Saturday, July 16, 2005

The Comforts of Horror

The cloud cover rolled in this afternoon. I could see thundestorms to the north so heavy there wasn't a horizon. And now it's humid and the swamp cooler might as well be a fan. It's too hot to sleep, so I'm going to post this now instead of tomorrow. In the profoundly mortal words of Prince Rodgers Nelson, forgive me if this goes astray.

Last week, at the recommendation of Suzy Charnas, I picked up a copy of Chirstopher Golden's _The Boys Are Back in Town_. If y'all aren't familiar with Mr. Golden's work, he's done a lot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer work (including it appears some collaborations with Amber Benson) along with his own original stuff

I read The Boys in about four sittings, which given how more or less nosebleed busy things have been is actually saying something. I wasn't moved or shocked, my world wasn't changed, but it was a decent little story, well told. The horrific parts were indeed icky (morally and graphically), I wasn't sure what the resolution would be until I got there, and the parts that were supposed to be mildly titilating were mildly titilating. Everything Golden promised me, he paid off, and if he didn't promise me that he was going to redefine the horror genre, well good for him.

Looking back, the best description I have of the novel is that is was comfortable. The experience of reading it reminded me of taking a long, warm bath with one of the early Laurel Hamilton books (The Lunatic Cafe or the appropriately named Guilty Pleasures -- pretty much anything before Obsidian Butterfly, where Anita Blake and I finally parted ways.)

I was recently suprised and flattered to discover a story of mine nominated for a horror/dark fantasy award, and it got me thinking about horror. I hadn't intended to write a horror story (and I could actually argue that mine was a happy wish fulfillment story and an amelioration and softening of the real world), but it was dead fucking grim. The Boys Are Back in Town -- like the Anita Blake series -- *isn't* dead grim, though. It's moralistic and predictable and pleasant as worthy of praise as any good comfort food. And I can't even say it isn't horror. It has all the hallmarks, all the genre expectations, and it lives up to them.

I just hadn't understood the idea of a horror cozy before.

When I was younger (17, say), I went through my Harlan Ellison phase. I read everything I could get my hands on by the man, and the more profoundly disturbing it was, the more I liked it. I also watched A Clockwork Orange about a hundred times.

When I hit my mid 20s, I found my tastes had changed. I like Harlan's softer, more humane peices now. I no longer enjoy rape scenes in films. I can't watch Clockwork anymore. And I find I appreciate the occasional comfortable horror story. I don't write them and I don't aspire to, but I find something admirable in them.

Given the success of Laurell Hamilton and her army of imitators (including some dear friends of mine), I suspect the rebirth of the horror genre that we're seeing now if being fueled by that sense of the comfortable and the familiar and the safe. I don't hear about book editors seeking out the kind of cruel, edgy work we saw from early Clive Barker and recent Poppy Z. Brite.

And if I'm right, how profoundly ironic.

42 Comments:

Anonymous David W said...

A "cozy horror"...interesting. Can I formalise this? (Just for fun.) I'd like to call it the cozy gothic continuum, with gothic (the big dark cave) at one end, and cozy (the great big flashlight) at the other. (I'm probably misusing the word "gothic," but I prefer it to "horror," as at the gentle end of the continuum the stories aren't horror at all.)

e.g, William Blatty's "The Exorcist" was scary to many with religious beliefs because "it could be real!" (10/10 on the cg scale).
Contrast it with Spawn or Buffy, where the demons are demoted to super villains (who can be beaten by the super heroes; right?) (!/10 on the cg scale.)

Incidentally, a book can slide down the scale: e.g.
Is the exorcist still scary? The typical response is "Not as much as when it came out." Now, I don't know if that's just desensitization or a more atheistic society. Either way, a lot of us are a lot less sensitive to the traditional tools in the horror writer's toolbox. E.g. increasingly realistic sfx, even live operations on t.v., mean that we're all more used to gore. Ghosts aren't as frightening as they were, say, a hundred years ago; and does anyone think Frankenstein type monsters are scary now? So, one question is, what's left for the horror writer to scare us with? (Oh, I know they can still shock us, but it must be getting harder to score high on the scale, if you know what I mean.)

But then, as you suggest, perhaps we read horror not to be frightened but to be comforted; a slightly more visceral (pun intended), but pleasingly familiar, version of fantasy. (And can I just add that I read Stephen King's books for the cozy factor, (roughly 4/10 on my sliding scale; you may well disagree) rather than the horror.)

11:13 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David w asks:

So, one question is, what's left for the horror writer to scare us with?

Almost anything, really, if it's not stale yet. I was on a panel at MileHiCon a few years back where we were talking about vampires and why vampires were scary. It was a rough panel because the moderator kept asserting that they just were. Not much to talk about from that.

I think you're onto something when you talk about things being scary that could be real -- tapping into fear that's already there is more the point (IMHO) than creating it de novo.

One way I've tried to write the stuff is to ask what the Horrific Element is a metaphor for. I think the horror tropes that have passed their sell-by date are ones that have lost conection with the metaphor they've tapped into, either by the culture moving on so that the issue isn't really such a big deal anymore (Mr. Hyde, for example, was the result of Dr. Jekyll's fear of seeming frivolous which doesn't seem a particularly driving psychologial issue these days) or because the form of the metaphor has eclipsed the meaning.

The werewolf may be trite these days, but the man looking at his lover's bloodied eyes or his still, unmoving baby and trying to understand how he could have done the things he just did has still got some juice in it. We may need to find fresher images to express them.

This is starting to feel like Orwell's take on stale metaphors in
Politics and the English Language.

5:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I no longer enjoy rape scenes in films.

Meaning that you once enjoyed seeing rape on film? How do you keep all the ladies off your jock, you Prince Charming?

1:06 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

someone says:

Meaning that you once enjoyed seeing rape on film? How do you keep all the ladies off your jock, you Prince Charming?

I can pretend that I came out of the womb already clear on the relationship of violence and sex, and that sexual violence filmed in a way intended to arouse the viewer was always lost on me.

I mean, if it would make you feel better.

1:13 AM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Anonymous, don't be a twit. (Or if you're going to be a twit, be a nymous or pseudonymous twit, not an anonymous one.)

SL: Tell me more about the hallmarks and the genre expectations, and how this book was cozy despite them. I’ve read, seen, etc., only the average non-horror-reader’s amount of horror, and while I’ve enjoyed some of it I’ve never had a handle on the reading protocols or on what about the genre appeals to its fans. My naive take is that horror expectations fulfilled (as distinct from, say, horror costumes or set dressings) categorically != cozy. So spill. :)

Also: Last week’s A Softer World is way too appropriate for this discussion.

6:29 PM  
Blogger Foxessa said...

My goodness -- we misspelled 'peices'!

And -- We liked rape in our younger daze. But we are better now.

My goodness, how we have progressed!

How -- comforting; horror as genre as a comfy space, where we can hide fr. rl theze daze.

And the pt. is?

Fox

7:01 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David:

OK, I'm going to go ahead and generalize. The big differnce in horror fiction (IMHO) is that the world is malefic by nature.

In science fiction, even destructive things are morally neutral. The comet about to slam into the planet isn't evil, it's just really really bad. The killer alien isn't an expresiion of the devil, it's just a better predator than we are.

In fantasy, the world may be out of balance, but it's essentially a benign place.

In Golden's _The Boys Are Back in Town_, the supernatural element involved -- magic -- is expressly evil and corrupting *by its nature*. The characters don't leave unscarred, not all the good guys end well, and the basic problem (the malevolence of the universe) isn't returned to a benign balance at the end, if even an amoral naturalism.

So yeah, I write that out, it doesn't sound so cozy. But David W up at the top of the thread has some good examples. In Buffy, the demons are just super villans. In Laurell Hamilton, the demonic evil of the vampire is reduced to a bad-boy attractiveness. In _The Boys_ the universe is waiting for stupid people to make misstep and magic is destructive to anyone with the temerity to use it, sure, but there's never any real fear that the good guys won't come out at least mostly right in the end. [mild spoiler alert] The worst effects of the evil are undone by the end of the book. The ending does have the "it's not really over" ending that we've come to expect from horror "happy" endings. [end spoiler alert]

The form is there, but the viciousness you'd see in Barker's The Damnation Game or Stephen King's Misery or even Johnathan Carroll's A Child Across the Sky (which I just *love*) isn't.

One of the things that was interesting about the early Anita Blake novels was that the character was Catholic and struggling with being "corrupted". The things she was fighting against -- while accepted as part of society -- were still evil to her. I don't know that that's really the case in the later books, but as I said, I haven't kept up.

2:46 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David M:

The softer world link is 404ing on me.

3:52 AM  
Anonymous Zoe Selengut said...

In Buffy, the demons are just super villains


Which, besides being inaccurate, has, oh, nothing whatsoever to do with the horrific elements in the show, which include such nifty things as:

- you sleep with your true love, and the next morning he treats you like dirt & laughs at your sexual skills & your friends despise your weakness.

- you tell your mother the truest secrets of your soul, and she tells you're not welcome in her home anymore.

- you develop a taste for cruelty and you want to kill it, but it only grows.

- everyone you rely on & love secretly resents you, and it's your fault.

- your parents divorced because of you, and if you push them too hard, they'll tell you so.

- your greatest glory came and went before you were twenty, and sixty long grey years lie ahead, and even if you kill yourself, they'll only send you back, and you can't tell anybody.

If you can't see the horror in Buffy, it's not because it's not there.

5:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like this idea of comfortable horror, Daniel. I think it actually fits a lot of the more extreme stuff, too, though, in that at the end of it all, even though there's almost inevitably the specter of the evil coming back (whether supernatural or not) even in good horror novels, the status quo is regained. To me, that's speaks more to comfort levels than the amount of sex and violence in the middle of the book, if that makes any sense.

I think this is probably why I tend to prefer the more surreal end of the horror spectrum and why horror stories set in the middle class here-and-now tend to bore the heck out of me, unless the author is using the milieu to comment satirically in some way, in addition to whatever s/he is doing with the surface of the story/plot.

JeffV

PS I don't really see much horrific about Buffy, but, then, I'm pretty jaded.

9:19 AM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

Zoe:

I see your point, but I respectfully disagree.

There's a lot of drazmatic tension in Buffy, & Joss Wheadon & crew are really quite good at puttin' the thumbscrews to Buffy (as any good writer should -- torturing the protagonist is pretty much the job description).

But having a huge, painful, ugly burden to bear isn't enough to put something in the horror subgenre. A Prayer for Owen Meany is all about a guy who deeply loves his best friend and is forced by God to participate in that friends gruesome death. Still not horror.

9:49 AM  
Blogger Brickworks said...

Does anyone watch "Medium"? I consider it well and truly horror. Safe Light, it may very well be pushing into areas of what is horrific to us here and now, rather than retreading old metaphors which may no longer apply.

Mostly, this comes out in Allison's dream sequences (the rest of the show resembles the forensic mysteries that are all the rage.) Really creepy stuff--she finds herself looking through the eyes of a 4-year old being molested, she watches a mother discover that her daughter has just been eviscerated by her doctor in his office, she finds herself on an airplane in the midst of crashing. The show takes the headlines that most scare people, then puts its audience in the middle of them.

It's like it takes people's purient interest in horrible news items, and forces them to live those stories in a way that is far beyond most people's comfort zones.

10:51 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Medium's a great show because it's based around this really good writing about a woman and her husband and their kids, and then the supernatural element is added over top of that. So the comfortable aspect comes from these spot-on depictions of a family, and then the strangeness comes from where it should come from: the weird stuff she sees. And it doesn't always resolve in a comfortable way at all. Without resorting to the kind of gore and sexual content that sometimes mars other shows or books (mars it when it replaces good characterization and good writing, I mean.)

JeffV

11:23 AM  
Blogger Brickworks said...

As a point of interest, "Medium" was created and written by the creator and writer of "Moonlighting."

11:26 AM  
Blogger David Moles said...

So yeah, I write that out, it doesn't sound so cozy. But David W up at the top of the thread has some good examples. In Buffy, the demons are just super villans. In Laurell Hamilton, the demonic evil of the vampire is reduced to a bad-boy attractiveness. In The Boys the universe is waiting for stupid people to make misstep and magic is destructive to anyone with the temerity to use it, sure, but there's never any real fear that the good guys won't come out at least mostly right in the end.

See, that's where I kind of get confused about what's "really" horror and what isn't. I realize this could spiral off into a version of the Margaret Atwood talking space squid argument, but does a book where the universe is only a little malefic, not so much that you can't live a happy life there so long as you watch your toes, is that sufficiently horrific? Or is it just "dark fantasy"?

(I may be unfairly characterizing the book, but that's how there's never any real fear that the good guys won't come out at least mostly right in the end sounds to me.)

(Oh, and while I think of "dark fantasy" as something that uses horror motifs but isn't actually horrifying, I may be totally misusing the term. I don't spend a lot of time in this end of the genre pool...)

12:31 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

If the A Softer World link isn't working, try the front page, www.asofterworld.com. The particular strip I'm thinking of is July 15th's.

12:34 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David says:

See, that's where I kind of get confused about what's "really" horror and what isn't.

Oh I think it's all really horror.
In a cozy murder mystery, the death happens off scene, no one's feeling are particularly hurt, and the pain and violence of the death are ignored or downplayed. The point is the puzzle being solved by the comfortably quirky detective, and possibly her cat. It's absolutely still a murder mystery.

_The Boys_ (and Buffy) are horror -- the universe is malefic, they have the standard Bad Magic, vampires, werevolves, yadda yadda yadda that belong to that subgenre. They just aren't viscerally horrific, and they're not trying to be.

My objection to Zoe's analysis is that the awful parts of Buffy aren't related to the horror elements so much as standard character torture common to any good story regardless of genre.

But, possibly to undermine my own point, when Buffy started getting into emotionally really unpleasant territory in Season Six, folks stopped watching (myself included, though I have the first 5 seasons on DVD).

Imagine someone picking up the latest "The Cat Who . . ." mystery and starting off with a scene where a mother watches her child being tortured to death and is powerless to stop it. It's in keeping with the larger genre, but it's not what the reader came there for.

There's a different contract being made with the reader. That's why I think they're interesting.

1:12 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

David M said:

Oh, and while I think of "dark fantasy" as something that uses horror motifs but isn't actually horrifying, I may be totally misusing the term. I don't spend a lot of time in this end of the genre pool...

I think of dark fantasy as a term coined after the horror bubble of the 80s popped and folks were trying to write horror without calling it that.

Markets... [shrug]

1:20 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Interesting. So it's not a horror genre expectation that horror actually be horrific... I guess that's fair, given that SF doesn't have to have science in it, fantasy can be pretty mundane, mysteries often aren't that mysterious, and li-fi (sorry, Susan!) often isn't very literary. It's easy to see the possibility of cozy horror there.

But, can anyone think of an example of something that's horrific and cozy?

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was around when the horror bubble burst. Dark Fantasy was a term used before that to distinguish between horror that had contemporary settings and horror that veered off into imaginary or other types of settings. In part. Some would disagree. But the term was around before that.

The term most commonly used to describe horror after the bubble burst--or at least immediately after the bubble burst--was "dark suspense" or "suspense". This couldn't really cover the "dark fantasy" horror, but it did a nice job of providing some cover for those novelists who wrote contemporary-setting horror. At least for a time.

JeffV

2:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am beginning to wonder if the continual re-defining or re-thinking about stuff that's been hashed out years before--and even the history of the genre, horror included--is because there isn't sufficient documentation or because not enough people bother to put the effort into learning about what went before. Or maybe a little of both.

JeffV

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Susan said...

David, seriously, would it kill you to say "lit fic"? It's only two more letters, and it saves me from HIVES AND IRRITATION.

3:32 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

I just wanted to see if you were listening. :)

4:27 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Ah, so that's dark fantasy! Genre fact for the day learned. [Check.] Feel free to insert the word "contemporary" in my posts above, as needed.

Jeff, I think overdocumentation is also part of the problem. You get enough authoritative-sounding screeds out there stating categorically that anything with X or Y in it is genre Z, that author A is a prominent Z writer, that author A is not a Z writer, that B's book K is Z because B wrote it, but C’s book L is not Z because it was published by Q . . . it’s not unreasonable to say “screw you guys, I’m figuring it out for myself.”

And then to feel as if you’re saying something new just because you did figure it out for yourself.

4:40 PM  
Anonymous Zoe Selengut said...

My objection to Zoe's analysis is that the awful parts of Buffy aren't related to the horror elements so much as standard character torture common to any good story regardless of genre.

It wasn't so much an analysis as a list, which is a fault, & also I fear over-specificity for fear of spoilers, which is very silly for a show that's been off the air for a couple years, but then you said you hadn't seen the last seasons.

I'm confused by the objection - the things I listed aren't literally what happens, mostly; they're the underlying repressed core of stories about demons & vampires & so on. I thought you were saying that demons & vampires aren't scary by themselves unless they represent something else too frightening to be named:

One way I've tried to write the stuff is to ask what the Horrific Element is a metaphor for. I think the horror tropes that have passed their sell-by date are ones that have lost conection with the metaphor they've tapped into,

- right? Buffy always went for the terrifying social metaphor over the consistent worldbuilding, to its detriment, but finding new metaphors for old horror tropes was sort of its whole Thing.

But having a huge, painful, ugly burden to bear isn't enough to put something in the horror subgenre.

Indeed. & I don't say that the show as a whole ought to be classified as horror - Buffy was always equal parts horror, comedy, & soap opera - but episodes like "Ted," "Never Again," and whatever the Zombie Joyce one was called belong nowhere else.

[sorry, I know the conversation is about more than my precious Buffy - I'll leave it alone now.]

4:42 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

Zoe:

No need to apologize. Buffy is germaine (after all, this started with my take on a book by the co-author of The Watcher's Guide and The Sunnydale High Yearbook).

I'm going to have to sit with your argument for a little bit here. On the one hand, you're right -- there's a lot of good literalized metaphors in Buffy, there are some genuinely creepy bits and some very emotional bits of excellent melodrama.

But it still felt safe to me. Even when Buffy died. By comparison, I found Millenium too gruesome to enjoy, and I really like Lance Hendrickson...

Lemme think about that...

5:07 PM  
Blogger Brickworks said...

"The Island of Doctor Moreau" is my favorite horror book. (trying not to discuss more TV like "Millennium"...) It's SCARY, especially the last couple chapters, which have never made it into any film version.

I think it's the trangression in this case. It takes what we think is a well established line--between human and not-human--and completely erases it in several ooky ways.

Just trying to put more data into the mix.

5:27 PM  
Anonymous Dark Somethings said...

Horror isn't necessarily about the universe at all. It's not a "setting" genre like SF or a "plot" genre like mystery, but a reader affect genre and as such bleeds over into virtually everything else including true crime (thus it need not even be a fiction genre.)

Horror is essentially about depictions of the return of the repressed and (not even or) the uncanny and can thus be supernatural or purely psychological (Bloch's PSYCHO anyone?) Cozy horror, or "right bank" horror as Caitlin Kiernan called it a decade ago, is that horror where the outsider or agent of return is held at bay via middle class values (including the literary values of the author, as well as values expressed mimetically) and eventually conquered. Left bank horror, the non-cozy stuff, celebrates the outsider and the return of the repressed, and morally implicates middle class values in the creation of the horror.

"Dark Fantasy" as a term is at least as old as the early 1970s, when a fanzine by that name was published featuring early Lansdale stories, Robert E. Howard poems, etc. Dark fantasy stories generally use the fantasy bestiary or use horror tropes in a way which do not center the return of the repressed AND the uncanny; often it chooses one or the other, or simply offers a fantasy world with a non-consolatory, downbeat, ending.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

ds defines left & right bank models in a passage too long to quote, but good to point at. I respond:

Yeah, that's good. It would tend to explain my ambivalence on Buffy. The morality is pretty non-threatening.

And it explains the edge I feel in Clive Barker or Poppy Z Brite that I don't feel in Golden. Caitlin Keirnan, you say?

I'm curious, though. Does either bank tend more toward the visceral? It's only a first-blush thing, but it seems like the left bank would be more accomadating of scenes and imagery that are, for want of a better term, assualting...

I would, for example, put Thomas Harris' Hannibal pretty firmly on the left bank.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Dark Somethings said...

Does either bank tend more toward the visceral? It's only a first-blush thing, but it seems like the left bank would be more accomadating of scenes and imagery that are, for want of a better term, assualting...


On the contrary, many of the splatterpunks were ultimately profoundly conservative, slasher-flick aesthetic aside.

2:00 AM  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Actually "slasher-flick aesthetic" not very much aside at all, I'd say. The aesthetic underlying a lot of those films is pretty much the same "teenagers who fuck must die" moralism you get in the urban legends they rip off and riff off. You could argue that in right bank horror (far right bank, maybe?) the Other often acts to patrol the moral margins, punishing those who step outside the boundaries. Here it's the victims who breach middle class values, and then must either fall back into line or receive the ultimate sanction for it. Basically it often seems to me like the horror (in, for example the hippy babysitter puts chicken in cot and baby in microwave story) is psychological button-pushing geared towards enforcing a conservative, if not downright reactionary, moral agenda. Maybe that's more common in film and folklore though, than in the written form.

8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd argue that Thomas Harris is, in some ways, coming out of the Decadent tradition and that Hannibal in particular should be read as a modern-era Decadent novel. It's horrific but not really interested in the horror per se.

JeffV

9:36 AM  
Blogger Johnny Dark said...

_Hannibal_, I would say, is a great lazy piece of self-indulgence.

_Silence of the Lambs_ is a cop-buddy novel. ("She's a straight-laced FBI agent. He's an genius serial-killer psychologist held in an insane asylum. Between the two of them, they have to find the killer, or more people will die...")

_Red Dragon_ is a conventional cop novel.

None of them are really horror.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Safe Light said...

And yet some of the most viscerally unpleasant books I've ever finished. Horrific, without bein' horror; the flipside of a horror cozy.

5:52 PM  
Blogger David Moles said...

Okay, time out. Explain why they're not horror?

(I haven't been bothered to read them. I saw Lambs and read it very much along the "the universe is malevolent" line, even if there's nothing supernatural about that malevolence.)

8:55 PM  
Anonymous Dark Somethings said...

Actually "slasher-flick aesthetic" not very much aside at all, I'd say. The aesthetic underlying a lot of those films is pretty much the same "teenagers who fuck must die" moralism you get in the urban legends they rip off and riff off.

The morality of slasher flicks is orthogonal to its aesthetic. European grindhouse movies carry the aesthetic without the puritannical morality, for example.

I

12:50 AM  
Blogger Hal Duncan said...

Don't know much European grindhouse, but I was under the impression those were basically exploitation movies (cf. this example: http://www.hysteria-lives.co.uk/hysterialives/Hysteria/slaughter_hotel.htm).

Strikes me that prurient and prudish are just flipsides of each other here; the exploitation-flick capitalises on the thrill of transgression, lets the viewer get off on the "outrageousness" of the splatter and gore, but don't you have to buy in to the morality for the transgression to be thrilling? Slaughter House looks kinda like Beyond The Valley of the Dolls with chainsaws. The whole thrill quotient just reminds me of the whole Victorian obsession with freak shows, or the underlying Catholicism in Goth/Vampirism. You have to buy into the moral order to get your rocks off on the thrill of seeing it breached.

10:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JohnnyDarko:

Re Hannibal. I wasn't defending or denigrating the novel, just pointing at its probable origins, which also point to Harris not really being that into horror per se. I did think the novel was better than most people thought, although severely flawed.

JeffreyBlackLight

12:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The blog's dead, Jim. If you don't believe me, kick it."

1:04 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Old Marley was as dead as a doornail.

Mind! I don’t mean to say that I know of my own knowledge, what there is particularly dead about a doornail. I might have been inclined, myself, to regard a coffin-nail as the deadest piece of ironmongery in the trade. But the wisdom of our ancestors is in the simile; and my unhallowed hands shall not disturb it, or the country’s done for. You will, therefore, permit me to repeat, emphatically, that Marley was as dead as a doornail.

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