Driving past Echo Park the other day I saw a cat convulsing in the road. It had plainly been hit by a car and was, hopefully, near death. I considered backing up and driving over the poor thing to end its misery, but I didn’t have the strength.
Francis Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, finds himself in a similar situation in the opening scene of the Netflix series, House of Cards. He strangles a wounded creature (a dog) as he tells us there are two kinds of pain—that which makes you stronger and that which has no purpose and is thus just suffering.
Read Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru’s League of Denial and I promise you’ll be convinced there’s a third, perhaps more complicated category—suffering whose purpose is collective pleasure, incriminating participant and observer simultaneously.
The risks of repeated blows to the head are obvious and have been known for some time.