What if there was a blog where absolutely all aspects of contemporary reality were filtered through and mediated by monstrosity? A place where horror slithers off every page and slathers every screen and surface, engulfing and devouring and illuminating everything from politics and current events to tabloid TV to the carefully guarded inside of your medicine cabinet? A place where nothing is safe, nothing is what it seems, but everything is truly, deeply, and irrevocably scary? (If it helps, try telling yourself, it's only a blog, it's only a blog...)
Horror has been bursting the seams of public discourse and public spectacle (as if there's much difference these days) all summer long. Earlier this year, we had Republican legislation outlawing "human animal hybrids," as if Dr. Moreau himself had just been elected President, or presently might be, with a minotaur, perhaps, replacing the donkey as a demonic Democratic mascot. In June, Michael Jackson's mad, dehumanizing experiments with the life force--an oversize concoction of operating-room elixirs designed to transform him into a switch-on/switch-off Frankenzombie--turned instead into a chemical monster that destroyed him. The ensuing media overkill and incessant clips from "Thriller" prompted one Facebooker of my acquaintance to declare,"Enough already! Unless he's coming back from the grave to devour the living, I don't want to hear about it!"
It's been a long, hot summer for undead political metaphors. True Blood, has provided weekly, wicked send-ups of the culture wars in terms of sanguinary predation, with ratings unseen since the heyday of The Sopranos. Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman's column New York Times column "All the President's Zombies" (about the undying, still virulent march of Reaganomics) was followed by CNN's Lou Dobbs calling for a stake to be driven through the heart of former DNC chairman and health care reformer Howard Dean, Dobbs later snorted at his critics for not understanding "a literary allusion to Bram Stoker" (no regrets, of course, for calling Dean a "bloodsucking leftist"). Rush Limbaugh began flapping about "Obama health care zombies." MSNBC's Keith Olbermann countered with a closing segment of his own, questioning whether Republicans really needed to fear zombie attacks--if it's brains they're after, aren't Democrats the ones in peril? Meanwhile, Obama-zombies have been sighted biting fingers off right-wing critics. It's true, and you can see it on YouTube.
And then came the semi-literate rantings unemployed and unemployable housewife Sarah Palin and her disabled baby son who somehow escaped sexual assault by David Letterman (apparently not perverted enough to have cultivated a Down Syndrome fetish) only to have tasty Soylent Trig threatened by the hovering death tribunals of Barack Hussein Mengele. And if that isn't enough, have you heard about the FEMA death camps, complete with guillotines and organ harvesting? According to ex-FBI agent Ted Gunderson, Obamacare could entail the forced redistribution of not only tax dollars but hearts, livers and kidneys as well.
In "Reverse Nazism and the War on Universal Healthcare" in the current issue of The Nation, Columbia University law professor Patricia J. Williams hits the stake on the head. "Much of the epic woe is not about healthcare or public options," writes Williams. "It's about roiling resentments that need to be dressed up as something else, the coded mummery of Halloween monsters hybridized into new chimeras of hate. It's about fear that precious resources are being transferred to 'alien' others. Fear that the gains of others are ill-gotten, leaving the lonely patriot survivalist as victim, 'thrown away' trash. In these fiery monologues, even our president is figured as conspiratorially alien-birthed, from a galaxy far, far away, who's just pretending to be one of 'us.'"
To be continued. Unfortunately.