Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Mary Shelley's Ron Forman's Monster

It is my greatest regret of the year that I didn't have time to finish typing up an overlong post to preview this Saints' season.  It ended up, like so many of these big ideas I never have time to develop anymore, getting thrown up at the last minute as a bare bones twitter thread.  This is a thing that happens a lot and I'm starting to think I need a word to describe it.  FailTweets isn't really adequate since every tweet is a kind of failure in the first place.

Anyway I said the Saints would win 10 games. That's still looking like a good bet.  But I didn't get to tell the story I wanted to tell in the unfinished post. I'm keeping the draft because I think it's an important story which may come up again later. It is a story about Valerio. That tragic hero of this summer's incident at Audubon already has my vote for New Orleanian of 2018 for a number of reasons I'll be happy to go into when the time comes. The point, for now, is I think about him a lot.

Valerio pumpkin

I posted that photo of my little gourd tribute to our boy and his fallen animal comrades to social sites last night.  It didn't take long for people to recognize the image.  Its creator certainly got it anyway.

But, while there was obviously some humor intended in the reference, I noticed some reactions from people who inferred a gratuitous or even exploitative vibe there.  Nothing can be further from the truth.  There is a natural humor in Valerio's story, for sure. But humor is closely related to tragedy, subversion, and catharsis. All of these are part of the story.  They are also elements of horror which is why this is a Halloween story.

Valerio's story is a story about doomed resistance. It is about the hubris of our attempt to tame the natural world.  It is about the thin, uncomfortable line that exists between order and chaos; particularly when that order is built on suppressed injustices. It is a tragedy born of righteous defiance gone awry.  There are themes present which hint at the inescapable consequences of colonialism, of the despoiling commodification of nature, and of the capitalist exploitation that drives it all. To contemplate the tragic horror of Valerio and his (I hesitate to use the word victims. Really they are all victims) we are forced to question our own role in its creation. The scariest monster stories aren't really about monsters.

Well, Happy Halloween. Here are some pictures I took this year at the St. Charles Avenue Skeleton House and later at the Magazine Street "Ghost Manor" Clever stuff but I didn't see any jaguar pumpkins.

Mourning Call

Boo Brees

Ghost Manor pumpkins

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