Precious: The self is lost

Last week I avoided the crowds and went to see a matinee performance of the heavily-hyped movie Precious: Based on the novel PUSH by Sapphire. This is not a movie review but more of a reflection into the films themes and their impressions on the viewer. The movie held true to a lot of the atrocities in the book and added some characters–like the male nurse played by Lenny Kravitz- for some flavor. I didn’t agree with Paula Patton as the teacher, since I actually read the book and had a completely different vision of Ms. Rain (more fitting of a seasoned actress like Alfre Woodard), but nonetheless the movie was visually striking, uncompromising, and shocking to even those that have been initiated into the school of hard knocks. The reactions to the movie that I’ve heard ranged from bone chilling to uplifting, and while both descriptions could equally describe this film, I walked away with something even darker.

For a few months I had been studying the causes and effects of paranoid schizophrenia suffered by mind control subjects and sexual abuse victims. My curiosity stemmed from wanting to further understand why a displaced family member began suffering from the mental disease in her teenage years. The information that I came upon was startling, and I saw several allusions to the effects of  mental and physical abuse in both the Precious movie posters and the movie itself. Without going into an all-out thesis on the subject, I’ll just touch on a few bold depictions that I have discovered in my studies, and allow you, the reader, to further investigate if you so wish.

Monarch Programming
I was struck by the initial movie poster for Precious because the image of the monarch butterfly is reflective of government mind-control system I had been studying called Project Monarch or MK Ultra. While I do not consider myself a scholar in this subject, I understand that this was a real program developed around World War II by Nazi doctors and the CIA. This once covert operation has since come to light with a public acknowledgement from former President Clinton and, according to some, may still be in use today. Children as young as two years old were sexually abused as a way of fragmenting themseves, forgetting their sense of self, and separating parts of their mind from traumatic experiences, often forgetting that they even occured. Precious’ mother acknowledged that she watched as her boyfriend molested three-year-old Precious repeatedly instead of making love to the elder, and so we know that the Precious’ torture began early as well.

Another form of torture is constant trance inducement, where the victim will flash to another happier place in their minds as the physical trauma is being administered. In the movie, Precious constantly flashes to dreams as a movie star with bright, flashing lights, and adoring fans. While moviegoers saw these episodes as a light-hearted departure from the movie’s heavy emotional theme, it offers insight into the mind of an abused victim. A permanent and damaging effect of repeated torture is that the victim can no longer tell fantasy from reality. In the movie, Precious not only dreams that she is a skinny White girl, but everytime she sits down in front of a mirror she actually sees herself as one.

Ritual Abuse Resulting in Fragmentation
The second striking poster is a stark black and orange image of a fragmented Precious. The theme couldn’t be more obvious as the image is a metaphor for a young girl whose soul is literally shattered by sexual abuse. But the sad effect of a victim who is repeatedly traumatized is that they begin to break off mentally into different states, or alters. Think of all those alter egos that have been the big trend of celebrities lately. In a real victim, this is where the schizophrenia kicks in where a person develops several personalities that serve different purposes. For instance, there may be a good alter and a bad alter. The bad alter is the personality that is punished because it has misbehaved, whereas the good alter would never associate with the bad alter. Another alter may be afraid of being chased by some unknown force because of something they may have done. I have seen someone suffer through this disease and it can be frightening.

Precious’ alter is a White girl and a movie star. But how many times do you yourself daydream and imagine yourself as someone else? The average persona my not be as far gone as a character like Precious, but a dream and a bad experience can be bad enough to take you there.