I'm working so can't address everything. But I watched a LOT of horror as a kid and I never remember anything particularly affecting intellectually. Nothing script wise which you could quote as great writing, no astounding performances. No great interpretations of philosophical concepts. In fact, the scripts were generally terrible... but it wasn't trying to offer great writing (not saying there aren't exceptions).
In fact horror pretty much takes pride in not operating on that level -- you'll notice that as spoofs go, horror has a whole sub-genre in that field. Think Human Centipede or Sharknado -- and along with them are innumerable productions which are wilfully anti-intellectual. They don't want to make sense. They don't even want to be good, they aim for the 'so bad it's good' spot, and the type of people who watch them really DON'T WANT TO THINK; like that's the attraction.
Why is Freddie Kruger a burned face dude with scissor hands who haunts your dreams?
Why does Jason wear a hockey mask?
What's Michael's problem?
What's the deal with the Texas Chainsaw family?
Why is the Chucky doll alive?
Why does a film about a killer car tire exist?
These are rhetorical questions, the point being, everyone's watched these films (apart from Rubber maybe... I haven't either because... well.. yeah) but I doubt we could really answer these questions. And even if we could the explanations aren't going to be very in depth. Because no-one REALLY cares. And so far as I can tell, neither did the producers.
I should probably give some background to the essay. Its been squatting in me gray stuff for about two or three months and unlike fiction which I write everyday essays I have to get out of myself all at once. Now the apathy of the people is besides the point because the question is really whether or not that apathy is justified. And what follows are three sources that reason why we should care. Theres far more than that but Im arbitrarily picking these three specifically because they are from such disparate sources.
First is from Plato's The Republic. The latter half of Book II and early half of Book III deal with what should be told to the youth. Im quoting here at length, though this is only the opening of the discussion, though I would highly reccommend reading the entire anthology:
Adeimantus thought that the enquiry would be of great service to us.
Then, I said, my dear friend, the task must not be given up, even if*somewhat long.*
Come then, and let us pass a leisure hour in story-telling, and our*story shall be the education of our heroes.*
By all means.*
And what shall be their education? Can we find a better than the traditional*sort? --and this has two divisions, gymnastic for the body, and music for*the soul.*
Shall we begin education with music, and go on to gymnastic*afterwards?*
By all means.
And when you speak of music, do you include literature or*not?*
And literature may be either true or false?*
And the young should be trained in both kinds, and we begin with the*false?*
I do not understand your meaning, he said.*
You know, I said, that we begin by telling children stories which,*though not wholly destitute of truth, are in the main fictitious; and these*stories are told them when they are not of an age to learn*gymnastics.*
That was my meaning when I said that we must teach music before*gymnastics.*
Quite right, he said.*
You know also that the beginning is the most important part of any*work, especially in the case of a young and tender thing; for that is the*time at which the character is being formed and the desired impression*is more readily taken.*
And shall we just carelessly allow children to hear any casual tales*which may be devised by casual persons, and to receive into their minds*ideas for the most part the very opposite of those which we should wish*them to have when they are grown up?*
Then the first thing will be to establish a censorship of the writers*of fiction, and let the censors receive any tale of fiction which is good,*and reject the bad; and we will desire mothers and nurses to tell their*children the authorised ones only. Let them fashion the mind with suchtales, even more fondly than they mould the body with their hands; but*most of those which are now in use must be discarded.*
Of what tales are you speaking? he said.*
You may find a model of the lesser in the greater, I said; for they*are necessarily of the same type, and there is the same spirit in both*of them.*
Very likely, he replied; but I do not as yet know what you would*term the greater.*
Those, I said, which are narrated by Homer and Hesiod, and the*rest of the poets, who have ever been the great story-tellers of*mankind.*
But which stories do you mean, he said; and what fault do you find*with them?*
A fault which is most serious, I said; the fault of telling a lie,*and, what is more, a bad lie.*
But when is this fault committed?*
Whenever an erroneous representation is made of the nature of gods*and heroes, --as when a painter paints a portrait not having the shadow*of a likeness to the original.*
Yes, he said, that sort of thing is certainly very blamable; but*what are the stories which you mean?*
First of all, I said, there was that greatest of all lies, in high*places, which the poet told about Uranus, and which was a bad lie too,*--I mean what Hesiod says that Uranus did, and how Cronus retaliated on*him. The doings of Cronus, and the sufferings which in turn his son inflictedupon him, even if they were true, ought certainly not to be lightly told*to young and thoughtless persons; if possible, they had better be buried*in silence. But if there is an absolute necessity for their mention, a*chosen few might hear them in a mystery, and they should sacrifice not*a common [Eleusinian] pig, but some huge and unprocurable victim; and then*the number of the hearers will be very few indeed.*
Why, yes, said he, those stories are extremely*objectionable.*
Yes, Adeimantus, they are stories not to be repeated in our State; the young man should not be told that in committing the worst of crimes he is far from doing anything outrageous; and that even if he chastises his father when does wrong, in whatever manner, he will only be following the example of the first and greatest among the gods.
I entirely agree with you, he said; in my opinion those stories are quite unfit to be repeated.
Neither, if we mean our future guardians to regard the habit of quarrelling among themselves as of all things the basest, should any word be said to them of the wars in heaven, and of the plots and fightings of the gods against one another, for they are not true. No, we shall nevermention the battles of the giants, or let them be embroidered on garments; and we shall be silent about the innumerable other quarrels of gods and heroes with their friends and relatives. If they would only believe us we would tell them that quarrelling is unholy, and that never up to this time has there been any, quarrel between citizens; this is what old men and old women should begin by telling children; and when they grow up, the poets also should be told to compose for them in a similar spirit. But the narrative of Hephaestus binding Here his mother, or how on another occasion Zeus sent him flying for taking her part when she was being beaten, and all the battles of the gods in Homer --these tales must not be admitted into our State, whether they are supposed to have an allegorical meaning or not. For a young person cannot judge what is allegorical and what is literal; anything that he receives into his mind at that age is likely to become indelible and unalterable; and therefore it is most important that the tales which the young first hear should be models of virtuous thoughts.
Next we have a rather famous series of codec call from MGS2:
We are formless. We are the very discipline and morality that Americans invoke so often. How can anyone hope to eliminate us? As long as this nation exists, so will we. Dont you know that our plans have your interests -not ours- in mind? The mapping of the human genome was completed early this century. As a result, the evolutionary log of the human race lay open to us. We started with genetic engineering, and in the end we succeeded in digitizing life itself. But there are things not covered by genetic information.
Human memories, ideas. Culture. History. Genes dont contain nay record of human history. Is it something that should not be passed on? Should that information be left at the mercy of nature? Weve always kept records of our lives. Through words, pictures, symbols...from tablets to books...but not all the information was inherited by later generations. A small percentage of the whole was selected and processed, then passed on. Not unlike genes, really.
But in the current digitized world, trivial information is accumulating every second, preserved in all its triteness. Never fading, always accessible. Rumors about petty issues, misinterpretations, slander...All this junk data preserved in an unfiltered state, growing at an alarming rate. It will only slow down social progress, reduce the rate of evolution. You seem to think that our plan is one of censorship. What we propose to do is not control content, but to create context. The digital society furthers human flaws and selectively rewards development of convenient half-truths. Just look at the strange juxtapositions of morality around you. Billions spent on new weapons in order to humanely murder other humans. Rights of criminals are given more respect than the privacy of their vicitms. Although there are people suffering in poverty, huge donations are made to protect endagered species. Everyone grows up being told the same tihng. Be nice to other people...but beat out the competition! Youre special. Believe in yourself and you will succeed. But its obvious from the start that only a few can succeed...
You exercise your right to 'freedom' and this is the result. All rhetoric to avoid conflict adn protect each other from hurt. The untested truths spun by different interests to churn and accumulate in hte sandbox of political correctness and value systems. Everyone withdraws into their own small gated community, afraid of a larger forum. They stainside their little ponds leaking whatever 'truth' suits them into the growing cesspool of society at large. The different cardinal truths neither clash nor mesh. No one is invalidated, but nobody is right. Not even natural selection can take place here. The world is being engulfed in 'truth'.
And this is the way the world ends. Not with a bang, but a whimper.
Were trying to stop that from happening. Its our responsibility as rulers. Just as in genetics, unnecessary information and memory must be filtered out to stimulate the evolution of the species. Who else could wade through the sea of garbage you people produce, retrieve valuable truths and even interpret their meaning for later generations?
Thats what it means to create context.
Finally an excerpt from Orwell's Boy's Weeklies:
Of the twelve papers I have been discussing (i.e. twelve including the*Thriller*and*Detective Weekly) seven are the property of the Amalgamated Press, which is one of the biggest press-combines in the world and controls more than a hundred different papers. The*Gem*and*Magnet, therefore, are closely linked up with the*Daily Telegraph*and the*Financial Times.*This in itself would be enough to rouse certain suspicions, even if it were not obvious that the stories in the boys' weeklies are politically vetted. So it appears that if you feel the need of a fantasy-life in which you travel to Mars and fight lions bare-handed (and what boy doesn't?), you can only have it by delivering yourself over, mentally, to people like Lord Camrose. For there is no competition. Throughout the whole of this run of papers the differences are negligible, and on this level no others exist. This raises the question, why is there no such thing as a left-wing boys' paper?
At first glance such an idea merely makes one slightly sick. It is so horribly easy to imagine what a left-wing boys' paper would be like, if it existed. I remember in 1920 or 1921 some optimistic person handing round Communist tracts among a crowd of public-school boys. The tract I received was of the question-and-answer kind:
Q,.*‘Can a Boy Communist be a Boy Scout, Comrade?’
A.*‘Because, Comrade, a Boy Scout must salute the Union Jack, which is the symbol of tyranny and oppression.’ Etc., etc.
Now suppose that at this moment somebody started a left-wing paper deliberately aimed at boys of twelve or fourteen. I do not suggest that the whole of its contents would be exactly like the tract I have quoted above, but does anyone doubt that they would be*something*like it? Inevitably such a paper would either consist of dreary up-lift or it would be under Communist influence and given over to adulation of Soviet Russia; in either case no normal boy would ever look at it. Highbrow literature apart, the whole of the existing left-wing Press, in so far as it is at all vigorously ‘left’, is one long tract. The one Socialist paper in England which could live a week on its merits*as a paper*is the*Daily Herald:*and how much Socialism is there in the*Daily Herald?*At this moment, therefore, a paper with a ‘left’ slant and at the same time likely to have an appeal to ordinary boys in their teens is something almost beyond hoping for.
But it does not follow that it is impossible. There is no clear reason why every adventure story should necessarily be mixed up with snobbishness and gutter patriotism. For, after all, the stories in the*Hotspur*and the*Modern Boy*are not Conservative tracts; they are merely adventure stories with a Conservative bias. It is fairly easy to imagine the process being reversed. It is possible, for instance, to imagine a paper as thrilling and lively as the*Hotspur, but with subject-matter and ‘ideology’ a little more up to date. It is even possible (though this raises other difficulties) to imagine a women's paper at the same literary level as the*Oracle, dealing in approximately the same kind of story, but taking rather more account of the realities of working-class life. Such things have been done before, though not in England. In the last years of the Spanish monarchy there was a large output in Spain of left-wing novelettes, some of them evidently of anarchist origin. Unfortunately at the time when they were appearing I did not see their social significance, and I lost the collection of them that I had, but no doubt copies would still be procurable. In get-up and style of story they were very similar to the English fourpcnny novelette, except that their inspiration was ‘left’. If, for instance, a story described police pursuing anarchists through the mountains, it would be from the point of view of the anarchist and not of the police. An example nearer to hand is the Soviet film*Chapaiev, which has been shown a number of times in London. Technically, by the standards of the time when it was made,*Chapaiev*is a first-rate film, but mentally, in spite of the unfamiliar Russian background, it is not so very remote from Hollywood. The one thing that lifts it out of the ordinary is the remarkable performance by the actor who takes the part of the White officer (the fat one) — a performance which looks very like an inspired piece of gagging. Otherwise the atmosphere is familiar. All the usual paraphernalia is there — heroic fight against odds, escape at the last moment, shots of galloping horses, love interest, comic relief. The film is in fact a fairly ordinary one, except that its tendency is ‘left’. In a Hollywood film of the Russian Civil War the Whites would probably be angels and the Reds demons. In the Russian version the Reds are angels and the Whites demons. That is also a lie, but, taking the long view, it is a less pernicious lie than the other.
Here several difficult problems present themselves. Their general nature is obvious enough, and I do not want to discuss them. I am merely pointing to the fact that, in England, popular imaginative literature is a field that left-wing thought has never begun to enter.*All*fiction from the novels in the mushroom libraries downwards is censored in the interests of the ruling class. And boys' fiction above all, the blood-and-thunder stuff which nearly every boy devours at some time or other, is sodden in the worst illusions of 1910. The fact is only unimportant if one believes that what is read in childhood leaves no impression behind. Lord Camrose and his colleagues evidently believe nothing of the kind, and, after all, Lord Camrose ought to know.
I apologize for the lengthy quotations but I feel at this point the case has been made. If the greatest minds of our culture and out it have identified the importance of censorship to whichever degree is it not worthy of our consideration?
Theres differences between the three. Socrates posits a more or less totalitarian censorship, the colonel of MGS2 decries the democratization of information and the balkanization of ideas that results, and Orwell is concerned with control through inundation and monopoly. In all cases their conern is finding the best way to transit information to the youth.
And as youve said you ingested much horror in your youth which is also when youre most impressionable, should there be no consideration of the quality of what you feed your head? And that line I find interesting. Youve witnessed much horror in your youth. But its not horror in the traditional sense where you were present for the horror. Although you are present, because you are witnessing. But its not witness. Because witnessing implies proximity and yet youre by the action. Sometimes as close to it as the victim. Its a failure of the English language that we dont yet have a special verb that denotes the watching of something through a medium.
David Foster Wallace in E. Unibus Pluram writes:
Given how much we watch and what watching means, it's inevitable - but toxic - for those of us fictionists or Joe Briefcases who wish to be voyeurs to get the idea that these persons behind the glass, persons who are often the most colorful, attractive, animated, alive people in our daily experience, are also people who are oblivious to the fact that they are watched. It's toxic for allergic people because it sets up an alienating cycle, and also for writers because it replaces fiction research with a weird kind of fiction consumption. We self-conscious Americans' oversensitivity to real humans fixes us before the television and its ball-check valve in an attitude of rapt, relaxed reception. We watch various actors play various characters, etc. For 360 minutes per diem, we receive unconscious reinforcement of the deep thesis that the most significant feature of truly alive persons is watchableness, and that genuine human worth is not just identical with but rooted in the phenomenon of watching. And that the single biggest part of real watchableness is seeming to be unaware that there's any watching going on. Acting natural. The persons we young fiction writers and assorted shut-ins most study, feel for, feel through are, by virtue of a genius for feigned unself-consciousness, fit to stand gazes. And we, trying desperately to be nonchalant, perspire creepily, on the subway.*
If we take it upon ourselves to understand this, that is to say if we take responsibility for what we imbibe then we also have to take responsibility for what we allow to be imbibed. Were adults we have to ensure children can carry on our work whatever work that may be.
It pains me to say that one of the reasons Mohican and I dislike each other so much is because at close to the foudnational level were very much alike. We both recoil from the shallowness and theatrics that grips the nation but our responses are so very different. Chaos theory clearly shows that any slight altering of initial condition will lead to a wildly different outcome. So to perhaps unify two threads, this and 14th amendment, whereas his reaction to a changing world is to reduce government into manageable homogenous oblasts and there to placidly live, my instinct is to race out and master this beast whatever it is because it has to be mastered and whoever does it first has dominion.
Thus we should prepare our children for the race.
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Last edited by bluewpc; 04-17-2018 at 04:57 PM..