Posts Tagged ‘progressive’

Gargoyles and Grotesques

February 22, 2010

In writing grotesque, I always found restraining the thought-eroding forces of common sense the hardest. Common sense smooths all the sharp edges and what you’re left with is a bit unusual, but not really grotesque. Here’s an example.

On the face of it, sponsored marathons are a brilliant idea. Not only do they raise a substantial amount of money for charity, they often change the (initially not too fit) runners’ lifestyles for the better.

On a personal level though they often create a dilemma: what do you do when, despite your best efforts, you fail to raise enough money to enter the race? There aren’t too many options really, you can’t give the donors their money back, so you stump up the missing bit. You’re morally obliged to pay, there’s no getting out of it.

And here’s where a radical new approach is born: charity through extortion. Sure enough, certain charities have always liked to guilt their donors into donating more and more, but I’ve yet to see a couple of bald men in dark suits turn up in my house and say things like “You’ve made the orphans really, really sad.”, while cracking their knuckles nonchalantly and pointing out my more flammable possessions to each other.

It’s just not there. It’s not surprising enough and despite its superficial weirdness, it’s far too logical. It might even be funny for a fleeting moment but it’s nothing more than a bizarre mouth around the rainwater that would’ve gushed down from the rooftop anyway. A gargoyle.

To produce something really grotesque, you have to completely break the shackles of coherent thought and probably the understanding of the meaning of certain words too.

A newspaper called Atlanta Progressive News had fired one of their writers and when questioned about the reasons for this decision, they gave the following explanation:

At a very fundamental, core level, Springston did not share our vision for a news publication with a progressive perspective. He held on to the notion that there was an objective reality that could be reported objectively, despite the fact that that was not our editorial policy at Atlanta Progressive News

And this, ladies and gentlemen, is the difference between gargoyles and grotesques.