My curiosity about the concept was sufficient to get me to Wikipedia, where I was, first, interested that there was an article at all, and second, interested that it was as short as it was. It wasn't super-short, like a dictionary definition. If you're going to purport to cover the history of revenge and its function in society and religion plus that famous saying, how do you keep the length to 2 screens?
Presumably: editing! Wikipedia is all about editing. People load crap in. That's the easy part. The miracle of Wikipedia is in the editing.
Oh, come on, Althouse. It's not a miracle. I mean, check it out: "A miracle is an event attributed to divine intervention."
No, no. I'm not going there. The Daily News used "revenge" to portray a specific individual in a negative light for the titillation of readers. I used hyperbole, in a complimentary sense, to refer to the behind-the-scenes work of thousands of editors who deserve some extra praise and thanks.
Both miracles and revenge play a part in human storytelling, but revenge is a much better story. "Deus ex machina" is not the most admirable plot device, as Aristotle explained:
It is obvious that the solutions of plots too should come about as a result of the plot itself, and not from a contrivance... There should be nothing improbable in the incidents; otherwise, it should be outside the tragedy....Revenge makes a good tragedy. See "Hamlet." If you haven't seen it already.
Of the psychological, moral, and cultural foundation for revenge, philosopher Martha Nussbaum has written: "The primitive sense of the just—remarkably constant from several ancient cultures to modern institutions ...—starts from the notion that a human life ... is a vulnerable thing, a thing that can be invaded, wounded, violated by another's act in many ways. For this penetration, the only remedy that seems appropriate is a counter invasion, equally deliberate, equally grave.For this penetration.... a good image, when we're talking about rape. But what of the false accusation of rape? That too is a penetration.
"And to right the balance truly, the retribution must be exactly, strictly proportional to the original encroachment."I think revenge asks for more. Nussbaum explains the moral aspect of revenge, not the passionate edge that wants more than justice. There is passion, but wait...
Revenge is a dish best served cold.That is the saying about revenge. And it doesn't suggest becoming dispassionate. You're not using your measuring spoons and cups, preparing a dish "strictly proportional to the original encroachment." The cold dish that is the best revenge is not a calibrated diet dish.
Nussbaum's Heart-Healthy Justice Salad is not revenge.