Evil, Pure and Simple from the Eighth Dimension

by John McDaid

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about

A poem about our contemporary situation, written at the Jan. '21 Newport MFA residency.

lyrics

As writers, we were warned:
Never make villains too evil
Or no one will believe them.
After all, Hitler loved dogs
Nero was a patron of the arts
Ayn Rand once gave an orphan
An ice cream cone.
Okay, I lied about that one
But you get the point.

This is America
Everyone gets a redemption arc:
Henry Kissinger is an elder statesman
Ollie North has a talk show
Aaron Burr was...complicated.

So we had left our culture helpless,
Unvaccinated,
When there appeared a man
Right out of melodrama:
Made for television evil
Snidely Whiplash evil
Stephen King monsterclown evil.
And because our noble novels
Told us one-note evil
Did not exist
We elected him.

He will grow into the office
We said
He doesn't mean what he says
We said
Oh, no, he would never do that
We said
Right up until the moment
He stood on the Ellipse
And sent his flying monkeys
To occupy the Capitol

And everyone
Playing asides on the oboe
Was surprised.

But you know who wasn't?
Folks with pure villains:
Good and Evil
Democracy and Socialism
White and Black
They knew all along
Obama was Kenyan.
Hillary hated America.
And the deep state was run by pedophiles
With a taste
For pizza.

Sounds crazy when you say it out loud
But the power of simple stories
Is that they fit inside heads
Shrunken
To the size of dank memes

So, whenever you're admonished
Not to make your villain that evil—
To walk a mile in their shoes
To remember that the jackal is a lion in their own neighborhood—
Spare a thought for
The procrustean crania
And the Faustian fustian of 4-chan
And paint it black.
Go big.
Chew a little scenery.
Kick a starving kitten.
Light up your evil with targeting lasers
And nuke it from orbit.
Put a stake through the heart
Of your one-note Nosferatu
Because evil does exist
And next time
We need to see it coming.

credits

released January 11, 2021

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all rights reserved

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about

John McDaid Portsmouth, Rhode Island

Award-winning science fiction writer, freelance journalist, folk/filk singer-songwriter.

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