This Week’s Reading
In a death match between a fifteen-pound monkey and a vicious, highly trained pit bull, who do you think would win? To find the answer, consult the Wikipedia report on the vile nineteenth-century British practice of monkey-baiting, which has received my vote for Wikipedia’s finest article. As it turns out, small monkeys can easily defeat ferocious fighting dogs, particularly when armed with small clubs. Yes, the piece is filled with revolting details that make even non-PETA members aghast at the cruelty of Georgian England, but there’s also something deeply satisfying in this rich David versus Goliath narrative. I can’t help but feel that these little monkey gladiators were fighting for the genetic home team, viscerally portraying the triumph of brains over brawn and acting out the entire drama of evolution in the process. To me, the victories of the great monkey fighter Jacco Maccacco are just one step away from Beowulf slaying the monster that preys on primal human fears. It’s horribly perverse, but the thought of Mr. Maccacco perched atop a dog’s back using his club to bash this symbolic Grendel’s head makes me just a little bit less afraid of the dark. —Graham Rogers

This Week’s Reading

In a death match between a fifteen-pound monkey and a vicious, highly trained pit bull, who do you think would win? To find the answer, consult the Wikipedia report on the vile nineteenth-century British practice of monkey-baiting, which has received my vote for Wikipedia’s finest article. As it turns out, small monkeys can easily defeat ferocious fighting dogs, particularly when armed with small clubs. Yes, the piece is filled with revolting details that make even non-PETA members aghast at the cruelty of Georgian England, but there’s also something deeply satisfying in this rich David versus Goliath narrative. I can’t help but feel that these little monkey gladiators were fighting for the genetic home team, viscerally portraying the triumph of brains over brawn and acting out the entire drama of evolution in the process. To me, the victories of the great monkey fighter Jacco Maccacco are just one step away from Beowulf slaying the monster that preys on primal human fears. It’s horribly perverse, but the thought of Mr. Maccacco perched atop a dog’s back using his club to bash this symbolic Grendel’s head makes me just a little bit less afraid of the dark. —Graham Rogers

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    And THAT is exactly what fiction does for us. Well, good fiction, at least. Good fiction should let us know we’re not...
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