Thursday, 14 July 2011

Antinatalist Book Reviews Issue II: Twain's Twisted Tale

I've been talking about this in Jim's chatroom for quite a while, though for some reason it simply slipped my mind to write about it. The Mysterious Stranger is, in my opinion, the greatest ode to misanthropy and world-weariness out there. It somehow manages to cover almost every possible mark you could come up with against the universe and against existence, though it doesn't seem to mention antinatalism, sadly. Its major plot-point is that of an angel named Satan appearing on Earth, who befriends some young boys and teaches them, through miracles, why humanity and life aren't all that great. If that doesn't already sound great, it's actually a lot better than even that description shows. Almost every line is quotable - the words are used so sparingly and so well that I'd hazard a guess at saying in being Mark Twain's last work, it is probably one of his best (though perhaps not his Magnum Opus). I read this way back before I got into antinatalism and such, but I still like it as much now as I did back then - in fact, probably more so, in light of the things I've learnt. It starts off slow by the way, so don't let that stop you - just keep on with it until you start realising how wondrous it really is, and if you don't, then you really are something of a tough cookie.
    As a bonus, you should also try to track down and watch the movie 'Goodbye Solo'. It seems to have been an independent or low-budget kind of film, but just like The Sunset Limited, it really is a great one. In fact it's hard to describe it at all without making reference to The Sunset Limited, since it is so like it in plot (a man intent on killing himself explaining to a far more upbeat man). It has a 'happy' (for people like you or me) ending, too, which is all I'll say to spoil it. It isn't as philsophically meaningful as The Sunset Limited, but it is, I'd say, as emotionally powerful as that film.

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