Someone Rotten in Denmark

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Marcellus & Cassandra, Unheeded at Europe

There it is, in Act One, Scene Four, remembered, yet unheeded in the very northern Europe where it was once (albeit fictionally) uttered.

And not by Hamlet, the too-long-suffering microcosm of modern civilized men and women (who are equally needed here and now, and not in some nunnery), but by Marcellus. Who?

In this stunningly foreboding scene the princely Hamlet, in the wee hours of deepest darkness encounters Horatio (yep, his philosophy could've used more imaginative dreaming) and this Marcellus on the battlements (fitting) of Elsinore Castle.

Below them, revelers drink and dance, as is their custom of late, while an apparition wafts toward them feared by Hamlet's two confreres as some evil entity in disguise. Ahem.

Hamlet, much distressed at his countrymen's blithe cluelessness in the way of business as usual behavior on St. Valentine's day, pursues it to investigate, as though some modern Fed looking into rumors of an impending St. Valentine's Day Massacre in Chicago.

Marcellus, while sharing Hamlet's angst at the state of affairs in his European king dumb so welcoming to potential and actual scoundrels, gives voice versus action in addressing Horatio (and future Europeans) with his famous 'rotten' observation shared by Hamlet and Horatio.

Yet, it is Hamlet alone who choses action--later to be 'sicklied over with the pale cast of thought'--thereby and therefore too late to save himself or Denmark from Fortinbras' invasion.

Indeed, Marcellus is forgotten, as is his warning. Greece had her Cassandra, why not the rest of Europe, and the West.

And, so, we find European France and England (but for the incompetent Rosencrantz & Guildenstern, death for Hamlet), still unheeding Marcellus paean.

Which nation, then, is next to mourn senseless acts by these agents of rot, agents who have been acknowledged by the authorities as 'known' to them. Is 9/11/01 so remote in time and geography as to obviate the quaint notion of prevention?!

Oh, yes, World as Victim, live free and open, though not so freely and at the bloody hands of 'known' purveyors of rot, i.e., corpses, themselves worth far less than some caricatured canine for a prophet.

Perhaps, after all, this prophet is, indeed, such a one, a prophet who does prophetically predict your self-inflicted doom--and not as guilty offenders of some sort, but, rather as beggars to your own demise (thanks, 'X-Files' movie).

As this world has abundantly seen, some speech must be held to the same forbidding legal standard long-recognized in the West and in heads containing common sensibilities for crowded theaters as for crowded civil societies. And, not exclusively after the fact. Hence, those fatwahs and/or their enactors must be preempted and not simply punished after the mortal damage has been done, and repeatedly.

"Oh, but this will make us intolerant, less truly democratic" it may be argued. Indeed, intolerance of intolerance, just as fear itself was once--and always--best feared.

So, then, for at least those who are 'known' to the responsible authorities, let Europe's be the actionable cry of the Prefect of Casablanca: 'Round up the usual (known) suspects, before they act.' This is not 'pre-crime' a la P.K. Dick's fancy but, rather, prevent. May there be no more unnatural funerals.

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Updated Jan 2, 2019 12:27 PM EST | More details


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