Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Chris Port Blog #116. Nietzche’s Horse

“Shame on you, coward: I’m Nietzsche’s horse, beat;
beggars will spit in your face in the street.” ~ Marty Gull

'On January 3, 1889, Nietzsche suffered a mental collapse. Two policemen approached him after he caused a public disturbance in the streets of Turin. What actually happened remains unknown, but an often-repeated tale states that Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse at the other end of the Piazza Carlo Alberto, ran to the horse, threw his arms up around its neck to protect the horse, and then collapsed to the ground

In the following few days, Nietzsche sent short writings - known as the Wahnbriefe (“Madness Letters”) - to a number of friends (including Cosima Wagner and Jacob Burckhardt). To his former colleague Burckhardt, Nietzsche wrote: “I have had Caiaphas put in fetters. Also, last year I was crucified by the German doctors in a very drawn-out manner. Wilhelm, Bismarck, and all anti-Semites abolished.” Additionally, he commanded the German emperor to go to Rome to be shot, and summoned the European powers to take military action against Germany.’

Catch-22: Flogging a dying horse; when systems breakdown - rape, murder and A.W.O.L.
[Rome, 1944. A small, squalid apartment with one bare light bulb. The window is open to the dark. AARFY is squatting on the bed in the corner of the room. He is wearing shirt, pants and socks but no trousers, pulling his knees towards him in a foetal postion. YOSSARIAN bursts into the room and stares at him. AARFY is smiling pleasantly.]

AARFY: I only raped her once.

YOSSARIAN: [Stunned.] You killed her...

AARFY: Well I had to do that after I raped her. I couldn’t very well let her go around saying bad things about me now, could I?

YOSSARIAN: [Angry.] Well what did you have to touch her for at all, you dumb bastard! Why didn’t you get some girl off the streets?

AARFY: Not me. I never paid for it in my life.

[YOSSARIAN crosses the room and looks down out of the window. He turns to face AARFY.]

YOSSARIAN: Aarfy? Are you insane? They’re going to throw you in prison. You just killed a girl! You threw her out of the window! She’s lying out there in the street!

AARFY: She has no right to be out there, you know? It’s after curfew.

YOSSARIAN: [Crosses the room again. Stops and turns.] Don’t you realize what you’ve done? You’ve murdered a human being! They can hang you!

AARFY: Well I hardly think they’ll do that. Not to good old Aarfy. I don’t think they’ll make such a fuss over one Italian girl when thousands of lives are being lost every day.

[There is the sound of boots thundering up the stairwell.]

YOSSARIAN: Aarfy. Listen. They’re coming for you! They’re coming to arrest you! You can’t take the life of another human being and get away with it! Don’t you understand that! They’re coming to get you!

[For the first time, AARFY starts to look disturbed. He begins to pull the bed covers up over his knees protectively. The door bursts open and an MP enters the room, night stick drawn. He stares impassively at AARFY for a few seconds then turns to face YOSSARIAN.]

MP: Captain Yossarian?


MP: You’re under arrest.

YOSSARIAN: [Stunned.] But I didn’t...

[The MP slams YOSSARIAN up against the wall.]

MP: You’re AWOL.

[AARFY grins at YOSSARIAN who closes his eyes.]

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