Pencils Down, My Absurdist Friends

by Joe Buonfiglio

Time’s up, my fellow Absurdists. Time to turn in those philosophic test papers.

Didn’t finish?

Didn’t even start?

Too bad. So sad. The cosmic forces of the universe say take your “F” like a grownup and stop your whining. They couldn’t care less. Next time set your existential alarm clock or just get it over with and become a Nihilist.

Me? Oh, for me it was like “WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?! YOU ACT AS IF YOU’VE NEVER SEEN A NAKED WRITER BRUSH HIS TEETH IN THE PUBLIC LIBRARY BEFORE!

Why? How did you start your day?

What’s the point to all this?

Nothing. Not a goddamn thing!

And that’s the point.

Look, consider this…

Today I watched a truly terrible little Italian film titled ABSURD released in 1981. Here is the trailer for this delightfully cheap little piece of cinematic drivel:

Now in all fairness, original tape of this film goes for big bucks and is considered an honest-to-God collectible by fans. And if you’re anything like me — unable to go to your grave without having consumed every horrifically produced B-movie in existence from the cinematic world of the bizarrely damned — and, after the trailer, you think you might possibly muster up the strength to mentally absorb the entire film in all its splendorous glory as it unabashedly attempts to rip off John Carpenter’s Halloween, I’ll place it at the bottom of this blog-post for all to… well… uh… enjoy?

Now, what drew me to ABSURD was not just its title. ABSURD was one of those films that became known in the United Kingdom as a “video nasty,” a colloquial designation for films (distributed on videocassette) that were deemed unacceptably offensive and judged utterly obscene by religious organizations, the press and various conservative commentators due to the excessively violent nature of their content. And in 1984, ABSURD was actually prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Acts.

What struck me was that when compared to today’s grisly slasher films, one has to wonder what all the ruckus was back in the 1980s; ABSURD seems somewhat tame and rather silly now.

Have we all just become desensitized to gory fictional terror when, in light of today’s real-world horrors, it seems on par with learning your A-B-Cs on Sesame Street? And if this is the case, what does that mean for the state of Absurdism today?

ABSURDISM is defined not only as “of an intentionally ridiculous or bizarre behavior or character,” but also “the belief that human beings exist in a purposeless, chaotic universe.” This is the core tenet of vocational existence for we professional Absurdists.

However, is the current state of global affairs — particularly in the Age of Trumpism — simply proving Absurdists right … or rendering us obsolete? How can anything we generate in theory or philosophy via fictional expression for the purpose of demonstration or enlightenment utilizing the literary, screen or stage media vehicles compare to the actual, seemingly random madness and irrational pandemonium being generated by the players in our world today. We Absurdists of the modern era engage in mere philosophic parlor tricks compared to the unparalleled insanity demonstrated by those “real” people who see such absolute logic in their daily exhibitions of unfounded irrationality.

And so…

Well…

I’m afraid it’s time for the metaphoric cheap gold watch and early retirement, my fellow gentry of Absurdism.  Life’s test for you is fait accompli. Or, as our Italian filmmaker friends might say, “Destino completo.”

Matite giù. Pencils down.

 

© 2017 Joseph P. Buonfiglio     All Rights Reserved.