Thursday, February 04, 2010

the past decade as Horror

Weeks into 2010, the final year of our first decade into the new century, and I’m just now getting around to assimilating all the year-end lists of 2009 and for that matter decade-end appraisals of the "aughts" floating about. There has been much to gleen, but a few commentaries have really stood out as being quite prescient for the strange time we now live. I assume that these lists are basically an attempt to model our contemporary world . For the most part we're handed consumer lists or within the arts another incrongruous helping of post-modernism for our reflection. So consider this post as the first of a series of attempts at highlighting some places that perhaps speak newly about our contemporary condition.

Our horribly distorted world...

Infocult, which at the close of 2009 pointed out the persistence of gothic rhetoric in current American culture. I knew the obsession with vampires had substance behind it! They’ve done a wonderful job of rounding up examples of commentators referencing horror for their political-historical meditations.

via Infocult:

The world in 2010 is a Gothic world, says Bruce Sterling. Monsters roam the scene:

People have stymied sense of denial about the situation. It's very neurotic, anxious, and repressed. It's feeding into a strongly Gothic political temperament where popular culture is haunted by vampires and zombies. The population *identifies* with vampires and zombies, wants to marry them, settle down with them.

There's an autumnal hush over the cultural landscape. People really hope they won't be hit between the eyes with the two-by-four again, but they also know that they are helpless to defend themselves against the sources of the blows.

RJ Eskow adds some horror movie tropes:

It's that final plot twist, the last horrifying revelation that wrings a final scream out of the exhausted audience. You've seen it a hundred times: The ambulance driver taking the battered victims to the hospital grins ... and he has fangs. A close-up shows that the shambling, good-natured GI taking the townsfolk to safety has the marks of alien spores on his neck...

all is not well in Happy Ending Land. The invaders of our civil liberties are being protected. A pointless war drags on. Health reform is being co-opted by cynical politicians and special interests. What else can it be but a Horror-Twist ending to a Horror-Movie Decade?

Jules Crittendon: "God Damn the Naughts,".

He starts off by describing Christmas in Armageddon - the town, that is. And has fun with strangers: “Look, it’s the Angel of Death,” I said. “Let’s go get him.”

image: Carl Dreyer's Vampyr

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