Someday alien archeologists sifting through the wreckage of our forgotten civilization will probably discover Train Fights, where the sad procession of flailing human misery is documented with voyeuristic glee. Here, for instance, is one such specimen of our culture's widespread desensitization to violence and suffering. The scene: A NJ Transit train stopped in Camden on a late November afternoon. It's not yet 5 p.m, but the enveloping dusk already sinks the dreary landscape into pitiless darkness. The players: A heartbroken woman in her late 20s, who has just discovered that after two years together, her lover, a red-haired man of the same age, has been unfaithful. We join this emotional trainwreck already progress:
It's a long slog, and while the loquacious cinematographer won't win any awards with her vertical framing, she does distinguish herself by ordering bystanders to get out of her shot, telling one gawker, "Yo, you in my view, dog." (On a bigger-budget fight video, that's the P.A.'s job.) The video is lengthy by train fight video standards, which may partially explain why we find it so fascinating—it's sort of like a scene of Waiting for Godot, except waiting for New Jersey police, and, you know, with real people. But don't think too hard about that—for our purposes, they're just two-dimensional adversaries in a timeless YouTube dance of despair.
A NJ Transit spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment on this snapshot of one shattered woman's violent disintegration. (Of course, there's always the possibility of a happy ending; as a bystander observes in the video, "The worst part is, he'll probably be back with her tomorrow.") In the meantime, here's a palate-cleansing video taken by a man trying (and failing) to get a patriotic chant going on the L train.