The Most Beautiful Fraud: The Rider Named Death

by Leonard Pierce

The use of violence is not only one of the most powerful conundrums not only in fiction, but in life.  In art, the most problematic aspect of violence is that it is often used as a framework for threat and action, designed to bring viewers into a story who might not otherwise have the patience for an ordinary story of struggle and pain; the risk is that the lurid quality of the violence will overwhelm the intention.  In life, the principled behavior of pacifists in struggles for civil rights and liberation movements frequently conflicts with the more violent urges towards revolutionary action; without Martin Luther Kings, activism has no acceptable public face, but without Watts Riots, oppressors have little impetus to change.  Those who value life and seeing its potential fulfilled are forever tempted to exterminate it in order to achieve their goals, both in fiction and in reality.

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