The problem of friendship & the good
June decides that Chloe is her friend, so now they must do things together, or else in what does friendship consist? Chloe takes her on a tour of New York City, touristy, she says. Chloe’s tour, of course, is about horrendous crimes. June does not reflect on this, confidently setting up a dinner date on this dubious foundation…
June’s disappointments send her to a pilates class, where she befriends other clueless girls. They wear neon pink t-shirts, but do not drink alcohol. Of course, they lie to themselves about the inevitable competition over males, to say nothing of the depressive ignorance of what working out says about a civilization. Athleticism connects the good to the beautiful, but by the useful, not by the pleasant. It emphasizes competition, struggle. It deceives June by suggesting health is independence, whereas awareness of the problem of health is continuous worrying over dying.
Chloe dislikes other women, because unlike men they are competitive. She robs James endlessly, & he does not care, because he thinks he can afford it. Girls know better: They are more focused on the good, which cannot be shared. Chloe does not like girls because she does not like competition. But there is also a matter of pride. She is a deceiver, but she deceives everyone by showing her brilliant beauty. Girls deceive rather by seeming meek or unthreatening. It is Chloe’s love of war that sends her ranting about girlish conniving.
Chloe only agrees to be friends with June when she realizes June deceived her by acting like a friend – that is to say, by making sacrifices, thinking of someone else’s good. It is generally true that Chloe does not take anything seriously unless it involves deception, because everything involves deception. Friends could be friends if they are undeceived about that. But can any friendship be built on knowledge of necessity, that is to say, of the necessity of deception? June still wants to make sacrifices, which still makes Chloe laugh.
James, always alive to the perils attending on celebrity, realizes that he must do charitable work to compete with the other celebrities’ charities. A reputation for mercy or selflessness is priceless – what greater glory is there, but in being a friend to the people…
But the child he is to help has real problems – other children bully her. James recognizes this as one of the softnesses of our days, & means to exploit the public fear of cruelty & pain by helping the child. He could be a hero, like child protection bureaucrats on television… With admirable élan, he learns that the only solution is to turn the girl into a bully, too. Majority rule, it’s called.