The Killer Inside We

In Esquire, Stephen Marche neatly connects our current obsession with violence to the bloodiness of Cormac McCarthy‘s novels. Marche’s evidence mainly sticks to Grand Theft Auto and mixed martial arts, but no matter, it’s still a good excuse to get a good quote in:

I hear my mother asking, “Why must our paradises be so violent?” Cormac McCarthy has an answer. From “Blood Meridian,” McCarthy’s masterpiece: “War was always here. Before man was, war waited for him. . . . That is the way it was and will be. That way and not some other way.” We can choose to sublimate violence through sports or confront it through fiction or turn it into comedy through video games. Violence remains. Always.

Taking a tone that’s a little less up-in-arms, my Washington City Paper colleague Brent Burton wrote a fine piece a while back about metal musicians’ embrace of McCarthy’s corpus:

When asked why McCarthy makes such a strong impression on headbangers—especially those who eschew vocals—Dahlquist suggests that imagery might be just as important as structure. “If I get something in my head,” he says, “maybe someone else will, as well.” Dylan Carlson, the man behind drone-metal act Earth, a band that once featured Kurt Cobain, would no doubt agree. Sidelined for years by drugs—O’Malley claims Carlson “cheated death,” just like a character in a McCarthy novel—Carlson reemerged in late 2005 with the all-instrumental Hex: Or Printing in the Infernal Method, an album based on—you guessed it—Blood Meridian. “[T]his book was the strongest invocation of the real American West I had ever encountered outside of a straight historical text,” Carlson said in an interview with British webzine Metal Chaos.

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