Woe is me…

By Shawn Robare

So one of the traps I find myself falling into when talking about 80’s pop culture, especially movies and cartoons, is the mindless positive or negative slang adjective spouting. It’s hard for me sometimes to think of anything to write besides, “Man Transformers are cool (or awesome, wicked, radical, neat, sweet, hip, etc.)? I think this really bugs me because of A). how inane it comes off, and B). because of how hard it was to find intelligent film criticism of horror flicks. See I decided to introduce my friend to horror flicks because he’d never really sat down and watched one, which I felt was a shame. So I tried to remedy it the best way I could by coming up with a list of the 30 most important modern horror flicks that we’d watch for our regular movie night. It was a really fun project, but at the end he asked the same simple question that he asked before we started the list, a question that I couldn’t answer myself and was determined to find the answer to which was, “Why do people WANT to watch or make horror flicks?? See, I can answer that question for myself, but when it comes down to a “as a society? thing, I need help.

So where do you turn? My first instinct was the Internet because I wasn’t interested in shilling out dime one and because I wasn’t sure there were books on the subject. So after a weeks worth of exhaustive searching I realized the answer wasn’t on a website. Time and time again I kept running into the same frustrating brick wall of “Cool, Awesome, Fuckin’ Rad, Sucks, Sucks Nuts, Badass, etc., etc. etc.? That’s all people had to say, and after reading ten mind-numbing reviews on the same flick that all had more adjectives than intelligent criticism I felt like only twelve year olds were writing about horror movies.

Now granted, I don’t want to be harsh, but we are talking about the horror genre and horror fans tend to be kind of sophomoric, but c’mon, there’s got to be a Roger Ebert of horror out there somewhere right? I eventually turned to books and after coming across the exact opposite problem (all the books seemed to be pretentiously wordy and aloof to the point where a lot of the text was almost indecipherable without a handy dictionary and thesaurus, I mean damn it, I just want to know about a film like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, I don’t think I should need a masters in English Lit to understand criticism of it.), I stumbled upon David J. Skal who is the perfect middle ground that I was looking for. Someone who can get excited about the topics he’s covering without reverting to pure exclamation points and adjectives, yet not get so wordy that you feel like your reading Sanskrit.

Anyway, I fear that I fall into this trap on this blog sometimes, especially when I talk about movies and stuff. I kind of want to do nostalgia movie reviews (or something, I’m not sure it would qualify as a review) but I’m afraid that if I don’t filter the text though the mascot characters I created, than I’m going to come off just like those horror flick sites I hated. It’s hard not to let too much of my love for the subject shine through.

Mix this with another concern I struggle with which is “why do this in the first place?? I mean I’ve had a weird time wrestling with why people post blogs (or podcasts, vlogs, etc.) vs. the desire to do it myself. I understand stuff like web comics, and serialized novels, music, etc. because it’s either a service or a form of entertainment, which typically exists to be shared. But journals and opinions are typically something you keep to yourself, so I don’t quite understand the blogging culture that’s sprung up in the last decade, though I feel the draw to be a part of it.

So I think I’m in danger of losing the thread I was trying to follow here, so I think I’ll end it here. I will say that this was all spurned by whether or not to filter my thoughts on movies though an article-like post or a comic strip with Clumpy and Salty2 (squared.) Seems kind of crazy to do all that drawing when most of the comic will be text, but on the other hand I can lay all the blame of Cool, Awesome, Neat-o, etc. on them instead of me. Yup, putting my inability to write intelligently on two fictional mascot characters. That’s stuff I struggle with.

  • HooveR

    The short answer is, you should do it because it makes you happy, and there’s a strong possibility of making others happy. When blogs first started popping up, my question was “”Why? Why do I care about the diary of someone I don’t know?”” And I felt that way for years. Until I found one that was entertaining, written well, and could have been something I was reading in a magazine. The internet is the great equalizer of our generation. If you have a computer and an online connection, you can talk about whatever you want and attract an audience, just like some expensive magazine. Audio podcasts are the same, only whereas you used to have to work at a radio station to get your voice on the air and be heard, now you can just sit at home. The internet makes these things possible. But just because something is possible, doesn’t mean you should do it, so that doesn’t fully answer the question. The answer really, I feel, is as I said: do it because it makes you happy. You should NEVER do it for others. Please yourself. Don’t get me wrong– others liking you is always GRAVY, and FANTASTIC. And a good reinforcement for what you do. But I don’t think it should be the primary motivation. When I was told about your blog, it was described to me as something that sounded like me, and therefore I would like it (yes, I’m just that narcissistic). So I gave it a whirl, and I’m hooked. If this was a magazine, I would read it. I am entertained by what you write, and enjoy reading it regularly. Why am I entertained by it? Well, part of it is that you echo my opinions on a lot of stuff that I don’t usually hear echoes on, so it’s a validation or sorts. A reminder that there’s others out there like me. Another part is just because there’s a fun subject, a fun delivery of the talk on the subject (i.e., you don’t paint yourself as an expert and in the process annoy everyone), and in a nifty little format. In short, it’s fun. I agree, in this world where anyone can be a blogger, and anyone can do podcasts, it’s common to ask yourself, “”What makes me special enough to do this?”” And that’s when you have to realize that you just gotta do it because you want to do it. If one or two people read and enjoy your stuff, I deem you a success. In short, the internet is a means to finding other people like ourselves who we can have a good time with. Nothing wrong with that. Your blog has a nice theme, and I feel, is bound to start picking up in popularity once the word gets out a little more. People our age like reading about this stuff. And you like talking about it, and do it in an appealing way. That’s all you need. So since it makes you happy to do it, keep on keepin’ on. My blog and other more “”personal”” blogs out there are a grayer area. Similar, but different. In short, I also do it because I enjoy it, but I also hope that others will read it and identify with it. I think the human mind just longs to find others like itself. It’s something we’re programmed with and can’t avoid. So I think if you have a desire to talk in a forum where others can see it and enjoy it, go for it. Odds are, you’ll find someone out there who will identify with what you say, and doesn’t that always feel good? Of course, these are just the thoughts of a dork who often writes blog entries that only make sense to himself, so… what do I know??