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Friday, 26 February 2016

The Appeal of the Monster

The Appeal of the Monster

By
Alexander Gordon Jahans

There is a theory or an idea that says one way the human mind might cope with truly overwhelming fear is fetishistic attraction. It's a probably bullshit idea that Laura Mulvey briefly mentions in her essay on the male gaze Visual Pleasure and Narrative Storytelling to explain man's obsession with women but I like it because I find it hilarious imagining all the cuckservative right wing. commenters furiously masturbating to Samuel L Jackson's character Valentine in Kingsman. And I suppose it could explain the preponderance of rape as a threat "You terrify me so I must destroy you yet you also deeply turn me on so I must sexually pleasure myself as I do so."

This essay is not about that.

I am not really a believer in gender dimorphism so I prefer to say that I am just shallower when it comes to men but never the less what I look for in terms of sexual attraction regardless of gender is a certain softness and adorableness. And I prefer adorableness to sexyness as an idea because Sexy is relatively shallow and abstract. It's hardcore objective beauty and performance. Hence how technology can be sexy. All about larger numbers in certain areas and smaller numbers in other areas. Adorableness includes a certain vulnerability, bravery, morality, humor and intellect. Adorable is cute and dorky. Sexy is powerful and intimidating, at least to me. I favor adorable over sexy every time. Gabrielle over Xena, Barry Allen over Oliver Queen.

This essay is not about sexual attraction, this is about respect, awe and a desire to be friends with the monster.

What is a monster? Does Hitler count? Not really. I'll explain....

Lets say you have a bottle of wine. Or any beverage of your choice. On its own as it is the bottle serves a function and is relatively appealing but nobody really cares about it except those who directly interact with it. But then something happens and the bottle breaks. It is now ragged and sharp. It has lost its original function, its original form. Instead it has a new one, the potential for harm, the potential to be exploited and used as a weapon.

I am fascinated by weapons be they mere objects or beings with some amount of agency. Obviously this can be traced back to my own Freudian excuse, watching Jaws at such a young age and being so terrified of sharks I had to understand them. Yet it stays with me because the monster has this great potential energy about them and the fact that they have agency means that they are relatively unpredictable.

A gun is a boring weapon. Oh I know guns are heavy and loud and have recoil to make firing them difficult but in comparison to everything else a gun is way too simple and affective a weapon to be interest. Point, pull trigger, target dies. So what? Where's the narrative? The risk? The tension?

The sword is a more interesting weapon since it has to be used at close quarters and is quite brutally primitive. In a way it is primordial cybernetics, an extension of the wielder's own arm where the gun might best be seen as an extension of the penis.

A monster is by far the most interesting weapon to me. The shark, the Doctor, Godzilla, James Bond, Xena. (please note that I am not including the Arrow in this list because Batman bores the crap ot of me and TV Arrow is knockoff Batman)

All these monsters have their own personalities and tropes, all are capable of dreadful things in pursuit of their goals and all can be aimed with relative precision. Interestingly the Doctor is the only one on that list who also crosses over into adorability enough for me to have a crush on them and that's with Matt Smith's incarnation, an incarnation that very definitely lives up to the definition of monster.

A monster is dangerous, broken, flawed, they can harm their friends and allies and can't always be counted on to fight the right people. yet you kind of want to know the monster all the same.

As a child I envied the monster's power. I was so weak, so pathetic and so alone. The idea of reeking bloody revenge, of making those who insulted me scared just by my presence was so appealing. I sought to capture that. I wasn't tall, I wasn't fit and my reputation worked against me but I was weird and different so I exploited that. They thought I was mentally deranged so I played on that. I would stalk towards my prey at a low walk, never breaking eye contact. I actually practised staring to get Ford Prefect's unnatural alien gaze down. And as I approached I would talk animatedly using long words that I knew they hated me for using. I exploited fear to get them off my back.

I am not proud of what I did to survive school. I should have disobeyed the authorities and just stayed home sooner. Never the less that appeal to and exploitation of fear is still an attractive idea. In a way it's what I do with the far right. I'd love it if they left me alone but they won't so I'll fuck with them and the more they seek to destroy me the more my channel will grow and the more my blatantly left wing propaganda will be able to needle away at the far right. They have given me the privilege of preaching to the unconverted and I am glad of that. I actually feel a little sadistic thrill to see how much I disgust, sadden and terrify the far right. I have become the boogie man to the far right, They've even stated as such I am what they perceive as the face of the left and the English. Sorry about that.

It is more than that though The appeal of the monster extends to Trump and the Far Right. They care not for morality or manners or not being a dick. As much as my left wing moral brain may be disgusted by their neanderthalic bigotry I am also amused and almost envious of it. I was the lowest of the low remember, I was the scum hated by all and now these fuckers have taken my crown. For me there is no question. People are people regardless of gender or race or sexuality and they deserve to be treated as such but that someone .can be so brazenly racist, sexist, islamophobic, homophobic, transphobic or ableist is almost to be lauded because I wish I had the gall to scream "Please punch me to a bloody pulp!" so loudly.

Make no mistake that is why Donald Trump, George W Bush and Nigel Farage are so charming to me. They are monsters screaming loudly that they should be destroyed as amoral abominations and that takes a peculiar lack of self awareness and self preservation at is almost a wonder to behold. Like at least Hilary Clinton, Tony Blair and David Cameron try to speak and act like they aren't soulless abominations who have killed a lot of children and would like to see more children dead in bloody pointless wars.

This is actually why I think James Bond should never stop being a raving misogynist, even when she's played by a woman. It is the job of the monster to say "Yes I will walk willingly into danger with no plan or back up just because something needs to die" if the monster then gave a shit abhout not telegraphing how horrible they are they wouldn't be a monster anymore and would just be a hero and Zarquon we've got enough of those. At l;east white male ones anyway.

I actually think that until feminism succeeds in fully reforming Hollywood exploiting the the appeal of the monster might be a grand way to get older women tasty parts in films. I mean what might a raving misogynist of a writer appreciate more than depicting older women as evil and wicked and worthy of destruction. At the same time the Shark, Godzilla and Xena started out as monsters to be overcome and now they are the protagonists because an interesting monster reaches a level of awesome and popularity where they become who we identify with.

So show us women at their worst, show them angry, bitter, cynical, sarcastic and cruel. Shoo out the pretty young things and usher in the aged titans with a crackle of lightning and a gallon of wine. Let them dominate and destroy. Let them improvise lines and take ownership over their characters. Let them direct and let them produce. Let the witches in and watch as something wicked this way comes because it's time for the monsters of Venus to reign supreme.