RG’s Day at the Zoo With Cherry Vile Prep (Part 5)

November 23, 2008


As part of my daily dose of Cherry Vile, I have been reading three charming books:
Blood and Soil: A World History of Genocide and Extermination by Ben Kiernan and
Denial of Death and Escape from Evil, both by Earnest Becker.

Kiernan’s book describes how we kill each other with great skill and enthusiasm while proclaiming we will never let it happen again. He lists some common features in human culture that seem to set the stage for genocide. Just for the record, they’re still setting the stage and putting on the play.

Becker’s two books suggest that our fear of death makes us easy pretty to follow “heroic” leaders who lead us on great causes. These causes often lead to mass murder.

Becker pulls together and tries to integrate thoughts from a variety of philosophers, psychologists, and anthropologists in a way that impresses me.

 I suspect he brewed and drank Cherry Vile by the gallon.

Unfortunately, after doing the prep, he perhaps forgot to go in for the actual procedure.

He died of colon cancer around the age of 50, just as he was really hitting his stride as a depressing thinker, leaving a non-profit foundation with his name on it in Seattle, to carry on his work. (Brewing cherry vile, I guess is what they carry on).

 I haven’t joined yet, but I probably will one of these days.)




8 Responses to “RG’s Day at the Zoo With Cherry Vile Prep (Part 5)”

  1. giannakali Says:

    I read Denial of Death—I started writing that and then checked when the book was published—it was 1997…

    I read something with a similar name and subject matter in 93 or 94 however…it was somewhat life changing at the time…I was still young and impressionable (28)…do you know what it might have been…I could have sworn it was The Denial of Death.

    I even remember it having a red cover like the one on Amazon…but I KNOW I read it in 93 or 94 because of who I was dating at the time (who insisted I read it—he was a staunch athiest)

    anyway…it sounded like the same book to me…I lent it to my therapist at the time and then quit seeing her, which pissed her off and in turn she refused to return my book!!

    I have a very poor memory so it’s likely it was something with a similar title but perhaps the subject matter was somewhat different…I know it was existential in nature though…

    sorry to go on about this!!

    I enjoy your blog Mr. Random, though I don’t say much very often.

  2. Sounds like the kind of thing I’d enjoy.

  3. modestypress Says:


    Thank you for reading my blog quietly and thank you for your comment.

    Wikipedia has a pretty good page on Denail of Death. It was published in 1973. Becker wrote a sequel or continuation called Exit from Evil. That may be the book you are referring to. He finished it as hew as dying. He asked that it not be published (evidently feeling it was not quite complete), but his wife and other friends chose to pubish it. I am currently reading Exit. Denial lays the philosophical foundation. Exit more directly addresses why human despair about death sometimes manifests itself as genocide and other evil activities.


    You know I am always…OK, sometimes…thinking of you and how your morbid inner hunger can be fed. Join in and take a deep swig of cherry vile; there’s plenty to go around.

  4. giannakali Says:

    okay, what I saw on Amazon was a newer edition…they don’t make that clear at all…

    In any case I did read it..found it disturbing and exciting at the time but remember nothing about it now…except my impressions…

    I should take a look at it again…I’m all over the place in the existential/spiritual realms…it all makes sense to me…I have too flexible a mind…and can hold conflicting notions side by side almost comfortably!

  5. truce Says:

    I think I’ll stick to Cicero and Seneca, thanks.

  6. mommy Says:

    Re your comments about majoring in philosophy, isn’t there a joke that goes:
    “What does the philosophy major say after graduation?”
    “Would you like fries with that?”

  7. I like that one, ’cause it can be used interchangeably with english majors. 😉

    I try not to read things that talk about how well we kill ourselves and each other, I don’t need that documented. I try to read things about how to take care of myself and others instead. 🙂

  8. modestypress Says:


    Fries served by a philosophy major are fried very deeply.

    Although the one person I’ve known with a degree in philosophy was working as a network specialist.

    Fluffy, my understanding of the work done by the Becker foundation is fairly life-affirming, and striving to inspire people to avoid violence and other negative activities.

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