Friday, September 15, 2006


Last night I watched the film Dogville. It is an unusual production, more like theater than film, with much left to the imagination. It addressed the problem of human responsibility.

A scorpion asks a frog to transport it across a river. The frog demurs fearing the scorpion will sting it. “Why would I sting you? We would both drown.”

Convinced by the argument the frog agrees. Half way across the scorpion stings the frog. “Why did you do that?” asks the frog, “Now we will both drown.”

“I could not help it,” replies the scorpion, “it is in my nature.”

The film approaches just this question. Should we excuse immoral behavior because of extenuating situations like poverty, poor education, family background and the rest? Is an attitude of stoicism, where we suffer other people’s bad behavior because they know no better the best approach?

In the end the film answers with a resounding, “No!”

People should behave better. If they do not they must take responsibility for their actions.

It is a very right wing movie.


Anonymous said...

Who is the "we" who are suffering the bad behavior?

Who defines the terms "good" and "bad" behavior?

The well-educated elite usually get to make the rules and define what is acceptable. Of course, disagreeing with their rules is unacceptable.

There is a saying " Until lions have their historians, the tale of the hunt will favor the hunter".

Terry Hamblin said...

Well, the bad behavior in the movie included cruelty, bullying, rape and other forms of sexual oppression, false imprisonment, blackmail, betrayal, vindictiveness, destruction of other people's property, unkindness, lying, enforced slavery, false accusation and serial pettiness.

The point that the film makes is that "we" who suffer such things don't do well to acquiesce to such behaviour.

Perhaps, anonymous, you would prefer an alternative morality where such things are acceptable?

Anonymous said...

My point is simply this - everything that you just described as bad behavior is happening in places like say...Iraq. But that is OK because it is (western) state sponsored "bad" behavior.

The right wing likes to make their circular arguments justifying their ends even though their means are perhaps worse. Why worse? Because hypocrisy is the cherry on top of their pile of dung.

State sponsors of "bad" behavior COUNT on our aquiescence. Without it, war would be a relic of the Stone Ages.

Terry Hamblin said...

Bad behavior is bad behavior whoever does it. We should no more acquiesce to state sponsored bad behavior than to that of free-lance terrorists.