Sunday, December 7, 2003

After Shovelling

Yesterday for all purposes I was snowed in---mounds of ice pushed to the side of the road by the plows blocked my driveway, and after shovelling and hacking for two hours to clear a path, I found that the sections on which I had worked first, were already covered by another layer of falling snow. It seemed to be a fast-fowarded conceit for the way that the work of humans, if they are not constantly vigilent in its upkeep, is eventually swallowed by nature, subsumed back into the earth. This morning, all that remained of my effort were sore muscles; I'm glad I didn't attempt to build, for instance, a citadel to proclaim my glory through all the ages.

Today, though, the afternoon was warm, and after yet another shovelling, I drove to have a gigantic buffet meal, which I'm now digesting contentedly. I read what I thought was a funny paragraph in The New Yorker while I ate:

"A perennial issue in popular melodrama: How do you create villains evil enough to arouse the anger of the righteous? Many people enjoy violence in movies, but they want to feel justified in their enjoyment; they want to feel that some characters are so far beyond the pale that good folks have little choice but to kill them. The Nazis always qualify, as did Soviet spies (in the old days) and serial murderers, cannibals, rapists, drug lords, persons of indeterminate Third World origin, giant bugs and lizards, ambitions machines, Willem Dafoe---"

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