Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Revenge of the Cad

Since I cannot prove a lover… I am determined to prove a villain.” Shakespeare, Richard III

Casanova, in his memoirs, tells the story of the how madly in love he was with a woman, who decided she no longer desired to be intimately involved with him and preferred another man. Apparently this was a bolt out of the blue to Casanova, who then decided to devote his life to seducing women.

What Casanova did is an example of humiliation followed by revenge. Revenge is an attempt to replace humiliation with pride, that is, self-respect, self-esteem, self-love.

Casanova said that some of the women he had affairs with he also helped them in their various endeavors. Somehow, on some level, he knew what he was doing was wrong and so tried to make up for it by helping these women in various ways to improve their lives.

Casanova in many ways was a cad, and he admitted it.

I have known several cads, that is, men who devote a great deal of their time and effort to seducing woman. Curiously, I have found all of them have been humiliated in the past by women. What they are really doing is getting revenge to improve their self-image.

The worst cad I have ever met did almost nothing except seduce women. His best friend told me he considers the man a coward who ultimately does not like women and holds them in contempt. That has been my experience of him and others like him. They degrade women to improve their own self-image.

This particular man admitted he has ruined his life, is incapable of love, has never had a serious relationship with a woman, and that if he had to do it over, he would have been a high-school coach instead of a doctor.

Since art imitates life, you can look at movies to see what happens to cads. Probably the first movie I remember about a cad was the Michael Caine movie, Alfie.

Alfie is a cynic who thinks he knows women and life. He doesn't. He falls in love with Shelley Winters, who rejects him as "too old," somehow has a kid who he can't claim, and in the end is sitting on a bench, completely, alone, watching his child with another family.

That is how cads end up unless they change.

Another movie about a cad is the John Malkovich vehicle, Dangerous Liaisons.

Malkovich's character is a cad who seduces women out of boredom. He ends up dying, essentially allowing a man to kill him in a duel because he has nothing to live for. For that matter, Glen Close ends up ruining her life, too, when the social class to which she belongs boos and ostracizes her because of what she has done. She also admits that what she had done, she has done out of revenge.

One of the best-known cads in real life was the pornographic film star John Holmes. He had sex with a few thousand women, was a drug addict, was involved in a murder, deserted and back-stabbed all his friends, and died of AIDS in his early '40s.

He was an illustration of what the Greeks noticed: those who devote their lives to physical pleasure become degraded.

Pleasure is a roller-coaster. It goes up and down and is never permanent. With nothing but pleasure as a goal in life, the seeker becomes degraded and so must seek more perverse pleasures. That's why Holmes ended up a drug addict engaging in orgies (he also beat women).

It's also why my cad friend became a drug addict and lost all his teeth.

People who seek nothing but pleasure in life - but it sex or drugs or whatever - are also seeking to ruin their lives. This isn't my opinion. It has been the history of the world. Here is some older wisdom about this:

2 Timothy 3

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

6 They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, 7 always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. 8 Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. 9 But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very pithy.