Suppose there is a compromising movie of you, taken without your knowledge, that is so revealing that people actually go to see it? And suppose you had the opportunity to write a blog post about it?
What would you write in the post? Would you make excuses such as “I was crazy”, or “everybody does it”, or “please feel sorry for me?”.
I’ll try a different approach.
Warning – I quote people below who use four-letter words – but in interest of accuracy I leave the expletives in.
After the movie made its’ appearance I remember two students talking about it (my presence tended to start conversations with the word ‘disgusting‘ prominently featured).
The first student was trying to make my case, and the second said dismissively “fuck him!”. The first student said “Yes, sure — but the ISSUES!”
And the issues are interesting.
Lets get to some other quotes first.
One female student to another at Yale (somewhat sarcastically): “It was terrible what they did to him – terrible, horrible – but he was so DISGUSTING!”
One male student tried to persuade another student to go see the movie. Student number two turned red, and said “I don’t want to SEE his shit!”
There was also a hit and run phenomenon. People would say things if they had a quick getaway.
So for example, I would be cycling around a large and lonely lake, and a van would overtake me, and the driver would lean out and shout “You’re so GAY!!!” and disappear. There were quite a few cases like that. Obviously these people were not interested in a debate, but they felt like expressing themselves.
And why would I want to debate? If the movie showed disgusting behavior, then what was there to argue about anyway? And shouldn’t I have the decency to retire to some place where my silhouette would not block the view of the poor folks who had to suffer through the movie? Which reminds me of another quote. I was staying at an Alaska youth hostel, and a visitor from the East Coast saw me and told a friend “I don’t want to be in the same STATE as him!”
This is what I think was in the movie (I have never been given a copy).
First some background: I had gone to a graduate school in Neuro-pharmacology because I wanted to help cure mental illness. After the experience of both my twin and I with that unpleasant condition, I thought it was a good cause to strive for. There were several young women who were in my small class or worked with me in the lab, and three were interested in romance. One of them (in my subjective view) was prettier than the others. Note that I was going by looks, not by personality, and I was making lots of assumptions about the person, which even in the children’s movie Frozen, the princess advises her sister not to do…
The romantic interest of this woman set my already precarious brain into the stratosphere. And that led to the movie. So what was in this movie?
I would admire myself in front of my mirror in my dorm room, and I would make silly little speeches that no normal guy would be caught dead making. Now if you are in a forgiving mood, you might say – well, we all understand guys who fall for a pretty girl, even if beauty is not everything, and many of us have made monkeys of ourselves in the romance department, and finally, some of us guys have flexed some muscles in front of a mirror. However, my behavior went to nauseating extremes, and even when it was clear the woman had realized that I was Mr. Wrong, I would still dance around in front of my mirror, in love with my own appearance. It was ludicrous. It was disgusting.
But if you think of it as an experiment – dumping a movie like this into the population and seeing what happened, it was also interesting.
Now I assume the movie was put together and edited by one or more people. But I have no idea how honest the people who put the footage together were. Maybe they spiced it up a little. Maybe they had an agenda? Who knows?
One very large reaction to the movie was that my behavior was explained by my being Jewish. I understand the logic here, and will let other people debate it, whether they are Jewish or not.
The movie kept simmering. I heard that audiences would throw rice at the screen. It was seen in other countries, and I would meet foreigners who have conversations like this:
He (to his girlfriend) “What do you think of him?”
She: (making an upward punching fist at me) “oink oink!”
Or I might get a British lad explaining to his girl that (“he (i.e. some friend of his) saw it (i.e. the movie), and it really WAS disgusting”). Then the lad would look at me as if I were a desperate beggar pawing at him.
A young woman who had obviously finished her tennis lesson noticed me and told her pals “After seeing him, now I understand the holocaust!”
All this was so excessive that it was hilarious.
Now remember that I talked about this as an experiment. The twist on the experiment is that I still had this reputation of being handsome, which had morphed into a reputation that I must impress the fair sex. So in the same day, I could run into amused contempt, hostile contempt, affection, and even admiration.
And then, organized crime stepped in. That is a whole other story, but I’ll mention here that I was raped twice, once by a man, once by a woman. Both times I was drugged – the first time I developed all sorts of warts on my rear end – which I’m told are HPV – a virus that is passed by person to person contact, the second time I had taken my daily evening pill, and as it hit, I realized this wasn’t my daily evening pill. It was a mixture – something like Viagra, something else that heated my loins, a few other reproductive chemicals thrown in the batch, and a knock-out drug. When I woke up, there was ample evidence that I had had a female visitor, and I had to take a bath.
This organized crime group proceeded to do a whole lot more, and this raised quite a few more ironies in my mind.
The irony was this.
No matter how spontaneously pornographic or erotic or just plain sickening and silly my dancing around in front of the mirror was, it did not involve anyone else.
And yet, a significant number of people scattered over vast distances thought it was right, just and appropriate to, as that student I mentioned above worded it “see his shit!”. Some of those nice people then became missionaries of this movie, showing it to teenagers, men, women, whites, blacks, gays, non-gays, foreigners, locals, etc. The movie, as one lady told another “would go on for another hundred years.” And that lady actually liked me.
The other point is that most of my life has been quite decent. Apart from the almost three years I mentioned in part 1, and this eruption at grad school, the rest of it was clean enough.
Of course I’m going to whine about double standards, so here goes: In my almost 60 years, we have had the development of the “hook-up culture” in our universities – in other words, two oversexed types who are not married to each other and never will be married to each other, having “intimacy”. Also in my lifetime, we have elected more than one president who has had sex in the White House with women who were not his wife. In addition, we have about 50,000 slaves right now in this country, some of them sex slaves. I mentioned Yale – the police chief of New Haven (where it is located) was found to have been cavorting with a prostitute. Also in New Haven, local workers of a big company were visiting prostitutes on their lunch hour, and one time I visited a local park and a child ran toward us who had just seen a arm extending out of mud under the stream in the park. The arm was of a murdered woman.
Its just a barrel of laughs.
Now as far as excuses go, I did not really realize as I was dancing in front of the mirror that I was on a slippery slope. If you read part-one (a separate post in this blog), you will realize that a person like me has no self-respect anyway. I did not see myself as a normal individual. I saw myself as a kind of person outside of the normal world, with no normal requirements. I just felt like dancing, and at the time I did not even think it was erotic – I thought it was just a game. Maybe it was erotic and I didn’t realize it.
There was one odd thing about all that dancing. I did not do it at home, as far as I can remember. It was something that just happened during the week in my dorm room. Also interesting is that I was in a neuro-pharmacology program – a program that teaches about drugs that affect the nervous system. Also interesting is that fourteen years later, I was attacked with drugs by organized crime. These drugs definitely affected the brain. So am I hinting that maybe something foul was already going on at grad-school? I am hinting it, but I don’t really believe it at this point.
The final irony is that now, as a result of this sad saga, I know something about an organized crime outfit that uses drugs on people – sex-urge-enhancing drugs being just one weapon in their arsenal. So here I am trying to defend EVERYONE’s decency in this country. If God exists, he must be roaring with laughter.
So what advice would I give based on all this? I remember two women discussing (I paraphrase) how they had thought I was a star – and how the star collapsed. And one said that the problem was that they had made so many assumptions. And in a way, who could blame them? Who would assume, looking at me, that all this past, which is so unusual as probably to be unique, was hanging around like a skeleton in my closet? And I myself had made all sorts of assumptions about the pretty woman who touched off my performance – and later events proved – not that she was a bad person, but that she did something colossally out of any expectation of mine – something I disapproved of. So the advice is the same as Elsa’s in Frozen – (I paraphrase) “get to know a person before deciding to spend the rest of your life hitched to them”, and this carries over to choosing a president, joining a cause, and trusting anyone.