Page 12

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Title Power of "negative" thinking, The: the grotesque in the modern world
Subject Grotesque
Description The 45th Annual Frederick William Reynolds Lecture.
Creator Helbling, Robert E.
Publisher Frederick William Reynolds Association
Date 1982-11-30
Date Digital 2008-05-29
Type Text
Format image/jpeg
Digitization Specifications Original scanned on Epson Expression 10000XL flatbed scanner and saved as 400 ppi uncompressed tiff. Display images generated in PhotoshopCS and uploaded into CONTENTdm Aquisition Station.
Resource Identifier,768
Source BH301.G74 H44 1982
Language eng
Relation Digital reproduction of "The Power of "negative" thinking," J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections
Rights Digital Image Copyright University of Utah
Metadata Cataloger Seungkeol Choe; Ken Rockwell
ARK ark:/87278/s6ks6pjf
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-08-04
ID 320034
Reference URL

Page Metadata

Title Page 12
Description 12 ROBERT E. HELBLING closer to the heart of my own views. To begin with, I believe that each generation has to redefine the grotesque in terms of what threatens its own sense of essential humanity. Therefore, to put it succinctly, to bring out the grotesque in our era, we needn't focus on the distortions of our inner world but can realistically portray an already distorted outer world. True, a good portion of our film production, replete as it is with poltergeists, werewolves in Timbuktu, resurrected Draculas, and Frankensteins - what have you - caters to the infantile nightmares in the audience and the adult need for cash in the producers. But most of us, I believe, pay these creations the ultimate tribute of ignoring them, as does the contemporary Parisian to the gargoyles of Notre Dame, or take them for what they are: momentary titilla-tions. A more ominous note is struck, I must concede, in the sleazy world of the bad trip, where Timothy Leary and his now vanishing disciples have encountered daemons obtensibly steeped in a grotesque ambiance: The visual forms appear like a confusing chaos of cheap, ugly dime-store objects, brassy, vulgar and useless. The person may become terrified at the prospect of being engulfed by them. The awesome sounds may be heard as hideous, clashing, oppressive, grating noises.16 However, they claim that such hallucinations are merely transitory manifestations of an ultimately salutary ego-loss, a pharmaceutically induced inner journey to the sublime by way of the grotesque. Novalis' Romantic quest helped along by a dubitable chemical magic! Yet, compared with the grotesques in today's social and intellectual realms, the bugbears arising from atavistic fears within us seem like child's play. In fact, the comic disarming of monstrous childhood fantasies, as in the Muppet Show or Sesame Street, in the ravenous cookie monster, for instance, may have the opposite effect of its pedagogic intention as a warning against retrograde behavior: "I may be as ugly as culinary sin, but I'm really lovable." I wonder how many three-year olds walk the streets, proudly exclaiming: "I'm a monsto!" And the adult psychedelic exorcism of our private daemons is but a lurid, if often risky, gambit. Of late, even the fearful monsters that used to populate outer space in sci-fi movies have been dulcified. The interstellar drifters that congregate in some galactic bar in Star Wars (where they don't drink milk), though no doubt an outre assembly of grotesque shapes, are just a rowdy bunch of humanoid desperados. In other
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 015-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 12.jpg
Source Original Manuscript: The power of "negative" thinking : the grotesque in the modern world by Robert E. Helbling.
Setname uu_fwrl
Date Created 2008-07-29
Date Modified 2008-07-29
ID 320017
Reference URL