When I was a kid monsters were meant to be scary. They were dramatically deformed, had supernatural powers and were predators. Vampires, zombies, werewolves, aliens emerged from folklore. Stories, especially fairy tales contained dark lessons, moral warnings about faithfulness and betrayal. The stories were often graphically violent and grotesque although they were meant for children. Now the monsters are cute, friendly, shy, misunderstood outsiders. In just one generation villains became heroes.
I loved reading as a child. I loved mythology and fairy tales so much that I asked for books as Christmas presents (I was a serious child). I spent all winter break by the fireplace marathon reading, envisioning Snow White and Rose Red, the Tinderbox soldier, Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella and Rapunzel’s blinded lover. The most memorable characters were often the exasperating characters like the pregnant wife who yearned so obsessively over her neighbor, Rumplestiltskin’s garden that she gave up her unborn child for a taste of parsnip heaven. She was perhaps sisters with the fisherman’s wife who wished herself into poverty through greed (the Flounder).
The magical impossible stories, the more bizarre the better, the fantastic and miraculous stayed imprinted in my mind because of their detailed and supernatural miracles. A tiny hollowed walnut shell that opens every night revealing amazing dresses, each gown more elaborate than the last, spun from copper, silver and gold were in several poor to rich fairytales. I never realized the subversive message of hero worshipping the aristocracy or the sexist undertones of female helplessness and objectification as property and reward. Princesses were the original trophy brides.
Greed, ignorance, naivete were punished severely. Don’t talk to strangers Red Rider or you might get eaten by a ravenous, rapist wolf. The color red represents female fertility and sacrifice. Jack and the Beanstalk is another coming of age story about becoming a man. Jack’s magic bean stalk grows enormously overnight and he climbs it, kills the evil giant father figure and wins the golden goose and mystical harp fairy (which saves his mother from poverty) and makes him the head of the household. Most fairy stories contain these metaphoric gems.
But now the monsters are antiheroes, misunderstood, imperfect helpers of weak humans. Maybe the antihero came from pirates, Robin Hood and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, outlaw culture started the trend? Rebels broke through ultra conservativeness through outsider extremes.
But I miss the world of dark and light, the simplified battle of dualities, bad vs good. Now the message is blurred into murky greys, undefinable— bad is good is bad is no is yes is no is rape is kidnapped. I’m tired of the perversion of nature through: GMOs, violent pornography, pedophilia, bestiality. I wonder if the Greek myths were describing literal animal sex, I always assumed it was metaphor but now I wonder. Apparently Syphillis resulted from raping sheep. Why do certain humans insist on pushing the boundaries of nature to the outermost reach? We’re licensed past logic, without forethought, we launch into life, damming the rivers, hostaging the land, decapitating trees, mountain tops too, fracking new earthquake zones, deforesting, documenting the virgin sacrifice like serial killers, we let the 1-2% pollute our only sanctuary including our minds and hearts.
The cycle has completed with the richest monsters on top. George Bush and Ted Bundy look so creepiliy alike; they worked a similar con game of nice white guys in tennis shorts and cowboy hats for beauty prom queens and cheer leaders to fall head over heels for them. Why are most serial killers male and white? Because they’re at the top of our predator pyramid. From vampire Barbie goth girl dolls to rich high school vampire Romeos in Twilight. No one is good or bad entirely within the media frame. Modern life has confused us into having no boundaries, no moral depth, no punishment or reward. With S & M pain is the reward, how have we gotten so twisted? People willingly brand each other for sexual pleasure. We’re seriously confused here. Our minds have been exploited with whose information? Greed is good, Pain is pleasure, Hate is tender, hidden love. Why is that our new mantra? Why is natural sex labeled “vanilla”, as if it’s the boring version, because there’s no chains or humiliation?
But there’s no escape from karma, our actions create new shit hells of the future.