Prelude: This quote sequentially, though not immediately in the narrative sense, follows the quotes present in Love vs Sex 91, 92, and 93. If you are so inclined, you may want to read those passages before the following. Arty is a congenitally deformed human with only flippers for appendages who performs in a carnival. He is a very dark and manipulative person who has essentially begun his own cult or religion through his psychopathic manipulation of the masses. Norval Sanderson is a reporter who met up with Arty and the carnival and his notes of observation follow.
“Arturism was founded,” wrote Sanderson, “on the greed and spite of a transcendental maggot named Arturo Binewski, who used his own genetic defects and the weaknesses of the unemployed and illiterate to create an insanely self-destructive following that fed his maniacal ego…”
…..Suspected earlier that Arturo was being manipulated by someone, probably the father, Al Binewski. I saw Arty as a tool for some functional “norm” who was raking in the cash from the dowries. Spent three hours with Arty today and completely revised my opinion. Arty is in complete control of the cult, of the carnival, of his parents, and apparently of his sisters and brother—though there may be some small spirit of resistance in the twins.
Arty is sporadically self-educated with a wide lacunae in his information. National and international politics are outside his experience and reading. Municipal power relationships, however, are familiar tools to him. He has no real grasp of history—seems to have picked up drifts from his reading—but he is a gifted analyst of personality and motivation, and a complete manipulator. His knowledge of science is primitive. He relies on specialists in his staff to provide him with effective lighting, sound technology, etc. He is a skilled speaker on a one-to-one level as well as in the mass-rhetoric situation of performance. He has a sharp awareness of personal problems in others…professes no ethic or morality except avoidance of pain. Says his awareness is such that he feels the pain of others and is therefore required to alleviate it by offering the sanctuary of Arturism. Obvious horseshit.
His power seems to come from a combination of techniques and personality traits. He seems to have no sympathy for anyone, but total empathy. He is enormously self-centered, proud, vain, disdainful of all who lack the good fortune to be him. This is so evident and so oddly convincing (one finds oneself thinking/agreeing that, yes, Arty is a special person and can’t be judged by normal criteria) that when he turns his interest on an individual (on me) the object (me) suddenly feels elevated to his level (as in—yeah, me and Arty are too special and unique to be judged, etc.).
Just when you feel despicable, and that Arty’s disdain is too great a burden to endure, he offers you the option of becoming his peer…..
Katherine Dunn 1983