Contempt : For Contempt?

In the film “Tokyo!”, the middle story is called “Merde”. (“Merde” is French for “shit”, which is strangely synonymous with “good luck”, as wished before a performance in show business.) A bizarre crazy-eyed man dressed in green (dubbed a “creature from the sewers”) arises from the sewers. With an equally crazy gait, he roams the streets of Tokyo. He knocks into passers-by, grabs flowers for food and is basically rude and disruptive. At the same time, he evokes great curiosity. Who is this eccentric and seemingly irrational person? (Some say this story is a new humanised take on Japan’s greatest “terrorist” – Godzilla.)

When arrested and interrogated, he doesn’t answers properly (as least, not to me!). He continues to provoke his audience in an unrepentant manner even when in court, spouting harshly anti-social racist remarks and such. Probably due to popular demand, he is judged and sentenced to death by hanging. As the witnesses watch with both fascination and disgust, he suddenly disappears into thin air. The camera pans to a grilled and intact air duct.

As the witnesses look around in wonderment and repulsion at the inexplicable great escape, my guess is that the director was hinting of the “creature” being the personification or embodiment of contempt itself, that he had simply dissipated into the air, that was possibly breathed back in by the world itself. In other words, contempt, which is irrational, re-manifests time and again in society, which seeks to condemn more than understand. Contempt for contempt does not end or kill contempt. As the Buddha put it, “Hatred can never be ceased by hatred; hatred can only be ceased by love [or loving-kindness and compassion].”

But the “creature” has his supporters too, who fervently held demonstrations against his imprisonment and death sentence. But the irony is that the the supporters were themselves nursing and expressing great contempt. They too probably did not understand why the others could not stand the “creature’s” contempt. They too returned contempt for contempt. In this way, the “creature” of contempt brought out the contempt of the people. He was an ugly looking person, who never looked at himself, but he was also a mirror for others to reflect upon themselves.  

If you have contempt for the contemptuous,
why do you not have contempt for yourself too,
since having contempt is contemptuous?

– Stonepeace