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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 17
Description THE POWER OF "NEGATIVE" THINKING 17 turned completely upside down so that only the grotesque toes and the plaster-white soles of Kid Sampson's feet remained in view.22 A last literary example of this "cold" grotesque, as some critics call it. Friedrich Diirrenmatt, the Swiss writer, author of some classics of contemporary drama such as The Visit and The Physicists, in one of his latest plays called Der Mitmacher ("The Collaborator," better translated as "The Fellow-Traveler," but without Communist overtones) offers us a pungent grotesque of contemporary society as a Mafia-like network, in which everyone is an accomplice in one way or another. It centers on the figure of "Doc," a scientist and intellectual who against his better insight goes along with a corrupt system by putting at its disposal his newest invention: a viral action machine called a "necrodyaliser" that dissolves bodies into pure water. Again to the point, the language stands in grim contrast to the content: banal everyday phrases set against the sound of water flushing the background. Deadly power games linguistically trivialized! (No doubt, many totalitarian regimes and some Mafia-infested organisations would appreciate "Doc's" invention!) I venture to say that the Kafkaesque dispassion of the "cold" grotesque may have a more lasting effect on us than, say, the searing rhetoric and ponderous theatricality of the macabre final scenes in Francis Coppola's film Apocalypse Now. But we should be aware that we are not dealing in these instances with blase foolery and calculated buffoonery known to us from gallows and deadpan humor or medical school jokes. These usually serve as a buffer between our sensibilities and horrors continually present and rather cater to our immature need to be titillated by horror rather than to face it. How else explain the massive popularity of the film Mash and its even less distinguished TV-series? In the Mash program there is only the faintest echo of the grotesqueries that could be found in the initiatory movie, epitomized in its theme song whose lilting melody contrasted with the shocking lyrics "Suicide is painless." In the series, the melody can still be heard, but significantly the words have been left out: in comparison with the movie, the TV program is a short-cut to the excitement of war without the reality. In its dialogues, the continual quips, put-downs; the lightning gags and even quicker Neil Simonesque punch lines create an entertaining atmosphere of cute frivolity, which was effectively parodied a few years ago in the teen-age magazine Mad: In one panel we see a headless body, kept alive by an intravenous tube extending into the thorax through the neck-stump. The following dialogue ensues:
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 020-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 17.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 320022
Reference URL