TBT^2: Monsters


They’re all creatures of the night:  bloodsucking, blood-curdling, blood-soaked.

Or they’re adorable, CGI critters that work in a factory, according to Pixar.

Of course, if you’re Stephen King, the real monsters are us—humans.  Have you read ‘Salem’s Lot?  A woman beats her own baby (and that baby becomes an infant vampire—yikes)!

That’s all a very weak, very contrived introduction for this week’s edition of TBT, which looks back at a couple of years’ posts and related commentary on monsters.  Whatever they are, whatever their intentions, monsters are always one thing:  interesting.

With that, here is 21 October 2021’s “TBT: Monsters“:

As the days grow shorter and cooler, with a full moon overhead, that old Halloween spirit has me excited for mischief and fun to come.  Shirts for this year’s Spooktacular have come in, and I’m ready to play more spooky tunes from my front porch!

I’ve already reblogged one of my favorite posts, “On Ghost Stories,” and it’s a bit early to throwback to past Halloween posts, so it seemed like a good time to consider another post pertaining to the so-called “spooky season.”  This post, “Monsters,” is very much in the same vein as “Things That Go Bump in the Night,” but from the angle of cryptids—think “Bigfoot“—rather than strictly supernatural creatures.

I don’t know if I believe in Bigfoot or not—I want to believe in it, at least—but I’m very much open to the possibility that there is far more to God’s Creation than we can even hope to comprehend.  As such, it seems self-limiting to outright deny the existence of certain creatures.  There might be plenty of evidence against the existence of Bigfoot, Mothman, etc., but such was the case—as I point out in this post—with the adorably weird duck-billed platypus.

But I digress.  Whether these monsters exist or not, there are still plenty around us.  With that, here is 21 October 2020’s “Monsters“:

Back in May I stumbled upon an online culture journal, The Hedgehog Review, a publication of the Institute for the Advanced Studies of Culture.  I don’t know much about either the publication or the IASC, other than they’re based out of the University of Virginia, so I can’t speak to their degree of implicit Leftist infiltration, but my default position is that any organization in 2020 that isn’t explicitly conservative is probably Left-leaning.

It’s sad that I even have to make that disclaimer, because some part of me still clings to the old ideal of a broad, humanistic approach to knowledge—that we should examine ideas on their own merits, not on the politics of the entities espousing them.  I still believe that ideal is worth pursuing; I just also believe it is currently dead, or at least on life-support.

But I digress.  The then-current issue of The Hedgehog Review was dedicated entirely to the theme of “Monsters.”  It being the Halloween season, the time seemed ripe to revisit those pieces, and the idea of “monsters.”

The two pieces I bookmarked five months ago are now hopelessly lost behind a paywall, and as I’m in the business of selling subscriptions, not paying for them, I’m just going to wing my analysis based on their opening paragraphs.

The first, “Monstering,” starts with a relatively self-indulgent, overwrought introduction all about the author being a criminal defense attorney and an artist.  Sure, I’m self-indulgent, but this is a blog, not a serious academic journal.  Ms. Vanessa Place, the authoress of this piece, does not come across as particularly serious, either, with her needlessly complicated opening paragraph, in which she literally states she has nothing to add to the topic of monsters!

Thank goodness the rest is behind a paywall.  The painting of “The Cyclops” by Odilon Redon drew me in, but Ms. Place repulsed me where the ostensible monster attracted.

The second article, “Desperately Seeking Mothman,” seems more promising.  It’s about cryptids, cryptozoological animals for which anecdotal evidence exists, but formal zoology does not accept as real.  The author, Tara Isabella Burton, makes an interesting point in one of the two paragraphs cheapskates like me can read:

The field of cryptozoology—the occult-tinged study of as yet unbeheld creatures—from the bloodthirsty chupacabra of Mexico to the ponderous Bigfoot of the Pacific Northwest—has often been dismissed (fairly) by the academic world as a pseudoscience. But spotters of Mothman (a red-eyed, winged humanoid first glimpsed in West Virginia in the 1960s), the dinosaur-like Mokele-mbembe, or the Loch Ness monster aren’t doing science so much as practicing a kind of acute antiscience: resisting the notion that the world, with all its inchoate wonders, can fit neatly into any one taxonomy. Cryptids, as practitioners in the “field” call them, aren’t just “undiscovered” animals, but category-crossing ones: creatures whose bizarre juxtapositions render them icons of a world more complex than empirical science alone can explain.

That notion that certain things can’t be neatly fit into the traditional categories of science—really, of the Enlightenment—is one worth exploring.  Indeed, I think it’s one worth embracing.  One needn’t believe in Bigfoot (as my good blogger friend Audre Myers of Nebraska Energy Observer 98% does) to understand the vastness of Creation, of our still-limited capacity to understand it.  Even the humble duck-billed platypus defies our attempts at neat classification—and it was considered a fake once, too!

There is so much more to this world than we can understand—or even perceive.  But there are plenty of real monsters out there.


26 thoughts on “TBT^2: Monsters

  1. I enjoyed this article very much – readers can tell when an article pretty much writes itself and this is a great example.

    Have I shown you my Idaho bigfoot video? Lol – silly you! Not ‘mine’ because I filmed it but ‘mine’ because I saved it to my computer.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I’ve been thinking about doing a review of the Idaho bigfoot because people just look and decide while I study and then decide. Hmmm … I’ll let you know. And thank you. That’s very kind of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Stephen King reminds me of the Man Utd footballer, Harry Maguire. The latter, a defender, is as good as football as Biden is at speeches yet takes a 6 figure sum per week, playing at a top club. King, while having the odd decent idea, is to writing what Kamala Harris is to celibacy – sentences that go on for an age, too many mixed metaphors and you can get your a*** that somewhere there’s an ancient Indian burial ground. Or aliens. The latter really spoiled It.

    As I was reminded recently, monster is a relative term. A cat to a mouse is a monster. The shark in Jaws is usually referred to as monster despite the fact that it’s just doing what comes natural – swimming and eating.

    Human beings are the biggest monsters because they have more than a capacity for the basics and yet make decisions that can hurt other people, entirely for their own ends or needs. The scariest films tend to be those that show evil people doing evil things.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I read an interview with some Hollywood notable recently (I can’t remember any of the details about who was being interviewed, etc.), in which the interviewee argued that the only truly scary films anymore are home invasion flicks. The human lurking in the bushes and bursting into your home is much more terrifying than a big shark way out in the ocean—but the shark is pretty scary, too, because he _can’t_ be reasoned with! You also can’t see him beneath the surface of those murky waters—just like the burglar in the bushes is hidden in the murky darkness of the night.

      Liked by 2 people

      • Creatures and mutations are scary. I’ve played enough horror games where I’ve been pursued by some horrible mutation that can’t be put down. Fun and scary. Watching The Drinker’s playthrough of the remake of Resident Evil at the moment and there’s plenty of moments in it (RE2 remake as well) that have you changing your underwear regularly.

        Audre will know this – in The Benders (Supernatural, Season 1 I think), Dean laments that he and Sam are dealing with humans. Monsters he gets but humans, he struggles to fathom. I’m with him on that. Creatures and demons, you know where you are. Their inbuilt characteristics are evil but humans are hard to read. It’s one of the things I love about The Purge films and series. Your neighbour, spouse, kids, the friendly old lady or man in your neighbourhood, all of them could have a desire to kill. You just don’t know.

        Tina and I are untrusting souls at the best of times (we were burned a few years ago) but if we lived in a country that had something like the purge, we’d probably be living out in the sticks, away from people at all times.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. Since there’s no edit, ‘as good AT football’ and ‘you can BET your a***.’

    Jeez. Where’s an edit button when you want one?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. When I was on Twitter, I’d put something up and read it back before I tweeted out. I should be doing that here and everywhere else. On Disqus, you can edit but for some reason you can’t on WordPress/Gravatar. I just need to be more mindful.

    I checked Dave’s reply to me on his site yesterday in which he offered an intriguing bit of knowledge I’d not heard before but I couldn’t reply or even like his comment because you can’t do it on the tablet. I can use my tablet here but not on Neo. Strange, isn’t it?

    Liked by 2 people

      • I agree but tablets can be convenient – you can’t curl up on the couch with a PC but you can with a tablet. Plus, Tina and I like some of the games you can buy and play for the tablet. I hate how addictive they are but they’re fun.

        We’re going to have to save up next year for a PS5. That means we’re going to have to replace our games and send the PS4 games to a good home but we really want Silent Hill 2 which they’re not releasing for our device. By the time we get a PS5, Sony will already be looking at creating the next generation console. Pfft. We’re easy. We still have games we haven’t yet played.

        Liked by 2 people

      • The benefit of buying big consoles several years after their release is that you can usually snag them at a discount. I imagine that will be especially true when the PS6 or whatever drops. Maybe you could trade in your PS4 towards the PS5?

        Liked by 2 people

      • I’m with you, Audre. I do a great deal of work on laptops because that is what I have at work, but I love my beautiful desktop with two monitors and my clickety-clackety mechanical keyboard. It makes typing such a pleasurable experience—smooth and buttery! And I love a clackety keyboard.

        Liked by 1 person

    • WordPress has all sorts of gremlins in the comments section. I can edit comments on my end—including yours, I think—but it’s unfortunate that you can’t do so (let me hasten to add that, while I would love to do so, please don’t ask me to edit your comments; I lack the time to do so!). The gremlins are particularly rampant on Neo’s site for some reason.

      Reading aloud is an excellent proofreading practice, one I need to do more often. Sometimes my fingers get ahead of my brain!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I have OFTEN told people the best way to proof read is to read out loud; your ear will pick up error that your brain automatically corrects and moves on.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I have a Galaxy A tablet that I mostly use when the electric is out during hurricanes. I’ve tried laptops but don’t like the keyboard or the mouse on them so it’s PC for me but I absolutely understand why you prefer the tablet.

    Big money for those systems – well, here anyway. Pretty much each town has a little local gazette, so to speak. They are a good source of people selling their devices they no longer use; do you have such things there?

    Liked by 2 people

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