The Manhattan Project--2016 A to Z Theme

Always a work in progress--welcome to my blog...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tossing It Out Tuesday: Myth or Reality?

          Dragons and unicorns, fairies and leprechauns, a myriad of other fantasy creatures--many of us want to believe.  There are entire entertainment franchises based on vampires, werewolves, and zombies.  With Halloween coming we will soon see many of these characters depicted by children and adults alike.  These characters have been much beloved as the fanciful fear of fictions and the romanticized representatives of the netherworlds.   They are the stuff of legends of ancient times and the what-could-be if we just stifle our sense of logic.


             Why have these creatures been increasingly embraced in modern literature?  The Dracula character is said to have been inspired by one Vlad the Impaler from 15th century Romania, and not a decent human by any means.  Stories of vampirism probably go back to prehistory.  

           Why is vampirism considered to be "romantic"?   If you really think about it, sucking the blood of another human seems rather perverse--to me at least.  The true vampires of mythology were pretty horrid, disgusting creatures.   In recent depictions those negative perceptions have been tossed out in favor of the brooding beautiful vampire.  Which depiction should really be tossed out?    Are these supernatural creatures of modern lore healthy for our young people to be embracing?

          When I was young I was a big fan of horror movies.  Frankenstein, Dracula, The Mummy, and other monsters of those days were spooky, but not really graphic.  Blood was rarely seen and much of the time killing was off-camera.   Somewhere in the 50s or 60s things began to take on more reality.  By the 70s special effects started achieving highly realistic levels.  There has been no turning back since that time.

          Today's younger generations take gore and graphic violence for granted.  They also have an open minded acceptance for supernatural realms that once might have been considered to be of a dubious nature. There are some styles, entertainment trends, and philosophical or spiritual outlooks that parents might want ask if they want their children to be embracing.   Should any of this be tossed out?  Or is it all just harmless fun?

         Tomorrow I'll be considering the Bigfoot legend as I report on my recent visit to Ghost Fest 4, a paranormal expo held at the Queen Mary, and my visit with Philip Morris, an expert on the famous Bigfoot film footage.   I hope you'll join me for this post and then return on Thursday to join the debate on whether Bigfoot really exists.

28 comments:

  1. I don't really believe in all that vampire and fairies. I think somewhere in time somone had a vivid imagination, it made good reading for some whilst frightening many more.
    The only vampire I know is my doctor when she takes blood for a test.

    Have a good day.
    Yvonne.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I don't believe in all the goolies listed but I don't have to in order to enjoy reading about them. They are interesting because they take us out of our reality and sometimes scares a bit.

    T

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hi Arlee,
    I think that fantasy and sci-fi is just a natural way for many to escape. Some find it very fun as for me, I find truth stranger than fiction. As for Big Foot, I really couldn't say. I've sen many specials on this big fella but really no solid evidence! Love Di ♥

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh, I agree sucking blood from another is just sick, unless its the government. LOL

    As to big foot..please tell me you are not going to bust my dream of meeting the big hirsute creature? I so want to meet him. :D

    Hope things have worked their self out today but glad I calmed you a bit yesterday. :)
    Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

    ReplyDelete
  5. "Today's younger generations take gore and graphic violence for granted."
    this is a sentence I've been repeating for a long time now, but not many people take me seriously. I've sad many times before that too many violence in films and on TV makes people numb to real violence. This means that if you watch too many war movies, killings, bloodshed, mindless aggression, the real violence and wars won't affect you in a proper way later on. So when you later on watch news about a war in some country, or about bombings etc, you will be less touched and shaken by it. This also mean that many people will be more open to allowing their governments to use aggressive measures against some other country because to them it's all like in films, a fiction, they have no feeling for reality.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Going to get myself into trouble here - wouldn't be the first time though.
    IMHO - Truth is much stranger than fiction. Sci-fi, fantasy and horror aren't just the made-up nonsense of a creative mind. Let's give credit where credit is due. All of it (as well as the obscene stuff) literally comes from somewhere and from some thing. The authors aren't the creative geniuses they believe they are. They're simply (well-paid) tools used to carry out an agenda (quite well I might add). And that agenda faces little opposition today - instead, it's encouraged as people can't wait for the next installment.
    Yes, we live in a free country where people can and do watch & read what they want. But because we can - does it mean we should?
    Again... The truth is that there are real dark creatures out there. They are not romantic or handsome or loving (although they can appear to be whatever it takes). What they are is anything YOU need them to be to persuade you and your children into their agenda where they will eventually cause destruction of spirit (and soul).
    But that's not really the stuff of successful Hollywood movies - is it?
    Good questions and great post.
    Deb

    ReplyDelete
  7. I don't understand the obsession with vampires, either.

    Bigfoot! I'm totally coming back that! ;-)

    ~JD

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very interesting discussion here, Lee. I totally don't get the nation's obsession with blood-sucking vampires, but when it comes to the fairy folk of myth and legend, I'm much more amenable. Love Celtic lore and actually felt a bit of magick in Scotland and Ireland.
    THe blood and gore of the horror genre just doesn't speak to me, though. And I don't think it's good for our children to become so comfortable with that kind of violence.
    Karen

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yvonne -- The stories must have originated for some reason, but why the obsession in our enlightened age? I get queasy if I watch them draw my blood when I go in for my monthly blood tests. I hope no one is drinking it.

    Teresa -- I've always enjoyed the stories -- mainly in movies though--but it seems like the interest has become a bit heavy these days.

    Diana - stay tuned tomorrow for one Bigfoot argument. Then Thursday I'll open up further debate.

    Jules -- Ah, yes-- the blood-sucking government on all levels. Maybe that's where the popular infatuation comes from--personifying the government in the form of fantasy beings. And yes, I calmed some since yesterday, but I still have some monsters to face in the days and maybe months ahead. I hope I become a dragonslayer.
    Come back for the next couple of days for some Bigfoot banter.

    Dezmond -- I know you've been saying this and I thought of you as I was writing it-- especially when I looked up vampires on Wikipedia and saw all of the history of vampire lore contacted with Serbia. I never knew that. I wonder if there is a purposeful agenda to desensitive people to the violence for more horrible things to come. There are enough violent and terrible events in the real world now and certainly enough persversion and disgusting crime against innocent victims-- why does anyone have to make it up and romanticize it. Your mission has been a moral one.

    Deb --- You are very correct when you state that these fantasies are derived from a reality. And this reality is much less glamorous and romantic than popular entertainment media makes it out to be much of the time. There is actual sick and deviant behaviour that exists in the world. I would rather see young people motivated by real heroes and characters who inspire them to a higher level of human achievemnt.

    Justine -- I hope you will come back with your thoughts on Bigfoot on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Karen -- Fairy tales can be fun to ponder, but an obsessiveness might be a bit extreme. I wonder if the government funds any studies regarding the existence of fantasy creatures?

    ReplyDelete
  10. This is a really interesting topic/question Lee. I was born in the 70s so while I am somewhat younger than you I do understand the trend you are talking about. I don't think there is anything wrong with visceral and highly realistic fantasy, whether it be in film or books, as long as it is clearly just a story to be told.

    On the other hand it can get out of hand. I do worry sometimes about the newer generations and what they might consider too much, or too far.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think a lot of it has desensitized the younger generation to graphic gore and violence. The trend toward real-life horror and 'torture porn' is troublesome.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I love a lot of this stuff, and it doesn't much matter to me whether they are written as monsters or tortured former humans (though I prefer a Buffy take to the tortured vampire over a Twilight take). While I don't actually 'believe' (except possibly ghosts and some forms of energy transferrence) I think it's striking that you find similar 'creatures' across cultures of the worldn (except Chupacabra--only one goat sucker *shifty*)--but I'd venture all continents have an organically developed version of a dragon (my suspicion is these stories developed from [too early to understand] discovery of dinosaur fossils).

    The 'gore' I am FAR LESS a fan of. The SAW movies and such? Yuck (but then I didn't like the Texas Chainsaw Massecre either. I prefer my scares along the line of Hitchcock (Blair Witch Project did it well)

    ReplyDelete
  13. They can make for some good entertainment. Loved the movie The Blob when I was a kid. Man, that show scared the snot out of me. I remember staying up late with my brother and watching it peering out from under my blanket.

    I think a lot of the stuff out today is over the top and kinda dumb. Repititous too. Writers run out of ideas so they simply rehash the same ol' same ol' and make it bloodier and gorier. Not my cup of tea.

    Stephen Tremp

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think even in this enlightened era it serves a purpose to be able to be afraid and then concur that fear. To face something and prevail is always uplifting. Plus, scary is apparently sexy. Now I'm not sure why that is!

    ReplyDelete
  15. yes, Arlee, there is a connection with Serbia since "vampire" is one of the few words which came into English from Serbia (other examples include paprika and slivovitz - the second one is Serbian lethal plum brandy :))))
    But that's the only connection, the DRACULA myth is from Romania.
    The whole fabricated myth of the Balkans being a dark place was developed by British writers during the Victorian Age when Serbia was the shield against the Ottoman Empire and Islam. You can see that times haven't changed much, and fabricated stories and false propaganda still rule the world.
    Thanks to such propaganda I even had situations in which a visitor from UK would ask me if we have water, electricity, food in our country :) and they get shocked when they come here and find a country as modern and normal as any modern European country and probably much modern than most of the smaller American states :) We really don't have vampires lurking around during night, although if it was really true it might attract TWILIGHT fans and might make me much more popular among teens :)))

    ReplyDelete
  16. I got a vampire history book last year and after reading it, they are positively NOT sexy!!!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Matthew--I do enjoy realistic entertainment, but not gratuitous-- well at least not a continuous serving of it. I do get concerned about where it is all going and the extent to which obsession with supernatural and violence affects young people--and in some cases even older people.

    Alex-- Desensitation is what I'm talking about. I am guilty of enjoying things like the "Saw" series and zombies, but kids growing up with continual exposure to this type of entertainment--including video games--may be having some unhealthy seeds planted in their minds.

    Hart -- I enjoy fantasy as well to a certain extent. I agree that the concepts of fantasy are universal and date back thru the ages and must have entered human thought due to some kind of direct knowledge or lore. And yes, the Hitchcockian tradition is much more squirm inducing than in-your-face visual horror. The unknown is scarier than what you can see, although that can be kind of scary sometimes.

    Stephen -- Originality is great, but unfortunate formulaic is easy to create and often to sell. Unlike the older entertainment products, much of what we have today doesn't allow the consumer to use imagination very much.

    Debbie -- Getting scared can be fun, stories of overcoming fears can be inspiring, and, let's face it, sex sells.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dezmond -- slivovitz? I must lead a very sheltered life. And are you telling me that Serbia actually electricity and indoor plumbing? Next you'll be trying to convince me that you have universities and internet.
    I'd always heard about the Romanian connection to vampires, but never made a Serbian connection until I read the Wikipedia article which deals extensively with the Serbian connection to vampires. Maybe someone should open a vampire theme park there to draw more tourists.

    L.Diane -- just the Wikipedia article about vampires tells about how absolutely unsexy they are. They sound pretty gross according to traditional lore.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I think this just represents an acceptance of alternate realities.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great post....
    Yes, the older monsters were somehow more mythic. They scared you by simply existing.

    The more popular horrors today -- like zombies -- are more likely to rip your throat out. Scary, I guess...but lacking the grace of the classic Universal Studios monsters.

    ReplyDelete
  21. "Next you'll be trying to convince me that you have universities and internet."

    off course we are not modern enough to have Internet, I'm writing my blog and these comments by using my dark telepathic medieval powers which I got from my mystic/semi-vampirish ancestors!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I don't know if kids today believe in the supernatural as much as they just enjoy the fantasy element.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Dayana-- I think we have had an acceptance of alternate realities for a long time. Now it might be going beyond mere acceptance.

    Andrew -- I like the way you attribute the old style monsters with "grace". Yeah, I never saw any of them actually ripping out brains and intestines and leaving buckets of blood all over the place.

    Dezmond -- Ah! And now we know Dezmond's secret!

    Holly -- In many cases though I think it goes beyond enjoyment of the fantasy element and more like embracing or a desire to embrace a lifestyle. There is a subculture out there.

    ReplyDelete
  24. What if vampires are symbolic of people who don't mind using other people's energies or "life blood" to get to where they are going?

    ReplyDelete
  25. I do not understand the vampire phenomenon. The dangerous, broody boy thing just doesn't make sense to me.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Salona -- Vampires are often used metaphorically to depict just the kind of people you say and could certainly be symbolic as well.

    Karen -- I don't understand the fascination to the extent of what it's become today.

    ReplyDelete
  27. I agree Lee, I think there has been a general relaxed acceptance and desensitization toward gore and violence in films made after the early 1960's and much to the detriment - at least for younger generations.

    When Stoker wrote Dracula, society was fairly repressed under the Victorian influence, and the whole subject of vampires had undertones of eroticism.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I guess the Twilight series and the like go for overt eroticism and romance, no more undertones for them. I'd just want to be careful around vampires and I don't think I'd want to be one.

    ReplyDelete

Go ahead and say something. Don't be afraid to speak your mind.
I normally try to respond to all comments in the comment section so please remember to check the "Email follow-up comments" box if you want to participate in the comment conversation.

For Battle of the Bands voting the "Anonymous" commenting option has been made available though this version is the least preferred. If voting using "anonymous" please include in your comment your name (first only is okay) and city you are voting from and the reason you chose the artist you did.

If you know me and want to comment but don't want to do it here, then you can send me an email @ jacksonlee51 at aol dot com.

Lee