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Old 12-18-2017   #1
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Topic Winner Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"

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I'm delighted that my article concerning Ligotti's corporate horror masterpiece is out in the world now, with beautiful artwork by the great Jason Van Hollander.

101 Weird Writers #47 Thomas Ligotti | Weird Fiction Review

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The humor in 'The Town Manager' is of an absurd (or, rather, absurdist) flavor, from the useless trolley to the murder of the trolley operator by possibly supernatural means via the semi-literate town manager. In the pivotal book, 'The Theatre of the Absurd,' Martin Esslin quotes philosopher Apuleius, describing ancient mime plays in which 'serious, even horrifying matters are miraculously mingled with the… humorous.' This is of a kind used by Ligotti, humor that might be found in a Beckett or Ionesco play – a hilarity that reinforces and deepens rather than defuses the horror of existence.

"...the uncanny is to me the defining trait of this strange and terrible world and our strange and terrible minds." --Thomas Ligotti
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Old 12-18-2017   #2
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Re: Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"

This was wonderful, thanks for posting it!
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Old 12-18-2017   #3
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Re: Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"

It's really a fine article, and one on a subtopic among Tom's signature themes that fully deserves more intelligent treatments like this one. Well done, Jon!

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #4
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Re: Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"

The article was a fantastic read.

Upon reading "The Town Manager" for the first time I immediately thought of the gnostic idea regarding the world's governance by an idiotic demiurge, or the idea that the senseless corporate-style management was some kind of metaphor for the idiotic forces behind everyday existence. As a matter of fact, that's how I interpret all of Ligotti's "corporate horror" work. "The great black swine" described in My Work is Not Yet Done is, I believe, what underlies Ligotti's corporate pieces, namely the notion that the horror behind corporate practices is merely a manifestation of a greater (metaphysical) evil, not a mere historical aberration. Perhaps there's some personal ambiguity on the part of Ligotti here. Regardless, I personally think the economic decrepitude he saw in Detroit served (at least in part) as a personal revelation concerning the decrepitude of existence as a whole.

If one wished to be truly cynical, one could argue that it's only natural that human beings be exploited by senseless corporations. As an antinatalist, I would argue that very point. There's nothing that can be done politically to keep human beings from experiencing corporate exploitation, provided that one understands that corporate horror is not limited to capitalism. "Corporate horror" has been around since Ancient Mesopotamia, when the poor were working themselves to death to support unproductive priests. The solution is to kill one's sex drive. But I digress.

Again, I really enjoyed the article.

"In a less scientific age, he would have been a devil-worshipper, a partaker in the abominations of the Black Mass; or would have given himself to the study and practice of sorcery. His was a religious soul that had failed to find good in the scheme of things; and lacking it, was impelled to make of evil itself an object of secret reverence."

~ Clark Ashton Smith, "The Devotee of Evil"

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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #5
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Re: Absurd Degenerations and Totalitarian Decrepitude in "The Town Manager"

An excellent article. Thanks, Jon, for the time and effort to put this together.

There is a nice reading of "The Town Manager" on YouTube.
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