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Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Romantic Horror Continued

Continued from yesterday...

If you Google “horror romance” you will get results that include lists of horror movies with romantic overturns. There are such lists here: 
Certainly, there are titles that repeat in a few of the lists and I find that many of these fall under Gothic horror and romance, simultaneously. The themes of subhuman or otherness are repeated (again and again). The paranormal romance is a very popular novella formula in the age of the e-book—from ghosts to vampires and a multitude of demonic creatures...

"Bram Stoker's Dracula" (1992)

These elements have been in literature for centuries, but the “horror” I was referring to is, as I defined earlier, the “gory kind full of glitter and blood and awkward pandering.”

I’ve seen more than one work depict violence against its female character[s] in the name of some sort of misunderstood romance. I’ve read books that casually describe rape as nothing more than an exciting date. At some point in the last few decades, a stolen kiss has transitioned to sexual assault.

Any attempt to debase and humiliate a potential partner, to force or manipulate them into an emotional or physical relationship, demeans the humanity of all involved. That, to me, is horror (pure, unadulterated horror).

I am not blaming the genre for creating the trend. Rather, I think the popularity of these things in literature is but a mirror image of what is happening in “reality.” Art is doing what it does best: imitating life.

At the same time, perception is reality; and these days, that is dominated by the Internet.

From Facebook to Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest and other online fora where memes are born and disseminated, the evidence suggests that few of us know how to relate, less understand the idea of true commitment, and broken hearts are tragedies that equate natural disasters (not rainy days but monsoons).

We seem to have engendered a generation of predators and weaklings that can’t handle rejection. Of course, that can’t be right. And it isn’t. It’s just what it looks like online. The Internet is the new frontier where the obsessive-compulsive and other members of the fringe go to roost. The Internet is the new “underground.”

The thing that most people don’t consider is that a lot of the memes come from what is predominantly a YA audience (from the aspirational prepubescent little superstars to the arrested-developed mid-twenty-something black holes of emotional turmoil).

The true horror is that our culture is being driven and rewritten by and for children, and not just our media-ready version of romance… Sit back and consider that statement.

Soon, the children shall lead and you will all become slaves to their whims and misappropriations of common sense. What if "and a little child shall lead them" was a warning?

Monday, February 15, 2016

Horror Romance

For a variety of reasons, conversations in the last couple of weeks have mentioned my “ex” a few times. Each person was speaking, probably figuratively, of different people. My response, in each instance, was something along the lines of “How should I know?”

Maybe because we are at the heels of conversations about addiction, I never understood the compulsive urgency to follow people who do not wish to be in our lives. This is an addiction too--this possessiveness and neediness. And I don't get it anymore than addiction to gambling or meth...

I take words and actions to mean pretty much the same, and if you want to go then go! I force no one to be part of my circle. Some journeys do not require all participants, and folks get on and off the ride at will (mine as well as their own).

Once I write people off, I’m done. I still punish myself over one relationship, but I had not thought about him in any significant way for some time.

I always figured that even in a city of over eight million we could go to our respective corners. But I also knew that given who we both are, we are likely to run into each other. If I dig, even without the ties we had when we were together, I bet our degrees of separation are probably two.

I don’t know because I don’t follow him. We've had zero contact for two decades. Suddenly, mentions of exes brought him to mind. I ran a search and found him quickly. He is still close by. He is married low -- with children and a puppy and a family car.

There is some part of me that is pleased he grew beyond the damage. Oh, wait, that’s right, I was the damaged one. Okay, I’m done waltzing down this road. 

<Clear browsing history.>

The amount of time it took me to write the last seven paragraphs took about twice as long as the process I described – from thinking about the bastard, Googling it, finding him, and (coming to my senses again) dismissing his existence in relevance to mine.

To me, that’s just life. It’s progress from the failed romance. It’s history and needs not be anything more. But it is also rare as I see so many young people clawing to their past with such righteous entitlement.

I can walk away in real life and ignore in social media, but for people who live their lives so deeply immersed in a virtual world, the idea of cyberstalking becomes less of a legal concept and more a tenuous state of mind.

It’s one of the emotionally stunted extremes I have seen people deal with their pain, publicly, online. I am not a relationship expert, but that seems unhealthy to me.

Have we raised a generation that thinks that giving in to your compulsions is a grand gesture of romance? I don’t know… It’s an interesting point to explore. It certainly opens the door for the proliferation of our newest genre: horror romance! Not the Gothic kind, but the gorey kind full of glitter and blood and awkward pandering. 

(I understand nothing!) To be continued.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Inspired by Darkness

We have been binge watching “Nurse Jackie” and the process has been illuminating. Between us, we’ve known several addicts (from the functional, like Jackie, to the dragged out, street-living junkies).

The addicts were not always the artists and musicians; there was plenty of upwardly mobile, educated professionals doing some industrial type of crap (coke, heroin), and managing to fool the many. It’s easy to do this if you can maintain the habit. It’s depressingly easy to manage, if you can afford it.

It’s never pretty and it is never fun. It can be funny, but only if you are watching from a safe distance and are not involved, at all.

There is nothing new in the series about addiction and addicts, but I did have a revelation about someone that crossed my path not long ago.

I do not know this person to be a substance abuser; but it occurred to me that their drug is deception...

I know it sounds ridiculous, but follow my logic. It seems to me this person experiences a high every time they tell a lie. Except they are not outright lies. They are half-truths and innuendo. It’s telling enough details of a thing and letting others take it to its logical conclusion without ever having actually said the thing itself and yet, making it true in context.

Built-in plausible deniability: it’s evil genius!

This person once “confided” that they were stunted socially because they were surrounded by people whose background exceeded their own somewhat inferior origin story.

To compensate, this person picked people that could be manipulated easily – emotionally damaged, broken people, those who were uncertain and insecure.

But the point was never to be smarter but just cleverer. The goal was to be sly.

I don’t see the value, but then I have never been an addict. I’m the woman who decided, after years of smoking, that it was too expensive and I didn’t need to keep spending money on the habit, and I just stopped. Same with drinking.

I just stopped. No anxiety, no yearning, no nothing. There is nothing that I “need” quite that badly. I love caffeine and chocolate, but even these I can live without. (I mean, seriously, who would want to do that?! But I have gone long periods without and it did not kill me.)

I understand the physiology and psychology of addiction, even if I am fortunate not to be under its claws. It is a sort of ogre that looms over a soul that depletes its own humanity for just another high.

Junkies have a pathological excuse. The Deceiver makes a conscious choice that is as easily avoided by not trying to get over on fellow human beings. There is no reward to the behavior!

Almost makes junkies sympathetic by comparison. But then, even “Dexter” was sympathetic in some ways, and he was a serial killer.

Hark! Inspiration’s muffled screams have reached the surface. I think I have disturbing stories to write in my down time. Hail the anti-hero! (Or is it kill the anti-hero?)

So, whatta think, too dark?