The Noble Torturer

The Noble Torturer arrives with tools and a melancholy expression. He is in pain. He is both victimizer and victim. Usually he belongs to some sort of underclass. He could have been you. He is pitted against the government he serves.

The Noble Torturer has father issues. His father is the US government. His father is cruel. His father has forced him to commit evil acts. This experience has given him lasting trauma, but it has also equipped him with formidable skills. Quite often, the Noble Torturer is now working against the government. He’s gone rogue. He has stolen his father’s car and left the state. He hopes his father cries at the angry note he tacked to the kitchen door. I HATE YOU! Inside, the Noble Torturer is just a little boy.

The Noble Torturer has many facets; this is why he glitters. People call him a “complex character” although he has no depth.

He is both pro-war and anti-war; therefore, everyone loves him. People of all political persuasions succumb to his spell.

The Noble Torturer is dependable. He will definitely make you feel something.

The Noble Torturer is working on an elevated level of manpain. It’s far more sophisticated than the manpain experienced by, for example, Russell Crowe’s character in that Gladiator movie. The gladiator’s wife and child were murdered, crucified I think, and his wife was raped “again and again” as Joaquim Phoenix’s character put it, and the gladiator’s manpain grew so intense that it produced an entire movie, but it’s still nothing compared to the Noble Torturer’s manpain! The Noble Torturer’s manpain is located entirely within himself. It doesn’t depend on the suffering of someone else. Unless you count the torture victims, but who’s counting them? The Noble Torturer’s pain eclipses all other agonies.

The Noble Torturer is both the man crying in the dirt and the dead woman hanging from the eaves of the house.

Like a king on a playing card, he has two heads.

The Noble Torturer provides his own sunset. He rides into himself.

Mostly importantly, the Noble Torturer is an artist. The camera dwells on his tool set. He has blunt tools and delicate ones, like a painter with different brushes. The Noble Torturer is a virtuoso of pain. He usually explains to his victim that he’s extremely good at his job. Of course this terrifies the victim. It also marks the Nobel Torturer as a gifted person, one set apart by his skill. The Noble Torturer is glorified in his marvelous dexterity and in his marvelous sorrow.

The Noble Torturer belongs to a skilled elite. You can’t just be born into that kind of expertise! You have to earn it! With his often homely instruments (pliers, drills) the Noble Torturer combines the Great Artist with the Guy Next Door.

This dwelling on his artistry—the way the camera lingers—reveals the true purpose of the Noble Torturer. His purpose is the aestheticization of war. More specifically, it is the aestheticization of trauma.

The Noble Torturer makes trauma beautiful.

This is a message that goes beyond forgiveness. It’s not that we forgive you for the terrible things you’ve done. It’s that we love you for them and we want you to continue, we want you to go on to the point of death. If you’ve tortured for your country, if you wake every night with a racing heart, if you suffer from panic attacks in the grocery store, you must understand that you are now your father’s favorite child. The camera loves you. Everybody loves you.

Trauma becomes melancholy, therefore attractive. In fact it’s kind of hot.

The Noble Torturer admits everything. He knows he’s been very bad.

When he looks in your eyes, you both know he’ll do it again.

He has every right.

He is justified through injustice: that’s his magic.

The more he hurts you, the less important your pain becomes. Your pain is absorbed into his, gathered to it, blended with it, dissolved. When he cuts you, you exist only in the cut. You are all surface, all exterior, while his interior develops. He goes on the journey of pain with you, but as your pain makes you more emphatically a body, his pain gives him something resembling a soul. His personhood advances in direct proportion to your thingness. This is why you are perfect for each other.

There’s a lot of blood. Afterward, the Noble Torturer sings in the shower. You can hear him singing while you lie and wait. You don’t know what you’re waiting for. He sings: The worse things are, the better they are. Pain is beautiful. War is beautiful.



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