The Ugliest Night of the Year

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We do not have an annual celebration where pale, chaste virgins with flawless features, clear eyes and marmoreal skin recite epic poems in Attic Greek. But we do have Halloween. Who can explain our national fascination with poisonous toads, goblins, carbuncles, dripping blood, fang-toothed harridans, corpses, skeletons, howling wolves,venomous flesh-eating bats, homicidal owls, brindled mewing cats, fear, mutants, boils, spiders, whining hedge-pigs, poltergeists, ghosts, evil spirits, cauldrons of seething poison and creaking noises in the night?

The answer is: anyone who understands the hold which ugliness has over our imaginations.

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Beauty, peace and quietude are as boring as poems in Attic Greek. Repellent features, nocturnal anxiety and scarynoises are totally engrossing.On the evidence of Halloween and our national commitment to all that is threatening and repulsive, you would have to agree that ugliness is superior to beauty. Not just because it lasts longer, but because it is more…..interesting.

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