. . . but they have no interest in real combat, when the great masters struggle against that something, that something that terrifies us all, that something that cows us and spurs us on, amid blood and mortal wounds and stench.

10 February 2010

Torture Redux

Oh, Jesus! If people are actually going to visit this blog, I need to get my act together.

Let us then return to the happy subject of torture and that exchange between Epifanio and Lalo Cura in The Part About The Crimes. I shall extract something further from the working paper at the beginning of this mess and clean it up.

Americans are fond of speaking of “death with dignity.” However, in my experience they use the word “dignity” in that phrase not in the dictionary sense of the word but as a euphemism for absence of torture. Death with dignity mean death without torture.

I am of course using the word “torture” here in the broad sense. One might be tortured by Mother Nature in the form of a slowly growing cancer, for example. One might be tortured by old age. One might be tortured in México by three thugs in a small, remote room with a bare light bulb hanging from the ceiling. Remember that Camus long ago dispensed with the notion that there is such a thing as instantaneous death.

Bearing in mind the disclaimer posted next to my photo on the left, I am going to venture something about México. Mexicans do not speak of death with dignity in the sense I have described that phrase above. Mexicans would rather speak of “death with courage.” I believe that the reason for this is that Mexicans have an intuitive grasp of the fact that we will all, each and every one of us, be tortured in the end.

There are two questions left for Mexicans then: 1. How long will my torture last? 2. Will my courage fail me before it stops?

The young man whom I have become fond of calling “the young prophet,” Marco Antonio Guerra, says this in The Part About Amalfitano:

People see what they want to see and what people want to see never has anything to do with the truth. People are cowards to the last breath.

There are other statements to this effect, but I am lazy at the moment.

With the structure of this novel, the novelist slowly forces the reader to shed his cowardice for a time and see some things that bear some relation to the truth—one of those things is that which I have written about here.

Here is another truth. If you are truly interested in a real discussion of this novel, and even perhaps participating in one, you ought to visit Las Obras de Roberto Bolaño or Infinite Zombies. Do not fuck around even one second longer at this blog maintained by The Solipsist.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the nod, but please don't sell your own observations short. I've added you to my sidebar links and to the feeds I consume daily and will look forward to your continued input at the two sites you link.