You will be unprepared for how pretentious this movie is ….

 

SUCKER PUNCH

I have been watching the interesting, highly erotically charged movie ‘Sucker Punch (2011)” in effect it is an extended dream sequence about an abused young woman who is incarcerated in an asylum and then lobotomised. The lobotomy method is particularly gruesome, inserting a long spike up through the nose into the frontal lobe, in effect reducing the ‘Baby Doll’ to a vegetable. Obviously the pharmacological resources available to the doctors (the story seems to be set in the 1950′s) was somewhat limited. At the time a rather broad view was taken of the remedial methods available and acceptable for helping the mentally ill, which, I am sure has contributed to the fear and loathing of the mentally ill (‘possessed’ and ‘dangerous’) and indeed of the institution of psychiatry in general. This rather dark prejudice is capitalized upon in the unspeakably awful sexually charged Marquis De Sade atmosphere of the mental hospital, where ‘Baby Doll’ is taken, filled with lecherous aggressive misogynistic males, and enabling passive females living in fear mostly. ‘Baby Doll’ is, by the way, not a baby, but has a rather doll-like face, being twenty years of age, and she is wrongfully accused of killing her own sister. The central point of the story is around the lobotomy. Indeed the story seems to take place in the moments before the lobotomy actually happens. Just as the protagonist (Baby Doll) is about to have her personality irrevocably smashed with a shiny metal spike she begins to dream, of way out of this hell she is in, longing to be gone with her fellow inmates from this place not of of healing but destruction, this place that seems to have morphed into something between a dance club and a brothel where a beautiful madam presides over equally beautiful young women in order that they may entertain gangsters, and please general punters who come night after night to the club. As ‘Baby Doll’ dances, the world once again morphs and she fights huge oriental warriors, slays dragons, kills mechanized Germans in trenches, and slays robots in futuristic settings. What particularly drew my attention was these fight scenes, for in this movie more than any other I saw that fighting was in some way a substitute for sex. They are either sexually entertaining men, or they are killing and fighting to be free of this fruitless loveless destructive slavery. In a sense the world they are in gives them no identity beyond the beauty and perfection of their bodies, which is interesting indeed, and the lie at the core of their lives. These were young women fighting for a liberation from enslavement to a kind of misogynistic tyranny, a male based woman hating sexually empty slavery to the whims of their keepers, a kind of Stockholm Syndrome dynamic. This contempt for the power of the feminine has to mind its basis mainly in fear. These erotically charged fight scenes, the sexuality exuding from every pore in these brothel scenes, the heightened emotionality of the women’s interaction with each other seems more than anything to allude to some form of deep rooted sexual frustration that pervades not just this film, with its fantastic plot and fascinating visuals, but the plots of so many movies like this, the exchange of fighting for intimacy, particularly sexual intimacy, exchanging life giving or life renewing penetration with that kind of wound that destroys life. Don’t in any way think that I regard this film as kind of timeless classic. Its the kind of titillating fluff that one comes across now and again that underlines an age where we are drifting further and further apart, despite all the psychological and psychiatric technologies available to us, an age where career or duty is eating into our love lives, an age where our thinking is controlled increasingly by corporate propaganda, an age where science and technology is pursued only for money and weapons technology. That’s the real sucker punch, not this nonsense. That being said, I liked this film. It showed me something. In terms of art, I would prefer any number of episodes of the Simpsons, particularly from the first five seasons. Now that’s genius.

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Dread of Death, and Sex

This post was published to Oran Ryan at 22:18:47 23/09/2012

Dread of Death, and Sex

Account Oran Ryan

Judge Dredd (the Movie), beautifully shot, wonderfully plotted, faithfully rendered, very well acted, filled with grim accuracy about a future world after the bomb drops, is a thoroughly good film, and much better than the first Dredd film, which I also enjoyed immensely, despite the many bad reviews it got. Shot in 3D and starring Karl Urban, Lena Headey, and Olivia Thirlby, it makes for compulsive viewing, especially for me. I have a long passionate thirty-eight year relationship with the Judge. I collected the 2001 comics lovingly and stored them, week after week in a shoe box under my bed, fascinated at the Judges journey through Mega City One and across the Cursed Earth. I lived for those editions, until they migrated into larger comics that cost me the huge sum of fifty pence. I remember the MacDonalds city, General Blood n’ Guts and saw Dredd as the only source of sanity in an increasingly insane world. I loved the uniform, the lawgiver, the anonymous cool fearless grim self assurance of Dredd, and the fact that there was a law, a source of justice, something that I replaced later with reason and logic. I clearly remember the first edition of 2000 AD, the comic which eventually brought out the Judge (issue 2 or 3). The most attractive feature of 2000 AD was actually Dan Dare, not Dredd. I also remember a comic strip called Strontium Dog in the magazine which I also thought fascinating. This was a terrible loveless post apocalyptic world, a world at the end of its tether, where governments had failed and the control of the populace in a city of nearly a billion devolves to fascistic judges who dispense summary justice in situ. Urban is wonderful in this role, and the camera, like Thirlby (a well regarded and Heady

lingers and loves every moment of this hyper violent futuristic thriller. Bodies explode, heads implode, and people are skinned alive, bullets spin through the air and tear open faces and teeth blast like shrapnel across the room. Limbs are blown off and bodies chopped up. The body count is amazing. This is a film that luxuriates in the gore it causes, and not a single death is inessential to the plot. In fact the horror, torment, misery, hopelessness, rule of crime and the vicious bloodshed is shot and shown as beautiful. As I watched this movie, I reflected on how impossible it would be to watch for instance a box office movie hit as this one is, that luxuriated on sex as this one does on violence, how controversial it would be to show glorious orgasms rather than exploding heads and skinnings, that perhaps the sheer number of plots and movies, excellent films, that show this level of violence, almost as if because we are in some way blocked towards connectedness, sexual or otherwise to the other, we seek release in the explosive force of bloodshed. After all power is sexy. We see the judge in leather, strapped down in uniform, with an anonymous helmet. Accompanying him we see a stunning young rookie judge in tight clothing. The sexual tension is palpable, and it adds to the thrill of seeing them kill and hold people’s lives in their hands. Interestingly enough, the use of the death penalty, something I have never agreed with, is to my mind shown here in all its utter futility. The fact that the judges hold the power of the death penalty over them does not in any way stop the murderous gang members from killing. Actually it doesn’t help that this is basically one great big police state: there is no trial, no jury, no weighing of evidence, forensic or otherwise. Once they kill, they know they are going to be executed. Thus there is no chance for a reprieve. They are forever on the wrong side of the law. And Judge Dredd is the law. Fascinating stuff: Fascism, great acting, great cinematography, good plot, gore, and tight leather clothes. Can’t wait for the next one.

MY JOB AND MASKING MY CONTEMPT

“My job consists of basically masking my contempt

for the assholes in charge , and, at least once a day,

retiring to the men’s room so I can jerk off while I

fantasize about a life that doesn’t so closely resemble Hell.”

(American Beauty, 1999)

Alan Ball, creator of the Six Feet Under TV Series which I frankly thought always too dark, loveless and unbalanced a drama/comedy to ever stand the test of time (may I be proven wrong by such an opinion) also came up with the utterly mesmerising American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes and written by , yes, Alan Ball – an idea that had been gestating inside him for eight to ten years prior. The idea for the play (it was originally written as a stage play, then shelved as Ball realized there was no way it would work, coming out of his offices one day during the Amy Fisher and Joey Buttafuoco scandal, where one evening afer work he bought a comic where each of the characters (Fisher and Buttafuoco) were both drawn and depicted as respectable moral citizens and as bad guys. Ball read the comic and thought to himself that the truth about the scandal lay somewhere in between, that neither character were fully innocent or guilty, that innocence or guilt, was, in a sense perhaps the wrong way to look at such an event or sequence of events. So he started writing the script that eventually became American Beauty.

Lester Burnham is 42 years old. In less than a year, he will be dead. The thing that tickled me most about the movie was the method employed in telling the story. I loved the cleverness of approaching the entire story from the perspective of a dead person – Burnham speaks from Elysium. He starts telling the story from the perspective of the afterlife, telling the spectators of the move, the audience, that he knows he is looking at himself from the hereafter, and that this movie is a vision of another life, a life that Lester tells the audience is a kind of death in itself. He is comfortable, in a beautiful house in a beautiful area with a beautiful wife and a beautiful daughter and this is the ideal, the vision of beauty, is as near as one gets to the supposed perfection of the American aesthetic. This supposedly is beauty, yet Lester is dead, or might as well be dead. Nothing is happening. He drifts from morning to evening, masturbating in the shower, not making love to his wife who endlessly disrespects and talks down to him, day after day drifting further away from his daughter, writing pointless advertising copy for a magazine for fifteen years, a job he deeply hates yet is trapped into because of his lifestyle. This loveless meaningless existence ends when he literally burns down his entire life the moment he sees this girl dancing before a football game. She is literally the most beautiful thing he has ever seen. The picture of erotic beauty and an icon for the youthful erotic desire, the life force he has lost in his middle aged living death he spoke about at the beginning of the movie. Burnham goes nuts. He starts smoking really good pot, working out, walks out of his job, falls insanely in love with a teenager and takes a job in a fast food restaurant.

This seeming quantum shift at a time in Lester’s life when half of his life is already over, when he is very married, when he realizes death is coming. In fact the horizon of his realization is that death, its proximity, the absolute closure that death brings. It is this that enables Lester Burnham to see through the shallow existence that has over a lifetime turned into empty time, meal after meal where no communication occurs, occasions of family intimacy that are without meaning, time after time where no love is exchanged, day after day in the office where no real meaningful creative work is done and money is the only goal of every days labour, not that money or its pursuit is in itself anything worth objecting over. Lester’s passion for Angela, a rather vacuous child, is his passion for a connection, for colour, for life. Its only when he gives up what was a pointless life that he finds peace, a peace on sees at the moment of his death. Except by all appearances what he did was insane behaviour. Was he right? Did he do the right thing? Certainly if he had any friends who cared about him (he seems to have not a lot of friends), they would be deeply distressed that Lester, whom they had known for so long and who seemed such a decent chap, has suddenly become victim to his intense fantasy life, the cliché middle aged existential crisis. Perhaps he is having some kind of breakdown, manic episode. It is so easy to pathologize non conformity. Clearly there is something wrong with Lester Burnham. But the fact that he is behaving in the way he is does not, in accordance with the story of the movie, directly imply that the cause of his pain is within him. It is caused by the world. The world is making him crazy. It is killing his soul. It is draining his life force, his manhood, cutting him off from his nature. This is a satire on the nature of love and meaning in the world of 1990’s US middle class existence: material, atomised, devoid of significance.

Is there a conclusion to this story? American Beauty leaves us – like all great stories beautifully told – in the circular world of the story. All the magic moments of funny, witty, tragic interplay are circling round in our heads afterwards. There are no neat answers and there are no clear questions. He is just an ordinary guy with nothing to lose. Aren’t we all? And don’t we all live for those transcendental moments of beauty and truth? Aren’t we all dead without them?

Poet in Profile–Unabridged Interview with Oran Ryan by Ruairi Conneely

I’ve been tasked at times at NewsFour with writing about poetry and the Dublin Literary scene, insofar as I’m in frequent contact with it. However, the circumstances that lead me to interview Oran were simple and typical for a journalist: the assignment was dropped on me with only a day or two to research and produce the whole piece, from soup to nuts, and deliver it to deadline with pictures and all.

Oran and I are very good friends and I’m always eager to help him promote himself and share his thoughtfulness with the world at large. I think those with the talent to do so have something like a duty to be a voice for their readers’ inner lives. That’s why I write fiction when I can (aside from the journalist day job) and that’s why I think a lot of people are compelled to write fiction and research.They’re articulating not just for themselves but for their kindred spirits, who maybe a little less sure of their words or images. This is a big part of the much-mooted “shamanistic” function of Art, to my mind.


So, long story boring, I knew Oran would be a good subject, I was racing the clock, and I knew he had (has!) a poetry collection in the works.


What follows is the full original text I submitted to the NewsFour offices, which saw print in abridged form, in the June/July 2013 issue.

NewsFour, by the way, is the community newspaper for Dublin 4, covering Donnybrook, Sandymount, Irishtown, Ringsend, Ballsbridge and adjacent areas. We publish an issue every two months or so, of about 40 pages, free of charge, available around the Dublin 4 area and free of depressing garbage. www.newsfour.ie or find us on Facebook


Ruairi Conneely


There you go.

 

Poet’s Place: Oran Ryan

By Ruairi Conneely

It’s a pleasure to welcome you all to the freshly revived NewsFour Poetry Place! I’m Ruairi Conneely, a staff journalist here at your beloved community paper and, in my spare time, something of a jack-of-all-trades writer. Before journalism, I worked in the world of small press publishing, for an agency that specialised in poetry collections. I write poetry and short fiction and the curious among you can find me most months at the monthly Last Wednesday Open Mic where I frequently perform my work.

For my debut Poet’s Place column, I’ve elected to start with an unusual choice of subject. Oran Ryan is predominantly known as a novelist: his third novel ‘One Inch Punch’ was published to much fanfare in October 2012 and was mentioned in the Seanad by Senator David Norris for its hands-on treatment of the topic of bullying. However, Oran is also an extensively published and experienced poet. His work has been published in periodicals like Can Can, Poetry Ireland, the Iota Poetry Quarterly, the International Library of Poetry Journal and Anarchist Angel, to name just a few. He has a collection forthcoming from Seven Towers entitled ‘Portrait of An Atheist Monk At Prayer’. Accompanying his profile as an author, Oran trails behind him an interesting and complex personal biography: he was an ordained monk of the Capuchin Order for much of the 1980s before succumbing to his natural scepticism. He then entered into the study of Philosophy, then Psychology, psychoanalysis and the study of Language. Now he lives near the Docklands, in East Wall, with his wife Sarah and many dogs and cats. But where does poetry enter all this, I wondered?

Oran: “Well, I started to read poetry at a very young age and it was because my father would read poems to us. He was a big fan of Samuel Taylor Coleridge and he would read to me and my sisters the entirety of “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner”, which was extraordinary. I would have been about 6 or 7 years old. Imagining what that poem describes was hallucinatory, overwhelming at that age. There was hardly a time after that when I wasn’t reading poetry.”

Where did the productive aspect begin for you? At what point did you begin to write your own?

“I started writing seriously – and getting published – in my teens and early twenties, and it was weird. I thought of myself predominantly as a religious person, not at all as an artist, but I always wrote some poetry. I had the impulse for my youth. After religion, I focussed on psychoanalysis and language and envisioned a career writing on these subject. So non-fiction, I suppose. Scholarly, academic texts.”

Let’s talk about style. Where do you take your cues for the voice and form of a poem?

“I don’t take linguistic cues from poetry itself but from everyday speech and use of language. People hide as much as they display in their everyday words and they often reveal their very deepest feelings unwittingly.”

So you don’t start with a style in mind?

“No, I start with a subject or image that has jumped out at me, and the style and voice, even the length of the poem, is determined from that starting point. I’m not opposed to formalism: sometimes I start with the most precise metre possible but Metre is a tool. Important to know but… well, I always have the Princeton Encyclopaedia of Poetics handy. It’s a terrific reference work for formal matters but don’t let it rule your life.”

Is there an overlap between your poetry and your novels?

“Of course. Poets are writers – the bridge between poetry and prose is very short. The idea for my last novel started with a poetic phrase: ‘You’re out of time, Mr Prime, your tiny life’s a thin blue line.’ Mr Prime became Raymond Prime, who became Gordon Brock, the protagonist of what became ‘One Inch Punch’.”

To wrap up, tell us about your forthcoming collection. It’s been a long time coming.

“The collection is called ‘Portrait of An Atheist Monk at Prayer’ and it’s the gathering of many years work, some previously published, some not. I resisted the idea I should do a collection for many years because I didn’t feel it would really be complete. I felt I had more to learn. But recently, last year this started, I had the idea for a poem that became a series focusing in a character called Joe the Astronaut. Joe is a wounded hero for the new age we live in. He’s been to Space, he’s seen Infinity directly and it’s crushed his mind with its vastness. So now, returned to Earth, he writes about his experiences in the third person. He writes about his failures, his dreams, lost and former loves. He is the Atheist Monk of the title. He has seen but he cannot believe.”

Oran Ryan’s novels are available through Seven Towers at seventowers.ie. He blogs at oranryan.com

The Many Lives of the Melancholy Dane

I love meeting people,where, the moment you meet them, there is an instant connection, a shared sense of humour and a real warmth.

I met a writer from the USA and we immediately connected. Our conversation ranged over many topics, but one in particular stayed with me and lingered in my mind because, well, its one of those insoluble things about writing, and not just about writing, but about communication. What happens when we are telling a story?


I met a writer from the USA and we immediately connected.
Our conversation ranged over many topics, but one in particular stayed with me and lingered in my mind because, well, its one of those insoluble things about writing, and not just about writing, but about communication. What happens when we are telling a story?

At this point the conversation took off and we became enmeshed in this seemingly impossible subject. We progressed from the idea of, say, a fairy story to something like Hamlet. Is there a true version of Hamlet? Which interpretation of the dilemma of the Melancholy Dane is the right one? The one that Shakespeare thought of and wrote down? I imagined him finishing a good workable draft of the play and taking it down to his troupe and saying something akin to “Right lads, I have a new play. Its going to be an
absolute cracker. But I need your full participation here.’ Well, maybe not, on second thoughts.

  Its easy to mangle a masterpiece. To handle a complex piece of delicate machinery requires intelligence, grace, insight, patience and a determination that we call character. In some ways requires genius to interpret genius, which is why there are many poor versions of Hamlet. So again I ask – was the first version of Hamlet produced by Shakespeare closest to the right one? Was it Brannagh’s version? Olivier’s? For every ‘version’ of the play, a new angle of the infinitely complex musings of the  Melancholy Dane is revealed. It is a world unto itself. There are the words that are written down. There is the intention of the author. Then there is the interpretations of the actors, the set designers, the directors and the group of actors in the particular historical context of that particular production. Then there is the individual interpretation and appreciations of the audience taking in what is going on.

So we have the many lives of Hamlet. We have a Hamlet living on multiple levels, living multiple lives in the minds of so many people across time and so many planes of existence. Hamlet in hyperspace. Hamlet in our heads. Hamlet in every copy of Shakespeare ever produced. The unread Hamlet. The original Hamlet. The cloned Hamlet.

We have James Joyce proving by algebra that Hamlet’s grandson is Shakespeare’s grandfather and that he himself is the ghost of his own father in the Scylla and Charybdis section of Ulysses. Who are we to argue? This the age of science fiction. Things are being cloned as we speak.


Personally I think there is no original Hamlet. The idea of a simple story giving a direct message is something of a misguided idea. Even the simplest fairy story carry a freight of multiple highly complex meanings, and this is why they have lasted for so very long.
Complexity might not be comfortable. Buts its here, probably to stay.

Why I actually left the Catholic Church and why it is entirely probable I will never ever believe in the existence of any kind of deity ever again

 

While I was being interviewed recently for a newspaper, I was asked was there anything I really didn’t want to talk about. I said no, I couldn’t think of anything. The interview was about my writing life, with a particular emphasis on my poetry. The title of my forthcoming book is called Portrait of an atheist monk at prayer. I don’t really want to mention the details of the interview because it is deeply unfair to pre-empt the contents of someone else’s work before publication, but it was a super interview and deeply enjoyable. What was interesting was the person interviewing me brought up the fact that I actually had been a monk – a Capuchin Monk, for six years, and that that fact would deeply interest people. Indeed it would fascinate them. The person was completely right. This is apparently interesting to people. It also interests them I have written a book on the subject, a novel, all about love and belief and atheism, called The Death of Finn. I wondered why people ask me about this. They seem to think this is a secret part of my life or something, or that I would be embarrassed about it, like I would be embarrassed about my being bipolar or suffering from depression. I recall being interviewed by psychologists who also mentioned my being a monk as thought it was a huge issue for me. I recall commenting to them that it seems fascinating to people that at one stage in my life I took a particular belief system so seriously that for six years I became a monk (something not all that odd in other cultures) but no psychologist, or indeed anyone else seems to comment of the fact I am married for two decades. The psychologist took my point and moved on to other issues. More recently someone told me they were talking to a member of a religious order, a new friend they had made, a new friend I was very wary of, and they had mentioned me in passing, saying they knew someone who had been in ‘the church’ but who grew unhappy and left and was now married. The member of the religious order apparently said that it was better that those who were unhappy not remain in the church and be bitter and poison things for others and that they were deeply happy for me now I have found my place in the world. I can only begin to express the joy I feel at making people like that happy, but that is not the reason why I left. I left the Catholic Church not because I was unhappy. I don’t believe particularly in pursuing either happiness or unhappiness. If one pursues either happiness or unhappiness as an end in itself, it ultimately leads to disaster, because it is the pursuit of an illusion. Happiness or unhappiness is generally a by product of an action or repeated actions. That is in itself the subject of another blog post. Moving on:

There were two main reasons why I left the Catholic Church. The first was the fact I was a writer. It is simply who I am. We do not follow belief systems easily, and it is a very easy thing to mistake a religious or spiritual calling for that of an artistic calling. The second was doctrinal. I left the Catholic Church because its doctrines were nonsense, extremely dangerous, life-denying, and obsessed with sex. To believe in an intangible, unprovable, invisible, all powerful super-being (God) is nonsense, as is the notion that there is only one true church. There are hundreds of thousands of churches, and all of them say they are right. (Some of them will kill you if you tell them they are wrong, or that you don’t agree with how they treat women, or make them dress in a certain way, which is a form of fascism.) To sacrifice one’s life in the hope of a future life after death is life denying – which is a crazy kind of motivation when you think about it. Finally the Catholic Church is obsessed with ones reproductive systems, and how one uses ones genitals, and with whom. It is a sexist homophobic institution that treats women as second class citizens. I left it not because I was unhappy. I left it because it was immoral to stay. I had made many friends in there. I lost them all after I left – an experience many ex members of cults write about. When I see the kinds of incredible violence wreaked on people, the kinds of absurd beliefs imposed on them on pain of death, damnation and ostracism, and the ignorance, bigotry and judgemental-ism that is spread and maintained in the name of God and love and truth and organized religion, I feel not happy, but certainly relieved, I do not and never will again be a believer. It frees the mind and the spirit to truly explore and create.

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THE END OF A FRIENDSHIP: CAMUS AND SARTRE – By Oran Ryan

 

Tonight at Saor Ollscoil I listened and participated in a wonderful seminar about the life and the work and the eventual schism between the two philosopher writers Sartre and Camus. Alas my participation was very small indeed so enthralling and brilliant was the main lecturer Sean Oliver, a veritable walking encyclopaedia on the two  writers and thinkers. I have always felt a close association with Camus, much more so than with Sartre. I wrote this small playlet as a kind of summary in dramatic form of the schism between the two. after they broke up they never spoke to each other again. A wonderful evening and a wonderful seminar.

   THE END OF A FRIENDSHIP: CAMUS AND SARTRE
BY ORAN RYAN

Camus is sitting at a cafe table. Sartre approaches.
CAMUS
(ASIDE) Here he is. The great amphibian faced philosopher.
Sartre sits down an nods to Camus.
SARTRE
Camus.
CAMUS
I am glad you came.
SARTRE
I think it for the best I do.
CAMUS
You have had your friends do your dirty work for you. You make Jeanson write the review of the Rebel saying it proposes a fake solution to the issue of revolt. It does not. 
SARTRE
You are pursuing and illusion, Camus. There was no conspiracy.
CAMUS
That was a hatchet job, a blistering vicious review.
SARTRE
If it were I, it would have been less polite.
CAMUS
Polite! I thought we were friends.
SARTRE
We are friends, Camus. You were always sentimental.  Your ‘friends’ protect you from the absurd, from the horrors of the world. You are being mollycoddled.
CAMUS
From what I understand you were the one playing duets with momma and being mollycoddled for near ten years.
SARTRE
Sartre stares enraged at Camus.
CAMUS
I know you decided on Jeanson to do the review of The Rebel. It was a betrayal.
SARTRE
You propose that history is a cesspool. That history will inevitably sweep man into one atrocity after another. That is a refusal of the truth of reality. The only way the essence of man can be realized is through history. You ask yourself the question ‘Does history have a meaning? Is it true? This is more of your illusions. You are like a little girl coming tot he seaside with her daddy asking the question ‘oh, is it cold?  Will I dip my toe in or not?’ This is the great refusal. The refusal of life and morality for the sake of some illusory purity.
CAMUS
History is not some nightmare I am trying to escape.
SARTRE
Now you paraphrase James Joyce, how pathetic is that?
CAMUS
Must you dominate every discussion? Does no one ever have an opportunity to state their position without you resorting to pointless derision? I am a little girl, now I am pathetic? These are cheap party tricks, something that is beneath you. My position in the Rebel is no failure of courage on my part, rather it is a recognition of the truth of history. What you are doing, you and your coterie of followers, is supporting one of the great forces of oppression in history.
SARTRE
And your solution to rebellion? Your solution to rebellion is to not rebel, to say no privately…
CAMUS

Stalinism is sweeping across Europe and  you are supporting it. Your refusal to denounce murder squads, totalitarianism and labour camps is a tacit endorsement of the horror of it.
SARTRE
You want to focus the energies of rebellion into a petty bourgeois art of meaning.
CAMUS
You supposedly fight for freedom and support oppression, and yet your revolt will only make more horror, more rivers of blood and a cesspool of horror. This is precisely what we fought against during the last war. We have only just left Hitler’s monstrosities behind us. Do you think, Sartre, do you really think this is any different?  
SARTRE
I know about the labour camps and you know that I do. Do not terrify the working classes with talk of them. What you are doing Camus is much worse than anything Stalin is doing. You are collaborating with the very bourgeoise who collaborated with the Nazis and who have oppressed the workers in one form or another since the very dawn of time.
CAMUS
That’s not what I am saying.
SARTRE
History, apart from the one who is making it, is a figment of the mind an abstraction…
CAMUS
And resistance to violence in groups only serves to perpetuate bloodbaths…
SARTRE
You say that government has no conscience.
CAMUS
Absolutely. It has a policy. No matter what government you are talking about, it has no conscience whatever.
SARTRE
The communists do.
CAMUS
Sartre you are delusional!
SARTRE
Do not condescend to me! The party are keenly aware and sensitized to the costs of their policies.
CAMUS
Now who is being naive? EH?
SARTRE
It is you, Camus, Not I.
CAMUS

You will be remembered as a friend of one of the worst monsters of history! And you are no friend of mine!
SARTRE
And you will be remembered as and apologist of narrow bourgeois angst, someone who refused to rebel, who refused to act when the world was being consumed with fire.
They are fighting the forces of imperialist hegemony. They are trying to overthrow the domination of capitalism. They are trying to increase our freedoms. This can be a difficult business. Sometimes the price for this is paid in blood. But one thing is certain. What you are advocating is the very opposite of freedom. You are advocating the kind of despicable inaction that will destroy our freedom. You have betrayed your self.
CAMUS
The aim of art, the aim of a life can only be to increase the sum of freedom and responsibility to be found in every man and in the world. It cannot, under any circumstances, be to reduce or suppress that freedom, even temporarily. Governments and groups of people killing each other indiscriminately can never and will never do that. Your ideological blindness will do all the terrible damage you blame on me. The communists are not the only game in town. I also agree with a lot of what they are saying. I loathe the way they are putting their theories into action. Police States, torture, death everywhere. They are as bad as the fascists. The bourgeoise sided with the fascists during the war. Now the left intellectuals are siding with something as bad. If you are tired of fighting, then rest, but…
SARTRE
Rebellion is the only ethical response to the nightmare of history.
CAMUS
But not your rebellion. That can only lead to something much worse.
SARTRE
Coward!
CAMUS
Delusional egomaniac!
SARTRE
Bourgeois apologist!
CAMUS
Damn you!
Sartre storms off.
CAMUS (CONT’D)
Fish face!