Sunday, November 1, 2009

And in the News today...

I’m not afraid of people with green faces and pointy hats, or shrouded in sheets with chains a jangling. I’m not scared of zombies or werewolves, vampires or trolls. I generally don’t suspect that school janitors with screws loose are hiding in my closet armed with cleavers, and graveyards are just a place where dead people become soil.

The horror of Halloween is just a caricature of what superstition and ignorance once considered scary. It’s actually quite funny to see people dressing like Goths and hamming it up. If Halloween was about real horror and fear, it would be about the endless snippets of human tragedy on CNN, or the mundane confessions handed over in the courtrooms and police stations across the world. We’d dress as anchormen and women, and practice saying things like ‘and at the top of the hour today we bring you breaking news of a plane crash/suicide bombing/earthquake… Hundreds dead’. We’d be social workers and court-appointed psychiatrists, trying to make sense of murdered children and abused women. We’d be doctors having to break the news to teenagers that they really could, and have, contracted HIV from their first sexual experience. We’d be working at clinics watching drug addicts riding the broken rollercoaster from hell, or be swabbing the bedsores of the neglected aged as they lie in death’s waiting room.

Horror is what we choose to accept as the norm in a world of human pain and suffering. Horror is watching a child no longer have the option to ride the subway of innocence under city streets of dissipation and criminality. For those who insist that Halloween is about glorifying witchcraft and other arcane lifestyles, perhaps you should redefine horror. It’s in your face, and it isn’t getting celebrated at parties or forming the backbone of the fancy dress industry.

Perhaps that what Joseph Conrad saw (The horror! The horror!). The real evil of this age is not in camp costuming and fake blood, it’s in the sinkhole of humanity that has formed beneath the eroded self-respect of society. The fear that we carry as humankind of the temporal nature of life should not stop us from trying to enjoy the time we have, that enjoyment being in sharing the lives we lead with others, and carrying their pain and suffering.

So pass me the white theatrical facepaint, and a vial of fake blood, I’m heading out into the real world, where the full moon is just an astronomical phenomenon, and a skeleton is what keeps me from being a bendy toy.


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