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  1. This is the thread for when you saw a thing, thought it was original, and then saw another thing and then realized that the first thing you saw was not original. The second part of Allen Ginsberg's Howl contains the repeated exclamation "Moloch!" As we are all very educated and cultured here, I'm sure that nobody needs to be told that Moloch was a god of the Canaanites to whom they offered children by way of fire (or at least that's what the people who wrote the Old Testament said about the Canaanites; the archeological evidence is more equivocal). This was pretty evocative and Moloch showed up in a lot of later art; notable Paradise Lost, which is that one poem that says everything about Satan that people think is in the Bible but isn't. While Moloch has shown up in plenty of times and places as a symbol for various things, I had thought that Ginsberg's use of Moloch as metonymy for the impersonal, mechanistic indifference of modern society was original. It's not. I had read a defense of the second half of Ginsberg's poem as an inspired metaphor, and had briefly considered him maybe halfway decent as a result. Seeing that he basically stretched a few, brilliant seconds of Weimar-era film into several tiresome lines that offer no particular improvement over the original material has forced me to rereconsider. It's all from Metropolis. Even the singular exclamation of the deity's profane name comes from the film. Only, in the film they do it once because they knew if they did it over and over again it would seem forced and weird. Fritz Lang managed to create the same metaphor with one word in one and a half minutes as it took Ginsberg to do with I don't want to count how many words and twenty eight years later. Allen Ginsberg may have been just a filthy hippie after all.
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