As Marx Wrote, History Occurs Three Times: First as Tragedy, Second as a Movie, and Third Enacted by Ducks

By French, Sean | New Statesman (1996), August 16, 1999 | Go to article overview

As Marx Wrote, History Occurs Three Times: First as Tragedy, Second as a Movie, and Third Enacted by Ducks


French, Sean, New Statesman (1996)


One of the ducks that wanders around just outside our front door had nine ducklings a few months ago. Everyone loves ducklings. Little bundles of golden yellow and dark brown fluff and emitting not a horrible, loud quack but a little peeping sound. Any human being who sees a line of ducklings following their mother (always with one smaller one struggling to keep up) is genetically programmed to say: "A-a-a-ah! How sweet!" and make sickly cooing sounds.

And cats love ducklings as well. From the point of view of a cat, a duckling has the huge advantage that it looks like a bird but it isn't going to make the smallest attempt to fight back, or even much of an effort to run away. I don't know what habitat evolution had in mind when it created the duck, but it wasn't this one.

The fortnight or so after the birth of the ducklings was like one of those slasher movies in which a group of female high school students are stabbed to death one by one by the psychotic little runt they were all rude to at kindergarten. One of them keeps saying: "What's that noise out there? I'll just go and check it out."

Then you have a long, slow progress down dark corridors with lots of creaking. The girl opens a door and there's a horrible scream; we all jump, and then discover that it's only a little cat. She gives a sigh of relief, turns around and there's the knife-wielding killer in an ice-hockey mask.

Of course, in the duckling version of this story, when the duckling says "Phew! Only a pussycat", the cat then promptly kills the duckling. That's another problem with ducklings. Not only are they slow-moving and stupid, they also haven't learnt from the films of the past. And as Guillermo Cabrera Infante has said, reworking Marx's dictum that those who have not learnt from the mistakes of the past are condemned to repeat them: "Those who have not learnt from the films of the past are condemned to watch remakes."

The result was the most amazing body count. A couple of the corpses were simply found floating in the water. There was also the answer to the riddle, what's worse than finding a dead duckling among your children's toys? (Answer: finding half a dead duckling. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

As Marx Wrote, History Occurs Three Times: First as Tragedy, Second as a Movie, and Third Enacted by Ducks
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.