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Thursday, August 28, 2008

On Cormac McCarthy's "Blood Meridian," and Giant Albinos

I just finished reading this yesterday and wanted to comment on a book that may have some influence over one of my future projects.

I liked it, if that's really the best way to describe how I feel about it. I appreciate how not a single character or situation is sentimentalized - it's all matter-of-fact evil fuckers evilly fucking shit up (and ultimately getting fucked up).

Without getting into the plot too much, "Blood Meridian" is a sort of historical fiction tracing the movements of the Glanton Gang - notorious scalphunters, murders, and scoundrels - throughout Mexico and the Southwest. McCarthy uses Glanton's second-in-command, Judge Holden as six foot tall albino upon which to hang the themes of the work.

The Judge has been described in memoirs as "cowardly," and that further (this part I love), "a cooler blooded villain never went unhung." Holden embodies the passion for war, and the belief that violence is the only tangible thing at which man can and should excel. As McCarthy writes him, the Judge is an elemental force - less a man than a shadow that looms over other men. He has neither a beginning nor end and almost off-handedly extinguishes the life of the novel's erstwhile protagonist, The Kid.

As written, the Judge informs the reader that everything will in fact, not be okay. Judge Holden is the terrible force of brutal, unhappy death that stalks and will invetiably annhilate a sort of dumb, plodding humanity that does not know itself.

So what's this got to do with me, you ask? Well, that remains to be seen. I've been toying with the idea of a similar "journey across the West" thing with a similar elemental force attempting to divorce itself of the need for violence. See, I'm hopeful (and I don't know that McCarthy is exactly hopeless) about where this whole humanity thing is going to go.

Watch this space. More coming soon.


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