Thursday, February 28, 2019

"American Monsters"

"American Monsters"
by William Giraldi

“According to Chapman University’s Survey of American Fears, more than 20 percent of Americans believe Bigfoot is real, the same number who believe the Big Bang actually happened. More startling is that the belief is spreading: ‘Americans have become seven percent more likely to believe in Bigfoot in only two years,’ the survey reports.
Throughout myth and folklore, many monsters are part human, because in life, many humans are part monster - violent ones with the wish of ruin, sociopaths who will club you for gain or fun or some mad want of blood. We think that if our heroes can venture forth to vanquish or tame the beast  -  Heracles and his labors with the lion, the hydra, the boar; St. George and the dragon  -  we might gain control over our own societies and lives; we might be free from a hamstringing fear.

But no: The true monsters dwell inside us, and there’s often no clear demarcation between the heroic and the monstrous. This is the lesson of Bigfoot in America. All monsters mean what we need them to mean at the time and place that we need it. The obsolete symbols are forever finding new garb to don; the ancient monsterizing impulse is forever finding new delegates to circulate its paranoia. Imaginary monsters might be necessary for our psyches, but our current troubles remind us that the true monsters are pure hell on our society."
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