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30) Comfort In Fearful Things

The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.  – H. P. Lovecraft

I was born in 1974, the same year that Stephen King’s first book, Carrie was published and less than a year after the The Exorcist was released. It scared the crap out of my 11-year-old brother and perhaps incidentally propelled his spiritual life, transforming him into a God-fearing conservative Christian. The film broke box office records with millions of people standing in long lines. Many audience members passed out, up-chucked, and left the theater because the subject matter and raw graphics was too horrific to watch. I discovered the film on The Movie Channel, long after my brother left for college when I was 10-years-old. My parents never thought to dismantle the cable outlet…

I became my own parental control and watched anything that was dark, scary, or controversial. By the age of 10, I sampled a glut of R-rated horror films before I set eyes on The Exorcist. My earliest recollection was Blood Beach (an exquisitely dumb B film), then A Nightmare on Elm Street, Cujo, Halloween, Jaws, and Friday The Thirteenth (just in time for the coming of age of the 13th generation, AKA Gen-X). Rather than becoming desensitized from watching movies that most parents would never let their children watch today, it opened up my mind and hunger for knowledge.

Blood Beach Movie Poster

Although, I could not articulate it as a child, I was fascinated by anything that was physically unfamiliar, strange, unexplainable, and ultimately, anything that would horrify my mother or enrage my father. It wasn’t that I was rebelling from their attitudes. I was curious of why certain ideas provoked intense emotions within adults. I wanted to understand their reactions. At a very young age, I had a sense that the world was full of hidden truths behind closed doors, the back of dusty closets, underneath crawl spaces, the bottom of my mother’s purse and amongst the coins in my father’s pocket.

At night, I was afraid to run to my parents’ bedroom; it was too far away on the opposite side of the house. My dad built it that way. To get there, I had to run past a long hallway of tall closets, and my old bedroom where Mom reScary Treead her Bible every morning and night, and the bathroom, turn the corner past the fireplace, the entry way, the living room and kitchen, and finally, the dark ominous opening of my parents’ bedroom.

I learned how to be still, and breath, and conquer my fear of being alone. I grew to love the stillness of night, the rhythm of the moon, and things that moved in the darkness. My imagination was more colorful than reality and I learned to keep my eyes and ears open without fear of the vampire underneath my bed with his red glowing cape, or the Bogeyman outside my window that might pop his grizzly head up, or the wind quivering the finger-like branches of the tall twin pine trees against the full moon’s light.

I watched everything that was on television, if it peaked my interest. I grew to understand that basic fear was a human impulse resulting from a lack of knowledge in that, which is feared. Real fear was primal, the kind that connected to your gut. I learned the differences and the middle ground in between.

As a young adult, my experiences were haphazard, sometimes pushing the edge of what was good for me, but knowing when to lay low or get the hell-out-of-dodge. Most of my real fear in these situations was in direct response to mortal human encounters: relationships gone bad, deceptive adults, and unpredictable human behavior. I learned how to trust myself: my senses, my impulses, and my intuition. In this way, I have always felt unique in my experiences, generationally and spiritually.

I am less afraid of Bigfoot, Extraterrestrials, Chupacabra, UFOs, and Demon Possession, and more afraid of men with guns, blatant sexual urges, deranged agendas, entitled egos, reinforced by political alliances.

I am less afraid of ghosts, haunted places, werewolves, and vampires, and more afraid of political instability, nuclear weapons, social chaos, and natural disasters.

Born and raised in San Bernardino, California, cult capital of the nation and one of the most geologically dynamic places on earth, I was less afraid of the devil and creeping things and more afraid of large rickety building structures and mass gatherings of people. My Atheist/Agnostic father and Seventh-Day-Adventist mother provided a rich contrast of dispassionate mechanical thought vs. constrained fundamental belief for my inquisitive young mind to ponder; a perfect environment for analyzing contrasting viewpoints playing out in a post-Nixon world. It is difficult to imagine the 1970s without the horrors of the time as it metastasized into classic American Horror films on cable TV.

When I first saw The Exorcist, I had absorbed large amounts of data through television, reading National Geographic magazines and my mother’s SDA literature and the KJV Bible (I think I was halfway through reading the begets of Chronicles, because my mother insisted we read the Word of God from cover to cover – enough to make one want to barf up green soup). Even though the movie was scary, I couldn’t help but feel a hidden hand moving over the whole thing to increase Church membership and tithe. I began to doubt my mother’s religious ideas early, before I was a teenager. I wanted to believe what she did because I dearly loved her and saw that she desperately wanted to transcend all that was bad, but she couldn’t provide answers that were concrete enough for me to accept them.

The Exorcist proved how powerful religion is over the minds of those too afraid to question things they do not understand. I have no doubt that there are evil ‘things’ in this world. But those ‘things’ tend to be human generated through calculated motivations. True knowledge saturates perceived fear. It provides a clear path for humanity to evolve beyond its own planned obsolescence. I take comfort in fearful things and seeking knowledge to understand them.

SUPPLEMENTS:

The American Nightmare: A Documentary
Lovecraft: Fear of the Unknown Documentary
Fascinating Facts About The Exorcist
The Movie Channel Commercials – 1980s

 


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20) Letter to Baby Boomers From Gen-X

Dear Baby Boomer,

We are Generation X or whatever you want to call us. We are the youth of the nation… or were. We don’t give a R.I.P. Our destiny is written on the wall, starting with civilization. We are nihilistic by nature because no one wanted us to be here…

Never mind. We seek Nirvana, a place in the world to shelve our Trapper Keepers, our tear-stained journals of rage, our misunderstood expression of anger toward a world with no future lodged in the throat of Sid Vicious, a casualty to the Boomer drug experimentation legacy. Thanks for the bump.

Oh, the 1970s… a putrefied pustule on the zit of history, like a Halloween pumpkin rotting in late December.

The 1970s

The 1970s

We don’t blame you, Boomers. You were just another generation among many, going way back. We can see far down the pike of human existence and we are uniformly disgusted with all human beings, including ourselves. So, don’t take it personally. You just happened to give us a lot of stupid, frivolous, narcissistic doo-doo that doesn’t matter a hill-of-beans to any human dead or alive… but we aren’t taking names or numbers, just sharpening our secondhand pencils for another round of philosophical debate.

Don’t worry. We have your best interest in mind, along with your children even though they were loved more than us. We slam danced in the backseat of our parent’s VW bugs, smacking our heads up against the windows and flying headfirst into the dashboard when our father hit the brakes. Honestly, we have no deep-seated anger that our own parents didn’t flash that cute little “Baby On Board” sign when they drove us around without seatbelts or car seats. We just laughed it off and stuck our stuffed Garfield plush dolls in the trunk with the butt sticking out to show we have a healthy sense of humor.

Okay, let me explain the whole “punk” thing. It’s not about talent, you silly Boomer. It’s about revolution. I know you know what that is. You don’t understand our music because it’s too painful to listen to and reflects the existential dark matter of human misery that we feel every day. Yes, that’s right. Our music feels bad and sounds bad to you because we feel worse than you could ever imagine. To us, your music sounds like the Intro to Loony Tunes.

We were left alone, watching MTV videos in the middle of the night sucking on Nerds candy, waiting for our parental units to come home, too tired to fix us dinner and so we make ourselves another crappy box of Mac & Cheese. We are born into a world of sustained horror, greed, AIDS, useless politics, and recessions that fall like dominoes every time we try to move up in the world from a cardboard box. We have never felt that anyone owes us anything and only want a better world for everyone. So, we deserve a break today.

Be nice. Give us a hug. That’s all we ask.

With love and adoration,

Generation X


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
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14) H. R. Giger – Honoring An Important Artist

I recently learned that one of my favorite contemporary artists and an important figure for Generation X died at age 74 on May 12, 2014.

H. R. Giger

HR Giger in the 1980s. Photograph: Louie Psihoyos/Corbis Courtesy of: http://www.sagactoronline.com/

H. R. Giger, a Swiss artist celebrated for his creation of the darkly beautiful aliens from Alien and its sequel Aliens. Giger was an important window into human anatomical psychology. Highly controversial and seemingly perverse by many critics, he laid open the biological functioning of sexuality in combination with surreal landscapes that reflect the darkness of the modern world. Giger won an Oscar for his work on Alien.

Alien Xenomorph Creature

Alien xenomorph developed for the film Alien by HR Giger. Courtesy of: Boingboing.net

I’ve always been deeply affected by Giger. His work depicts a shadowy garden of human sexual functions, exploring all that we are and the disturbing possibilities of a human biomechanical future. He colors the haunting quality of my own childhood growing up with my father’s guns and industrial wastelands that lurked below my pristine mountain home; a world changing at terrific speed and the sense that there was nowhere else to go but rot in place.

In Giger’s work, nature is confined, twisted, wrenched apart, trapped, manipulated and in it the soul is barely visible through filmy eyes of nymph-like femininity surrounded by creeping things hugging, grasping and penetrating every hole. Giger lays open the body to show us the pipes and fittings, juxtaposing sexual organs with mechanical chambers of guns, metal and organic mutating cells. These opposing elements become biomechanical creatures, a new species, a gallery of deformations and experiments. Giger is certainly not the first to explore this organic world. His ideas were greatly influenced by Hieronymus Bosch, a Dutch artist from the 13th century dark age.

No. 341, Witches' Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm   Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

No. 341, Witches’ Dance, 1977 acrylic on paper/wood, 200 x 140 cm
Courtesy of: http://homepage.eircom.net/~donpjkelly/hrgiger_gallery.htm

Perhaps Giger sensed that we are standing at the gates of manipulating our own DNA, that our technology will thrust us into an unimaginable new existence. There is the feeling of inevitability, that we have no control over the transformation – the most frightening thing about his work. Freedom and choice potentially replaced by servitude and Orwellian control. Have we damaged the planet to such an extent that the only way we can survive is to change our fundamental biology? Giger explored these ideas and the filmmakers used his imagery, pushing the limits of these nightmares not to be grotesque for its own sake, but because we must think about them.

Artists like Giger, force us to the think about the uncomfortable, the icky things about ourselves, the things we must explore in a time we have the freedom to explore them. Without understanding this realm of the human condition, the horrors we could face might make artists’ work such as Giger seem as cheery as Norman Rockwell’s Saturday Evening Post covers in comparison.

I designate H. R. Giger as an Honorary Solo Gen X Warrior and may he rest in peace in a cemetery with a prominent tombstone.

Some people would say my paintings show a future world and maybe they do, but I paint from reality. I put several things and ideas together, and perhaps, when I have finished, it could show the future.  — H. R. Giger


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors 
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

01) Alternative Hope

Hope is a precious thing, like a delicate snowflake melting on a rotting corpse.

Hope is part of the imagination, part of the mind that belongs to primal instinct. It’s part of human survival. Our brains tell us something is possible regardless of the most desperate of circumstances. We hold onto hope because within this small space of unknowing, our primal minds deny the potential reality.

I believe in the power of the human mind. Our potential is limitless, however, our abilities must be tempered with discipline and respect for the power we have. Without this, we will destroy ourselves.

Hope is great. Don’t confuse it with reality.


Copyright © 2014 Solo GenX Warriors blog
Solo GenX Warriors ™ | Disclaimer

 

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