On the strife of friendship
Chloe & James have a habit of hurling insults at each other. They are somewhat witty, but it would seem the purpose is not to lose sight of themselves. Pleasure inclines man to forget himself. To get slow & fat, in short, which is to say, ripe for destruction. Pain, however, is simply unattractive. Comic insults are a happy marriage of pleasure & pain.
The comedy is not there to mask the insults. If anything, it adds insult to injury. Comedy appeals to anger – it’s really fighting words – & also to shame or some reasonable equivalent of shame – self-interest, let’s say. This seems like a fragile way of keeping the world together.
Needless to say, hapless, moral June, again trying to use good means to reach good ends, frowns upon this sort of talk. She has her mother to chat with before going to sleep, like all decent women do. Well, she gets her wish – Chloe & James one day take their anger without the comedy & then separate.
Chloe gets a job which allows her to be angry with people – lawyer? – & James gets a girl who loves him unconditionally, so that he ends up fat & slow. Now the other characters see something they hadn’t seen before, the collapse of the statues. This sort of end of the world is not all that rare. However, the democratic solution is to substitute some by others. The anger that comedy educates is really a great defense, especially against the combination of worship & moralism that seems to define democratic taste. But Chloe has to face the democratic facts: Just because she is brilliant does not mean she is rich. James is her aristocratic patron. If he does not defend her from the people, the people will morally force her to work for a living, because they dare not act on the consequences of their own adoration, which proves that making money & making beautiful things are very different makings – like earning & spending money.
June hears her dad talk about sex with her mother, then she alludes to a story nobody wants to hear, how her parents once separated & she got them back together, then she calls Chloe & James mom & pop, then she has to bring them back together – they come together making fun of her. Maybe mankind do depend on the brilliant in some way similar to children depending on parents – maybe the children are the only thing bringing the parents together.
This started because the two have a veto over each other’s sex lives. This is a negative version of conjugal fidelity, of course. Chloe vetoes with a view to James’s good, as does James.