By Michael André Bernstein
"You humans positioned value in your lives. good, my existence hasn't ever been very important to someone. i don't have any guilt approximately anything," bragged the mass-murderer Charles Manson. "These young children that come at you with knives, they're your kids. You taught them. i did not train them. . . . they're operating within the streets--and they're coming correct at you!" whilst a true assassin accuses the society he has brutalized, we're surprised, yet we're overjoyed via a similar accusations after they are mouthed by way of a fictional insurgent, outlaw, or monster. In sour Carnival, Michael Andr Bernstein explores this contradiction and defines a brand new determine: the Abject Hero. status on the junction of contestation and conformity, the Abject Hero occupies the logically very unlikely house created via the intersection of the satanic and the servile. Bernstein exhibits that we heroicize the Abject Hero simply because he represents a practice that has develop into a staple of our universal mythology, as seductive in mass tradition because it is in excessive artwork. relocating from an exam of classical Latin satire; via substantially new analyses of Diderot, Dostoevsky, and Cline; and culminating within the court testimony of Charles Manson, sour Carnival deals a revisionist rereading of the total culture of the "Saturnalian discussion" among masters and slaves, monarchs and fools, philosophers and madmen, voters and malcontents. It contests the supposedly regenerative strength of the carnivalesque and demanding situations the pieties of utopian radicalism trendy in modern educational pondering. The readability of its argument and literary variety compel us to confront a strong limitation that engages one of the most principal matters in literary reports, ethics, cultural heritage, and important thought today.
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Additional info for Bitter carnival : ressentiment and the abject hero
Johnson’s account of the poet’s situation provides a valuable corrective to that image: Horace . . was a poet at the edge of a chasm beyond which he could not see. What he saw was a ruin of the world he loved and the death of freedom. His vision was the more bitter because . . he had almost learned to hope . . that his culture would not collapse and his freedom would not die. . The desolation of outward freedom ultimately forced him to search out the inner freedom of the heart that each man has if he wills to find it.
It is the privilege of the rich To waste the time of the poor. (Stevie Smith, “Childe Rolandine”) If men are forbidden to speak their mind seriously . . they will do it ironically. . ’Tis the persecut- O TOTIENS SERVUS 49 ing spirit has raised the bantering one. . The greater the weight is, the bitterer will be the satire. The higher the slavery, the more exquisite the buffoonery. (Lord Shaftesbury, “An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humor”) Thus far, I have emphasized those elements in Davus’s criticisms that seem to cause Horace the greatest anxiety, or that strike most directly at the reassuring image the poet has constructed with such effort in his other satires.
29–35) Although couched in the conventional satiric topos of the dinner party and deliberately denied any prominence by being merely one of a torrent of insults, Davus’s observation is of primary significance in light of Horace’s customary insistence on his liberty. 9, for example, the poet emphasizes that his relationship to the second most powerful man in the empire was one of simple friend to friend, and that neither Maecenas’s O TOTIENS SERVUS 45 wealth and position, nor the poet’s poverty, influenced the nature of their ties.
Bitter carnival : ressentiment and the abject hero by Michael André Bernstein