Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Vengeance is Mine

There is a difference, I think, between vengeance and revenge. Revenge implies a tit for tat evening-up of a score, a righting of a personal wrong—whether a small slight or a grand insult—and it rarely involves violence. In other words, living well is the best revenge. But not the best vengeance.

Vengeance is something else entirely. It implies a point-of-no-return addressing of an intensely universal, not just personal, injustice. It is large scale, Biblically proportioned, sometimes morally ambiguous, and almost always violent. No one will deny you your revenge. But it's a good bet they'll look at you funny if you start talking vengeance.

It's always been a concept that has fascinated me, whether in classic literature (Hamlet), modern novels (Deliverance), or movies (from The Searchers to Death Wish to Kill Bill to Gran Torino). When the authorities fail, when anarchy rules—even briefly—just how long are we expected to turn our cheeks and accept injustice?

Some of your haiku this week dealt with the theme on this spiritual/moral level. Becca reminds us just how much it must suck to have one's soul hoovered out of one's body, doomed to roam the earth with the same endless thirst. (I think I finally figured out why vamp lit is so popular these days—aren't we all similar victims of succubus governments and their corporate lackeys, so drained dry of any purpose and meaning that all we can do is mindlessly consume?)

Karl ponders both the satisfaction and the devastation that can result from taking matters into one's own hands. I'm still not clear on what it is exactly that Karl does for a living but I sleep better at night knowing he's out there, somewhere, doing his Karl thing.

Then there's Aunty, who tongue-in-cheekily asserts that, why, no, y'all, Aunty DON'T sweat. While her contemporaries undulate their sculpted abs in an endless series of beach volleyball games, Aunty lounges smartly beneath a wide sunbrella, a blonde Elizabeth Taylor flashing her baby blues or greens or browns and just a bit of delicate ankle wrapped in a K. Jacques sandal strap. Go ahead. Thumb your nose at the jocks, eat the chocolate, and work it off in the garden.

Fishy contemplated the meaning of Vengeance is Mine, Sayeth the Lord. No, not a commandment. Otherwise, on the eighth day God would not have created Smith & Wesson.

Serendipity presented two crack 'ku's about natural vengeance, reminding us that the last thing anyone wants to see when they wake up in the morning is the aftermath of a pissed-off bear.

Curm reminded us that nature—wrathful or regenerative—will always have the last word.

Speaking of which, Czar's smack-down of naysayer English teachers is pretty darn funny if you know that he just finished what is probably the world's first—and likely last—copy edit of the online book version of James Joyce's Ulysses. I think he should go out and celebrate by getting drunk on Irish Whiskey. Right now.

Rafe, one of HM's most gleeful wordsmiths, gave us a few things to ponder about the nature of one straw too many piled on a back. He also managed to work in a beloved Italian American cuss-out, which I think I will adopt as my personal credo for the rest of the week.

And I couldn't help but laugh at Foam's entry this week, either the perfect evocation of Zen acceptance or Gen X slackertude ("Dude, I can't be bothered to get off the sofa to put a cap in your ass, but believe me, if I could do it with a look, I would"). Either way, it's funny.

As is Blazng's. Who hasn't been that girl? Or wanted to be? Which is why I give her the win for this week:

Hell hath no fury!
A gas tank full of salt; cure!
Vengeance can be sweet.

It grabbed me from the get-go, with it's clever play on "salt cure," the juxtaposition between bitter and sweet, the way she qualifies the satisfaction in the last line—vengeance can be sweet, rather than vengeance is so sweet.

Nicely done, girl. Snag your badge and let us know if you're up for hosting next week.

Thanks again for playing, everyone!


Rafael said...

Congrats to BLAZNG! Remind me not to piss her off any time soon... if she'll go after a man's car, thar's no tell'n where else she might go to reek a bit of manly havoc. I like my parts just the way they are, thank you very much!

Always good times with a Moi host, and a bit of learn'n, too!!



Oh, and if you're gonna cuss in Italian, ya' gotta get your hand and arm antics down or you'll just end up look'n silly!!

czar said...

Great haiku, Blazng, and nice hosting, Moi. You word people.

I say "you word people." I'm now a fireman. Much easier to explain.

BlazngScarlet said...

Oh my!
I'm flabbergasted/gobsmacked/twitterpated!
Than you Moi ... I feel honored.

As for hosting, this time I WILL be around and I WILL host! lol
I felt absolutely horrible when I won last time and couldn't host. =(

I will have a theme up sometime tomorrow.
I'm waging an inner war on which theme I want to go with!

Thank you Rafa and Czar, I hope to read YOUR words come Monday!

darkfoam said...

Superb job hosting moi! I just love how you write about our haiku efforts. Congrats to BlazngScarlett's. I so get her haiku. As a matter of fact I get it so much that ive dreamt of doing it. Looking forward to her theme.

Btw, it's baby boomer slackness on my part ... :)

fishy said...

Subject, poetry, hosting!
Congratulations Scarlett, there can indeed be satisfaction in a well crafted action.
Thanks Moi, I always look forward to your reviews .

Anonymous said...

Hard to add much to the comments already in. Blaze nailed it. Moi gave such a great review.

Looking forward to the next theme, Blaze.


chickory said...

excellent choice! congrats, blaze

chickory said...

excellent choice! congrats, blaze

Karl said...

Good afternoon Moi,
Congratulations BlazngScarlet! Sugar in the gas tank has always been a winner. I look forward to what you come up with for next week.

Thank you for hosting! I know you're busy and appreciate your efforts in, what are always most entertaining write-up's.

By the way. Generally I just tell people, I'm a piano player in the house of ill repute. It's easier to explain that way.

Aunty Belle said...

Heh, great distinction a'tween revenge an' vengeance. Competent hostin' per yore usual, Moi, Cherie.

Blzng!! Oh yes...this time ya' will host? should be a fun one...

On the sugar in the tank thang, dimly, very dimly I recalls a book set in deepest ice an' snow--but NOT Ice Station Zebra--whar' the underdawgs pour sugar in the tank of the villains snow tank/ plow/ dozer. Very cool maneuver.

LẌ said...

Congrats Blazing Scarlet!

Whenever I hear "vengeance and revenge" I immediately think of the Middle East.