Watching “I am a sex addict”, Caveh Zahedi. Reminds me of “Bridge across forever” by Richard Bach – the confession of a fully narcissistic, self-centred creep. Zahedi has the advantage of being somewhat aware of it, and of possesing a sense of humour, which Bach – like most hippies – notably does not.
In Bridge across forever, Bach presents himself as transforming and changing. In fact, he does not – his sense of self expands, but he’s as self-centered as ever.
Best example: early in the book, he and his partner-unit quarrel over Bartok’s “Concerto for orchestra”. He is bewildered that she likes it, when he can tell with certainty that it’s obvious rubbish. He grows to like “Concerto for orchestra” and presents this as an accomplishment. But the problem was never that he did or didn’t like this or that – the problem was his insistence that his personal likes and dislikes ought to be normative. The problem was his intolerance, not what he happened to be intolerant about.
His idea of becoming a better person is that he finally dealt with the problem of his wife-unit being in some respects different to himself by changing to be more like her. He has changed, you see. He has adapted and learned. About Bartok. About one or two other things. But so what? By the end of the book, he is as certain that “Concerto for orchestra” is good as he was certain that it was bad at the beginning, but the manner of his certainty has not changed. It is still all about him.
You see, the thing that bewildered and horrified him about the partner-unit’s liking of this particular track is his conviction that anyone who is not just like himself, anyone without exactly the same set of hippy-dippy attitudes about absolutely everything is a grubby lesser being. She pulled a trick on him. She fooled him into thinking that she was worthy of him. The scandal! The betrayal!
Not once does it even occur to him that it’s ok for his partner-unit to like something that he doesn’t, and that this does not make her a lesser person, or that he himself is not the ultimate homo correctus that he supposes that he is. Not once does he cease judging the entire rest of the world, nor does he waver from using himself as the platinum standard by which all else is judged.
Nahh – Bach doesn’t actually change at all, not meaningfully. He never really addresses the central fault of his character.
Now, Zahedi. In this movie, anyway – god what a dick (of course, it’s deliberate humour). At one point he looks a his root du jour and he “sees into her soul” – it strikes him that she’s an actual other person and it “scares him shitless”. Well done, dude. That’s what the movie is about, so far. I wonder, however, if he will realise that this realisation itself is something that most normal people go through in their teens. Or will he suppose, by the end of the movie, that he is unique and special for discovering that other people have humanity, too?
It will be interesting to see how Zahedi does. Perhaps his sense of humour will save him, in the end. Perhaps I’m taking it all a little too literally: please feel free to replace “Zahedi” with “The Zahedi character”.