The Logic of The Purge Is Fucked Up


Because the world around us is crumbling at a rate that is both alarming and slightly mesmerizing to watch in real time, conversation among the Jezebel staff on Friday turned to the 2013 horror film, The Purge.

The plot of The Purge is relatively simple and defies most sociological logic: on one day of the year, for 12 hours, most crime is legal. People can act on their baser instincts and wild out without much repercussion. The rules state very clearly that if you do not follow the rules, you will be executed. When the sun rises on another day, society picks itself back up and carries on, having sated the devilish beast within that lives for murder, mayhem, petty theft, grand theft, and knife crime. (Spoiler: the purge actually functions as population control and is, in that regard, extremely fucked up.)

Let’s think about this, in case you haven’t. We all know that logically, the purge doesn’t make sense. Who’s to say that when the 12 hour time period is over, everyone involved in the murdering and the mayhem would feel satisfied with what they’d done and be able to just turn that off? The notion of the purge also assumes that everyone inherently has murderous, violent tendencies and is just waiting for the opportunity to grab a 2×4 studded with rusty nails and go to town. Given that the government in the universe of The Purge is essentially fascist, I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t prosecute anyone who really took to the purge with enthusiasm.

No one on staff seemed to be too jazzed about the murder bit, but as we discussed The Purge in context of everything eventually dissolving into chaos, and since we don’t personally condone physical violence, our version of The Purge—in the event of a Purge—was fairly tamer.

Stassa Edwards declared that she’d lift some Manets from the Metropolitan Museum of Art and spirit them away to her home, lining the walls of her abode like a robber baroness. Julianne Escobedo Shepherd informed me that she would hit up Henrik Vibskov and then perhaps Dover Street Market, all the better to look, in her words, like a “clown from Copenhagen” when shit hits the fan. Ashley Reese told me that she’d raid Mansur Gavriel for the block heels and the leather goods. And Katie McDonough and I joined forces in commandeering an armored vehicle to storm the nearest West Elm for linen sheets before heading to CB2 for various furniture items and stopping at Rachel Comey to steal clogs, dresses, and those cursed acrylic earrings everyone seems to be wearing.

For my part, on Purge day, I’d find a tee ball bat and a bit of gumption, and commit small, rude acts—perhaps a firm tap on the anklebones of passing pedestrians on their way to commit a crime, or a harder, more aggressive tap above the knee for those who insist on standing on moving sidewalks in airports instead of walking as you’re very clearly supposed to. Keep it simple, stupid, and move on.

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