America today

A fascist is a frontrunner

Shootings don’t go away

Water poisons children

America today

Blood seeps from black bodies

The bullet is not astray

Like whips from a gun

America today

In search of opportunity

‘Go back, you can’t stay’

The promise of Ellis died

America today

Panic! at the desko

I hear the din growing louder and louder, like the sound airplanes make as they take off except I’m not surrounded by passengers; I am alone, sinking into my chair, the sudden weightlessness of my body pulling me further down and immobilizing me into a catatonic state.

The person sitting directly in front of me keeps asking if I am ok. I can’t hear her. I can’t hear anything but the violent ringing noise, which also reminds me of a vacuum cleaner, not only in the intensity of the sound, but also in how swiftly it sucks every ounce of my energy in a matter of seconds.

But brief as it may be on a clock, in my mind it feels eternal, and not knowing when it will end, a hopelessness envelops me. I am afraid.

I know what is happening to me. It’s not the first time and it certainly won’t be the last.

The ceiling, the desk, the office, it all blends into a swirling, pixelated piece of French Impressionism. I have an entire collection worthy of an exhibition by now.

And then, the calm.

The din’s aggression subsides and I perceive a sound, a different one. The person is asking if I am ok.

Am I ok? I don’t know. But I can hear the voices inside my head again.

Chapter 1

“I can’t do this anymore.” The words escaped before he could swallow them. He stabbed his pen on his notepad and let his eyes become absorbed by the finite blue lines that were expecting his words at any moment. Only the sound of the office clock accompanied him. It ticked and it tocked, and it ticked and tocked again, a relentless, repetitive rhythm that has no end and no beginning.

He tried to peer into the future but as one eye dreamt up an escape the other eye derailed those plans. The past. That’s all he could think about as of late. Some hold on to it with the intent of looking back and finding a better version of themselves. For Adam, the man he remembered bore no relation to him, as if a stranger had borrowed his body and was now unceremoniously giving it back to its real owner.

His mind drifted and with it his body. He was no longer sitting in his chair; he had broken free, hovering above this creature like a god whose sole purpose was to examine the level of absurdity in each mortal’s life. Adam’s fears were confirmed as he looked down at the pathetic excuse of a man right below him. It was all a farce and he was the protagonist, at least in this stage, in this theater. He found solace in his acceptance of it, not in the damning fact that he hid it every day from an audience oblivious to his directors’ masterfully disguised deceit. His performance was often as impeccable as the unmarked white sheets of paper before him, enthralling the thousands of seemingly loyal spectators who were not immune to illusion. The imperceptible strings pulled him here, jerked him there, from one side to the other, in as many directions as they could without breaking him because, at least for that moment, the millions of pairs of eyes adored him, even if those holding the purse strings didn’t.

And yet, he smiled. A sad clown.

Behind that smile was a man who had grown to despise himself for gradually turning into what he had publicly accused many a man of being: a fraud. The industry was full of them. Perhaps it was a requirement if you wanted to stay in it. But he could no longer pretend to be one.  Maybe, he thought, maybe I need a public hanging. The strings were there–they just needed to be placed around his neck. And the crowd was there, too. It just needed to be given a reason to clamor instead of clap and that wouldn’t be difficult; the self-condemned man had become an expert in manipulating mass emotions.

From the stage to the scaffold. If only he could allow himself to laugh at the absurdity of such a thought instead of force himself to dwell in the contrived gallows of his imagination. More importantly, he needed to attend to the notepad in front of him, on which he was about to document his resignation.

Then the sound of approaching footsteps caused him to drop his pen and look around. One of the puppeteers.

“Adam. What are you still doing here? Writing? Still thinking of writing that book you’ve been talking about all these years? Instead of talking about writing it, you could have written it by now don’t you think? But that’s not what we pay you to do now, isn’t it?”

Adam bent down to pick up the pen as a timely excuse not to make eye contact with his boss, who wore a loud orange shirt and a proud smirk that only enhanced his gloating.

“You wanted to say something to me?” he asked, carefully placing the pen on top of the sheets so as to conceal his bubbling disdain. “Yes, in fact I did. We have a new girl coming in tomorrow and I’d like you to take care of her–you know, introduce her to the team, answer her questions. Just show her the ropes.” That last part he actually gesticulated so as to make you think there was a rope in his hand. 

“Sure.” Flat and firm. He wondered whether the puppeteer suspected he was planning to submit his resignation tomorrow. “Thank you, Adam. Now stop writing and go home to that lovely wife of yours.”

“That lovely wife of yours.”

It echoed in his mind two or three times while the footsteps died away. It wasn’t the first time his boss had inserted ambiguous or distasteful phrases about women into their private conversations. In fact, among the seniors he had earned the reputation of being a pervert, therefore any time he’d comment on x’s “taut ass” or y’s “tempting tits,” everyone, including Adam, would laugh it off and carry on. But it feels different when it’s your wife, and Adam wondered why he had never said anything before.

On his way out of the office, he caught a glimpse of a headline flashing across the only TV that had been left on. Something about an execution. It reminded him of one of the first stories he had to cover when he was just a kid with a pen and no ego. The man had spent 31 years in jail only to find out that he had been wrongly convicted. Adam asked him whether he felt any bitterness, or even hate, towards those who had committed the crime of stealing a part of his life. The man–his name was Oscar–looked down for a while. Adam thought he was ignoring his question.

But then he glanced up, looked into Adam’s eyes and in an unnaturally serene tone responded with a question.”Why do people want me to be angry?”

He bit his lower lip. “My conscience was always free because I knew I was no criminal.”

He looked down again. Adam was about to put his pen in his pocket and thank him when the man came closer and gently grabbed his arm. “You know, I pity those who will live knowing they put an innocent man in jail for more than half of his life. Now who’s the prisoner?” He chuckled and patted Adam on the back before walking away.

At the time, Adam believed Oscar was putting on a show, and maybe he was. He never saw him again so there was no way to rectify his doubt. Though now, at least a decade later and at the peak of his career, the same man who had beamed into millions of homes to deliver whatever it was that needed to be delivered and who, to an extent, had become a part of that family the way the homeless man you pass by on your way to work becomes a part of your commute, now–even if fleetingly–that same man wished he were Oscar.

The notepad remained on his desk, pristine. Beside it, the pen lay cracked in half.

An excerpt from ‘Siddhartha’

If you do ever want to read Herman Hesse’s Siddhartha, stop reading now because I will spoil the ending.

I’ve often found it difficult to explain how I feel about what I believe in, how I approach life and how one’s experiences can lead to insight and wisdom, but only for you and no one else. If I could, it would be the way Siddhartha explains it to his friend from childhood, Govinda, when they encounter each other for the last time and Govinda asks Siddhartha to tell him what doctrine he adheres to that may help him as well.

Siddhartha responds: “As you know, my dear friend, I began to distrust doctrines and teachers already as a young man…I have stuck to this. Nonetheless I have had many teachers since then.”

Govinda believes Siddhartha is mocking him, but Siddhartha disputes this and then tells him something I’ve thought about many times but have never been able to put into words.

“Wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom that a wise man attempts to pass on always sounds like foolishness…One can pass on knowledge but not wisdom. One can find wisdom, one can live it, one can be supported by it, one can work wonders with it, but one cannot speak it or teach it. I sometimes suspected this even as a youth; its what drove me from my teachers.”

And Siddhartha’s view of the world mirrors my own, as unorthodox as it may sound:

“The opposite of every truth is just as true! For this is so: A truth can always only be uttered and cloaked in words when it is one-sided. Everything is one-sided that can be thought in thoughts and said with words, everything one-sided, everything half, everything is lacking wholeness, roundness, oneness…The world itself, however, the Being all around us and within us, is never one-sided. Never is a person, or a deed, purely Sansara or purely Nirvana, never is a person utterly holy or utterly sinful…The world, friend Govinda, is not imperfect, nor is it in the middle of a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect in every moment…therefore everything that *is* appears good to me. Death appears to me like life, sin like holiness, cleverness like folly; everything must be just as it is, everything requires only my assent, only my willingness, my loving approval, and for me it is good and can never harm me. I experienced by observing my own body and my own soul that I sorely needed sin, sorely needed concupiscence, needed greed, vanity and the most shameful despair to learn to stop resisting, to learn to love the world and stop comparing it to some world I only wished for and imagined, some sort of perfection I myself had dreamed up, but instead to let it be as it was and to love it and be happy to belong to it.”

 

For Debbie

Debbie,

It’s been a rough two weeks, for many reasons. But the main reason was that you left without even giving me the chance to say goodbye.

I came home today and looked at the stack of mail sitting on the kitchen counter. There was one envelope that I didn’t want to open yet, the one that Matt sent me. But I had to—it was time.

Staring at me was your face. Your vibrant face. It was an issue of The Brown and White from two Sundays ago.

I’m not sure if I ever told you this, but, for a while, during my last year at Lehigh, you were one of the few people I trusted. I had lost all of my friends except those at The Brown and White. And because you and I were the head “empresses” (to use your word), we stuck through what seemed like endless press nights. I confess that, though sometimes I wanted to skip copy editing (and so did you) and other tedious work, I was happy not to be alone, to be there with somebody who still wanted to be my friend, and so I secretly didn’t want press nights to end. I don’t think I ever thanked you for this, and I’m sorry, but you have no idea how much you helped through those tough times.

I will remember you for many reasons—it’s hard not to. Your laugh. As I read this issue’s editorial, it seems your laugh was your trademark, and I can’t help but agree. That hearty, toss-your-head-back, uninhibited laugh of yours is the soundtrack to my B&W memories. Your high-five. We both had cars, but somehow, you’d always end up driving me up to Coppee and back down in your white beamer. As I’d say goodbye, we’d high-five for one more successful press night. Your emails. You were the queen of random and hilarious emails. Maybe one day I’ll publish them, because the world deserves to see how incredibly funny you were.

You know, I remember having to attend my first B&W orientation meeting and being somewhat scared. I was the lone sophomore who had changed her major a bit late in the game, so there were a lot of freshmen, including this one girl who kept asking questions with her loud, confident voice and who seemed to know more than our orientation leaders and who, frankly, intimidated me. It’s odd to think that was you, because my first and last impressions of you were so different.

I’m sorry I never called to catch up, and that most of our communication was online. It shouldn’t have been like this, and for that I apologize, even though I’m well aware it’s too late.

You still mean so much to me. You have no idea how much I’ll miss you.

Liz

New year’s evocation

But I had lost more than Alexej and the unique opportunity to save a fellow man. Looking back on it today, from a distance, I see it was then I lost the warm sense of solidarity and companionship I’d had with my fellow black insignias, and with it any chance of resurrecting my trust in men. I began to have doubts about the value of our solidarity, which was based solely on the force of circumstance and an urge for self-preservation that compressed us into a densely packed flock. And I began to think that the black insignia group was as capable of bullying a man (making him an outcast, hounding him to death) as the group raising their hands in the university lecture hall that day in the past, or perhaps as capable as any group.” – Chapter 14, page 115

In this excerpt of Milan Kundera’s “The Joke,” Ludvik, the protagonist, has just learned that the newest, and most wide-eyed, member of the soldiers is dead. Prior to this discovery Ludvik’s friends and a non-commissioned officer think Alexej is sound asleep, and because the consensus is that he was the outsider among the black insignia men, they plan to pour a bucket of water on him to try to wake him up. Ludvik finds this scene repulsive and is disgusted with the soldiers’ blind willingness to side with the enemy (the corporal).

“I was overcome with rage, a blinding rage aimed at the entire lot of them, at their unthinking eagerness to believe every accusation, at their readily available cruelty…” Ludvik instinctively yells at Alexej to get him to wake up and is then confronted by a fellow soldier. Moments later, they realize he is dead.

As for the fateful moment in the university lecture hall, Ludvik is referring to the day his professors and closest friends, among others, voted to have him expelled from the Communist Party and from the university he was attending due to “The Joke” (a short, humorous letter he sent to a girl. It ended up enraging, rather than entertaining, her and members of the Party).

************

Now read this piece by Hitchens:

My old mentor and friend Robert Conquest, another single-handed historian and truth-teller…is still mistaken when he suggests that most of our woes derive from idealists, social engineers and Utopians. He is correct in his way…However, as often as not you will find that—whatever the high-sounding pretext may be—the worst crimes are still committed in the name of the old traditional rubbish: of loyalty to nation or “order” or leadership or tribe or faith. To train the condemnation upon the Utopians is to miss the historical point (the point made in Animal Farm, among other places) that Utopians become tyrants when they start to emulate their former masters.” –“Letters to a Young Contrarian,” Christopher Hitchens

It seems to me, and I could be wrong, that Hitchens is trying to dispel the idea that idealists and Utopians, or any thought leaders under similar labels, look to the future as their way of leading revolutions, because when you think of visionaries, you think of the word “new.” But, what inspires these visionaries, Hitchens says, is what also fuels the rulers they’re fighting against.

********************

Besides the serendipitous order of reading Kundera’s “The Joke ” after Hitchens’ “Letters to a Young Contrarian,” the reason I’ve brought these two passages together is because, after such a tumultuous year of uprisings and mass mobilization, it is necessary to remember that revolutions are nothing new.

Much attention has been focused on which tools these modern revolutionaries have employed, and how they’ve been successful, and this is crucial for a number of reasons many experts have reiterated. I won’t delve into that, but if you’re curious, Clay Shirky’s “Here Comes Everybody” is a good primer.

So, revolutions are nothing new. Most, if not all, countries have had multiple revolutions or, as 2011’s most salient legacy, are currently undergoing one.

Revolutions don’t scare me in that I believe both self-appointed and democratically elected heads of state, including their governments, should constantly be challenged for their idiosyncratic flaws. What does frighten me a bit is when the outcome of a revolution betrays its initial aim.

The sentences in boldface reveal the unsettling nature of humans, yesterday, today and tomorrow. What seemed like genuine solidarity at first turns out to be disparate pieces brought together “on the force of circumstance.” Earlier in the book, Ludvik is amazed at each soldier’s singularity, but in this scene, he observes their transformation into a band of like-minded beings (which was prompted by their consensual dislike of Alexej), bringing to light their latent “readily available cruelty.”

These soldiers are deemed enemies of the Communist state and treated as such, and yet here we witness their unconscious approval of brutal behavior towards the minority. And then we insert a bit of Hitchens wisdom: “…Utopians become tyrants when they start to emulate their former masters.”

I’ve seen this behavior among my own friends and when observing crowds. I’ve taken part in this herd mentality as both a victim and an instigator, obviously not at the same time (and not quite as obvious, I’m not proud of the latter).

I see it on Twitter all of the time, the same tool used by revolutionaries to find refuge among an international community and expose the atrocities happening in their part of the world. People, from respected journalists to political figures to visionaries, gang up and, via a slew of biting tweets, bully the person whose views they don’t agree with. These same people also regularly send out tweets in support of religious and ethnic tolerance and in defense of freedom of speech. They demand respect, but don’t reciprocate. You then envision how this could play out in  something as big as a revolution and outside of Twitter.

When revolutions occur, we are all reminded that we are capable of bringing about change; what we never quite acknowledge is that we are also capable of being cruel towards those we deem cruel and even towards other non like-minded revolutionaries.

Will 2012 be a repetition of history? I certainly hope it won’t.

Le bouc émissaire et le désire mimétique dans Ma vie en rose

This is the last essay I wrote for my last French class of my college career (it was on French cinema). I’ve lost essays before because I don’t always back up my computer, and this one is really important to me, so I wish to preserve it. You don’t have to read it. This is mainly for my own plaisir.

Le film Ma vie en rose a forcement débattu la question du genre en racontant la vie d’un garçon de sept ans qui désire être fille et se marier avec une de ses camarades de classe. Mais les choses ne sont pas si simples. Son indécision de genre à sept ans n’est pas compatible avec le voisinage dont il est parti, au moins dans les yeux des gens qui habitent là-bas. Involontairement et immédiatement, il représente un tabou, peut-être le plus exécré de tous les tabous parce qu’il remet en question tous les fondements de la société, qui a été pour des milléniums définis par la dichotomie de l’homme et la femme. La présence de Ludo, donc, devient une sorte de catalyseur dans cette société en particulier, et bientôt, il se transforme en le bouc émissaire dont René Girard a parlé.

C’est à dire, Ludo va être persécuté. A la surface, parce qu’il est une anomalie parmi eux. Si on pénètre cette surface, cependant, on trouvera que le problème n’est pas Ludo, mais eux. Comme Girard a dit, au lieu d’assumer la responsabilité des problèmes qui commencent a surgir, les gens attribuent cette responsabilité a « other people who seem particularly harmful for easily identifiable reasons » (Scapegoat14). C’est clair qu’un petit garçon qui se habille en vêtements de fille peut être facilement reconnaissable. Il continue en disant que l’objet de la persécution est souvent « the weakest and most defenseless, especially young children » (Scapegoat 14).

Ces deux traits sont évidemment trouvés dans Ma vie en rose parce que la présence de Ludo rappelle les points faibles aux gens dans ce voisinage—leurs propres tabous déguisés en désirs et fantaisies. Ludo, involontairement, les fait sortir. Il révèle le mal de la société, et par conséquent il est blâmé pour leur malheur. « Ultimately, the persecutors always convince themselves that a small number of people, or even a single individual, despite his relative weakness, is extremely harmful to the whole of society » (Girard 15).

Alors, l’incipit du film essaie d’établir la rigidité de la société pour aider le spectateur à comprendre pour quoi Ludo est remarqué parmi d’autres. Ce petit monde, qui paraît être une parodie d’un voisinage américain, est contrôlé par des règles et standards stricts, de la structure des maisons aux usages sociales. Les premières scènes répètent l’action d’un fermeture a glissière pour montrer pas seulement tout ce que les femmes doivent faire pour paraître acceptables mais, plus important, pour signaler la homogénéité de la vie dans ce société. Chaque couple et chaque famille désormais commencent à donner des indices au spectateur qu’il faut faire les choses d’une certaine manière. Ca inclut porter des nœuds papillon et porter des robes, et toujours être poli et heureux.

La fête de bienvenue semble être un symbole ironique parce que, bien que son but soit de accueillir les Fabre et les présenter à la communauté, ils seront bientôt ostracisés. Tous ces couleurs éclatantes et décorations superflues dissimulent la réalité du voisinage. Même Granny se moque de la banderole à l’entrée de la maison de sa fille. Elle est aussi la seule personne qui remarque que toutes les maisons se ressemblent, et juste après la fête, la caméra nous montre dans un plan symétrique la synchronisation de la vie à ce voisinage, ou tous les garages s’ouvrent et toutes les voitures départent a la même fois. Le réalisateur ne hésite pas en placer un personnage qui n’est pas aveugle à la réalité des choses. Mais une voix dissidente parmi la foule reste étouffée, et Granny a ses propres problèmes.

Peu a peu, a cause de le statut de Ludo comme bouc émissaire, nous nous rendons compte que, sous ce vernis fragile de perfection, il existe un tissu de problèmes dans la communauté de Ludo, et que ces problèmes sont des tabous, ironiquement construits par les contrevenants à la loi sociale. Ludo sera impliqué jusqu’aux problèmes soient résolus.

Girard, dans son œuvre La violence et le sacré, essaie de expliquer ce qui se passe dans le film, comme dans plusieurs conflits fictives et réelles. Il dit que dans les relations humaines les mots comme l’égalité et la similarité évoquent une image d’harmonie, exactement comme ces images du voisinage qui sont établis d’abord. « If we have the same tastes and like the same things, surely we are bound to get along. But what will happen when we share the same desires ?»

La réponse, selon Girard, est la rivalité. Girard parle du désire mimétique, un terme qui signifie que l’origine d’une désir dans une personne est a cause de l’emprunt du désir d’une autre personne.  La raison pour laquelle c’est important de comprendre ce terme est parce que Ludo est à la fois le bouc émissaire et le révélateur du réseau des désirs mimétiques, et donc complètement responsable, dans les yeux du voisinage, pour le désordre (la rivalité) qui résulte. Il est la source de la tension entre ces deux concepts.  La famille de Ludo aussi est involontairement responsable pour le désordre, et c’est pour ca que nous voyons après la pièce scolaire de Blanche Neige l’expulsion symbolique de tous les Fabre.

Par exemple, avant de fêter la bienvenue des Fabre, Albert, le patron du père de Ludo, et son épouse, Lisette, conversent sur eux parce que Lisette ne les connaît pas. « C’est une grande famille, non ? » demande Lisette. « Ah, formidable. Ils ont quatre enfants » répond Albert. A cet instant, Albert s’est rendu compte que ce commentaire a blessé Hanna, parce que, comme nous apprenons plus tard, leur fille est morte, et ce qui reste est Jérôme, leurs fils de sept ans et l’objet d’amour de Ludo. Par conséquent, les Fabre deviennent l’idéale dans les yeux de Lisette, et probablement Albert. Ils convoitent cette fertilité qu’ils manquent, même si le faire est un tabou religieux.  Et c’est exactement ce désir mimétique qui les pousse à traiter les Fabre comme parias. Ludo n’est qu’une excuse, un bouc émissaire, pour cette douleur cachée.

Il faut mentionner que la scène ou Ludo et Jérôme sont sur le point de « se marier » dans la chambre de la sœur morte de Jérôme, c’est Ludo qui est blâmé pour le spectacle. Autres scènes, cependant, suggèrent que Jérôme est en train de chercher son identité, par exemple lorsqu’il préfère jouer avec Ludo plutôt que Sophie pendant la recréation. Jérôme, c’est évident, se sent comme Ludo, mais ces parents ne le acceptent ni le tolèrent. Albert et Lisette, dehors la champ de la camera, menacent leur fils qu’être homosexuel signifie aller en enfer, l’incitant a rejeter Ludo et, peut-être, son désir secret pour lui. Evidemment, ils sont coupables pour construire les tabous qui règnent dans ce voisinage, et ils jouent une grande partie dans la complicité de leur douleur et celle des autres.

En réalité, la plupart des adultes dans le film sont coupables pour leur propre douleur interne, qui se traduise en la persécution de Ludo. Comme susmentionné, Albert et Lisette ont une rôle puissant dans ces deux choses, mais la famille de Ludo est responsable aussi, particulièrement Pierre, le père de Ludo.

Pierre et Albert sont le disciple et le modèle, respectivement, dont Girard parle dans le processus du désir mimétique. Le modèle, écrit Girard, favorise l’imitation de sa vie et se considère sensiblement au-dessus du disciple. Ca peut expliquer pour quoi Albert, bien qu’il soit très fier de sa position comme patron et père, se sent menacé par le fait que son fils ressemble le fils de son disciple, Pierre.  Pendant ce temps, le disciple « feels both rejected and humiliated, judged unworthy by his model of participating in the superior existence the model himself enjoys » (Violence 146).

Cette rivalité dans Ma vie en rose est très évidente, particulièrement parce que Pierre travaille pour Albert, et donc, il doit faire le possible pour s’accrocher a son boulot. Malheureusement, le bouc émissaire de Ludo doit souffrir tandis que son père essaie de réussir. Pierre reproche Ludo quand il utilise les vêtements de la sœur de Jérôme et lorsque lui et Hanna l’emmènent au psychologue. Pierre promet à Albert que la psychologue va régler Ludo.

Il faut ajouter que Lisette, pendant la fête de Sophie, dit « Albert n’aime pas beaucoup ce gens la. Il pense que si la société n’était pas aussi dégénéré, il n’aurait pas besoin pour des fous qui s’occupent d’autres fous ». Sa remarque rappelle les Fabre de leur position sous Albert et Lisette, et aggrave la rivalité entre les deux hommes. C’est jusqu’à la scène ou Pierre dit qu’il a été terminé, qu’il partage la marginalisation de Ludo. Et en répondant a la question innocent de Ludo si c’est ca faute, il dit : « Non, les gens sont des cons. » Les gens, ou vraiment, les adultes ?

« To make the reciprocity complete, we need only add that the disciple can also serve as a model, even to his own model, » exprime Girard (Violence 146).  Lorsque Hanna est présentée dans la fête de bienvenue, Albert la regarde avec des yeux qui exsudent le désir. Lisette s’est rendu compte, mais ne dit rien. C’est après la dernière session avec la psychologue lorsque Hanna intentionnellement donne un baiser à Albert qu’elle réagisse. Il remarque que Hanna est folle parce qu’il ne peut pas admettre qu’il désir la femme de son ancien employé, un désir mimétique dont l’origine est Pierre mais aussi l’image idéale perpétué par la société.  Puis, Albert dit que la famille Fabre représente le mal. Une autre fois, l’état de Ludo comme bouc émissaire est renforcé, mais cette fois il est accompagné par sa mère aussi.

Hanna, comme les reste, a son rôle dans la victimisation de Ludo a cause de son désir mimétique de monter l’échelle sociale. Lorsque Pierre perde son boulot, la première chose dont Hanna s’inquiète est déménager parce qu’ils n’ont pas les moyens pour garder ce style de vie.  Ludo innocemment demande si c’était sa faute. Pierre le dénie. « Je m’emmerde de la hypocrisie » elle hurle. « Oui, c’est ta faute. » Elle a la même réaction quand Ludo doit changer écoles.

Il faut parler de Granny, l’autre adulte avec un rôle puissant dans le film. Le désir d’elle est simple et évident des qu’elle est présentée : elle veut être jeune. Elle arrive à la maison de sa fille en une décapotable jeune éclatant et implore ses petits-enfants de l’appeler « E-li-sa-beth », pas Granny. Pendant la fête, tandis qu’elle danse à une chanson pop, son gendre remarque « elle se déguise en jeune ».  Elle ne cache pas son désir, particulièrement à Ludo. Granny lui admet que elle veut être comme Pam, fine, mais puis elle lui dit qu’il faut affronter la réalité. Quand elle désir être jeune, cependant, elle ne le fait pas d’une manière qui blesse Ludo. Elle « fermez les yeux » et vit sa fantaisie. De tous, Granny est le plus acceptable et la seule personne qui ne considère pas a Ludo comme un bouc émissaire, particulièrement quand il lui dit qu’il et Jérôme allaient se marier quand il ne soit plus garçon. Le garçon de sept ans n’est pas tellement différent a elle, Granny détermine par contre aux autres adultes qui ne veulent pas s’associer avec lui.  Le problème est-ce que le désir d’être jeune est plus acceptable, dans les yeux d’autres, que vouloir changer de genres.

Finalement, le bouc émissaire, Ludo, a son propre désir mimétique dont la racine est Pam, la poupée et une sorte de fée pour Ludo.  La seule fois que nous le voyons être violent est pendant la pièce de Blanche Neige. Pour vivre sa fantaisie de devenir elle, il imite les adultes en sabotant la pièce et forçant à Sophie de lui donner ses vêtements. One peut justifier ses actions dans le sens qu’il les a appris de ses parents. Il y a d’autres exemples dans le film ou les enfants imitent leurs parents, comme quand Sophie ne veut pas jouer avec Jérôme parce qu’il est un « tapette » (nous voyons un Albert furieux confronter le père de Sophie).  Une autre exemple est la pétition réclamant le renvoi de Ludo—c’était signé par les parents, pas les enfants.  Les enfants, nous semble dire le réalisateur, sont innocents. Ce sont les adultes qui causent la douleur, comme quand Ludo est « castré ». Toute sa famille regarde l’acte sacré de sa castration de cheveux. Ils savent ce qu’ils font et la violence qu’ils inspirent. Désormais, Ludo n’est pas le même.

Alors, nous témoignons comment les désirs mimétiques des adultes ont effectué la persécution et transformation de Ludo. La plupart du voisinage a tourné le dos à Ludo, mais au moins sa famille est revenue à la raison. L’histoire de Ludo évoque l’histoire du Christ, qui est une figure centrale du livre, Le bouc émissaire, de Girard, et qui comme Ludo, a été persécutée par les Juifs, mais au moins ses disciples sont revenues a la raison. La souffrance de Ludo évoque images religieuses, et même le terme bouc émissaire ressemble l’agneau dont les Evangiles parlent. Comme agneau, dit Girard, « it implies the substitution of one victim for all the others but replaces all the distasteful and loathsome connotations of the goat with the positive associatons of the lamb. It indicates more clearly the innocence of this victim, the injustice of the condemnation, and the causelessness of the hatred of which it is object » (Scapegoat 116).

Mais le Christ était un homme masculin, au moins la définition accepté par la société, et son genre n’était pas questionné. Est-ce que Ludo et d’autres comme lui pourront devenir la connotation positive d’un bouc émissaire ? Ou est-ce qu’ils toujours seront des victimes ?