Thursday, March 4, 2010

Michel Houellebecq, The Elementary Particles p. 29

(cross-posted from Commonplace)

He was less interested in television. Every week, however, his heart in his mouth, he watched The Animal Kingdom. Graceful animals like gazelles and antelopes spent their days in abject terror while lions and panthers lived out their lives in listless imbecility punctuated by explosive bursts of cruelty. They slaughtered weaker animals, dismembered and devoured the sick and the old before falling back into a brutish sleep where the only activity was that of the parasites feeding on them from within. Some of these parasites were hosts to smaller parasites, which in turn were a breeding ground for viruses. Snakes moved among the trees, their fangs bared, ready to strike at bird or mammal, only to be ripped apart by hawks. The pompous, half-witted voice of Claude Darget, filled with awe and unjustifiable admiration, narrated these atrocities. Michel trembled with indignation. But as he watched, the unshakable conviction grew that nature, taken as a whole, was a repulsive cesspit. All in all, nature deserved to be wiped out in a holocaust--and man's mission on earth was probably to do just that.

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