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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Voltaire addresses the voodoo of Pat Robertson across the chasm

From Voltaire's "Poème sur le désastre de Lisbonne," written in response to the Lisbon earthquake of 1755:

What crime, what sin, had those young hearts conceived That lie, bleeding and torn, on mother's breast? Did fallen Lisbon deeper drink of vice Than London, Paris, or sunlit Madrid? In these men dance; at Lisbon yawns the abyss. Tranquil spectators of your brothers' wreck, Unmoved by this repellent dance of death, Who calmly seek the reason of such storms, Let them but lash your own security; Your tears will mingle freely with the flood.

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