We are all subjects of violence, and a person unaffected by violence, whether it is in the form of silence, art, ritual, or brute force, is merely an abstraction.
Love and hate, despair, pity, rage, disgust— what are these amidst the fornications of the planets? What is war, disease, cruelty, terror, when night presents the ecstasy of myriad blazing suns?
The true vision of reality is never benign. That’s why, for example, movie characters who use the phrase, “this is too good to be true,” are almost always correct. And if they are not suspicious of their fortune, then audiences can peg the character(s) are certainly naive and most likely doomed.
By situating the film’s protagonist, Travis Bickle, in conversation with other Big Screen Outlaws, we find that the politics of resentment are co-constitutive with the violence of toxic masculinity.
Albert Camus’ The Fall specifies a new kind of self-flagellation. While Christians throughout history have flogged themselves to purify the world through their pain, believing that their sins cause civilization-wide catastrophes, Camus’ protagonist creates a closed circuit of vice and virtue: he confesses to his vices so that he many continue to enact them.