Thomas Wictor

In opposition to the thundering herd

In opposition to the thundering herd

Sometimes it’s hard to remain optimistic. It seems like everyone is in a race to the bottom. What I’ve discovered about myself is that the worse people behave, the more import it is for me to stand against the thundering herd. I refuse to adopt the attitude of Charles Oakley, the murderer in Alfred Hitchcock’s terrific Shadow of a Doubt.

Oakley used the behavior of others as the rationale for his own crimes. Look around you; is he right? It’s clear that the Internal Revenue Service has become an arm of the Democratic Party. In a panic, the IRS has tried to destroy the evidence.

I think we can all agree that when the tax collectors begin working for one political party or another, we’re in deep, deep trouble. What happens if the tax collectors begin working for the political party you oppose? Will you be as complacent as you are now?

Both political parties want amnesty for illegal aliens who are already in the country. The Republicans want slave labor, and the Democrats want knee-jerk voters. As someone of Mexican descent, I’m allowed to say this: Too many Mexican immigrants will never adopt American values. Mexico is not a nation of laws. Since I moved to my current residence in 1993, my quality of life has diminished as the influx of Mexican illegals increases dramatically. They leave massive amounts of trash in the little nook behind my house.

Here’s what they deposited most recently. We haven’t had time to get rid of it yet.


They also write their gang names on our house in their degraded language.


Now, is there even the slightest chance that KU4SH2$zICK4@ZoKA will do anything except create havoc and destruction his entire life? As I sit here typing, KU4SH2$zICK4@ZoKA and his pals are shooting off stadium-level skyrockets, despite the total illegality and fire hazard. It sounds like heavy artillery.

Not only do I live in a shithole in a country governed by dishonest morons whose vote you can buy with booze and whores, but I personally have more reason than most to become Charles Oakley.

Virtually nobody keeps the promises they make, and here’s how all of my relationships go:

1. Someone approaches me.

2. We become “friends.”

3. They confide something in me.

4. I confide something in them.

5. They begin to treat me with disrespect.

6. They begin to mock me for what I confided in them.

7. They begin to attack me.

8. I end the “friendship.”

Could you put up with that for fifty-one years without giving in to total hatred of the human species?

But I don’t hate the human species. What I do is remove myself from the human in question, and I carry on. In Shadow of a Doubt, Charles Oakley traps his niece Charlie—Teresa Wright—in a bar.

He tells her what he thinks of her and everybody else.

You think you know something, don’t you? You think you’re the clever little girl who knows something. There’s so much you don’t know. So much.

What do you know, really? You’re just an ordinary little girl living in an ordinary little town. You wake up every day and know there’s nothing in the world to trouble you. You go through your ordinary little day.

At night, you sleep your ordinary sleep filled with peaceful, stupid dreams. And I brought you nightmares. Or did I? Or was it a silly, inexpert little lie? You live in a dream. You’re a sleepwalker, blind.

How do you know what the world is like? Do you know the world is a foul sty? Do you know if you ripped the fronts off houses, you’d find swine? The world’s a hell. What does it matter what happens in it?

What makes me different from Charles Oakley is that I believe that when people are at their worst, that’s precisely when I must be at my best. Even if the world is a hell, I won’t become a demon. It’s well known that Alfred Hitchcock used his characters to speak his own thoughts. Hitchcock was a man consumed with self-loathing.

The source of his rage is obvious. He, however, avoided facing reality and accepting unpleasant truths. Instead, he took out his anger on others. He was a malignant sadist who constantly abused everyone around him.

Hitchcock bet a film’s property man a week’s salary that he would be too frightened to spend a whole night chained to a camera in a deserted and darkened studio. The chap heartily agreed to the wager, and at the end of the assigned day, Hitchcock himself clasped the handcuffs and pocketed the key - but not before he offered a generous beaker of brandy “the better to ensure a quick and deep sleep.” The man thanked him for his thoughtfulness and drank the brandy, and everyone withdrew. When they arrived on the set next morning, they found the poor man angry, weeping, exhausted, and humiliated. Hitchcock had laced the brandy with the strongest available laxative, and the victim had, unavoidably, soiled himself and a wide area around his feet and the camera.

In his hatred of swine, Hitchcock became one. It’s vital to me that I not become what I despise. And in all honesty, I don’t really despise the thundering herd, even though it’s trampled me over and over. For one thing swine will be swine. They can’t help themselves. Also, there’s more than enough in the world to make up for swine. Teresa Wright, for example.

What a gorgeous, unique face.

That’s the moment in Shadow of a Doubt when Charlie is no longer afraid of her murderous uncle. It’s a very complex expression: sad but accepting. And strong. Charles Oakley is garbage. He thinks he’s above everyone because he does whatever he wants, but himself is the biggest swine of all. Charlie knows what happens to swine.

And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion: for we are many.

And he besought him much that he would not send them away out of the country.

Now there was there nigh unto the mountains a great herd of swine feeding.

And all the devils besought him, saying, Send us into the swine, that we may enter into them.

And forthwith Jesus gave them leave. And the unclean spirits went out, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the sea, (they were about two thousand;) and were choked in the sea.

—Mark 5:9-13

Whatever becomes of me, I won’t go over a cliff into the ocean, shoulder to shoulder with pigs.

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