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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 22
Description 22 ROBERT E. HELBLING deadly vortex of Thanatos has spewed up an explosive paradox into our collective thinking. "Paradox" is an intellectual manifestation of the "grostesque" in the contemporary world; Durrenmatt divined it more than two decades ago: . . . the grotesque is only a way of expressing in a tangible manner . . . the paradoxical, . . . and just as in our thinking today we seem to be unable to do without the concept of the paradox, so also in art, and in our world which at times seems still to exist only . . . out of fear of the bomb.26 One wonders what the great satirists of our common past - Pope, Swift, Voltaire, Mencken - would say to the skewed rationality rampant in our world. Significantly, potent and sustained satire is rare or practically nonexistent in contemporary literature. Recently, the reviewer of some novels lamented that "the inability of satire and parody to lay hands on the public events of our time is an old, sad story" and then asks ingenuously: "What grotesque exaggeration could possibly add sardonic emphasis to the already distorted contours of everyday public life?"27 While bemoaning the drying-up of the satiric vein in contemporary literature, he points in the right direction for its cause. Satire chastises, the grotesque exposes. Therefore, genuine satire can only thrive when we feel sure of the standards of reason to which we can refer. The best satire, namely that which is surest in tone, is precisely that which is also surest in its values, witness Pope who wrote in the Augustan Age of English literature, an epithet which in itself is a mark of confidence in the ideals of reason advanced by his age. If we excoriate unreason and obtuseness under the camouflage of irony or through the flank attack of innuendo, so common in satire, we must be sure of our reason; otherwise we court the dangers of mere self-righteousness (so obvious in the vituperations of some fundamentalists who, in the undying words of our late friend Waldemer Read, know all the answers but none of the questions.) In our day, however, reason has been invaded by "rationales," "scenarios," "logistics," "game plans" fed into computers, culminating in the fatuous hope entertained by some naive enthusiasts that electronic intelligence will soon replace carbon intelligence even in the field of decision-making and value-judgment, but also unleashing the fear that the new non-biological "reason" might play some nasty tricks on us by giving the wrong signals to its counterpart on the other side. A grotesque inversion in our conceptual mode of
Format image/jpeg
Identifier 025-RNLT- helblingR_ Page 22.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 320027
Reference URL