Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Hellfire Club

Has a very dismissive person, who has never given you the right time of day, died or suffered the loss of their faculties? It’s rather disconcerting, since it throws the whole project of trying to prove oneself to a naysayer into question. Who cares what X, Y or Z thinks if tomorrow they suffer an aneurysm that puts them on life support? Potentially, anyone you want to impress—whether it’s someone of the opposite sex who spurned your advances or someone who looked askance upon your talents, like a high-powered literary agent, editor or casting director—is going to perish, and actually won’t be taking their dismissive attitude with them to the grave. No, you will carry that venom until you pass it on to the next person at the party. There are people we all hate enough to want dead. At the very least, we want those who are unimpressed by our existence to suffer the same torment we have suffered as they descend into Malebolge, the eighth circle of Dante’s Inferno, reserved for the sins of omission. In No Exit, Sartre wrote, “l’enfer, c’est les autres.” Hell is other people. This should be qualified. Hell is a place where those who have sinned against us will be the victims of those same crimes. The murderer will be murdered, the rapist raped, and the person who fails to see the inherent genius in any one who has the bravado to claim such talents will suffer an eternal diminution of their talents and abilities. Those who tested and tracked ADHD students with standardized tests and termed them to be lacking in intelligence will experience the equivalent of a perpetual Ground Hog’s Day, in which they are perpetually mailed notifications from Princeton Educational Testing Services informing them they have not lived up to their potential.

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