Mocking And Humiliating Others Is One Of The Strongest Pleasures Provided To People By Human Nature

Power is not only what oppresses, what is oppressive, it’s also what depresses: whenever I’m depressed, there is power at work somewhere.
Roland Barthes, “The grain of Voice”, 1977, p. 269

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Marcel Janco, “Two Guns to the Head”, 1940**

It is not enough pleasure for these two happy sons of bitches to play at mock execution with a frightened and desperate man – it is not enough, to use Barthes’ terminology, to oppress. They need to achieve more – they want the captured one to wish to kill himself. Indeed, won’t it be extra fun if homicide and suicide could happen simultaneously, like a duet? – And even better – be indistinguishable? So, interrogators-torturers encourage the imprisoned to get the desire to kill himself to make his agony more entertaining and satisfying for them.

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Marcel Janco, “Two Nazi Soldiers Mistreating Jews”, 1942

Human buttocks are ennobled by human social nature – by social interaction. They stopped to be just for individual-physiological purposes, they are adapted to social function by the efforts of those who want to reinforce the borderline between the higher level of social hierarchy and its lower level. Human buttocks got a social function: to satisfy those who are above in the social hierarchy. These resourceful people – entrepreneurial in their ability to satisfy their needs are free to get pleasure by kicking the buttocks of those who are lower in social power.

Marcel Janco’s drawing depicts the situation of physical insults of the subjugated civilians. But isn’t being fired by the autonomous will of the employers – by their shining sovereignty is kind of being kicked in the ass? Isn’t the fact that a guy like Donald Dump (individual dressed in banknotes and embellished by mass money-worship) can fire you at any moment while your kids may not have enough to eat, another kick in the ass? In the 21st century the quantity of people in a situation of being chronically unemployed without having done anything wrong is rapidly growing, as so is the quantity of enthusiasts and fans of ass-kicking. In our time of exuberant commercialism some entrepreneurial minds may even invent something like – to pay the chronically unemployed and/or homeless volunteers, shall we say – a small change per kick, or creative business idea of beauty-contest for the most original and impressive pattern of bruise left on the buttocks after being kicked. We already see that the 21st century culture renews itself according to commercial perspective with maniacal energy.

Marcel Janco, “Jews Forced To Wash Windows”, 1941
Marcel Janco, “Jews Forced To Wash Windows”, 1941

Sometimes the necessity to adapt to unbearable situations stimulates the human mind to create the reasons for enduring. For example, to think about slave work as a way to save your life can create the reason to control one’s despair. Marcel Janco depicts, mainly, situations between Nazis jailers and the Jewish concentration camp prisoners. But the situation in the 21st century “develops” with more and more innovations, and Janco’s work is relevant today not less than it was in the middle of the 20s century.

Marcel Janco (1895 – 1984)
Marcel Janco (1895 – 1984)

*Marcel Janco is too talented of an artist to stimulate only historical interest. His drawings about physical mistreatment of helpless people are becoming more and more actual as the human history is moving into the future. The violence against the civilians grows. The desire to abuse and humiliate those who are considered “not like us”, takes more versatile forms. Not only exploitation of others becomes more profitable but destruction of life becomes a more high-tech occupation. Our task in relation to the memory of Marcel Janco is to make his powerful drawings available to everyone living today to help them to understand the reality of intolerance and violence in the 21st century.

** The title in 2015 can be – “Interrogation With Torture”

*** The title in 2015 can be – “Bachelor’s Degree In Butt-kicking”

**** The title in 2015 can be “Slave Labor Is Good For Economy And For Hygiene Of The Social Space”

Posted on July 1, ’16 –   Marcel Janco “Two Guns to the Head”, 1940 by Acting-Out Politics