Monday, June 05, 2006

Horror and Respectability Deficit!!

A book review article on Horror fiction in the latest New York Times Book Review starts with this hilarious paragraph:

BECAUSE most right-thinking — i.e., literate, educated, professional-type — people consider horror fiction repulsive, juvenile or plain stupid, it's probably a good idea for me to acknowledge from the start that the genre's respectability deficit is fully deserved and even fundamental to its nature. The emotion horror stories strive to evoke — fear — is one that civilized folks are inclined to think of as low, primitive, animal. And it is, just like hunger, thirst and sexual desire. These are impulses that in most religious and many intellectual traditions derive value only from being controlled in the pursuit of piety or reason or whatever higher ideal of human behavior you happen to aspire to. Horror is, it's fair to say, pretty determinedly nonaspirational, which is perhaps why it appeals so strongly to teenagers, slackers and fatalists, and hardly at all to normal, functioning adults, who are busy keeping the more pressing everyday anxieties — disease, financial ruin, loss of love — at bay and who may fail to see the benefit of adding vampires and zombies and poltergeists to the list.

The rest of the article is quite good and insightful too.

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