Saturday, June 30, 2007

Red, White, & Grue

An English professor in Buffalo is researching America's "engrossing interest in the macabre"- specifically why it is that we love stories about bloody murders so much. "The thrill and horror evoked by murder narratives bring us close to these 'others,' who hold us in their thrall because on the one hand, they are so like us, and on the other, so different."

He says that our taste for these murder narratives is a bit weird really. "Despite our overdeveloped lusts for the 'dark side,'" he says, "Americans seem to have no sense at all of how weird our engrossing interest in the macabre appears to those outside this country." We tend to hear quite a few of these stories about how troubling our taste for stories about ''bloody murders'' is; even liberals who will defend our right as adults to see sex in art worry about how ''troubling'' our taste for the macabre is. I can't tell you how many times I've heard the cliché that, if you cut of a breast the movie's rated R, and if you kiss a breast you get an X. I'd actually like to see more filmmakers refuse to have their films rated in the first place.

When people say that there is a particularly American thirst for violence, I wonder if they're familiar with Lucio Fulci or the Fantômas books. And let's not even get started on Battle Royale! However, I can admit to a Dionysian thirst for blood. Why just right now I'm reading this shameless book which is all about the bloody murder of this landowner named Fyodor Karamazov; I tell you, somebody should have their head examined for publishing this Dostoevsky guy!

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