Diggers just uncovered a legendary symbol of New World brutality: the Huey Tzompantli, or Great Skull Wall, in a part of Mexico City.

Thousands of enemy people were beheaded and displayed there as trophies of the Aztecs in the late 15th century.

The find got me thinking of one of my favorite books, 2666 by Roberto Bolano. In it he mentions the brutality of the Aztecs – but only in context with the ongoing brutality (beheadings, executions, mass graves) that had enveloped the Mexican border with the U.S. as part of the drug cartel wars by the end of the 20th century.

Bolano drew comparisons between the modern and ancient horrors of the world – and how they repeat, over centuries, and millennia. He called them a series of outrages – “the monstrous instants of history.”

It’s enough to make you wonder if we are doomed to repeat it all, as Santayana said. For some reason, some corners of the world seem to be stuck in an endless spin cycle.

*** On a lighter note, the irreverence of staging a production of a 900-page book, complete with multiple naked corpses, makes one appreciate the quirks of the Artist Mind.

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