a masterful move.

Nice observation. That's the point of the movie. It was a punishment for us- our
sarcastic dismissal of the "killer of the week", our cock-sureness and distance from the
suffering of others- that suffering turned into media opportunities rather than
opportunities for compassion.

The flip side is that the seven deadly sins are also part of our fallible human nature.
The movie follows the classic post war fascination with the mind of the murderer as a
reflection of the repressed. The movie also says that we are all hypoctrits because we
are all sinners.

If you are interested, check out a book called "The Aesthetics of Murder: A Study of
Romantic Literature and Contemporary Culture", By Joel Black. It is available through
Johns Hopkins Press

It goes into the function of murder as an aesthetic experience in literature and film.
> ***

> I don't find science rigid; ....

And neither do I. I didn't mean to sound like I got my hackles up.

My present theory is that close mindedness is an individual characteristic and can't be
attributed to organizations or systems. I can think of thousands of examples where
science is used as an instrument of repression.

I live in the same city as William Gibson and have met him on a few occasions. I remember
sitting in on a conversation at U.B.C. where he said something like; he always gets
suspicious when he hears people saying "this is the greatest way to do things, it will
save the world, it will feed the hungry!" His first impulse is to figure out a way that
thing could be used to really fuck someone up. I remember Gibson saying this because it's
something I have believed for a long time. It is part of my professional philosophy.

Ken Pantheists