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Pulp Fiction, Part 2

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Part 2 of 2

Read Part 1 here

The Gold Watch

We first encounter boxer Butch Coolidge at the beginning of Part 3, “Vincent Vega and Marsellus Wallace’s Wife.” The setting is a tittie bar owned by Marsellus Wallace. The time is mid-morning, so the bar is empty. Butch is a small timer near the end of his career. If he was going to make it, he would have made it already. So he is looking to scrape up some retirement money by throwing a fight. Marsellus Wallace offers him a large sum of cash to lose in the fifth round. Wallace plans to bet on Butch’s opponent and clean up.

Butch accepts the deal, then Wallace dispenses a bit of advice: “Now, the night of the fight, you may feel a slight sting. That’s pride fuckin’ wit ya. Fuck pride! Pride only hurts, it never helps. Fight through that shit. ’Cause a year from now, when you’re kickin’ it in the Caribbean, you’re gonna say, ‘Marsellus Wallace was right.’” Butch replies, “I’ve got no problem with that, Mr. Wallace.”

Just before Butch leaves, Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield enter, fresh from their encounter with Pumpkin and Honey Bunny. As Butch approaches the bar, Vincent, who (as we all know) has had a really bad morning, taunts him as “palooka” and “punchy.” Butch is clearly incensed but lets it drop. Apparently, his pride is well in check.

We meet Butch again in Part 4, “The Gold Watch,” which begins with a flashback. It is 1972. Butch is about eight years old. He is watching TV when his mother introduces him to Captain Koons (Christopher Walken), who was in the same North Vietnamese Prisoner of War camp as Butch’s father, who died there.

Captain Koons has come to keep a promise to Butch’s father. He is delivering a wristwatch that was bought by Butch’s great-grandfather Erine Coolidge when he went off to fight in World War I. Twenty years later, he gave it to his son Dane Coolidge, who went off to fight in World War II as a Marine. Dane was killed at the battle of Wake Island. Knowing that he had little chance of survival, he entrusted a man named Winocki, a gunner on an Air Force transport plane, with the task of delivering his watch to his infant son whom he had never seen. The gunner kept his promise, and that same watch was on the wrist of Butch’s father when he was shot down over Hanoi. To keep the watch from being confiscated, Butch’s father hid it in his rectum. When he died, he entrusted it to Captain Koons, who hid it in his rectum until he was released. “And now, little man,” says Captain Koons, “I give the watch to you.”

As young Butch reaches out for the watch, the older Butch wakes up with a start. It is the night of the fight. His trainer opens the door: “It’s time, Butch.” We hear the roar of the crowd.

Cut to the aftermath of the fight. A female cabbie, Esmeralda Villa Lobos, is listening to the radio as she waits outside the arena. We hear the announcers say that the other boxer, Floyd Ray Willis (a black man, according to the script) was killed and that Butch Coolidge fled the ring. Then Butch exits the arena from a window and jumps into the cab. He has broken his deal with Marsellus Wallace and is clearly on the run. But the question is: “Why did he fight to win, to the point of killing the other boxer?”

The natural interpretation is that his pride got the best of him. What stirred up his pride? The most plausible answer is his dream/recollection of the story of the gold watch. After all, everything in the story is connected to honor: the three generations of his family (patriotic folk from Tennessee) who fought in America’s wars, two of them giving their lives. The fact that we know that these wars were not in America’s interests, and that American men were sent to their deaths by aliens and traitors, does not alter the fact that the military cultivates an ethos of honor to overcome the fear of death. Furthermore, Winocki and Captain Koons both honored their promises to deliver the gold watch to the next Coolidge heir.

Thus the watch represents honor, the honor of fighting men, a fact that is not stained but enhanced by the detail that both Butch’s father and Captain Koons kept it hidden in their rectums for years. As Butch later says, his father “went through a lot” to give him that watch. What they went through commands respect.

So my initial interpretation was that Butch’s honor was stirred up by the recollection of the watch, thus he went into the ring and fought, not for money, but for honor. And since he had made a deal with Marsellus Wallace to throw the fight, he was risking his life to fight for honor. And he fought all-out, killing the other boxer. So Butch seems to have proved himself to be a man ruled by honor, not by desire.

Hegel on the Beginning of History

The duel to the death over honor is a remarkable phenomenon. Animals duel over dominance, which insures their access to mates. But these duels result in death only by accident, because the whole process is governed by their survival instincts, and their “egos” do not prevent them from surrendering when the fight is hopeless. The duel to the death over honor is a distinctly human thing.

Indeed, in his Phenomenology of Spirit, Hegel claims that the duel to the death over honor is the beginning of history—and the beginning of a distinctly human form of existence and self-consciousness.

Prehistoric man is dominated by nature: the natural world around him and the natural world within him, namely his desires. History, for Hegel, is something different. It is the process of (1) our discovery of those parts of our nature that transcend mere animal desire, and (2) our creation of a society in accord with our true nature.

When we fully know ourselves as more than merely natural beings and finally live accordingly, then history will be over. (History can end, because as a process of discovery and construction, it is the kind of thing that can end.) Hegel claimed that history ended with the discovery that all men are free and the creation of a society that reflects that truth.

When two men duel to the death over honor, the external struggle between them conceals an internal struggle within each of them as they confront the possibility of being ruled by two different parts of their souls: desire, which includes the desire for self-preservation, and honor, which demands recognition of our worth by others.

When our sense of honor is offended, we become angry and seek to compel the offending party to respect us. If the other party is equally offended and intransigent, the struggle can escalate to the point where life is at stake.

At this point, two kinds of human beings distinguish themselves. Those who are ruled by their honor will sacrifice their lives to preserve it. Their motto is: “Death before dishonor.” Those who are ruled by their desires are more concerned to preserve their lives than their honor. They will sacrifice their honor to preserve their lives. Their motto is: “Dishonor before death.”

Suppose two honorable men fight to the death. One will live, one will die, but both will preserve their honor. But what if the vanquished party begs to be spared at the last moment at the price of his honor? What if his desire to survive is stronger than his sense of honor? In that case, he will become the slave of the victor.

The man who prefers death to dishonor is a natural master. The man who prefers dishonor to death—life at any price—is a natural slave. The natural master defines himself in terms of a distinctly human self-consciousness, an awareness of his transcendence over animal desire, the survival “instinct,” the whole realm of biological necessity. The natural slave, by contrast, is ruled by his animal nature and experiences his sense of honor as a danger to survival. The master uses the slave’s fear of death to compel him to work.

History thus begins with the emergence of a warrior aristocracy, a two-tiered society structured in terms of the oppositions between work and leisure, necessity and luxury, nature and culture. Slaves work so that the masters can enjoy leisure. Slaves secure the necessities of life so the masters can enjoy luxuries. Slaves conquer nature so masters can create culture. In a sense the whole realm of culture is a “luxury,” since none of it is necessitated by our animal desires. But in a higher sense, it is a necessity: a necessity of our distinctly human nature to understand itself and put its stamp upon the world.

The End of History

Hegel had the fanciful notion that there is a necessary “dialectic” between master and slave that will lead eventually lead to universal freedom, that at the end of history, the distinction between master and slave can be abolished, that all men are potential masters.

Now, to his credit, Hegel was a race realist. He was also quite realistic about the tendency of bourgeois capitalism to turn all men into spiritual slaves. Thus his view of the ideal state, which regulates economic life and reinforces the institutions that elevate human character against the corrupting influences of modernity, differs little from fascism. So in the end, Hegel’s high-flown talk about universal freedom seems unworthy of him, rather like Jefferson’s rhetorical gaffe that “all men are created equal.”

The true heirs to Hegel’s universalism are Marx and his followers, who really believed that the dialectic would lead to universal freedom. Alexandre Kojève, Hegel’s greatest 20th-century Marxist interpreter, came to believe that both Communism and bourgeois capitalism/liberal democracy were paths to Hegel’s vision of universal freedom. After the collapse of communism, Kojève’s pupil Francis Fukuyama declared that bourgeois capitalism and liberal democracy would create what Kojève called the “universal homogeneous state,” the global political and economic order in which all men would be free.

But both capitalism and communism are essentially materialistic systems. Yes, they made appeals to idealism, but primarily to motivate their subjects to fight for them. But if one system triumphed over the other, that necessity would no longer exist, and desire would be fully sovereign. Materialism would triumph. (And so it would have, were it not for the rise of another global enemy that is spiritual and warlike rather than materialistic: Islam.)

Thus Kojève came to believe that the universal homogeneous state would not be a society in which all men are masters, i.e., a society in which honor rules over desire. Rather, it would be a world in which all men are slaves, a society in which desire rules over honor.

This is the world of Nietzsche’s “Last Man,” the world of C. S. Lewis’s “Men without Chests” (honor is traditionally associated with the chest, just as reason is associated with the head and desire with the belly and points below). This is the postmodern world, where emancipated desire and corrosive individualism and irony have reduced all normative cultures to commodities that can be bought and sold, used and discarded.

This is the end of the path blazed by the first wave of modern philosophers: Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, David Hume, etc., all of whom envisioned a liberal order founded on the sovereignty of desire, in which reason is reduced to a technical-instrumental faculty and honor is checked or sublimated into economic competitiveness and the quest for material status symbols.

From this point of view, there is no significant difference between classical liberalism and left-liberalism. Both are based on the sovereignty of desire. Although left liberalism is more idealistic because it is dedicated to the impossible dream of overcoming natural inequality, whereas classical liberalism, always more vulgar, unimaginative, and morally complacent, is content with mere “bourgeois” legal equality.

The great theorists of liberalism offered mankind the same deal that Marsellus Wallace offered Butch: “Fuck pride. Think of the money.” And our ancestors took the deal. As Marsellus hands Butch the cash, he pauses to ask, “Are you my nigger?” “It certainly appears so,” Butch answers, then takes the money. In modernity, every man is the nigger, the spiritual slave, of any man with more money than him—to the precise extent that any contrary motives, such as pride or religious/intellectual enthusiasm, have been suppressed. (Marsellus, a black man, calls all of his hirelings niggers, but surely it gives him special pleasure to deem the white ones so.)

History Begins Again

But history can never really end as long as it is possible for men to choose to place honor above money. And that is always possible, given that we really do seem to have the ability to choose which part of our soul is sovereign.

It is, moreover, possible as long as the examples of our ancestors, better men than ourselves, can still stir us. When Esmeralda asks Butch what his name means, he replies “I’m an American, honey, our names don’t mean shit.” It is one of the funniest lines of the movie, but also one of the saddest. Americans are such a sorry lot of spiritual slaves because we don’t know who we are. We don’t know who our ancestors are. We don’t know what our names mean. So we don’t have to live up to them. Or if we do know, we allow the Marsellus Wallaces of the world to bribe us into forgetting about it.

Of course “Butch” means something. It is a fighting man’s name. Butch is a fighting man, from a long line of fighting men. Although he fights for money, not honor. But then, when he has reached the rock bottom of spiritual sordidness—when he sells himself as the nigger of a black gangster—he redeems himself. This is what makes Butch Coolidge seem so heroic.

But then we discover that we were completely wrong. Butch stops to make a phone call, and we learn that he has taken Marsellus’s money then leaked the word that the fix was in, which tilted the odds dramatically in favor of his opponent. Then Butch bet all of Marsellus’s money on himself and beat the other boxer—and he had to beat him, so he fought all-out and killed him—in order to win a huge payout. So Butch turns out to be a bigger crook than Marsellus Wallace. And we all know what happens to people who steal from Marsellus Wallace.

Butch meets his French girlfriend Fabienne at a cheap motel. They are cute together, and she obviously wants to have his children, explaining at length about how she wants to have a large, perfectly round potbelly. They plan to leave town the next morning, but Butch discovers that Fabienne forgot to pack his father’s gold watch.

Again, Butch is faced with a conflict between honor and desire, a conflict in which his life is at stake. Honor tells him to retrieve the watch, although he knows that he will have to risk his life to do so, because Wallace will surely stake out his apartment. Desire, most eminently the desire to stay alive, tells him to take the money and run. So now we see, for real, what kind of man Butch is. He chooses honor, risking his life to retrieve the watch.

Butch cautiously returns to his apartment and retrieves the watch. Astonished at the ease, he ducks into his kitchen for a snack (he has had no breakfast). As he waits for the toaster, he is startled to see a machine gun with a huge silencer lying on the counter. As he hefts the gun, he hears the toilet flush. The bathroom door opens, and there stands Vincent Vega, reading material in hand. The two men freeze, staring at each other. Then the toaster pops, breaking the spell, and Butch pulls the trigger, reducing Vega to a bullet-riddled corpse sprawled in the bathtub.

It could have been Jules Winnfield, but he followed his spiritual enthusiasm and left “the life.” Vincent, ruled by his desires, stayed in. Vincent, ruled by his desires, mocked Butch as “palooka” and “punchy,” daring him to retaliate. Which, eventually, he did. And given Vincent’s character, it is singularly appropriate that Butch got the drop on him while he was “taking a shit.”

Butch flees in Fabienne’s Honda. As he waits at a light, Marsellus Wallace crosses the street in front of him with coffee and donuts for the stake out. When the two men recognize each other, Butch floors it, running Marsellus down. But his car is hit by oncoming traffic. When Marsellus comes to and sees Butch, injured in the wrecked Honda, he pulls out a .45 and starts firing wildly as he staggers across the street. Butch ducks into a pawn shop, and when Marsellus follows, Butch knocks him down and starts punching him furiously: “Feel that sting? That’s pride, fuckin’ wit ya.’”

Unfortunately, they have blundered into no ordinary pawn shop. Maynard, the shop-keeper gets the drop on Butch with a shotgun then knocks him out cold. When he comes to, he and Marsellus are tied to chairs in a basement dungeon with red S&M ball gags in their mouths. Maynard explains that nobody kills anyone in his place of business except himself or Zed, who is arriving presently. Zed and Maynard are two homosexual hillbilly sadists who apparently plan to rape, torture, and murder Marsellus and Butch.

When Zed and Maynard take Marsellus in the other room to reenact a scene from Deliverance, Butch manages to free himself. He could just sneak out, saving himself and leaving Marsellus to a well-deserved fate. But Butch can’t do it. He chooses a riskier but more honorable path. He decides to rescue Marsellus. He looks around for a suitable weapon. First he hefts a claw hammer. Then a small chainsaw. Then a baseball bat. Finally, his eyes light on a samurai sword—the perfect symbol of honor.

He returns to the dungeon. Zed is raping Marsellus (who does look just like a hawg—a roasted one, complete with an apple in his mouth) while Maynard watches. Butch dispatches Maynard and taunts Zed. Marsellus, in the meantime, gets up, grabs Maynard’s shotgun, and blasts Zed in the groin. At this point, Marsellus could have killed Butch as well. (Butch was very, very stupid to let Marsellus get the drop on him.)

But Marsellus responds to Butch’s gallant gesture in kind. He agrees to drop his grievance against Butch if he does not tell anyone about what has happened and if he leaves L.A. never to return. I know it is unlikely. But if he got his soul back, maybe it is starting to kick in. (But not soon enough to save Zed from a “medieval” fate.)

Butch accepts the deal and roars off on Zed’s chopper to meet Fabienne. They still have time to catch their train to Tennessee. And on that happy note, the story (as opposed to the movie) of Pulp Fiction ends.

* * *

Even its detractors admit that Pulp Fiction is a stylishly directed, superbly acted, darkly comic movie. I hope I have convinced you that it is a deeply serious movie as well. Yes, Quentin Tarantino is a thoroughly repulsive and nihilistic human being, and everything he directed before and since Pulp Fiction reflects that. (See my reviews of Kill Bill, Vol. 1 and Inglourious Basterds.) But repugnant people create great art all the time, in spite of themselves. Yes, Pulp Fiction contains interracial couples, villainous bumbling whites, and noble, eloquent blacks. One just has to look beyond the casting to the story itself.

Pulp Fiction is only superficially anti-white. On a deeper level, it can aid us in rejecting modernity and recovering the spiritual foundations of something better.

Pulp Fiction is valuable for our cause as a critique of modernity in its final decadent phase, what Traditionalists call the Kali Yuga, Hegelians call the “end of history,” and idiots celebrate as postmodernity. Philosophically speaking, modernity is the emancipation of desire from reason, honor, culture, and tradition.

Pulp Fiction takes such philosophical abstractions and pairs them with unforgettably dramatic concrete images and events. Modernity is Marsellus Wallace telling us to fuck pride, take his money, and become his nigger. Modernity is coke, smack, and Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Modernity is Vincent Vega sprawled dead in a bathtub, Mia Wallace with a huge syringe stuck in her heart, and Jules Winnfield scooping up bits of brain and skull in the back seat of a blood-soaked car.

But Pulp Fiction does much more than just critique modernity. It also shows us an alternative. Not an alternative vision of society, but rather the spiritual basis of an alternative to modernity. Spiritually, modernity is the rule of desire. Part of the grip of modernity is that even people who intellectually reject it are still modern men who have no idea of how they could become anything else.

Most modern people lack the concepts necessary to think of themselves as anything more than desire-driven producer-consumers. Reason to them is just calculating options. Honor is just the narcissistic display of commodities that we are told symbolize status.

Pulp Fiction brilliantly concretizes and dramatizes the moments of decision when one chooses to be something more than a mere modern man: Jules Winnfield’s choice to follow his desires or his mystical conviction that God is sending him a message; Butch Coolidge’s choice to be a sneaky, bourgeois coward or a man of honor.

The spiritual man is Jules Winnfield, honestly confronting the fact that he has been lying to himself all his life, that he has been the tool of the “tyranny of evil men” (from Hobbes and Locke down to Marsellus Wallace), and instead “trying to be the shepherd.” The warrior is Captain Koons keeping his word and delivering the gold watch; the warrior is Butch Coolidge descending back into hell with a samurai sword to do justice. These are the kinds of men who can start history again and deliver our people from evil.

Plato claims that society is the soul writ large. If democracy is the rule of desire writ large, then the regime that corresponds to Butch Coolidge’s soul is a warrior aristocracy. The regime that corresponds to Jules Winnfield’s soul is a form of theocracy in which social order is based on a transcendent metaphysical order, what Evola called the idea of the Imperium. If Tarantino had tried to show us the political big picture, he would have gotten it all terribly wrong. But what he does show, he gets dead right. Mapping out the political alternative is our job.

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15 Comments

  1. Jack Donovan
    Posted July 6, 2011 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    Excellent analysis.

  2. Posted July 6, 2011 at 8:37 pm | Permalink

    True Fact: if Pulp Fiction is the greatest movie of all time, the guy who plays the shop owner, Maynard, earlier played the bouncer, Road Rash, in the worst movie of all time, Hobgoblins:

    http://tinyurl.com/43l3afp

  3. Posted July 7, 2011 at 2:05 am | Permalink

    In all fairness, after many years I’ve now re-watched the film. Also, when I commented on Part I, I hadn’t even read the article: just responded to what another commenter said. Now that I’ve read the two parts I found a couple of profound passages (unrelated to the film) to ponder about:

    For my purposes, postmodernity is an attitude toward culture characterized by (1) eclecticism or bricolage, meaning the mixing of different cultures and traditions, i.e., multiculturalism, and (2) irony, detachment, and playfulness toward culture, which is what allows us to mix and manipulate cultures in the first place. The opposite of multiculturalism is cultural integrity and exclusivity. The opposite of irony is earnestness. The opposite of detachment is identification. The opposite of playfulness is seriousness.

    ***

    The core of a living culture is not primarily a set of ideas, but of ideals. Ideals are ideas that make normative claims upon us. They don’t just tell us what is, but what ought to be. Like Rilke’s “Archaic Torso of Apollo,” ideals demand that we change our lives. The core of a living culture is a pantheon of ideals that is experienced as numinous and enthralling. An individual formed by a living culture has a fundamental sense of identification with and participation in his culture. He cannot separate himself from it, and since it is the source of his ideas of his nature, the good life, the cosmos, and his place in it, his attitude toward culture is fundamentally earnest and serious, even pious. In a very deep sense, he does not own his culture, he is owned by it.

    * * *

    Unfortunately, the decadent have Will to Power too. Thus they have been able to free themselves and their desires from the tyranny of normative culture and institute a decadent counter-culture in its place. This is the true meaning of “postmodernism.” Postmodernism replaces participation with detachment, earnestness with irony, seriousness with playfulness, enthrallment with emancipation. Such attitudes demythologize and profane the pantheon of numinous ideals that is the beating heart of a living culture.

    I’ll comment on the film-review later.

  4. JJ
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    Tarrintino is one who really seems to love late modernity, with its pop culture, yet he showed such great instincts in this instance as an artist. Remember the drug dealer who talked like any other salesman type with his “Pepsi challenge” and his three grades of heroine (almost all products have three grades, from bike derailleurs to automotive paint). When he was weighing it out we got one of the best ironies in cinema history. As one might hear through out 1950’s suburbia about drug dealers, his character says, “People like that should be taken out back and shot, no judge, no jury . . .”
    Vincent had just told him somebody keyed his car.

  5. John Norman Howard
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    Yes, Pulp Fiction contains interracial couples, villainous bumbling whites, and noble, eloquent blacks. One just has to look beyond the casting to the story itself.

    The eyes are the window to the soul… the outward appearance of the characters is anything but superficial… one would have to look beyond the casting, the scenes, and the dialog as well.

    Sorry, but Fail one.

    Pulp Fiction is only superficially anti-white. On a deeper level, it can aid us in rejecting modernity and recovering the spiritual foundations of something better.

    Fail two… it’s overtly anti-White… or at best, pro-diversity… which in the end analysis is White genocide.

    Big talk of “honor” yet admitting it was merely an opportunistic double-cross in the end? Can’t have it both ways, mate.

    And the whole “watch in the rectum” thing was just another of Tarantino’s gratuitous homosexual jokes… just like the whole hillbilly pawn shop luridness. Whether you want to credit him for using Walken in the way Walken seems to work best, well… funny in the usual South Park manner, but certainly not ‘genius’.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 7, 2011 at 11:07 am | Permalink

      Your eyes might be the windows to YOUR soul, which is what that saying means. But it certainly does not mean that your eyes are the windows to other people’s souls, or that they penetrate to the essence of whatever surface they light on.

      • John Norman Howard
        Posted July 7, 2011 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

        I know what the saying means… my point is, the outward appearance of the characters in the movie are said movies “eyes”, as it were… hence, one can readily see the indisputable “soul” of the movie… leastwise, those of us with eyes to see, and without the scales of our pet theories, notions, and pseudo-intellectual baggage covering them.

        • Trevor Lynch
          Posted July 7, 2011 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

          These are just rationalizations for your own superficiality.

  6. Posted July 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Race

    According to Trevor Lynch, Tarantino “is a thoroughly repulsive and nihilistic human being”. For nationalist purposes I cannot conceive any good film featuring a black married to a white girl unless the film has an explicitly pro-white message, which obviously every film by this repulsive being lacks.

    The film starts with a white man with his white girlfriend assaulting a restaurant: the opposite of what usually happens in the real world, as revealed by color of crime stats. At the end of the film we see a flashback in that very restaurant with a spiritually powerful black man lecturing the weakling white robbers. Other instances of inverted travesties in Pulp Fiction could be cited but it is unnecessary.

    Art

    True filmic art, like Death in Venice or Andrei Rublev inspires people. But in this decadent century only a handful of Hollywood films have inspired me. 99 per cent of them are so replete with anti-West, multicult messages that almost every time I visit the theaters I feel morally raped.

    In the other thread I said that one of my sisters sings classical music hymns. When Pulp Fiction appeared on the big screen she saw it and instead of finding inspiration she felt visually raped. My sister is very sensitive, and the scene of the silent masked man referred to as “the gimp” (the one who was awakened up from a S&M dungeon to watch a tied-up Butch) shocked her deeply. Just compare this homosexual shit with the Platonic love for Tadzio in Death in Venice: one inspires the sensitive soul and the other trashes the god Eros. The same with the violence: unlike the gratuitous violence in Pulp Fiction a group of Tatars raid the city of Vladimir in Andrei Rublev: a historically accurate and shocking yet inspiring sequence for the psyche of white viewers.

    It could be argued that art depicting a decadent culture is still art, for instance Polanski’s Bitter Moon; the film by the Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón, Children of Men and, according to Lynch, Pulp Fiction.

    My trouble with this approach is that all of these films have contributed to debilitate the psyche of the westerners. Like the character Vincent in Pulp Fiction, Bitter Moon reflects how the extremes of the hedonistic lifestyle in Paris lead to suicide, literally. Like Pulp Fiction, in Children of Men the message is traitorously inverted: the white hero must save a black baby from extinction in a dying world that is no longer breeding any babies.

    Yes: there is art in both Polanski and Cuarón’s films. But since their message hurts the Western soul J. N. Howard’s reply to me in the other thread is worth reciting: “Exactly… and kudos on mention[ing] The Brigade for its much-needed hammer on Hollywood and how to handle that sewer.” Yup, and let’s paraphrase a quote from Pulp Fiction, I’ma get medieval on Hollywood’s ass.

    Lynch’s philosophical input

    On the other hand, my above quotes of Lynch’s review, and many other philosophical insights of his review, are indeed essential food for thought and I would love to see these ideas in a separate article of its own. They explain a lot of what is happening to the white psyche and deserve a fair hearing.

  7. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

    Lynch’s most trenchant observations about the Bruce Willis character reminded me of one thing, and answered a question I have long had for another.

    One, every character Bruce Willis plays is Bruce Willis – hardworking, strongly honorable, strongly moral, decent blue-collar guy in tight situations that developed from those who tolerate evil. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly, or take a lot of back chat from the women, either!

    Two – and thanks to Trevor for this – Bruce Willis is the next generation’s John Wayne. Wayne played basically one role, rewritten in various guises, but he was always THE – emphasize singular – DUKE.

    Three, who would the next Randolph Scott be? Profoundly deep, intensely Self-driven, with a sense of morality that intimidates all he meets.

    Great review, Mr. Lynch.

    What’s In YOUR Future? Focus Northwest!

  8. mysmackan
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    Good review. I saw the movie the first time when I was 15 and was really impressed back then. Allthough then I didn’t see beyond it’s shallow surface of “smart talk” and “coolness”. I don’t think I have seen it since then and I probally won’t since I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t find it as great as I did as a teenager. Do you plan writing a review of twin peaks. It’s my favourite pop-cultural work and since your pen name is Lynch it would be very suiting.

  9. JJ
    Posted July 8, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    Here is my criticism of Pulp Fiction. The failure of the film is a failure of all present day cinema. Although the depiction of the heroic, men of grace and honor, remains popular, their presence can only be seen as conciliatory. Yes, we like them. But that which should only be seen today as tragedy is turned into comedy (in the Greek sense of the word).
    If I were to strike a blow against Tarantino it would not be for his race mixing, nihilism, language, his moral inversion, values relativism-after all, defenders could easily say he is merely depicting the reality of post(late) modernity. This is the badge of Hollywood in the 1970’s, realism.
    Ah, but here is the rub. What place should the heroic take here?
    Us, of the Right, we know. Their bodies lay dead and mutilated, strewn about foreign lands for politicians who are paid to think a certain way. Consider Nietzsche’s, “you will be punished for your virtue”.
    Oh, but not so in Hollywood. There, they get the money, they get the girl, and off they ride into the sunset, Bora Bora no less. Might we call it Hollywood conventionalism?
    Here’s the great hypocrisy of the “get real” crowd. Reality stops in rather convenient places. Money and fame, certainly, but ultimately what they pull off is a commandeering of the heroic in the name of their ant-culture, by pretending there is a place for it.

  10. Posted July 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    While I think that this is an excellent parsing of a film, I have to agree that the film itself has no merit whatsoever for our Movement. Of course, this is hardly to blame Lynch, for in our pathetic age, these are the kinds of culture products we have. One might say Tarantino epitomizes our age.

    One small tragedy in all this is that Lynch is not teaching at a university, while many White-hating, multicultural dimwits are.

    After all, I learned much from this short review. Though I studied Western philosophy in college and went on to get graduate degrees in the humanities, I’ve never really grasped what qualified as “modern,” let alone postmodern. Lynch’s brief words on the former were very helpful.

    What a shame that our age makes a heretic out of someone like Lynch.

  11. Lew
    Posted July 9, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    Tarantino co-wrote Pulp Fiction with a man named Roger Avary. Given that two men collaborated on this film, is it really possible to know which writer was responsible for which elements of the film, including its main themes? I wonder if Trevor Lynch is giving Quentin Tarantino a lot more credit for brilliance than he deserves.

    Although this statement is pure conjecture, it would not surprise me if the other writer, Avary, was responsible for the important ideas in Pulp Fiction related to honor, desire, spirituality and the nature of modernity. I seriously doubt piece of garbage like Quentin Tarantino could identify when Hegel or Plato lived within 500 years.

    So I’m guessing here, but perhaps Tarantino’s collaborator Avary was responsible for the important ideas in Pulp Fiction while Tarantino himself was responsible for the digressions on McDonalds, the gore, the scattered brains in the back seat, and the White-on-Black BSDM sodomy.

    This is not to say Tarantino deserves no credit. He did direct the film.

    • Trevor Lynch
      Posted July 9, 2011 at 10:34 am | Permalink

      I doubt that Tarantino read Plato or Hegel, but he did not have to.

      As for the process by which script became movie, I wanted to discuss this in the article, but it was already too long. The main point I wanted to make, however, is that the script (which is available for sale) was changed during shooting, and by that time, I am pretty sure it was Tarantino making the decisions. Tarantino removed a lot of repugnant little details, and these changes had the effect of making the characters more morally/spiritually consistent, lending the movie more to the archetytal sort of interpretation that I offered.

      Tarantino’s artistic instincts may, in short, be much stronger than this intellectual convictions.

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