In reading Maya Schenwar’s chapter from Locked Down, Locked Out in class the other day, the line “Hurt people hurt people” stood out to me in particular. I do believe that it is a line that is meant to grab people’s attention and get people thinking further about the topic of abuse, but when I read this line I could not help but think of Louis C.K.
If you are not familiar with Louis C.K. he is an American comedian, and among his vast resume, he created, stars in, writes, directs, executive produces, and edits the show Louie. Now to be completely honest, I’m not a huge fan of Louis C.K., I don’t dislike the guy, I’ve definitely chuckled at a couple of his standup bits, but I never watched Louie enough to really become an actual fan. Now I only mention that because when reading Schenwar’s chapter, Louis’ name did not pop into my head because it was something that I had remembered from an exact episode or anything like that, but instead from a single quote of his that has been openly tossed around the internet on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, tumblr, etc) that was meant to grab attention. The quote is simply, “When a person tells you that you hurt them, you don’t get to decide that you didn’t.” Here is a link that explains the context of the quote within the episode of Louie if anyone is interested.
I do think that Louis’ quote is similar to Schenwar’s in that it is meant to open up a larger discussion about the topic at hand, but I personally find Louis’s quote extremely human. Schenwar even says that “‘Harm’ is more messy, more tangled because it is humanly determined” and I believe that “determined” is a key part of that idea. As we continue to read Jazz and other works of Morrison, I think that it is important to keep in mind this notion of establishing boundaries and having them dismissed as Morrison tries to explore the idea of love within many different types of relationships.