January 28, 1912 [For His Son]
It may go without saying that the mad curmudgeon, Friedrich Nietzsche, would have loathed the "anti-natural morality" of the cinema, its restrictions, its condemnations—I am put in mind of William Blake's baleful garden-cum-churchyard with "Thou Shalt Not" written above the gate ("binding with briars" his "joys and desires")—and I must admit I too feel the call of this wild, the urge to join the Nietzschean "affirmers," as he put it, "immoralists" who reject with outrage the crude curses of prigs. But the "moralists" of the cinema do have one trait in common with these Übermenschen: they both "philosophize with hammers." Rough work, but effective.
The Good Doctor indulges his son—frees him from his restraints, as it were, by piling on his needy head every dollar he requests. And, as usual, such freedom must be paid for. The father rises to entrepreneurial heights with "Dopokoke," a refreshing beverage laced with cocaine. Naturally, it's a huge success—and the Dionysian mad ball begins: The doctor's secretary drinks, the son adds more cocaine, the brew turns poisonous as the wild-eyed dope-fiends revel and defile themselves.
Not exactly the vim, vigor and go promised by the makers of Coca-Cola, the "snappy drink."
No matter how much we may deny it, this law endures, so that even if I don't feel your tears on my face I must, some day, admit it's because I've grown numb, or have confused them with my own. And again: I may deny your beaming joy, but the effort is great, you stand so close, and I must squeeze shut my eyes and clamp my hands over my ears until the pain of the effort replaces the pleasure of sharing that joy. So mock on, Nietzsche—and wag your finger, dear Doctor-Father: We still live in a crowded space, and must shift to accommodate each other's bulk.