Saturday, June 15, 2013

Ultimate Harelip


We are addicted to the macabre. Proportionally, more of us seek films, games, and stories about malady and mortality.  Post YouTube footage of a sunrise, and you'll get some views. Post a clip of a rugby player losing a knee, and it'll go viral.

This fascination with the gruesome has long been part of us. Like the inborn forces that compel my cat to revel in a struggling bug, there’s that part in many of us that wants―even needs, if only for a half second through slitted fingers―to see the world's largest testicle zit.

What is wrong with us?  Why do we rubberneck after the ice cream man collides with a dump truck?  How come Joseph Merrick was the headliner in the 1880s carnival circuit?  Was it his singing voice?  (Actually, I would’ve paid to see the Elephant Man as an opera lead.)  What makes people do online image searches like, "most squashed goop-filled horse eyeball ever"? 

Maybe we possess a touch of masochism that finds dark, tickly pleasure in a fleeting dose of unpleasantness, as when an already sore lip compels us to keep biting it. Perhaps it gives morbid comfort to witness a fate worse than our own.  Whatever the reason, we just can't look away.

If not the source, media has certainly encouraged and intensified our desire for dark spectacle. We have game shows themed around failing violently, endless news interviews with victims of every sort, videogames that assign victory to the one who perpetuates the most carnage... A parade of misfortune. 

First prize to the most grotesque!

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4 comments :

  1. Not all humans seek out, or look for the macabre. There are MANY that just ignore what is going on around them. They hide from the truth, that is smacking them top side the head. Proof of this is in the FACT that government is running rough-shod over it's citizens, and MOST don't know or care. Life goes on, such as it is.

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    1. I've appreciated all your reactions and remarks over the weeks,Lani. I'm glad the site has captured your interest. I hope to keep seeing you in here!

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  2. Thing 1: Those of us who might qualify as the cast for "freak show circuses" tend to seek out others who make us feel not so alone. Are wanting to be entertained, or simply consoled?

    Thing 2: I am not so sure that "the average person isn't a sadist", as I look at today's (highest administrative levels) of K-12 education, government and the military.

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    1. Thanks for the thoughtful comments.

      On thing one, your point about finding community is well taken. Certainly, someone who is a statistical outlier finds comfort in finding others like him/her.

      On thing two, I believe the average person does not want to increase suffering in others, even though they may sometimes do so without intending or realizing. Unfortunately, there are a few who are nourished somehow by others' pain; those are dark, unbalanced, toxic individuals whom I hope to never meet.

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