12th July 2011

Lloyd Kaufman Blogs about the New York Public Library, Candide, Voltaire, and Bestiality

posted in News, `Roids |

Greetings from Tromaville!

Recently I was asked by the curator of the New York Public Library’s Candide 2.0 Project to be a participant in the project. The project was created to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Voltaire’s original 18th-century satirical masterpiece. According to its website, the project is intended to be a “Networked Edition of Voltaire’s 1759 Classic” in which readers will be able to read various translations of the text alongside observations about the chapters submitted by different personalities whom the heads of the project selected to expand upon and “cultivate the text of the book with their commentary.”

I was given the assignment to write how I, as a filmmaker, would go about filming Chapter 16 of Candide. For those who are not immediately familiar with the book, Chapter 16 involves Candide, the naive protagonist, whom Voltaire places in different locations around the world and subjects to various ironic and harrowing experiences, and his assistant Cacambo, slaying two monkeys who are chasing some young women, seemingly with the intention of violating them.

I sent my Chapter 16 “movie pitch” to the project curator, who told me my essay would be posted in a few days. Ten days went by. I heard nothing. Only after inquiring when the piece was going to be posted was I telephoned by one Jeff Roth who said he was employed by the New York Public Library. Roth informed me that a committee at the New York Public Library had decided not to publish my writing. This committee had deemed it “too controversial” and felt it “might offend someone.” When I asked Mr. Roth what person or persons made this decision and what exactly made my essay controversial, he said he could not tell me. Naturally, this rejection with no further explanation was stunning to me for several reasons.

Those associated with the Candide 2.0 Project and the New York Public Library asked me to write this piece because of who I am. They contacted me because they knew that I, Lloyd Kaufman, have made a career out of directing films like The Toxic Avenger and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead that contain head crushings and women in small clothing while simultaneously providing satirical commentary on current events. What did they think I was going to write – Pollyanna, Bambi, E.T.?

Also, how is my Muslim-friendly, pro-women’s-right piece written in a Voltairian manner, any more controversial than the original content Voltaire wrote for Chapter 16 of Candide? Voltaire’s chapter suggests that monkeys are having their way with young women—who, it turns out indeed love the simians? Full-on bestiality! Based on what Mr. Roth told me, Candide‘s original text would presumably be deemed too controversial by the standards of what is being imposed by the current staff of the New York Public Library. If the NYPL is so controversy-averse, why even have a Voltaire-themed retrospective?

Finally, isn’t the New York Public Library in New York City supposed to be an epicenter of open-mindedness? The censorship of material deemed, in someone’s opinion, to be “too controversial” runs in stark contrast to everything the New York Public Library, the Candide 2.0 Project, and Voltaire himself represent.

Please see Voltaire’s original Chapter 16 below, with antique illustration, followed by my essay, and send in your thoughts. Why did the NYPL suppress my writing?

Candide
by Voltaire

Chapter XVI

CANDIDE and his valet had got beyond the pass, before any person in the camp got the least intimation of the death of the German. The provident Cacambo had taken care to fill his wallet with bread, chocolate, ham, and some bottles of wine. They pushed with their Andalusian horses into a strange country, where they could not discover any path or road. At last, a pleasant meadow, which was divided by a river, presented itself to their eyes. Our two travellers turned their horses out to graze, and Cacambo proposed to his master to eat a bit, at the same time setting him the example. Do you think,” said Candide, “that l can feast upon ham, when I have killed the Baron’s son, and find myself under a necessity never to see Cunegonde again as long as I live? What signifies it to prolong my days in misery, since I must spend them far away from her, a prey to remorse and despair? and what will the Journal of Trevoux say of me?”

Having thus spoke, he refused to eat a morsel. The sun was now set, when our two wanderers, to their very great surprise, heard faint cries, which seemed to come from women. It was not easy to determine these cries; they rose immediately, with all the anxiety and apprehension to which people are subject in a strange place, and immediately discovered that the noise was made by two girls, who ran, unclothed, on the banks of the meadow, pursued by two large monkeys. Candide was moved with pity, and as he had learned to shoot, among the Bulgarians, and was so good a marksman that he could hit a nut in a bush without touching the leaves, he took up his Spanish fuzee, which was double-charged, and killed the two monkeys. “God be praised, my dear Cacambo,” said he; “I have delivered the two poor girls from this great danger. If I have been guilty of a sin in killing the inquisitor, I have now made ample amends for it by saving the lives of two innocent girls. They may chance to prove a couple of ladies of rank; and who knows but this adventure may do us great service, in this country?”

He was going on at this rate, thinking that he had done a great feat, but how great was his surprise, when he saw the two girls, instead of rejoicing, embrace the monkeys with marks of the most tender affection! they bathed their bodies with tears, and filled the air with shrieks that testified the deepest distress. “I never expected to have seen such a sight as this,” said he to Cacambo; who replied, “You have done a fine piece of work, indeed, Sir, you have killed the ladies’ sweethearts.” “Their sweethearts! is it possible? Surely you are in jest, Cacambo; who the deuce could believe you to be in earnest?” “My dear Sir,” replied Cacambo, “you are always for making mountains of mole-hills; why should you think it incredible that in some countries monkeys enjoy the favors of the ladies?” “Ay,” replied Candide, “now I recollect, Mr. Pangloss has told me, that there may be many an instance of this kind, and that these mixtures gave birth to the Egipans, Fauns, and Satyrs; that a great many of the ancients had seen them with their own eyes; but I always looked upon it as a mere romance.” “You ought, at present, to see your mistake,” said Cacambo, “and own that the doctor was in the right for once. And you may see what those people do, who have not received a particular education. All I am afraid of is, that these ladies will play us some spiteful trick.” These wise reflections induced Candide to quit the meadow, and take to a wood; where he and Cacambo supped together; and, after heartily cursing the Portuguese inquisitor, the governor of Buenos-Ayres, and the Baron, they fell asleep.

On waking, they found that they could not stir, for the Oreillons, the inhabitants of the country, whom the two lasses had informed of their adventure, had bound them in the nighttime with cords made of the bark of a tree. They were surrounded by a body of fifty Oreillons, stark naked, armed with arrows, clubs, and hatchets made of flint. Some of them were making a great cauldron boil, others preparing spits, and all of them crying out, “He’s a cleric, he’s a cleric; we will make him pay sauce for it; we will pick his bones for him; let us eat the cleric, let us eat the cleric.”

“You may remember I told you my dear master,” cried Cacambo, in a lamentable tone, “that those two lasses would play us some spiteful trick.”

Candide perceiving the cauldron and the spits, cried out, “O Lord! we are certainly going to be roasted or boiled. Ah! if Mr. Pangloss had seen nature without disguise, would he have said whatever is, is right? It may be so; but I must confess it is a sad thing to have lost Miss Cunegonde, and to be roasted or boiled for food by the Oreillons.”

Cacambo was never at a loss for an invention; “Never despair,” said he to the disconsolate Candide. “I understand the jargon of these people a little, and am going to speak to them.” “Don’t fail,” said Candide, “to represent to them the inhumanity of cooking men, and what an unchristian practice it is.”

“Gentlemen,” says Cacambo, “you fancy that you are going to feast on a cleric today; a very good dish, I make no doubt, nor is there any thing more just than to serve one’s enemies so. In effect, the law of nature teaches us to kill our fellow creatures, and it is a principle which is put in practice all over the globe. If we do not make use of the right of eating him, it is because we have plenty of victuals without it; but as you have not that advantage, it must certainly be better for you to eat your enemies than to fling away the fruit of your victories a feast to crows and ravens. But, Gentlemen, I suppose you would not relish to eat your friends. You fancy you are going to spit or boil a cleric, but, believe me, I assure you, it is your defender, it is the enemy of your enemies, that you are preparing to treat thus. As to myself, I was born among you. The gentleman you see here is my master, and so far from being a cleric, he has just now killed a cleric, and he is only dressed in his spoils, which is the cause of your mistake. In order to confirm my assertion, let one of you take his gown off, carry it to the first pass of the government of the fathers, and inform himself whether my master has not killed a cleric officer. It is an affair that won’t take up much time, and you may always have it in your power to eat us, if you catch me in a lie. But if I have told you the truth, and nothing but the truth, you are too well acquainted with the principles of natural right, morality and law, not to show us some favor.”

The Oreillons were so fully convinced of the reasonableness of this proposal, that they deputed two of their chiefs to go and inform themselves of the truth of what he had told them. The two deputies acquitted themselves of their charge like men of sense, and returned soon with a favorable account. The Oreillons then unbound the prisoners, showed them a thousand civilities, offered them women, gave them refreshments, and conducted them back again to the confines of their state, crying all the while, like madmen, “He is no cleric, he is no cleric.”

Candide could not help admiring the subject of his deliverance. “What a people!” said he; “what men! what manners! If I had not had the good luck to run Miss Cunegonde’s brother through the body, I should inevitably have been eaten up. But, after all, the dictates of pure nature are always best, since this people, instead of eating me, showed me a thousand civilities as soon as they new that I was not a cleric.”

In Which Lloyd Kaufman* Pitches Filming Chapter 16 from Candide for His Next Movie

I am honored to have been asked by the curator of the Candide 2.0 Project to jot down how I might film Chapter 16 of Voltaire’s Candide. This is the chapter in which Candide shoots and slays two monkeys who apparently are about to sexually violate two young gyno1+ Paraguayans.

First, let me mention that due to my sympathy for all non-humans, I do not eat beef, fish or
fowl. So killing monkeys, no matter how sexually deviant they may be, crosses the line of obscenity to me. So instead of portraying monkeys as the victims, filming Candide killing humans, to me, the film-maker, is a more morally sound choice. Now, let me take a shot2 at how I would film Chapter 16. Like all of my films, the scene would be full of poignant political satire coupled with graphic sex and violence. The basis for of this pitch is that currently, all over Europe, laws are being enacted to “liberate” Arab women. In some countries like Belgium, the law now prohibits women from wearing the burka3. Here is what I will pitch to the Hollywood moguls:

Candbama and his servant Cacambiden have stopped to gas up their non-Toyota SUV’s in a savannah in the Congo. “Faithful Cacambiden,” says Candbama, “the 5,000,000 people who have died here recently had some bad luck. More important, in their place we will make ‘change we can believe in’ because as Pangpelosi has taught me, ‘all is for the best in this plaintiffs’ bar of worlds.'” As the fifty-two vehicles in Candbama’s entourage, each carrying with it anthropomorphic sheep dressed in golden parachutes4, are refueling, in the distance, two gyno-congolese in full-blown burkas suddenly appear running, with great alacrity, across the countryside formerly and wisely known as Bush Country until it was renamed “Savanna Country” after the much more important country western singer. The gynos in the burkas are being chased by a band of naked men with huge beards and huge male organs5. The men catch, serenade, and then start to violate the young gynos. Of course, the camera shows GRAPHIC sex. The women break away and Candbama says, “OMG! These poor women are being forced to wear those terrible, old-fashioned, and enslaving burkas and now those men carrying those giant piano-like instruments will violate and enslave them. We must liberate these gynos from their oppressive burkas and from the customs of their oppressive, out-dated religion – not to mention the suffering they endure at the hands and organs of these evil, naked, bearded men of clearly Muslim origin. I will shoot them with my nifty, hotsy, totsy, heat-seeking, Grumman Northrop grenade launcher which I found in the Kingdom of Kabul. After all, Emanuel of Rahm says that the best way to fight oppression is to oppress the oppressors – which, in this case, means oppressing them until they are blown to smithereens!”

Candbama fires his weapon and, in an explosion that rivals any cinematic explosion that James Cameron or Brett Ratner have created, the pursuing Muslim men are pulverized. We see their limbs and beards explode and giant organs blown away in slow motion. “Now these gynos are free of those men and the burka,” says Candbama, turning to Cacambiden with his trademark smile. “This is change we can all believe in.”

To Candbama’s shock and awe, the gynos are horrified and begin to weep and embrace the torsos and body parts of what is left of the pursuing, naked bearded men. “Are these gynos not grateful? This is change we can believe in. Aren’t Belgium, France, Denmark, and Holland also liberating the Muslim women from their men and burkas?” wonders Candbama.

Cacambiden explains that in parts of the world, “crazy shit happens” and he, Candbama, should “get over it.” Candbama’s wise, white servant Cacambiden explains that actually these gynos love their burkas and that the men chasing them were their lovers. “These gynos, in this land of 5,000,000 deaths,” explains Cacambiden, “have the freedom to wear or not wear the burka.” They usually want to wear the burka and do not necessarily want or believe in Candbama’s ‘change.” “Because of you, Candbama, all the other bearded men will assume we are Israelis and behead us and film it to post on YouTube,” continues Cacambiden.

Dear reader, because this pitch is getting too long, and Hollywood Producers have the attention span of a humming bird, I (Lloyd Kaufman) will “jump to the chase,” as Hollywood Producers put it.

Candbama and Cacambiden are soon captured and are about to be beheaded by five-hundred bare-naked bearded men with huge organs, who assume them to be Israeli. Luckily, Cacambiden has his laptop available and loads it to a YouTube video of Candbama in the Israeli-hating Land of Pharaohs giving a speech in which he requests to uphold the international standards outlined by the U.N, which every other country is expected to submit to. However, not all the 500 bare-naked bearded men are convinced that he and his faithful servant are not Israelis. It is not until Cacambiden shows them his uncircumcised male nether regions that our two heroes are set free amid great applause – and pounding on huge organs.

Candbama and Cacambiden travel to Marjah, Afghanistan where they and their sheep with golden parachutes wisely live by cultivating their opium garden…bothered by no one – not even the U.S. government or United Nations.

Lloyd Kaufman
President of Troma Entertainment and Creator of the Toxic Avenger

[*] Editor’s Note: Kaufman makes movies for the iconic Troma Entertainment like The Toxic Avenger, Tromeo and Juliet, and Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead.
[1] Being politically correct, I shun the word “girl”; “woman” has the word “man” embedded. Hence the more acceptable word “gyno” is proper.
[+] Editor’s Note: Mr. Kaufman, therefore, has reread Candide with English translation by Roger Pearson. He will retain the erudite ambiance with fascinating footnotes.
[2] “Shot” – 2 ounces of a spirit or liquor, many of which inspired this essay.
[3] Belgian men, however have not been forbidden to wear the burka.
[4] “Anthropomorphic sheep dressed in golden parachutes” – Voltaire’s fond nickname for U.S. Congressmen.
[5] Male Organ – percussive instrument similar to a piano.

There are currently 5 responses to “Lloyd Kaufman Blogs about the New York Public Library, Candide, Voltaire, and Bestiality”

Why not let us know what you think by adding your own comment! Your opinion is as valid as anyone elses, so come on... let us know what you think.

  1. 1 On December 31st, 2010, clara kaufman said:

    Hi Uncle lloyd!

    -Posted by Clara Kaufman
    _Daughter of Matthew Kaufman

  2. 2 On July 20th, 2011, John Huff said:

    Okay, are we surprised still by the ability of political correctionists to be fascists? The Library people had to know who Lloyd was, they had to know his typology, his history, his approach, so their disenchantment is disingenuous.

    Lloyd Kaufman is in the great tradition of the pamphleteers and essayists of old (Twain, Swift, Franklin and yes, Voltaire) who would advance their ideas by aesthetic attraction. Lloyd’s been attracting people to Tromaville for forty years so there is something more to him than squish and glurp and wonderful grossness.

    Voltaire was a close friend of Ben Franklin. Franklin inducted Voltaire into Freemasonry. Voltaire helped Franklin with social connections in Europe to connect Franklin with Frederich von Steuben, the gay Prussian military genius who trained General Washington’s volunteers into the disciplined army that took Valley Forge and Yorktown. This writer has never seen any mention of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in those military accounts.

    Voltaire is extremely important to American history. He was a fan of freedom. Every bit of his work should be lifted up and examined for the hermeneutic within.

    John Huff

  3. 3 On July 25th, 2011, John Huff said:

    It is disingenuous of the Library People to ask Lloyd Kaufman to work with Voltaire and then find fault with his approach. Oh, the horrors! Lloyd Kaufman is in the great tradition of the satirists, pamphleteers and essayists of old, Swift, Franklin, and, uhhh, yes, Voltaire.
    Voltaire and Ben Franklin were close confidantes when Franklin was doing diplomacy for the Revolution. That’s a heady tradition to mark out for one’s self but Kaufman has done it: the professional lampooner of the absurd, the hypocritical, the vain and the whatever-ist. I think Voltaire would like Lloyd. Ben too. I think they would laugh heartily. Ben Franklin did after all write an essay titled: “Fart Proudly.” He was Votaire’s kind of guy. Lloyd too.

  4. 4 On August 29th, 2011, Paul said:

    Lloyd put himself out there
    He’s slick and debonair
    He is the new Voltaire!

    In Belgium all the blokes
    Are drinking frothy ale
    I’m just a common wino
    But I’m a connoisseur of a gyno 😉
    Her lips are like Lloyd’s jokes
    Roses thinly veiled

  5. 5 On September 19th, 2011, Youri said:

    The reason is simple: they’re just fucked up.
    I maybie wrong, but I doubt, that ANY of them ever saw a single TROMA movie (or even heard about it). But IFTA – it’s another thing. Much more respectful thing. So they didn’t bother to do ANY research – they just’ve hired one of the key-members of IFTA, persuming that “Independent Film” – is something like Jim Jarmush. I think, violence and sex (espesially graphic one) were the last things, they expected.
    So, imagine, if you’re a kid who belives in Santa Claws and sneaks out only to discover, that the person in red suit is a foul-mouthed violent sexist drunk. This is the trouth, that you don’t expect to see (notice:I don’t say, Lloyd’s that guy… even considering all his foul-mouthed violent and sexy films), as much as the real birth, that doesn’t involves babies in cabbage (but DOES involve blood and disturbing images of baby’s head showing from the vagina).

    In other words, they expected something conservative (from the 65-year old guy), but they got typical TROMA stuff.

    Hence the rejection.

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