Friday, October 11, 2013

About Taxi Driver, Journal Entry, August 20, 2000

Both the politician  and the pimp are successes where Travis [the titular taxi driver] is a failure: they are able through words to exist in their society and to seduce the women under them into doing their work. These are the people of whom Travis is most jealous. By using firearms Travis is calling a bluff. His weapons are the literal and more powerful embodiment of what the pimp and politician do with language.

"Are you talking to me?" Travis asks a mirror. Then he pulls his weapons. In his own mind, words have become means of manipulation, a silly and trivial kind of manipulation compared to what may be achieved with naked violence.

No community or identity can exist in Travis's hellish view of things. All representation is a lie covering violence.

In his conversation with Iris the prostitute, he tries to convince her that her pimp is not looking out for her but is using her, and that when all is said and done, the pimp is a killer. What Travis does here is not only trying to do Iris a favor by trying to talk her out of a bad life, it is also trying to beat the pimp at his own game of words. That he is indeed using words and at this point not planning to kill the pimp is a hopeful moment, in a way. But Travis is still speaking from the perspective of brute force in a world he does not want to survive.

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