Jordan Matthew Walsh wrote, “My hypothesis is as follows: an act of violence enacted on the stage and viewed by an audience can act as a catalyst for the coming together of the audience in defense of humanity, a togetherness in the act of defying the truth mimicked by the theatrical violence represented on stage, which has the power to stir the latent power of the theatre communion (Walsh, 2012).
Through the contract of mimesis between the author and the players in the theatre, we come to an understanding of how this “latent power” may be working. Do you remember the Aurora Colorado Theatre shootings? James Eagan Holmes set off tear gas grenades and shot into the audience with multiple firearms during the midnight screening of Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises. Although a court-appointed psychiatrist, Dr. William Reid, reported Holmes had no obsession with Batman and that the particular theatre was chosen because it would mostly carry an audience in full attendance, it makes one wonder about mimesis and its connection on how the “theatre of cruelty” influences audiences and individuals like James Holmes. Definition of “mimesis” in literary criticism and philosophy carries a wide range of meanings, including imitatio, imitation, nonsensuous similarity, receptivity, representation, mimicry, the act of expression, the act of resembling, and the presentation of the self. In ancient Greece, mimesis was an idea that governed the creation of works of art, in particular, with correspondence to the physical world understood as a model for beauty, truth, and the good. We can make a connection between mimesis and the audience in stage theatre and on-screen and how those narratives of violence, along with other narratives, combine to affect individuals in the nature of “the theatre of cruelty.” In Walsh’s academic paper presented to the theatre arts department at Pittsburgh University, he refers to this “theatre of cruelty” in the works and refers to the works of Antonin Artaud and Sarah Kane.
If we look to the history of how social movements and sexually deviant groups establish rights and shape legislation, we can take Walsh’s statement “violence is used as a tool for empowering the audience through the theatre of cruelty on ‘a stage’” (a viewing audience) and compare the cruelty seen in a theatrical stage production against the murder of the Black Dahlia. From a viewer’s standpoint, one can understand how the body was carefully and artfully positioned, in the display as if she was posing for a photograph. From these examples, it isn’t a far leap to establish a connection between the theatre of cruelty and the organized movements of BDSM that began during the 1970s. Occurring at the same time were women’s upward mobility and equal pay. BDSM and homosexual rights were also moving from the realm of socially unaccepted subcultures to being legally recognized in various US states. Women’s upward mobility with their right to equal pay and access to employment in upper positions of management, along with the homosexual movement for gay rights, and BDSM were achieving recognition through social movements and legislation that sought to protect the rights of these groups. So, we can see how subcultures try and achieve for themselves legal rights, and the legal right to homosexual marriage was finally achieved when all fifty states ratified laws pertaining to its intuition in the United States in 2015.
However, one of the latest subcultures to emerge was the culture that stormed the US Capitol and to which I believe is the subculture responsible for attacking US citizens through invisible electronic assaults. A subculture found within the middle class, that may not necessarily be actual Trump supporters, but that utilizes “a theatre of cruelty” on a stage geared toward violence.
BDSM reaches as far back as the 17th century and 18th century in which it was claimed flagellation was an effective remedy for erectile dysfunction and female lower libido. The seminal text that identified sadism and masochism was Richard von Krafft-Ebings’ “Sexual Psychopathy: A Clinical-Forensic Study” (1889). The economic growth of the industrial revolution created an upper middle class with more disposable income to pursue the pleasures they had not otherwise enjoyed in the past. Likewise, the perpetrators carrying out electronic targeting against Targeted Individuals (TIs) belong to a subculture that has provided them both the disposable income and the time to, not just purchase electronic devices and find avenues for the implantation of biological devices, but they pursue the sadistic enjoyments electronic torture offers them through imposing pain, suffering, humiliation, degradation, dehumanization through its sadism. These “targets” are accessed on a viewable “stage” over electronic devices that allow for the victims to observed during their torture. Regardless of whether the stage belonging to the electronically targeted individual is visual, audio, cyber-electronic or all three, it is nonetheless a “stage” of viewing set-up by the “director/orchestrators” to entrap and torture their victims.
Madonna’s book “Sex,” published by the pop star in 1992, offers a graphic glimpse into this subculture’s commercial world of the BDSM fetish and carefully crafts the message regarding the “dominant” and “submissive.” Sadomasochism in the world of the BDSM fetish theatrically flouts the edict that manhood is synonymous with mastery, and submission is synonymous with female fate. Its connection to hate, humiliation, and masculinities, which are extreme violence’s main message, cannot be ignored. Extreme acts of violence against others offer two vocal sentiments. One, I am not a little girl, and I will not be humiliated by being cast into the role of a submissive female child. And two, I will not be humiliated by a superior member of the group. Thus, the art of BDSM carefully constructs defining gender and sex roles used within its sex play regardless of one’s biological gender.
In the journal article Maid to Order: Commercial Fetishism and Gender Power, Anne McClintock writes:
“The outrage of “Sex” is its insight into consensual sadomasochism as higher theater. Demonizing sadomasochism confuses the distinction between unbridled sadism and the social subculture of consensual fetishism. To argue that in consensual sadomasochism the “dominant” has power, and the “slave” has not, is to read theater for reality; it is to play the world forward. The economy of sadomasochism is the economy of conversion: slave to master, adult to baby, pain to pleasure, man to woman, and back again. Sadomasochism, as Foucault puts it, “is not a name given to a practice as old as Eros; it is a massive cultural fact which appeared precisely at the end of the eighteenth century, and which constitutes one of the greatest conversions of Western imagination: unreason transformed into delirium of the heart.” Consensual sadomasochism “plays the world backwards.”
Practitioners of BDSM always claim the violence is “consensual.” But in court proceedings that defend a person’s right against such violent acts, even when written proof of consent is provided, the law will not recognize it. The violence practiced by BDSM presents in the court of law, as violations involving criminal battery. Any physical contact that results in bodily injury is illegal by definition under the law. Any physical contact that results in emotional injury and psychological pain is equally illegal by definition of law.
The making of consent is not unfettered, but not vested with one source; it is a dialectic between ordinary people and the law, the social reality that orders relationships within a prescribed legal category. Even if the individual consented to be electronically targeted, assaulted, and tortured, the law will not recognize it because “those persons that do freely consent to such force and bodily injury no doubt requires the enforcement of the very [criminal] laws that were enacted to protect them and other humans. Ultimately, the court concluded that “consent of the victim is not generally a defense to assault or battery, except in a situation involving ordinary physical contact or blows incident to sports such as football, boxing or wrestling (Weinberg, 2016, p. 10).”
The difficulty surrounding previewing the evidence of electronic targeted assaults and torture is that mostly it offers no physical evidence. The only evidence that can be recorded, or, if lucky, viewed by a witness during an assault, comes either as recorded video, recorded audio, or written down as an account of the event, and even then, reasons for the aberration of behavior on film and in audio can be supported by other possibilities. For example, the stumbling of speech, or the disorientation preceding a fall can be attributed to “intoxication.”
In a paper entitled “Dark Triad, Tramps, and Thieves” the authors write:
“Despite the obvious importance of individual differences in understanding offending behavior (e.g., Miller & Lynam, 2001; Wilcos, Sullivan, Jones, & van Gelder, 2014), there has been relatively little research exploring the relationships between personality and petty thefts in non-incarcerated adults (Lyons, & Jonason, 2015).”
The exact nature of the research study was to explore the link between personality and thieving and to consider the individual differences in impulsivity and the Dark Triad (narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism) and commonplace, low-level thieves. Through the use of online questionnaires, the researchers examined how Dark Triad traits and dysfunctional and functional impulsivity provide insight into individual differences with regard to petty theft, those who admitted having stolen something in their lifetime, were higher on primary and secondary psychopathy, Machiavellianism, and dysfunctional impulsivity than those who had not stolen anything.
In my opinion, there is a tremendous lack of understanding in the research literature with regard to the prevalence of sadism in the world of non-incarcerated adults today, and how individual-specific sadistic traits contribute to the invisible crime of electronic targeting. Since I can give a personal account for the side-effects of electronic targeted assaults and torture, and its relationship to petty theft and sexual assault (rape), I feel it pertinent to voice the power of this technology to induce a lower-level state of conscious awareness. I can attest to the very real possibility that electronic targeting contributes to the proliferation of petty theft and even sexual assault and rape. Since electronic assaults hold the potential to lower the level of one’s conscious state of awareness, it opens the door for the perpetrator to victimize the subject because the ability of the victim to defend against such attacks has become compromised. Not too unlike the lower level of conscious awareness induced by alcohol or sedating pharmaceutical drugs. This is the new theatre stage of cruelty set for the consumption of a form of commercial fetishism with regard to electronics and petty thieving and sexual assault in the 21st century. The leather strap tether has now become the electronic tether in a Master-Slave relationship.
Jordan Matthew Walsh. (2012). “Stage Violence and Power: An examination of the theory and practice of cruelty from Antonin Artaud to Sarah Kane.” University of Pittsburgh, Theatre Arts Department. (an academic paper). Retrieved online February 4, 2021.
Aurora Colorado Theatre Shootings. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2012_Aurora,_Colorado_shooting
Black Dahlia Murder. https://www.thecrimemag.com/graphic-look-back-at-black-dahlias-murder/
Madonna. (1992). Sex. Warner Publishing. https://archive.org/details/sex_20190913/mode/2up
McClintock, A. (1993). Maid to Order: Commercial Fetishism and Gender Power. Social Text, (37), 87–116. doi:10.2307/466262
Jill D. Weinberg. (2016) Consensual Violence: Sex, sports and the politics of injury. Oakland, California. University of California Press.
Lyons, M., & Jonason, P. (2015). Dark Triad, Tramps, and Thieves. Journal of Individual Differences, 36(4), 215–220.
WRITTEN BYKaren Barna